Björk - Atopos feat. Kasimyn

  • The first single off Björk's gabber-inspired new album is actually a patient meditation on love and growth.
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  • Björk's new single feels less like a reinvention as a slight fork in the road. "Atopos," the first single off Fossora, is heavy on mushroom imagery, fungi that can communicate through a network of roots, and its texture is appropriately earthy. The celestial orchestration of the past two records has been morphed into bass clarinets and pounding, broken kick drums, courtesy of co-producer Kasimyn, from the popular but currently embattled Gabber Modus Operand. It's less nightclub and more woodsy hippie dance, substituting the grizzled textures of hardcore techno for what sounds like thumping on the wall of a cave. Lyrically, "Atopos" is typically stunning, with Björk using fungi as a metaphor for communication and growth: "Our differences are irrelevant / To only name the flaws / Are excuses not to connect," she says in the striking intro, and on the chorus, "Thank you for staying while we learn / To find our resonance where we do connect." Musically, however, the single doesn't cohere as well as anything off of Vulnicura or Utopia. The slightly clumsy production—why do the kick drums sound like that?—is perhaps exemplified by Kasimyn's odd presence in the video, pretending to play on CDJs, as if they couldn't find anything else for him to do. The melody, while highlighting the odd but intuitive curvature of the lyrics in that oh-so-Björk way, is both captivating and confounding. In fact, with its focus on rhythm and texture, I'd actually compare "Atopos" to the divisive Biophilia, though Björk feels more confident and in control here, every word landing with a loving glow. As the first statement of a new era, "Atopos" is both tentative and promising—not a knockout blow but instead an invitation to come in and explore this new (under)world of growth and feeling she's found.