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4.4 out of 5 stars52
4.4 out of 5 stars
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2011
It has been four years since Bjork released her last record "Volta" and during this hiatus, she has concentrated on recording her latest offering "Biophilia". There is a significant difference in sound between these two records which is a sign of Bjork's continuous growth as an artist. "Volta" was much more up-tempo and joyful, whereas "Biophilia" is very dark and atmospheric. For me, that makes it that much more interesting as Bjork's most daring releases have always been her best. However, as with most of her albums, it does take quite a few listens to understand and find meaning to the songs and sounds, so a certain amount of patience is required.

The opening track "Moon" is very gentle and subtle yet sombre at the same time, with minimal arrangements, focussing more on Bjork's story telling abilities. "Thunderbolt" is very intriguing and features some very different sounds which make you want to listen over and over again. The mesmerising lead single "Crystalline" is the first track to have a consistent rhythm throughout as well as a heavy bass and a drum and bass section towards the end of the track. "Cosmogony" is a slightly easier track to follow with a distinctive chorus and a simpler melody, but is just as interesting and dynamic. "Dark Matter" is very experimental and sounds very nonsensical which adds to its appeal. "Hollow" has a manic orchestral feel to it and is appealingly chaotic until a more structured rhythm is added towards the end of the track. "Virus" is my favourite song as it has a very subtle but beautiful melody and rhythm, and a sadness that is not only apparent in the music, but also in the lyrics, portraying the devastating effects that viruses can have. "Sacrifice" is the most experimental and tragic sounding track with mysterious calm verses and a harsh rhythmic chorus. "Mutual Core" has a similar structure, but is edgier and rockier and slightly easier to follow. "Solstice" ends the album as it started with gentle harp arrangements and plaintive vocals.

A lot of thought has been put into this project and "Biophilia" does have the feel of a concept album, whereby the topic has more importance than the music. But, rather than having a negative effect, this seems to enhance the listeners' pleasure and provides a collections of sounds that can be constantly revisited. So, once again, Bjork manages to create a beautiful and magical masterpiece.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 16 October 2011
First of all I'd like to say that Bjork is one of the most amazing artists ever and I have all her albums (except "Debut") but her last album "Volta" was a dissapointment to me. Although there were some amazing songs on it like "I see who you are", "Dull flame of desire" etc the album felt rushed and towards the end i found it to be very dull. When I heard "Biophilia" was going to be released my hopes were raised again by hearing "Virus" which is beautiful and could have come from my favourite album "Vespertine" and the dark and mysterious "Thunderbolt".

When I finally recieved the album there were tracks i was instantly drawn to like "Virus", "thunderbolt", "Cosmogony" and "moon" and there were those like "Dark Matter", "Hollow" and "Mutual Core" that I didnn't know what to think of at first but after a few plays there isn't a song on the album I dislike at all, in fact it's an amazing album in my top 3 Bjork albums actually. I love the creepiness of some of the songs and the dark undertones and the instrumentals are wonderful as is Bjork's voice as usual.

This album is probably not for everyone, for fans that are stuck in the past hoping for annother "Homogenic" and complaining about every album since it's probably not worth buying but for fans or newcommers to Bjork that are open minded and willing to accept the new directions Bjork is going in the album is a must have and well deserving of this 5 star rating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 October 2012
Bjork is an artist who refuses to conform. Track 2, Thunderbolt, has multiple time signatures, and other songs have unconventional time signatures. She is a rare musical genius with massive ambition and the drive to execute increasingly unique and large-scale projects. She has created her own instruments and sounds, and a unique signature that is her precious vocal. She is an artist who will be studied and appreciated more in the centuries to come than she is now. She is the classical musician's favourite pop star.

I attended the launch concerts of Biophilia at the Manchester International Festival in Summer 2011 where the majority of the attendees, including myself, knew only one song from the very album the concert centred on. I was blown away by the impressive iPad controlled midi instruments, the tesla coil arpeggios and the sheer spectacle of interestingness that is a typical Bjork gig - but this was a whole new level, and I hope I can see it again (in London with any luck).

After many listens and enjoyment of the accompanying iPad app, my conclusion is that Sacrifice is my favourite song from this album. I once had the pleasure of bumping into Bjork in a hot tub in Iceland. Something funny happened and we shared a laugh. As much as I would love to have talked to her, Bjork likes to be left alone. Like a delicate flower it can only be handled so much before it breaks. Sacrifice is all about that theme of space, of letting be, and loving enough to give space, and so its the song that symbolises a theme that Bjork writes about so well and which this album is largely about. Personally I like the space to be left alone to listen to this album!

Lyrically, probably not her best offering because the subject matter is more explicit than implicit and therefore there is little room left for interpretation and contains less symbolism than previous offerings including Homogenic, but in any case it is still very strong.

Buy this album. It will not disappoint (again and again), and like all Bjork albums, they may grow old but they are all utterly timeless. For great remixes of these songs check out Darkjedi as well as Bjork's favourites including Matthew Herbert et al.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2011
I can't equal the musical insights set out by other reviewers but I CAN offer my own view that this is a very fine album by one of the most original talents around in music. Bjork cannot be classified as pop or dance if she ever could be. This music is experimental, boundary-pushing and complex. She introduces rhythms and ideas like no other artist and it's a testament to her worth that the likes of Zeena Parkins collaborate with her on this album. Some of the explorations in the songs are truly remarkable, uniting the movement of tectonic plates with personal emotion (Mutual Core) and DNA to link the individual with generations and species (Hollow). I think Cosmogony and Crystalline are my favourites at present but that might be because I'm familiar with them from the four 12" releases. Like others I don't have access to the apps but I've seen/listened to Crystalline on ipad and it was great. Trust Bjork to integrate the possibilities of a new medium in a thoroughly original and quality way! I agree with the reviewer who says that much of Biophylia isn't catchy: so much the better, I think Bjork has moved way beyond such simple approaches. I'm just thankful that she persists in innovating and exploring, alone amongst her contemporaries. R&B divas, eat your little hearts out!
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Deconstructed the pop icon imagery, as these songs shift into the territory last mined by Coil, Nurse with Wound and Cindy talk, rather than further takes on Rhythm and Beats or body pump music, last released by a sugar coated syrup laden Madonna.

Choral sounds based upon her ethereal voice, with no obvious melodic catch...until you give it another spin after the last... all entailing you have to work hard to get the sound structure. At first it sounds alien in its unconventiality, wuith jarring atonal vocal harmonies, but this goes into a jazz non linear structure...just try whistling the melodies.

Span it around 5-6 times before any pictures began to emerge, as it just sounded random and flat, but is it not strange how the brain works? Placed it again, for one final time, then suddenly it just made sense, swishing upwards from the disc it delivered between the layers of a delicate petal lying on a flower, a demented pixie banging at the door with a hammer.

Shedding the original audience and retreating into a more confined space, where experimentation on a lute and harp brings another outer/inner dimension. The obvious pop hooks have all but disappeared, replaced with something much less cooked, a raw intensity. Opting for the serious artistic statement without the po faced breast thump of those who believe they are truly God's annointed, this ranges between ambience, pathos and aggression.

A delicate, finely wrought album, as she traces herself plunging across the twilight pointing out that biophilia- the lust for life is what keeps people balanced and sane.

To do this she has warped the sensory perception to bring the message to those who can connect...Erich Fromm would be proud.
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on 15 August 2012
When I first popped Biophilia into my machine I was excited and apprehensive, I mean I couldn't even read the title, let alone guess what the album would be about. I have to be honest and say upon my first listen, start to finish, I thought, 'oh for goodness sake Björk, what on Earth are you subjecting us to with this experimental chaos!' but as a loyal fan, who knows perfectly well how difficult it is to earn Björk's albums I pressed play again, and again, and again. After five full-album plays in a row I have to say I think that this is the best album she has done since Vespertine. I swear by the third listen I was hearing the sounds so vividly in my head that I was looking forward to the album ending just so I cold press play again! Songs like Crystalline are outstanding but there are other gems too, although I have to say, this album plays much better as a whole.
I highly recommend this album to all Björk fans. Be aware it takes some perseverance to get into it but once you start to hear what she is saying you will be hooked; the extra tracks are a bonus. My only "point deduction" with this album is in the packaging; the album has been presented in cardboard! I don't know about you guys but for me cardboard casing is easily damaged and wears out quickly, also the CD area opens at both ends, so the disc is able to Frisbee out; luckily not scratched it yet!
Biophilia is absolutely excellent! Björk, you are clearly on top form; and long may you continue.
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on 27 August 2013
I was introduced to Bjork for the first time when I caught her documentary 'When Bjork Met Attenborough', which offered a look into the making, conceptualization and innovation of Biophilia. Lets just say, I do not know how I have gone so long without Bjork - I am now addicted.

If you enjoy challenging music that feeds the soul, then this is a definite album to start chewing on. Some of the songs I came to love pretty fast, other songs took quite a good few listens to grow on me.
There are a lot of very poignant, sonically quite ugly sounds on the album (in my opinion), such as the sharpsicord in Sacrfice. Though, I think it is an appropriate sound from a solar powered instrument - nature is not something that sounds pop-pink and mainstream sharp.

The album is filled with spatterings of mania. The crazy drumming at the end of Crystalline for example. So unexpected but so wonderful.

I am just so excited and moved by this album and I am certain it will stay with me forever. It is a true, wholesome package of music reflecting a wonderful concept.
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on 23 August 2013
I am writing this as I listen to Biophilia for the first time. I am being taken on a journey along a road that has constantly changing environments and landscapes. I cannot say that any track is a favourite as it all seems to build into a complete and surreal landscape. Other reviewers have called her original. This is undoubtedly true as, perhaps like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel, she seems to be genuinely doing what she wants to do. There is an honesty in the music I find deeply appealing. I have heard odds and ends of Bjork over the years but never really thought seriously about buying any of her music. On a whim, for no reason I can discern, I bought Biophilia and am delightfully surprised. Anyone who professes to love music, not a specific genre but just music, I would urge to at least attempt to listen to this piece of work. It surprises and delights at almost every unexpected turn.
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on 13 August 2013
I have been a hardcore Bjork fan since 1993 and since collected her entire back catalogue inc sugarcubes , tappi tikarass and original 1977 album boot legs promo's etc etc, each studio album never fails to be different in each and every way from its predecessor.

Biophilia is no exception.

With more than a typical album to sink your teeth into, apps, TV documentaries , amazing tour Biophilia has allot to offer, There is a couple of tracks which only the likes of myself (hardcore fan) will be able to relate too this is a clear indication that Bjork continues to release albums that are not identical to the last and I hope Bjork continues to follow this pattern and a remain a unique and exciting artist for the ongoing future.
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on 9 August 2015
Nothing more I can add as regards the quality of the music, this has all been well covered by others. As regards the actual product, I had to return one album pair as the first lp (orange) was slightly warped and made the tone arm jump slightly when applied to the start of the record. The replacement also had this same problem but not as much and no jumping was caused. I decided to keep this one having decided that the issue was a product of the manufacturing process namely the slightly thin grade of vinyl used. I have others in the limited edition series, Debut, Post and Vespertine but non of these have suffered from this problem.
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