Track Record

With Apps And New Tech, Is Bjork’s Biophilia The First iAlbum?

So, Bjork’s highly anticipated new multimedia album, Biophilia, is out this week after being pushed back from its original September 27 release date. Can I be honest about something? I find the whole thing really, really intimidating! I mean it’s got iPad apps, custom-designed instruments, two-month concert residencies, science and music classes for kids. Oh, and an album. It’s all just a little overwhelming. So it’s a relief to find out the album itself can stand on its own. For all the bells and whistles associated with its release and promotion, Biophilia is pretty much just another Bjork album. I don’t mean that to sound dismissive. A Bjork album is usually a lovely thing to hear—in a left-of-center kind of way—and Biophilia delivers on the singer’s familiar territory: beats and electronic distortion interlaced with ethereal embellishments like harps, strings, music boxes, and Bjork’s distinctive elasticized wail.  

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“Crystaline,” one of the album’s lead singles, adds a sort of tinny toy piano sound to that mixture.


And the apps? As one of the few people left on the planet who doesn’t have an iPad or iPhone, I’m opting out. But I guess I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious, or that there isn’t a part of me that wonders if I’m actually missing something—some vital part of the Biophilia experience.

Based on this sneak peek of the Biophilia app suite, each song’s application appears to be a little game in which you can play around with the different elements of the song.


But maybe you’d rather have renowned British naturalist Sir David Attenborough explain the whole shebang to you:

Is this is the future of releasing music? I’m sure there are people who will say that it is. But I’d rather hear the innovation than play with it. There’s nothing especially wrong with Biophilia, except that it sounds like an album we’ve heard from Bjork before. Maybe that’s to be expected from an artist who has already pushed so many boundaries.

But next time around, hopefully, the story will be the music and not the bells and whistles.

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  • M

    The app is totally awesome, btw.

  • Bryan

    I’ve loved Bjork for several years now, and what I’ve listened to of the album thus far hasn’t wowed me like she used to. Then again, I find myself thinking that she’s wowing me in much more subtle ways, and I just have to quiet myself enough to recognize it. Regardless of what I think of this latest effort from her, I can already guarantee that I will be buying a ticket to her next LA concert, dragging my boyfriend with, and having an amazing time. Bjork has yet to run out of ways to make me appreciate her.

    P.S: “Crystalline” is weird and fantastic and I love it.

  • tuca

    It’s the first of its kind, for sure, but, please, don’t mess calling it an iAlbum.

  • ron

    I enjoyed Sir David Attenborough’s intro much more then Bjork’s god awful squawking.

  • Dick

    The first iAlbum was The Gorillaz album called FALL. Damon Albarn recorded the album during Gorillaz Fall tour of America during his downtime and using his generation one iPad for the majority of the instruments. Gorillaz gave it to their fan club as a Xmas present and it was released to the public in the Spring. Not my favorite Gorillaz album(That’s still Demon Days) but it has some interesting moments.

  • Joebarb

    I do not get her appeal. The way the album came out was fun, exciting and extremely creative, but, what the hell is the appeal to her music? It sounds awful! The chords clash and her voice is harsh. Can someone explain this to me?

  • Arkano18

    I think this is the best album Björk has ever made.
    It has amazing melodies, the diversity of sounds her voice can achieve, the notion of imperfect music that becomes perfect by its soul.
    Björk is one of those artist that you love or you hate, and that’s totally fair. But not understanding that art is diverse and not only a representation of beauty but a reproduction of society really makes me sad.

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