Fossora

Björk

Fossora

Read a personal, detailed guide to Björk’s 10th LP—written by Björk herself. Fossora is an album I recorded in Iceland. I was unusually here for a long time during the pandemic and really enjoyed it, probably the longest I’d been here since I was 16. I really enjoyed shooting down roots and really getting closer with friends and family and loved ones, forming some close connections with my closest network of people. I guess it was in some ways a reaction to the album before, Utopia, which I called a “sci-fi island in the clouds” album—basically because it was sort of out of air with all the flutes and sort of fantasy-themed subject matters. It was very much also about the ideal and what you would like your world to be, whereas Fossora is sort of what it is, so it’s more like landing into reality, the day-to-day, and therefore a lot of grounding and earth connection. And that’s why I ended up calling Fossora “the mushroom album.” It is in a way a visual shortcut to that, it’s all six bass clarinets and a lot of deep sort of murky, bottom-end sound world, and this is the shortcut I used with my engineers, mixing engineers and musicians to describe that—not sitting in the clouds but it’s a nest on the ground. “Fossora” is a word that I made up from Latin, the female of fossor, which basically means the digger, the one who digs into the ground. The word fossil comes from this, and it’s kind of again, you know, just to exaggerate this feeling of digging oneself into the ground, both in the cozy way with friends and loved ones, but also saying goodbye to ancestors and funerals and that kind of sort of digging. It is both happy digging and also the sort of morbid, severe digging that unfortunately all of us have to do to say goodbye to parents in our lifetimes. “Atopos” (feat. Kasimyn) “Atopos” is the first single because it is almost like the passport or the ID card (of the album), it has six bass clarinets and a very fast gabba beat. I spent a lot of time on the clarinet arrangements, and I really wanted this kind of feeling of being inside the soil—very busy, happy, a lot of mushrooms growing really fast like a mycelium orchestra. “Sorrowful Soil” and “Ancestress” (feat. Sindri Eldon) Two songs about my mother. “Sorrowful Soil” was written just before she passed away, it's probably capturing more the sadness when you discover that maybe the last chapter of someone's life has started. I wanted to capture this emotion with what I think is the best choir in Iceland, The Hamrahlid Choir. I arranged for nine voices, which is a lot—usually choirs are four voices like soprano, alto, or bass. It took them like a whole summer to rehearse this, so I'm really proud of this achievement to capture this beautiful recording. “Ancestress” deals with after my mother passing away, and it's more about the celebration of her life or like a funeral song. It is in chronological order, the verses sort of start with my childhood and sort of follow through her life until the end of it, and it's kind of me learning how to say goodbye to her. “Fungal City” (feat. serpentwithfeet) When I was arranging for the six bass clarinets I wanted to capture on the album all different flavors. “Atopos” is the most kind of aggressive fast, “Victimhood” is where it’s most melancholic and sort of Nordic jazz, I guess. And then “Fungal City” is maybe where it's most sort of happy and celebrational. I even decided to also record a string orchestra to back up with this kind of happy celebration and feeling and then ended up asking serpentwithfeet to sing with me the vocals on this song. It is sort of about the capacity to love and this, again, meditation on our capacity to love. “Mycelia” “Mycelia” is a good example of how I started writing music for this album. I would sample my own voice making several sounds, several octaves. I really wanted to break out of the normal sort of chord structures that I get stuck in, and this was like the first song, like a celebration, to break out of that. I was sitting in the beautiful mountain area in Iceland overlooking a lake in the summer. It was a beautiful day and I think it captured this kind of high energy, high optimism you get in Iceland’s highlands. “Ovule” “Ovule” is almost like the feminine twin to “Atopos.” Lyrically it's sort of about being ready for love and removing all luggage and becoming really fresh—almost like a philosophical anthem to collect all your brain cells and heart cells and soul cells in one point and really like a meditation about love. It imagines three glass eggs, one with ideal love, one with the shadows of love, and one with day-to-day mundane love, and this song is sort of about these three worlds finding equilibrium between these three glass eggs, getting them to coexist.

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