Stirring at waters edge
Cold froth on my twig
My mind in whirls
Wanders around desire

May I, can I or have I too often
Craving miracles
May I, can I or have I too often now
Craving miracles
Craving miracles

No one imagines the light shock I need
And I’ll never know
From whose hands deeply humble
Dangerous gifts as such to mine come

May I, should I or have I too often
Craving miracles
May I, can I or have I too often
Craving miracles
Craving miracles

My romantic gene is dominant
And it hungers for union
Universal intimacy
All embracing

May I, should I or have I too often
Craved miracles
May I, can I or have I too often
Craved miracles

Waves irregularly striking
Wind stern in my face
Thunderstorm come
Scrape these barnacles off me !

May I, may I or should I too often
Crave miracles
May I or should I or have I too often

All my body parts are one
As lightning hits my spine
Prime runs through me
Revive my wish

May I, can I or have I too often
Craving miracles
May I, can I, should I or have I too often
Craving miracles

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Pages du manual

Présentation de la chanson dans l’application Biophilia

Imagine the most powerful and fantastic natural force that generates sound and you probably think of thunderstorms.

Björk harnesses lightning to make this song and app : the Bassline is the sound of an electrical discharge created by a Tesla coil forming a leaping musical pattern — the arpeggio.

As the vocal arrangement and lyrics yearn for miracles, the basslin teeters between musical and natural sound, and between heard sound and felt vibration.

Analyse par Nikki Dibben

The lyrics of thunderbolt are saturated by words of longing, desire, craving, need, hunger, wish. Björk’s desire is for lightning shocks, for waves to strike her, for the storm to revive her — to be in "universal intimacy" with nature’s powerful forces in her craving for miracles ;

The most dangerous of natural forces, and the grandest of natural sound producers is lightning —heard in the baseline of thunderbolt.

Lightning is produced when ice particles collide producing electrical charges, and is even seen in volcanic plumes due to electrical charges generated by collision of ice, rock and ash particles. The buzzing , booming bassline of thunderbolt is played by a Tesla coil — a type of transformer invented by the nineteenth century physicist and pioneer of electrical engineering , Nikola Tesla.

The rising pattern of the baseline — an "arpeggio"— comes from the sounds Björk heard when recording real Tesla coils. in an arpeggio the notes of the chord sound one after another instead of simultaneously , and no matter how you arrange the individual notes the sound always has the same basic tonal "quality".

In the app you can make your own arpeggios of electricity by changing their speed and pitch range. in the track the arpeggio technique is most obvious in the bassline of the chorus ("may I, Should I, or Have I too often craving miracles"). Each time the chorus returns the notes of the bassline stay the same (it’s always the "home"chord — notated in the score as a b minor) but the range of the arpeggio and its speed changes :

For example, in the chorus the notes span three octaves in rapid succession (they divide the basic pulse into sixteen ), whereas in the outro ("may I, Should I, or Have I too often") the slower arpeggio has a smaller, two octave range (it uses quarter divisions of pulse).

In effect, arpeggios are a musical technique akin to strumming a chord on a guitar, in which the notes of the chord sound in succession. Björk’s use of arpeggios in Thunderbolt adds to the song meanings : the quicker arpeggiation and large interval leaps in the vocal lines vividly depicts the choppy waters as Björk begs waves to strike and the storm to strip barnacles from her.

The song contrasts the contemplative chorus ’craving miracles’ with the yearning verse, the empty dark sound of the chorus is produced by the low register and sequences of the bare parallel fourths — a kind of parallel movement characteristic of Björk’s harmonic writing, most notably in Homogenic and the string arrangement in Joga.

Björk’s use of parallel movement in these tracks has a prayer-like quality due to the association of this kind of arrangement with certain types of religious music, and is heightened here by the use of an organ. A second unusual characteristic of the song’s harmonic structure is the sequence of harmonies which rise by step in each verse and help create its striving mood.

Björk’s harmonic style in Thunderbolt was influenced by her use of pitch modification software. this software was originally developed to allow users to alter the pitch and timing of vocal phrase to create a more "in-tune" and "in-time" performance, but Björk used it to make harmonies : she arranged the vocals by recording herself singing a part and the created new material using the software. One result of this is that many of the harmonies are made up from notes next to each other on the musical scale ("cluster chords") than in her previous work.

« I basically would take takes of myself and just play with melodyne and just go nuts wit it and then it definitely does something. You just do things differently you’re working with the actual performance, with the emotional ting inside it. » — Björk

Björk’s use of this digital processing software shows that technology can work alongside intuition and impulse.


Musique : Björk
Paroles : Björk et Oddný Eir Ævarsdóttir
Arrangements choeur : Björk
Transcription pour la chorale : Árni Heimir Ingólfsson et Matt Robertson
Ligne de Basse du Teslacoil et beat : Björk et Leila Arab
Programmation pour la ligne de Basse du Teslacoil et beat : Björk, Damian Taylor et Leila Arab
Mise en forme sonore et sons naturels : Leila Arab
Ingénieurs du son : Damian Taylor et Sveinn Kjarttansson
Mixage : Damian Taylor et Björk
Production : Björk


Tesla 07:25 Omar Souleyman
Thunderbolt (Current Value remix) 06:23 Current Value
Thunderbolt (Death Grips remix) 05:08 Death Grips
Thunderbolt (King Cannibal remix) 08:06 King Cannibal

Versions utilisées dans les App

Thunderbolt (Animation Version) 05:19 App
Thunderbolt (Score Version) 05:20 App
Thunderbolt (No Bassline Version) 05:09 App



  • King Cannibal