FUSORA (★★★ ½): pretty much above the high bar

If you ask someone to list five of Björk’s songs, you’ll likely hear songs from her first three or four solo albums in response. After being part of The Sugarcubes, Björk Guðmundsdóttir released in 1993 with for the first time Her first solo album. Mail And the homogeneous This followed a few years later and showed that Bjork loves to push her boundaries not only but also those of the genres she worked in. In the music of the Icelandic goddess of music, anything seems possible: strong electronic beats, trip-hop-like vocals punctuate chords, recorders and sounds that sound straight from nature. also after vespertine The artist continued to experiment well, for example by collaborating with Beatboxers and other hip-hop artists or as was the case with Björk’s previous album with Arca, an alternative electro artist from Venezuela.

Also for her new album, the pitBjork didn’t just go to the studio. Serpentwithfeet is the most famous of a handful of guest artists, and her two children have also appeared throughout the record. In addition, the clarinetists of Murmuri and Kasimyn of Gabber Modus Operandi can be heard regularly. They always support Bjork, but of course the Icelandic himself always steals the show. Not physically present, but Bjork’s mother in mind. Heldur Rona Hoxdottir passed away in 2018, inspiring her daughter to write songs about her and motherhood in general.

With lines like “My grandfather’s clock is ticking” and “The doctors I despised put a pacemaker in it” Helder’s death becomes very tangible on a single “ancestor”. The song, which lasts over seven minutes, certainly carries an emotional charge and is also provided by backing vocals from Sindri Eldon, son of Björk. In the beautiful video you can watch a traditional Icelandic funeral procession in the landscape where Heldur himself can be found regularly. “Sorrowful Soil” is also a song by Björk’s mother and on the singer is supported by the Hamrahlíðarkórinn Choir. They sing together about how a few eggs grow into a human being. Exotic melodies and very limited background music make the song somewhat reminiscent MedolaBjörk is an a cappella album, but the subtle bass tones give it an intriguing side. Also in the album’s closing song “Her Mothers House” she remains somewhat quiet and relates to motherhood. The beautiful song also features Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, Björk’s daughter, so it is open to interpretation whether it is about Björk’s mother or Björk as a mother. Probably both and that’s what makes it so clean.

“Atopos”, the first single from the pit, you may open the album. In her own way, Bjork sings about the equality of people. A beautiful, musically well-filled message between the Marmore clarinet and Casmin’s beats. Trumpets provide deep tones with heavy percussion, which at the end shifts gear, this is the beginning of great joy. It looks like Techno Björk has been back for a while. On the title track, among other things, Icelanders work with the same musicians and so you can initially name “Fossora” as a lighter version of “Atopos”. After a while, strong chimes suddenly appear again and some bells give it an oriental touch. Thanks to the automated filter over the sounds, the last part of this song is reminiscent of an album cover homogeneous. Björk is once again exploring new territories with her new album, but sometimes it does with a hint of what we already know about her. This makes it feel new and familiar at the same time.

“Victim” is also a song for which the trumpets provide a lot of ambiance, but here the beats (this time made by Björk himself) remain softer. The song is quieter at first, but gradually builds up until it reaches the climax of the chaos. It’s one of those songs that can get a little long and like the next “Allow” song, it’s so memorable. Additionally, the title recurs a lot on the latter and seems to go nowhere musically. A little missed opportunity, because the song definitely has potential, but it lacks that a bit. Despite the gentle playing of the strings, the very slow free fall is a bit sick in the same bed. Are these three songs bad? Far from it, but in her career spanning over thirty years, Björk has raised a high level for herself and sometimes she just can’t get past it.

Fortunately, Björk was able to jump high for most of her new record. With the song “Trölla-Gabba,” she’d fly over the pub in a jiffy. The song without words, again with Kasimyn, sounds like industrial noise, but it’s also really terrifying and cool. Mushroom City feels like a fairy tale without the exaggerated feel of Disney. Accompanied by the clarinet and the rattlesnake, Bjork pushes the line between calm and chaos here and jumps from one camp to the next. Variety makes it a captivating song. Contrast is also something that appears in “Ovule”. The song reflects Björk’s vision of love, and from that we learn above all that you have to learn from the darkness of past relationships to shine in a new one. The song without the chorus sounds like a hopeful pat on the back of Icelanders. The song continues to grow, but her world is suddenly disrupted when after hearing the song “Ship ahoy” we can’t help but think of Piet Piraat. However, Bjork succeeded the pit She manages to transport listeners to the extremes of her ever expanding world.

the pit It won’t be at the top of the Björk albums chart after first listen. Some songs tend to be long winded and they certainly aren’t for everyone, but Björk doesn’t make music for the general public. It’s great to hear how she pushes her boundaries again and yet manages to make her feel familiar. Originally gone the pit It became a clarinet album and can still be heard clearly. Combined with the overtones (sometimes quite heavy) and recurring themes like Bjork’s death and motherhood, the record feels like a cohesive unit, without becoming monotonous. Without playing it safe, Björk once again managed to put in a solid performance.

At the moment, Björk has not yet announced a tour dedicated to the pitbut let’s hope that when it comes down to it, at least one show will take place on Belgian soil.

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