Could Björk possibly get any weirder? It’s a fair question to ask — throughout her nearly 30-year solo career, she’s seemingly explored every corner of the avant-garde, from innovative techno and dance music to orchestral chamber pop. At this stage in her career, it feels like it shouldn’t be possible for Björk to continue to push her musical boundaries, but her latest single and music video, “Atopos,” shows that Björk is still effortlessly capable of venturing outside the box while challenging and engaging listeners.
Musically, “Atopos” is a difficult listen that doesn’t rigidly adhere to the musical principles of any genre — in other words, it’s quintessential Björk. Outside of her meandering soprano vocals, which sound just as fantastic and familiar as they always have, the song’s musical texture is comprised almost entirely of sporadic, accented drum machine kicks and a clarinet choir, a bizarre combination of sounds that contributes to the song’s flawlessly executed feeling of uneasiness. Look anywhere in “Atopos” for a sense of logical direction, and you will not find it — not in its atonal cluster chords, not in its erratic and unpredictable rhythmic pulse, not in Björk’s abstract lyrics.
The music video for “Atopos” expands on the song’s chaotic nature. Despite the video’s dark color palette, Björk’s colorful outfit and makeup pop out of the visual texture, showcasing her endless creativity. Yet Björk’s extravagance doesn’t distract from the beautifully constructed cave-themed set design or the playful costumes of the backing musicians. The video functions harmoniously with the song and erases any doubt that Björk is slowing down artistically as she approaches the release of her tenth studio album on September 30.
Daily Arts Writer Jack Moeser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.