Bjork – VulnicuraCultureMusicAlbum reviews
Bjork’s new album sees Icelandic meet Venezuelan in the singer’s collaboration with young producer Arca, who has worked with FKA Twigs and Kanye West, as well as releasing his own album and EPs of futuristic beats. He is more restrained here, creating something more akin to aural art than traditional music with the singer.
The songs are composed of 15 strings with digital programming, charting the singer’s feelings towards the breakup with her partner of 12 years and father of her child, artist Matthew Barney. Over nine songs and an hour she runs the gamut of feelings: disbelief, grief, defiance, wanting to dance, sadly horny…
She pushes and pulls: at times the songs leave before you want them to (History of Touches), and some don’t want to go (Black Lake). The lyrics are precise and beautiful. Opener Stonemilker is mournful, almost pleading: “I wish to synchronise our feelings”. History of Touches is thunderously personal, intimate and explicit.
Black Lake grows in a tense blaze of strings, with glitchy unpredictable beats as she asks: “Did I love you too much?” Not Get uses strings oppressively, with a dramatic, wonky, marching, swirling beat that is almost taunting by the end. Family is a marked change of direction, featuring the production of Haxan Clock. It starts ominously, the beat is darker, more cacophonous. Atom Dance features the deliciously tremulous vocal of Antony Hegarty and veers between lucid to hazy to a soulful groove as Hegarty’s vocals come in. Mouth Mantra becomes a bit relentless, it ends with the eerie shake of Quicksand.
This is raw and interesting music, despite the experimentation it is strangely soothing. The tunes are ephemeral, wandering – they swell and subside like classical arrangements. It may not be the record you reach for when trying to woo a prospective partner, but it’s one to engage your mind and heart.
Vulnicura was released on 20th January 2015, for further information or to order the album visit here.