Posted on: October 6, 2022 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Photo by Vidar Logi

To call Björk one of the most enigmatic artists in pop music is still an understatement. Her influence has reached far and wide, up to the most current trends in contemporary music. Her uncanny sensibilities and musical flamboyance have made an impression on modern female pop auteurs. Artists from Missy Elliot to Solange Knowles have acknowledged Björk’s undeniable presence.

Omar Eloiza

Arts & Entertainment Editor

★★★★☆

Everything she has released since the aptly titled “Debut” has been greatly anticipated, and it is no different with her latest creation, “Fossora.” Yet again, the eccentric 56-year-old Icelandic artist has crafted a brilliant record that finely balances her signature combination of electronic production, classical-inspired composition, and boundary-pushing pop.

Björk has often juxtaposed orchestral instruments with techno-pop music, but the inclusion of bass clarinets in her new album has given it a more eerie ambiance than her previous work. While previous works like “Joga” have included melodic strings, giving her music a sense of airiness, the bass clarinets on opener “Atopos” interject snippets of 12-tone styled atonality between musings that ring true in today’s overly-political climate: “Our differences are irrelevant / To only name the flaws / are excuses to not connect.” The urgency in her opening lyrics is emphasized by the clarinets, which gradually morph into a thundering 4/4 melody that tightens nicely with the industrial-style beats.

The music video for lead track “Atopos” captures the song’s eerie ambiance.

Like all of Björk’s discography, the production on “Fossora” is top-notch. No instrument or synth patch is left untouched by her own personal chopped style of music making, not even her own voice. Though “Mycelia” serves as a transitory track, it is a sonic force, made so by Björk’s ingenious splicing of vocals into compositions that are as intricate as her visual style.

In fact, the human voice is much more prevalent than in past works. There is even a semi-acapella track called “Sorrowful Soil” that inflicts pain with its forgiving and mournful lyrics: “Nihilism happening / You did well / You did your best.” It’s the sound of a woman accepting whatever she can, even if it hurts her back, as she channels her forgiveness through a chorus Hildegard of Bingen would have been proud to hear.

The death of Björk’s mother has influenced the persistent melancholy throughout the album. Her final track, “Her Mother’s House,” is a collaboration with her daughter, Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, with the lyrics, “A mother’s house / Has a room for each child / It’s only describing / The terror of her heart.” The song seems like an attempt to find solace in the role she plays as a mother herself, and its tenderness and lyrical complexity is Björk’s way of finding meaning in what motherhood should be.

Though nothing can truly match the genius of her nineties masterpieces “Debut”, “Post”, and “Homogenic,” “Fossora” comes pretty close, and arguably more so than recent releases like “Vulnicura,” which is another magnificent work in its own right. Artists often peak, and later works usually don’t hold up well in comparison to the ones that made them big in the first place. Not Björk. Every release has been more genre-defying than the last, and we should all be grateful that she doesn’t appear to be losing steam any time soon.