Sunday, 13 May 2012

All is Full of Love

That Swan dress: 2001 Academy Awards

Bjork is someone whom I admire for two things: her overly dramatic and unique style of dress and her intense but often melodious musical tastes. In terms of her clothing, she knows no boundaries; there are no restrictions, unbalanced opinions in how she went about creating a look with a wonderful mantra- she went for it by no way following a set of ‘rules’. And not once did any of this overrule the strength of her music, nor was it the reason for its success. 

Biophilia (below) is her latest and ninth studio album which looks into scientific analysis and technology, adding another dimension to her music, for example, the Earth’s rotating force. The series of 10 apps, are each relating to a song from the album, delving into, exploring and interacting with the song’s themes. I find this such a clever and unique idea emphasising further, the fascinating characteristics of Bjork and her interesting way of recording. What fascinates me is her ability to reference the scientific through her music. For instance, the intense gibberish sang throughout “Dark Matter” (cosmology phenomena) is a direct reference to how “unexplainable” this overly scrutinised theory is. I find it such an unusual way of explaining it, but a completely fresh remarkable way of studying and analysing a subject as complicated as physics. 

My mother is an immense fan of Bjork- someone who is notoriously attracted to the out of the ordinary, bizarre sounds of artists ranging from the lyrical genius that is Kate Bush to the electronic stance of Moby. I always remember feeling captivated by the eccentricity of It’s All So Quiet, her most commercial and perhaps famous song amongst those who are not as familiar with her work. I myself am familiar with various albums played on countless occasions. I find her music incredibly powerful, slightly eerie and mystifying and I think that is the effect she hopes it will have on a listener and certainly what she was expecting with her latest album.

Whether you enjoy or are confused by her music, there is no denying the talent and inspirational force of Bjork- she has inspired so many. There will never be another like her.

All Is Full Of Love is one of my favourite Bjork songs. From Homogenic, the song is beautifully sounding, powerful and takes over your emotions as the strings fade and echo throughout, drifting and dipping in and out of electronic pounding sounds and loud beats and of course, the brilliance and strength of Bjork's voice and the notes she holds onto, they too overlapping the background singing, repeating. I just love it. It also holds a really positive message: Just look around you and you will see all is full of love. 

Play Dead from album Debut featuring David Arnold and written as the soundtrack to film The Young Americans has one of my favourite pieces of string music and is possibly one of my favourite songs of all time. It is complex and forceful and a lot of instruments play their part throughout the track. Drums and tambourine slam together with drums and the intermixing of trumpets before Bjork screams and then sings pretty harsh lyrics: "...where no one cares and no one loves / no light, no air to live in / a place of hate, the city of fear", "Curling up inside my private tortures / I nestle into pain", though sang above the mellow guitar notes which you hear faintly alongside the string orchestra which remains upbeat working with the constant (apart from the second break before it makes it impact again) banging of the drum, all complimenting well the overall trip hop beats.

As you can imagine, I have been listening to a lot of her mateial of late. I have gone through the back catalogue of Bjorks singles and listened to them all; some I had never heard of and others I recognise from my Mum having played them at some point at home - if I like them they will stay in my head. She is so headstrong and manages to get such a powerful message across with her music, whether mystical, startling or terrifying. 

An example of this is the famous Pagan Poetry from Vespertine which is accompanied with a music video directed by photographer Nick Knight (below). It is fantastic and the song is beautiful; the harp, the crashing background synth and the brilliance of not only Bjork's vibrating, breathy voice as she repeats the lyrics, but the expression in her face and hands. She shakes about the screen wanting to cry, then smiling all whilst wearing a beaded dress hung around her neck which she pulls at with the wind forcefully caressing her face and hair. It is stunningly horrifying, the beginning even more so. I won't spoil it. You must watch it- both are geniuses and have created something truly amazing.

More great songs:

Joga (Homogenic) - Mix of varying string & heavy synth
Hidden Place (Vespertine) - Strong vocal with eerie electro
Who Is It? (MedĂșlla) - Beautiful vocal, cow bells & tapping beats

Did you know?

She was awarded/nominated for 25 awards for her role in Dancer in the Dark, including Best Actress at  the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. 
She was in a relationship with English actor Goldie during the 90s.
She was voted 60th in The Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Singers of all Time.
She provided the music for the intensely beautiful SHOWstudio tribute to Alexander McQueen with Nick Knight.


Monday, 7 May 2012

Central Park

A little bank holiday treat.

So. beautiful.


Publication: Vogue Paris, Nov 2011
Model: Lara Stone
Photographer: Alasdair McLellan