Björk – Atopos
Björk refers to the music on her upcoming album Fossora as “biological techno”, a term that she and Gabber Modus Operandi coined for a sound Björk could only describe as “digging a hole in the ground… living with the moles and really grounding myself.” As with many post-2000s Björk releases, the lofty molecular and biotic concepts are often vehicles for much simpler musings on life and existence. In the case of Fossora, and its lead single Atopos, Björk turns to mushrooms to speak about interconnectedness.
Of course, only for Björk would a mycorrhizal network be the perfect metaphor for people coming together again after a pandemic, and she explores this concept as far as her spores can reach. Backed by a band of bass clarinets, an instrument selected for its inherent earthiness, and a pulsing score of distorted electronic stabs, Björk sings a love song about craving connection. “Our differences are irrelevant … excuses not to connect,” she waxes, stretching the consonants and shaping the vowels to grotesquely rotund proportions. As Atopos progresses, it explodes into hardcore gabber pounding. But it’s not so much about jaw-shaking raving, it’s more about a communal body moving through the incessant rhythm of life as one. A unified organism. This particular theme is not new for the singer. She’s touched on similar ideas on songs like Mutual Core and Crystalline, possibly why Atopos feels much closer to Biophilia than anything else in her oeuvre.
For a Björk track, there’s a surprising sense of cohesion in the way of traditional form and structure. Perhaps more so than any of her recent work, the punches of her clarinet orchestra match the punches of her gabber bass, both finding moments to harmonise with her own voice. But then, perhaps it’s actually not that surprising. This is a song about connection, after all. It serves to connect in the most literal sense. To be accessible in a way that people assume Björk is not. Hours could be spent unpacking the scientific and Barthian theoretic influences of the song, but like Björk repeats at its apex, “hope is a muscle that allows us to connect.” It’s as simple as that.
Watch the music video for Atopos below.