In the Post #73: Bjork – Crystalline

By on Monday, 27th June 2011 at 12:00 pm

I recall my first “run-in” with Bjork vividly, back in the mid-’90s. My brother, who had just purchased his first car (or should I say massive four-by-four), wanted to show it off and take little sister for a spin. After what felt like climbing a small mountain, I finally situated myself and he pulled out onto the road. “You gotta listen to this!” he said excitedly, popping a homemade CD into a then-fancy, car-specific CD player, cranking up the volume. (Yes kids, there once was a time when most cars were only outfitted with cassette tape players, so this was pretty exciting.) In those days, even with my limited knowledge of music outside of the British Invasion, I was pretty picky when it came to music. So at the time, being assaulted by strange music and an equally strange-sounding woman singing, all I could think of was, “what is this?” and “why in god’s name is my brother listening to this?” And so this was my introduction to Bjork’s ‘Debut’.

I still don’t get the appeal of this kooky Icelandic songstress – and to be honest, I’ve never had the suspicious “why were you going through a Bjork phase back then?” conversation with my brother – but she always manages to grab the limelight whenever she’s got something exciting in the pipeline. And yes, this summer she’s got everyone hot and bothered with her upcoming 3-week residency at Manchester’s Campfield Market Hall during the city’s annual International Festival, which includes seven live “previews” of her new music / art / technology (did someone say iPad app?) project, ‘Biophilia’. While she might not be my cup of tea, I can appreciate her originality and commitment to be true to herself. Take for example this “gameleste”, a new instrument Bjork had made for this project that is supposed to sound like a full musical ensemble from Thailand but is operated like an organ. How this is supposed to look and sound? Watch the video below.


As can be expected for Bjork’s first appearances in Britain in over 3 years, the tickets went quickly for the first set of tickets and only the first night’s show (tonight, 27 June) are still available. But if you can’t be in Manc this summer to hear the new music or see the related exhibition, the first track from ‘Biophilia’, ‘Crystalline’, has been proffered ahead of the album. First, it sounds like this gameleste is being used to good effect, which is pretty cool considering everyone and everybody is using the xylophone these days. There are sci-fi synth effects (which I suppose make sense, considering the song is about “crystalising galaxies”) and a minimal drum track going on while the plinky plony gameleste continues on throughout the whole song. Bjork’s voice is staccato at times, more expansive and operatic at others, but more interesting is the last minute of the track, which sounds like power tools let loose in an evil genius’s workshop. Maybe a Flying Lotus vibe too? Overall, it sounds okay, but Bjork’s voice in general gets on my nerves and after a while I’m sure this song would get on my nerves too. However, if you’ve been watching her every move since her days in the Sugarcubes, I imagine you will love this.


Bjork is scheduled to play seven shows at Campfield Market Hall in Manchester, starting tonight. The other shows (all sold out) are on the 30th June and 3rd, 7th, 10th, 13 and 16th of July.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response

1:01 pm
15th October 2013

The whole Biophilia is really good. I don’t think this is among her best works, but for an artist that’s already out of her prime (sort of), she’s doing really well.

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online for years to come!
Donate here.