Björk today announces Biophilia, her most ambitious and interdisciplinary project to date, with the release of the lead single, "Crystalline," on iTunes. Biophilia is a multimedia project, comprising a studio album, apps, a new website, custom-made musical instruments, live shows, and educational workshops. The Biophilia live show will have its world premiere tomorrow as part of the Manchester International Festival, where Björk is in residence for a three-week run.
Björk today announces Biophilia, her most ambitious and interdisciplinary project to date, with the release of the lead single, "Crystalline," on the iTunes Store worldwide. Biophilia is a multimedia project, comprising a studio album, apps, a new website, custom-made musical instruments, live shows, and educational workshops.
Björk has collaborated with app developers, scientists, writers, inventors, musicians and instrument makers to create a unique multi-media exploration of the universe and its physical forces—particularly those where music, nature, and technology meet. The project is inspired by and explores these relationships between musical structures and natural phenomena, from the atomic to the cosmic.
The album’s lead single “Crystalline” is available on iTunes now, with Biophilia Apps coming from One Little Indian / Nonesuch Records.
The Biophilia live show will have its world premiere tomorrow, June 30, as part of the Manchester International Festival. Björk will be in residence at the festival for a three-week run which includes six intimate performances of her new songs at Campfield Market Hall—her first UK dates in over three years. The residency will also introduce companion apps, invented instruments and more. For more information, visit mif.co.uk.
Biophilia comprises five elements:
The songs from Biophilia will be released as a traditional 10-track studio album later this year, available digitally and physically across standard formats. The songs will also be featured within their accompanying Biophilia Apps, but with a more stripped-down structure for educational and game purposes, mixed by Damian Taylor and Björk. The album’s first single, “Crystalline,” is available now. The groundbreaking director and longtime Björk collaborator Michel Gondry is creating a music video for the song.
Preview "Crystalline" here:
The Biophilia Apps are a collection of ten apps, one for each song, which will be available via the central Cosmogony "mother app," coming from One Little Indian / Nonesuch Records. This platform serves as a three-dimensional galaxy in which the initial apps appear as constellations, and the others are added to the collection at regular intervals thereafter.
Every app has its own theme (in connection with its corresponding song) and combines a natural element with a musicological feature. The layers of content in each app include: an interactive game based on the song’s scientific and musical subject matter, a musical animation of the song, an animated score, lyrics, and an academic essay. The game enables the user to interact with musical elements of the song and to learn about different musical features while creating their own version; the musical animation and animated music score bring together conventional and innovative ways of representing music visually; and the academic essay explores the ideas behind each song and app and how they are realized musically.
The Biophilia Apps have been developed with a team chosen by Björk, comprising ten of the most groundbreaking and commercially successful app developers working today. The team includes the creator of Sim City, TouchPress (pioneering designers behind the two top grossing apps Elements and Solar System), and a host of award winning designers, animators, and leading experts in coding and encryption.
III. LIVE SHOWS
The Biophilia live show will have its world premiere on Thursday, June 30, as part of the Manchester International Festival and continues as a three-year world tour of six-week residencies in eight different cities. In each city, Björk will perform Biophilia twice a week, using the apps to play live a set of custom built musical instruments and evoking an atmosphere similar to being inside the app itself. For the rest of the week the venues will host a series of music-education workshops in collaboration with local schools.
Björk has commissioned a set of unique musical instruments to accompany her on the live tour. The team who created these instruments include an English inventor, an Icelandic organ builder and a 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. There is also a unique 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, a hang player, and an award-winning 24-piece Icelandic female choir. The Biophilia live show takes place in specially chosen spaces and museums, rather than traditional music venues. Björk will perform in the round to audiences of less than 2,000 people to create an intimate experience in which all audience members are within 20-feet of the stage.
A 90-minute documentary on the Biophilia project is currently being filmed by Pulse Films. The film will be an exploration of Björk’s creative process as she puts together the different elements of the project. Here we will see her at work in the rehearsals for the live show, in the studio working on the album, and through observational footage, interview and demonstration we will discover how the project was conceived and realized. Along the way we will also discover more about the fascinating relationship between music and the natural world. The climax of this element of the film will be the unveiling of her project, the premiere live performance of Biophilia. The documentary will be broadcast later in the Biophilia campaign.
The official Björk website, bjork.com, has been re-launched for Biophilia, using the very latest HTML5 technology. The site is now uniquely animated and interactive to provide an artist website experience totally unlike any other. It features a unique immersive 3D galaxy with versions that can be enjoyed on almost all devices, and will be the hub for all Biophilia information.
Björk spoke extensively about the project with Rolling Stone, Stereogum, and Pitchfork, which calls "Crystalline," the first single "a wonderfully confounding teaser for Biophilia, leaving the possible worlds it explores wide open to suggestion."
Check back with the Nonesuch Journal as well for additional information on Biophilia to be unveiled in the coming weeks and months.