Musings on Björk’s ‘Atopos’

‘Atopos’ is a unique videoclip that cannot leave anyone indifferent. It evokes an out-of-this-world feeling with its dark colour palette and fungi textures. The costumes and make-up, seemingly reminiscent of drag queens,  are also quite extraordinary. It seems like Björk cannot do minimalistic or conventional approaches to music. I believe it is one of the reasons why she amasses such a fanbase of loyal listeners.

Björk has described ‘Atopos’ as ‘a good intro–  kinda like ‘Fossora’s passport’’. Sonically a heavy bottom-ended bass world. We have 6 bass clarinets, punchy sub-drilling, nesting and digging us into the ground’. Released this past September, ‘Fossora’ is her most recent album. The title comes from an (invented) female variation of the latin fossore, which means ‘to dig’- digging into the influences of this new album, we observe that the Icelandic singer-songwriter has been deeply affected by the recent loss of her mother. With lyrics like “Thank you for staying while we learn” the song seems to send a message of growth as continuous, a process which we must do hand in hand with those around us. The lyrics are compassionate, an olive branch to those who have a difficulty accepting that perfection is not a given.

I had never listened to Björk before, just knew that she was eccentric and that her music leaned towards club and dance beats. However, I do not think that ‘Atopos’ can be classified as a typical club song. Sonically, the steady beat and the constant notes from bass clarinets set the base for the song, but the lyrics are melodic, and the message is profoundly hopeful. By the end of the song, you can hear a more upbeat rhythm and the videoclip depicts a group of people dancing, connecting, having fun. She sings “Hope is a muscle that allows us to connect”. This emphasis on connection in such a disjointed world is a lovely message. Again, she reflects on how we must exercise our emotions like a muscle, that nothing comes perfectly naturally, a relief for anyone who feels alien to human emotions.

After seeing the videoclip of ‘Atopos’, I understand why she’s seen as a visionary artist. Whether you like it or not, it creates an impact because it’s like nothing you have ever seen before. Personally, I’m very intrigued about her new album and her as an artist and will be following her next steps very closely.

 [Eva López-López – she/they – @eva.kronos]

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