“Biophilia,” the upcoming album by Icelandic singer Bjork, is easily her most ambitious project to date. The nature and science-based album will be fleshed out with a suite of iPad apps for each song on the album and the singer plans a two year tour around the world with a stage show that includes a number of unique instruments including a gameleste and bass playing pendulum. While with each album, Bjork has continued to push the edges of her work way out there, she retains a strong core of regular collaborators while reaching out to new folks each time around. “Biophilia” is no different and to help kick things off, she has enlisted the help of a director who has made some of the best music videos of her career.
In an extensive interview with Pitchfork, it’s revealed that Michel Gondry — who helmed “Human Behaviour,” “Bachelorette,” and “Army Of Me” among many others — will step behind the camera for her first single “Crystalline.” However, it appears a larger project the two were looking to work on is dead. Last year, Gondry teased about a “secret” movie he was working on with Bjork that would be in IMAX 3D that he described as “scientific musical” that would be about “40 minute[s]” and more like an art installation than anything else. But it appears Gondry’s duties on “The Green Hornet” coupled with the larger than expected size of the endeavour put the kibosh on it and it mutated into something else entirely. Here’s what Bjork had to say:
Then National Geographic contacted me about getting on their label, which was exciting because, at that point, I was off all of my contracts. I was sort of in the same position that Radiohead was a few years ago. So I was like, “Wow, I want to be label mates with the sharks and lemurs!” We talked about it and I was hanging out in their head offices in Washington, D.C., a lot. The contract thing didn’t happen in the end, but they actually asked me to be a music explorer in residence.
But they said, “We do a lot of 3D movies– maybe this house could become a movie.” So I started talking to Michel Gondry and we started writing a script for a 3D movie. I felt a little bit out of my element because suddenly there were like four billion meetings and budgets and everything. I’ve never done that before in my life, and it was suffocating.
After we wrote all the songs we started writing the script. But Michel got forced to go back to edit “The Green Hornet” for seven months– it was something of a “Barton Fink” situation. So he couldn’t do our movie anymore. But at the same time, the iPad came out. And we just got so excited about the first apps for it and thought, “This is exactly what we’ve been doing for two years– maybe the natural home for this project is not a film or a house, but this.”
Our guess is some of whatever they were planning for the big screen will be incorporated into the music video as the entire “Biophilila” project is being built as one big multimedia project. The album drops later this year and no word on when the video will arrive. As for Gondry, it’s just one more of many projects he has on his plate right now including “The We And The I” which was supposed to shoot this summer though word on that seems nonexistent, a hand-animated Noam Chomsky doc which he’s slowly working on that might be a couple of years away from being completed, a brewing adaptation of Philip K. Dick‘s “Ubik” and a French language film with Audrey Tautou.
Check out Bjork’s new single below and especially listen to the last thirty seconds…