The Icelandic avant musician worked with Apple to use iPhone and iPad apps to release Biophilia—a record that mimics lightning, DNA strands, crystals, and "zombie snails"
Björk's new album, Biophilia, is an expedition into the creative canyon between science and technology. Conceived out of a simple interest in the relationship between the nature and sound, like a rapidly evolving organism itself, the scale of the project multiplied from there. Academics and multimedia designers were consulted. Instruments were invented (including a synthesizer that plays lightning). Three years later, the result is not only Björk's most musically elaborate record to date, but the first in history to be released in a constellation of iPad/iPhone apps (though the album's music will be released as, yes, an album tomorrow). In an email interview, the iconic Icelandic musician discussed the many dimensions of her latest work.
With its multimedia aspect, Biophilia seems to be one of the most ambitious projects you've even taken on. Would you say that this album is
your magnum opus?
What does "magnum opus" mean? Just Googled it, hmm... To be honest, Biophilia started as me thinking I would downscale from Volta, that
being a hooligan, flag-and-trumpet-on-a-top-of-a-mountain kinda thing. So in autumn 2008 we started programming the behaviour of a pendulum on a Lemur
touchscreen, which we later then plugged into small organ pipes we found on eBay. The idea for me was to be self sufficient, have the natural elements
in my lap that I could then play by plugging into acoustic instruments. This idea then multiplied and funnily enough became one of the most
multilayered albums I have done. The original idea is still very simple. And when you see the show or play with the apps, most people so far have
commented on how cut-the-crap it is and simple. It just looks complicated on paper.