Album Review: Biophillia – Bjork
Here it is after many moons of expectation and speculation Icelandic icon Bjorks eight studio album Biophillia has finally made its way into the earths atmosphere and to the ears of many. The highly anticipated and hyped “app” album which was designed and composed to be a multi media project finally finds itself in reach of both critics and fans alike. Bjork has always had a love her or hate her effect and Biophillia does nothing to close that gap, in fact if anything it breaks it open even further.
Bjork has to be applauded for the sheer scale of imagination and thought put into this record. Whether you think she is genuinely interested in pushing the boundaries of music or you believe she is just being artsy fartsy for the sake of looking cool, there is no denying that Biophillia jars open the scope available when composing an album. The whole thing from concept to execution is a pretty ballsy move. What with specialist instruments being made, recording a big chunk of it on an iPad, messing around with crazy structures and time scales. Not to mention its on going extensions with live shows, games and digital applications. There is no doubting that the idea is interesting and that for whatever reason Bjork’s experiment exists, its thought provoking. But behind all the smoke and mirrors surrounding Biophillia there is one very simple, yet very important question that needs to be asked….is it any good?
Honestly ….not really, well at least I dont think it is! I have always been one to support experimenting with music, poking at the possibilities and trying something different. Like I said at the top of this review, in that aspect I sincerely applaud Bjork for colouring outside of the lines. But the honest truth is a good percentage of this album is pretty much all over the place, the experimental time structures dont play with other aspects well. In fact most aspects of this album dont integrate very well at all, sure there are some nice sounds on here and the musical correlation between sound and concept is credible. But as a whole there are so many messy moments on this album it can be difficult to digest at times. Whether it be clashing instrumentation, or sporadic injections of glitchy and unhinged breakbeats which arrive out of nowhere this record has major issues.
However the one thing I really did enjoy was the both the lyrical concept and content, the idea of fusing together aspects of humanity, spirituality, nature, astrology, biology and chemistry provides something that is not only fascinating but highly enjoyable too. This side of Biophillia worked very well in both design and application and its ultimately what brought me back to the album. Themes like this are seldom explored on their own in music anymore, let alone together as one collective outside observation on the diverse dynamics of existence. Had the music matched up and synced better with these themes, and had the music fit the grandiose nature of its experimental concept, Biophillia would have provided more of a big bang! Instead its potential has merely evaporated into the dissapointing microcosm of what could have been.