With “Fossora”, Björk takes root in the bowels of the world

How not to admire Björk? His creative energy, his way of freeing himself from pop conformism to vocally, rhythmically and visually shape an ever-expanding imagination… But do we still enjoy listening to him? The question has arisen regularly since the Icelandic woman chose, in the mid-2000s, to free herself from the art of the verse-chorus to favor that of the concept. Released September 30, Fossorahis eleventh album, does not escape these questions.

Admirable, again, the vitality of his inspiration, his ability to arouse musical changes that embody the eruptive power of emotions communing as much with the elements as with the din of modernity. If, from her beginnings – in a group, in the 1980s, then solo from the 1990s –, Björk vibrated in phase with the fire and the ice of her island, we will have rarely heard her merge so intensely with her land. native.

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Conceived during the first confinements, when the pop avant-garde icon isolated itself in its Icelandic cocoon, Fossora moves away from the aerial reveries ofUtopia (2017), his previous album full of soaring flutes, to take root in a land that is both nurturing and bereaved. The title, feminization of the Latin word “digger”meaning “he who digs or stirs up the earth”, refers as much to a woman in touch with her vegetable and mineral environment as to the funerary function of a “gravedigger”.

A distinguished Latinist, the Scandinavian also cultivates Greek roots, if we are to believe Atopos (“inconvenient”, “harmful”, “wicked”, in the language of Euripides), furibard introduction of the disc, where Björk seems to plunge into the roughest island crevices to evoke human antagonisms. Collide here between the disturbed velocity of an acoustic instrumentation led by clarinets (a constant on the record) and an electronic radicalism that has never ceased to fascinate the Icelandic. After Mark Bell, The Haxan Cloak or Arca, the singer invites the Indonesian Kasimyn, from the duo Gabber Modus Operandi, specialists in marriages between Northern European beats and Javanese trance rituals. His presence also gives Trölla-Gabba rave paces of orcs in Mordor, before getting lost in the too dissonant puzzle of the title song, Fossora.

fungal metaphor

These stony shocks are counterbalanced by pieces burrowing into softer humus. Without renouncing her recitatives with expressionist diction, Björk distils almost pleasant harmonies, whether it is the luminous blooming ofOvumaerial dances ofallow or of Fungal City. Like Myceliabuilt around vocal samples reminiscent of Robert Wyatt, the singer identifies herself several times with the world of mushrooms, spinning the fungal metaphor less for their hallucinatory virtues (although) than for the vital and underground energy of the mycelium.

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With “Fossora”, Björk takes root in the bowels of the world

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