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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