Locked in our corner of the world, we often seem to overlook a few eccentric personalities that walk this earth. Their work seems ‘alien’ to the mainstream. Like Tilda Swinton in my last hunt for “aliens’, we now look at another creature by the name of Bjork. Bjork is a musician, an environmentalist, an actress, mother and most importantly, she is an artist’s artist. One of the most fascinating minds on the planet, here are 10 songs that may serve as reasons that she might be an ‘alien’!
Bjork’s love affair with music officially started in ’77. Her 1st recorded musical offering was on Icelandic radio, when she performed a cover of The Beatles track, I love to love. Nothing extraordinary about it?
In an interview, Bjork described her childhood and everyday journey through music. She used to walk from school to home and sing to herself. Though not any other song but ones she, herself, composed, She watched the beautiful Icelandic landscape around her and mapped her song accordingly. Her first music album was titled Bjork and she was 11 years old.
It’s weird to understand that Bjork’s early beginning, as an adult musician, was because of pop music. Bjork’s music is anything but popular. It is cult, underground, alternative, eccentric but not popularly mainstream…
In fact, she describes it as something that is extremely personal to her and what she enjoys. Her aim wasn’t to create a new genre or something that she ‘invented’, it is just her personal expression and that’s all there is to it. Unusually unique, as I would call it.
She didn’t invent a new genre but came up with a new term, “Domestic Rave”. She loves pop music and will never see a decline in her love for dancing. She spoke of her music in Medulla as, songs that won’t be played in clubs, but are more for dancing in your own room.
If you wish to dance to it, you may find a few great mixes of her tracks.
Pop. Rave. Alternative. Are the words that describe her till this point in the post. Does it make her eccentric? Well, definitely so, Bjork transcends across genres. Being classically trained and instinctive, she manages to make music that simply cannot be contained in a single school of sound.
In addition to her classical training in music, is her vocal technique. Bjork’s voice is elastic and she uses it to its maximum capacity.
A pest control officer named Ricardo Lopez attempted to kill Bjork. He mailed her a bomb disguised as a book, designed to spray sulphuric acid on the one who opens the book. The bomb was intercepted by the Scotland Yard before anyone was harmed. Except, Ricardo had video-taped his rants about Bjork and displayed an unsettling obsession with murder and suicide in the footage. The video ended with Ricardo committing suicide. Bjork was set into a dark state of mind after the event. She quit from the music scene, for a few years.
On her return, her lyrical writing and feel of music changed into something deeper, sociologically and environmentally aware. Bjork later explained that the song, ‘Hunter’ was written keeping in mind the people she affects.
Bjork sent flowers and a card to Lopez’ family.
She was also offered an island by Iceland.
When Bjork walked on the red carpet in a swan dress, it turned into one of the most memorable dresses in red carpet history. Bjork was nominated for an Academy Award for her track, I’ve seen it all from the movie Dancer In The Dark.
Dancer In The Dark was a dark musical based on a woman who was clinically losing her eye-sight. Bjork’s performance in the lead was critically well-received and was honored with a few indie film awards. While she composed the soundtrack, this marked as her first acting job in a feature film and Bjork found the experience so emotionally draining that she had sworn to never act again!
Biophilia is Bjork’s latest music offering. It was released as an app in collaboration with Apple. Pushing the boundaries of music, Biophilia turned out to be a milestone attempt at harnessing the sounds of nature and landscape into music.
In simple words, wood, metal, wind and lighting were a part of the instruments used in the live shows for Biophilia. The album’s music was composed on a tablet but featured a continuous “gameleste” base and electronic beats and rhythm. The show also had used an arpeggios, inspired by the time between when lightning is seen and thunder is heard.
As eclectic and inspiring as her love for art, Bjork commands respect and adoration from a whole school of artists from the likes of Thom Yorke of Radiohead to Madonna.
Be it political, sociological or something as seemingly simple as freedom of thought; she has openly voiced her opinion through her own songs and performances.
Bjork is an army of one. She is raw and creatively powerful to create her own universe. They say that one needs to be of a certain wavelength to understand her work and music. I say, you just need to experience it. You don’t even have to like it. Just be aware that there is more to this world than what we know of. Do you know of any such ‘aliens’? Do write in the comments below!