Björk has announced she has a new album on the way. According to The Guardian, the follow-up to 2017’s Utopia is called Fossora, and it’s due for release in the fall. It features a collaboration with serpentwithfeet, backing vocals from Björk’s son Sindri and daughter Ísadóra, and contributions from Indonesian dance duo Gabber Modus Operandi.
“On the cover, she is a glowing forest sprite, her fingertips fusing with the fantastic fungi under her hooves,” Chal Ravens wrote in her profile for The Guardian. “Compared with the cloudy electronics of 2017’s Utopia, it is organic and spacious, earthbound rather than dreamy, and filled with warmth and breath. It is also a world of contrasts: the album’s two lodestones are bass clarinet and violent outbursts of gabber. There are moments of astonishing virtuosity and bewildering complexity and, like much of her recent music, a resistance to easy melody. Björk’s journey from 90s dance-pop to something more like surreal opera has more in common with Scott Walker’s graceful trajectory than those of 90s peers such as PJ Harvey.”
Ravens went on:
This earthiness is trowelled by the album’s sextet of bass clarinets, an instrument chosen not for its gloominess, as in Mahler’s 6th Symphony, nor its smoky luxury, like Bennie Maupin’s playing on Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew, but for its potential as percussive artillery. Björk wanted them to sound “like Public Enemy, like duh-duh-duh-duh, like boxing”, she chirps, before squatting in demonstration of the metre-long instrument’s heavyweight attack.
Then there is the hard techno. On heavy rotation at Björk’s living room parties were Gabber Modus Operandi, two Indonesian punks who alloy folk styles such as Balinese gamelan with abrasive western gabber, footwork and noise. “They’re taking tradition into the 21st century, which I really respect. They do it like nobody else,” Björk says.
Describing the record, Björk said: “Let’s see what it’s like when you walk into this fantasy and, you know, have a lunch and farrrrt, and do normal things, like meet your friends.” She also revealed that the album was inspired by grief features two songs written for her mother, the environmental activist Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, who passed away in 2018.