Bjork's "Biophilia" Captures the Curious Wonders of Nature

Artwork for Biophilia. Image via Bjork's Facebook page
Bjork's latest album Biophilia is a celebration of nature's wondrous capacity to create, destroy, evolve, and adapt. At a time when the reality of life on planet earth is grim--the increasingly dramatic effects of climate change, food shortages in developing countries, destruction of wildlife habitats--Biophilia reminds us there is still much to appreciate about our planet, and sings about earth and its ecosystems with whimsy and wonder. The song 'Crystalline' is about crystals growing beneath the earth's surface, and invites the audience to "listen how they grow."

'Mutual Core' takes a more somber tone, as Bjork compares the movement of the planet's tectonic plates (an earthquake) to shifting one's sense of self in order to be compatible with a lover: "You gave it all/ tried to match continents to a seasonal shift"

On her website, The Icelandic artist describes Biophilia as "the love for nature in all her manifestations, from  the tiniest organism, to the greatest red giant floating in the farthest realm of the universe. With Biophilia comes a restless curiosity, an urge to investigate and discover the illusive places where we meet nature."
She goes on to describe the album as the unification of nature, music, and technology.

The sound of Biophilia is diverse, ranging from the delicate plucking of harp strings to up-tempo electronica with a thumping bassline.  The album's format also breaks new ground in music and technology with its own suite of apps compatible with the iPhone and iPad. New York Times video game critic Seth Seth Schiesel writes, "The real magic happens when you press "play." That doesn't tell the machine to play a song; it means it's time for you to play the song. Bjork and her team have created a small visual toolbox for each track. A few, like "Crystalline," play much like a simple video tilt and swivel the iPad to add colorful crystals to a glowing agglomeration as you zoom along neon tunnels."

Here's a video showing how the Moon app can be used:

Biophilia is an artistic celebration of the natural world, and by bringing technology into the concept, Bjork  touches on something deeper: technological innovation can be used not only to deepen our appreciation for nature, but also to protect and preserve it. Biophilia points (however subtly) in the direction of a day when human progress will mean working with nature rather than fighting against it. An amazing next step would be linking the app suite to information (maybe from other science and environmental apps?) about earth's natural wonders to increase environmental awareness and knowledge.

Aside from being a treat to listen to, Biophilia is an album that builds curiosity, and it left me wanting to know more.