Influencers: Bjork, Biophilia

As Iceland’s greatest export Bjork embarks on her world tour this month, opening the Manchester International Festival with her first UK dates in over three years, we wanted to shed light on her fascinating multimedia album project, Biophilia, due to launch in September 2011.

The album itself, making its teaser debut at MIF, will be released alongside 10 separate apps created by digital artist Scott Snibbe.  In an ‘open-source’ venture, fans will be able to interact with songs, and re-mix or create completely new versions, becoming part of the music making process.

Although initial Biophilia artistic direction is clearly under the helm of Bjork herself (check out this teaser), “she’s really open and welcoming to ideas from her collaborators,” notes Snibbe.

As well as allowing fans to co-create and collaborate, the album and tour will also present itself as an educational tool kit.  Mentioned in a recent interview with music news site Stereogum

“In each city that we visit for this tour, we are going to have classes for kids where they can try out the instruments on the iPad and write songs and take them home.”

Combining music and technology, Bjork joines forces with technology giants Apple and video director Michel Gondry. The album’s inspiration additionally takes its cue from the natural world and Bjork has collaborated with award-winning naturalist Sir David Attenborough to explore the ways sound works in nature, and how the universe can, in turn, create new sound; an extension of her anthropomorphic 2007 Volta album.

Specifically for the tour she has commissioned several instruments including a pendulum that works with the earth’s gravitational pull to create musical patterns and a Gamelest; a hybrid Gamelan and Celeste instrument, modified by Icelandic organ maker Björgvin Tòmasson.

Bjork has also taken time out of her tour schedule to guest edit the 200th issue of Dazed & Confused magazine in its entirety for August, which gives further insight into the new album and the inspiration behind it.  It goes on sale today, but you can check out some coverage on the Dazed Digital site. – Samantha Fox

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