Artists on Artists
On 31, Jan 2015 | In Artists on Artists | By jane
Bjork’s latest offering is an intricate, detailed and intimate unveiling of her journey through loss of love, relationship, identity and family. Where recent album Biophilia examined the miraculous forces of nature and its relationship to technology, Vulnicura is far more internal. Easily her most personal work to date, lyrically it is harrowingly stark and literal, and immediately engages you in revealing narrative as she traverses her innermost emotional landscape.
She has never identified as a public person, but admits there was no choice in this instance but complete transparency. Devastated by the break up of her 13-year relationship with artist Matthew Barney, the first six songs are a flawless, fearless chronology of the unravelling of their love.
Though its popularity is inevitable, there is nothing traditionally ‘pop’ about Vulnicura. Seven of the nine songs clock in at over six minutes. It is obvious that the words are barely edited. This is an account of her devastating voyage through bereavement. This miraculous woman’s full command of orchestras, choirs and programming add rocket fuel to heart fire, exemplifying the rawness of the experience in exquisite detail.
Glistening, sonic landscapes, ethereal textures and swooping, all encompassing strings levitate throughout, providing an expansive setting for the narrative. A lilting sob of cello opens the record and sweeps us into an otherworldly realm. ‘Stonemilker’ evokes imagery of rock formations—Bjork trapped within, trying to prise reason from the unrelenting stone.
‘History of Touches’ is so profound and intimate, it has the potential to rupture tear ducts as one mourns synonymous midnight memories. In bed, she wakes her partner in the night, innately aware that it is their last time together, ‘Every single touch, every single fuck we had together, is in a wonderful time lapse, with us here at this moment’
‘Black Lake’, exposes Bjork at her most despairing and vulnerable. The arrangement of the epic 10-minute track is genius. The track freezes, held in suspension by swollen strings, as she ponders, then plummets underwater, bubbling back to the surface with the re-introduction of watery filtered beats.
The final phrase of album ends abruptly. It’s as if Bjork has pulled the plug on her outpouring, intentionally waking from a lucid dream having scrutinised that realm until it was completely exhausted. This iconic creator of our time has once again created art that is bound to be vastly influential, yet remains distinctive and inimitable.
Review written by Aurora Jane for Mojo Juction – ‘Artists on Artists’