Saturday, April 01, 2006

Björk and the Alchemy of Every Day Noises

by Mark Burbey

In re-reading Ian Gillin’s informative and enjoyable book – Björk: There's More to Life Than This : The Stories Behind Every Song – a particular quote emerged as being especially noteworthy and insightful. (It’s on page 105 if you have the book at hand.)

As Björk spoke of creating the music for Dancer in the Dark, Gittins sited how the project gave her the opportunity to “make concrete” her steadfast philosophy that “the most entrancing, transforming music is the cacophony of sound that is heard around us every day."

“One thousand years ago in Africa,” Björk said, “music was about taking the magic of the noises you hear every day and taking it to the next level, which is making a tune out of it. The Africans would make songs out of bird noises and rhythms and rivers. Their music sounded like their lives.

“It was the same in America in the 1950s. Everybody was driving round in these big cars that went ‘VROOM VROOM VROOM!’ so of course they invented rock’n’roll, which made the same noise! That’s what music is – realism, magic realism, taking what is surrounding us each day and making it magic.”

Perhaps it’s the magic of Björk’s music that so gets into the blood of her most loyal fans that makes her work so impossible to resist.


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