Björk's "Crystalline" Featured on NPR's "All Songs Considered"; She Talks "Biophilia" with BBC Radio 4's "Front Row"
"Crystalline," the first single off Björk's multimedia project Biophilia, is featured on NPR's All Songs Considered. "God bless Björk," says producer Robin Hilton. "We need artists like her ... Something comes along like the iPad or the iPhone, and they just see things differently. They take us in new, completely unexpected directions. They embrace technology and turn it into a new art form. I think that's just amazing." Björk discussed the project with BBC Radio 4's Front Row. Wired features an interview with Scott Snibbe, the leader of the team behind the Biophilia App, and Spinner spoke with some of the inventors behind the unique musical instruments commissioned for the project.
Björk recently released "Crystalline," the first track off her multimedia project Biophilia as a digital single, a music video from groundbreaking director and longtime Björk collaborator Michel Gondry, as part of a series of 12" vinyl releases, and as part of the Biophilia App available on the iTunes Store. "Crystalline" is also featured on the latest episode of NPR's All Songs Considered, out today.
"It is not just a new record; it is so many things," says All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen of Biophilia in all its many permutations: the studio album, including the custom-made Biophilia Manual and Ultimate Edition; the app; custom-made musical instruments; live shows; and educational workshops.
"God bless Björk," says producer Robin Hilton after playing the song. "We need artists like her, like Brian Eno, people who ... Something comes along like the iPad or the iPhone, and they just see things differently. They take us in new, completely unexpected directions. They embrace technology and turn it into a new art form. I think that's just amazing."
Hear more and listen to the latest All Songs Considered at npr.org.
Björk recently spoke with BBC Radio 4's Front Row about the new project, its songs' connection with nature, and, among other things, nature's reminder of our relationship to it via the recent Icelandic volcanic eruptions. Host Mark Lawson says of Biophilia that Björk's "talent for both the visual and vocal has now reached an apotheosis in one of the most complex multimedia projects in musical history." Listen to the interview at bbc.co.uk.
That apotheosis can be experienced now, in part, via the free Biophilia App, which includes an introduction to the Biophilia App project, interactive elements and the first audiovisual feature, "Cosmogony." The second audiovisual feature, "Crystalline," is also available via In-App Purchase. Wired recently published an interview Evolver.fm led with one of the chief architects of the app, Scott Snibbe, whose studio designed "Cosmogony" and two forthcoming apps.
Wired's Eliot Van Buskirk, in his introduction to the interview, credits Björk with "the ability to assemble a top-notch team to accomplish her latest vision in the studio, onstage and now in the iTunes app store." Biophilia, says Van Buskirk, "tests the boundaries of what is possible technically and artistically with the iPad and iPhone. After testing the two song apps that are available so far, we’re impressed by their depth, design, and playability—oh, and the music’s pretty decent too."
Read more and see what Snibbe has to say about his work with Björk at wired.com.
Another piece among the many elements of the multimedia project is the set of unique musical instruments commissioned by Björk. The team who created these instruments includes an English inventor, an Icelandic organ builder, and a recent graduate of MIT Media Lab. Among these creations are four 10-foot pendulum-harps, in which the swinging motion plucks the strings and illustrates the songs’ gravitational subject matter. Other instruments played in the live Biophilia show include a 10-foot pin barrel harp called the Sharpsichord, a midi-controlled pipe organ and celeste (re-fitted with bronze gamelan bars), twin musical tesla coils, and a Hang. Spinner spoke with some of these inventors and instrument builders for a detailed explanation of how these instruments came to be and how they work in action. Read the interview at spinner.com.
All five physical versions of the Biophilia album may be pre-ordered in the Nonesuch Store: on CD in distinct jewel-case and digipak versions; on vinyl; and on two custom-made editions—the Biophilia Manual, which presents the music in a 48-page cloth-bound, thread-sewn hardback book, and the Ultimate Edition, which includes the Manual along with 10 tuning forks, each representing the tone of a track on the album. Both custom-made pieces will be available to pre-order till August 12 only.
Also available in the Nonesuch Store is the first of four imported 12" vinyl releases (pictured at left), all part of The Crystalline Series featuring variations on music from Biophilia. The first 12" includes the "Crystalline" and "Cosmogony" singles mixed by Grammy Award–winning engineer Serban Ghenea. The three upcoming releases in the series, now available for pre-order, include mixes of "Crystalline" and "Cosmogony" by Matthew Herbert and versions of three songs from Omar Souleyman.
For additional details and to order now, visit nonesuch.com/store/bjork.
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Natalie Merchant will tour the US this summer, performing songs from across her entire career, with Natalie Merchant: 3 Decades of Song. The tour includes dates at Tanglewood, Wolf Trap, and The Greek in Los Angeles. In anticipation of a forthcoming career retrospective boxed set on Nonesuch (details to be announced soon), Merchant's concerts will span her thirty-year recording career, with songs from 10,000 Maniacs and from her solo albums. A string quartet joins Merchant and her regular band for the shows. A portion of the proceeds from Natalie Merchant: 3 Decades of Song will be donated to the organization Food & Water, which champions healthy food and clean water for all.Journal Topics: Artist News
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Rhiannon Giddens's new album, Freedom Highway, was released on Friday to great critical acclaim. Giddens spent the day at Sing Sing prison, working with and performing for inmates as a part of Carnegie Hall's Musical Connections program. "Giddens is an immensely talented singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist with the instincts of a musical historian," says WFUV, which named Freedom Highway its New Dig of the week. "On this new collection, she expertly and powerfully tells the stories of those who could not and bears witness to their struggle ... Freedom Highway is welcome, relevant and important." The Los Angeles Times says: "It’s a powerful collection made all the more visceral by the stripped-down instrumental accompaniment around full-force-gale vocals in big moments, and delicate pleadings when songs are at their most intimate."