Björk mania is upon us again, and I for one, couldn’t be happier.
The Icelandic music star has been filling her time since touring her Grammy nominated album, Vulnicura, with a digital exhibition of interactive videos, and kick-ass DJ set by the woman herself. As well as all of this, she’s quietly been beavering away on a new album, working with notorious Venezuelan musician and producer, Arca.
The Gate is the first track to be released off the forthcoming album and surprises with it’s delicacy and intimacy. Björk has a tendency to swing from one tone to another; the private beauty of Vespertine, to the rawness of Medulla, the social protest of Volta to the mad cosmologist of Bioaphilla. Because of this historic swing, and her recent DJ sets, I for one expected the next album to flip 180° from the deeply personal Vulnicura, to wild dance album full of frivolous fun. And there might indeed be hints of this on the upcoming album, but the first release is beautiful beyond doubt, subtle and delicate with ambient cascades filling what otherwise would be an empty void. The track lives in a more cosmic space following Arca’s encouragement to explore the more synthetic sound Björk tinkered with on B-side track Batabid and Drawing Restraint 9’s, Ambergris March. The resulting track is transcendental, a love song that lives in the cosmic world rather than the personal.
For the accompanying video, Björk once again teamed up with the brilliant Andrew Thomas Huang, and excitingly, Alessandro Michele of Gucci fame. The latter’s team spending over 800 hours on the dress worn in the clip. The cosmic tale occurs in an unknown void, with Björk in an exchange of give and take with an alien entity. The colours, the movements and the ambience giving a beautiful visual accompaniment to a equally beautiful track.