Bjork – Vulnicura
The Icelandic singer’s ninth album was originally slated to arrive in March, along with a feature on her at the Museum of Modern Art. Then it leaked, and Bjork and her label decided to just release it immediately instead. /mu/, I’m not saying this is your fault, but if the feels fit, feel ’em.
After the atmospheric experimentation of 2011’s Biophilia, the so-called “first app album”, Vulnicura represents a curious return to old sounds, particularly 1997’s Homogenic. The bulk of the album is subtle electronic-influenced beats and string arrangements. The strings were Bjork’s central motif for the album; it’s a breakout album, and she dealt with the breakup by developing a massive crush on the violin. Venezuelan producer Arca handles the overall production on most of the album and creepy soundscape auteur The Haxan Cloak does the mixing; the effect brings out the idea of a hard-bitten journey, one that leaves you exhausted at the end and questioning what came before. Most of the nine songs here are well over six minutes, with “Black Lake” being over ten; they all describe the arc of the singer’s breakup, and as such it is a very heavy set of music that cannot be described as an easy or everyday set of listening. It also tends to repeat itself an uncomfortable amount; given that the instrumentation is very simple, this is probably unavoidable, but it makes for a bit of a slog nonetheless. Regardless it’s highly recommended, as a sweeping and emotional work. Just don’t expect to have it on repeat over the next week.
[Vulnicura has not been released on Spotify as of the writing of this review]