Over her almost 40 year musical career, Björk herself has tried (and done) almost everything. Her records range from the maximal to the minimal, from the grand, art-pop menagerie that was Post, to the stripped down, all-vocal Medulla, to the subtle, organic electronics on Biophilia. And what’s truly remarkable is not only that she’s done so much and done it with such precision, clarity, and raw emotion, but how exactly she’s made this happen over the years. The answer, to my mind, lies in the fact that her need to venture into new territory doesn’t stop at the music that comes out on her major releases.
As much as any artist really ever has, Björk always pushes her music past the creation of an album proper, encouraging her collaborators and new voices to remake, and reinterpret her vision on any given project. Björk obviously didn’t invent remixing, but the extent to which she’s done it on all of her records is kind of unprecedented. What this means is that for the extra curious listener or passionate devotee, there’s almost an endless back catalog of work to sift through where her influences are spelled out and her creative process is unraveled. Every record becomes as much a conceptual art project as much as just a single release.
In a series of playlists in the Discovery section over the next week, we’re gonna take you through some of her deep cuts, from some non-album b-sides and early works to her epic live performances, and experimental beat-making. You’ll hear stuff that sounds kind of like tracks on your favorite records that never made it on, some big symphonic arrangements, totally weird diversions, and more club-friendly reworks from her and her long list of collaborators (Tricky, LFO, RZA, Thom Yorke, The Brodsky Quartet, and XXXChange, to name a few you). Even if you only really know her from that swan dress at the Academy Awards, you’ve got six lists coming your way that’ll turn you into a super fan.