A commentary on Bjork’s “Atopos”

Mention of muscles and sinew, nerve and connection feel particularly real to me these days; I recently incurred a pinched nerve injury, which has debased my regular routine and sleeping pattern. So as Bjork Gudmunsdottir wails in both glee and longing in her excellent new single “Atopos,” I’m connecting to her new creative direction raw as my muscles are inflamed. “Hope is a muscle that allows us to connect,” she sings in her lilting, otherworldly tone. I think to myself, as I pace yet again around the house at 3:30am, massaging my shoulder blades; can my nerve endings temporarily disconnect from my pain receptors? I’m trying to get some REM sleep up in here.

Fossora, releasing September 30 2022, is one of few full-length albums I’m really hoping to sink my teeth into. Her last album effort in 2017’s Utopia finds regular cycling in my listening patterns, so I expect excellence, as always. In “Atopos,” we’re hearing hard folk hip-hop beats and cooing bass clarinets; a delicious loose and limber vibe, capped with a rave-worthy percussion breakdown. Collaborating with Indonesian dance duo Gabber Modus Operandi, Fossora will sample Bjork’s interpretation on what she calls “biological techno.” The mushroom theme seems a callback to Biophilia (2011) and its focus on the layers of earth, with hints of Volta‘s underrated drum work (not to be forgotten: Bjork’s collaborations with Timbaland and Mark Stent). I’m currently working on ID’ing the garments in the music video, directed by Vidar Logi, but I believe I see Comme des Garcons. For some reason, I’m also seeing a parallel with CL, but I might just be sleepy.

In my quest for REM sleep, the dull hot-and-you’re-cold throb of the pinched nerve crawling up my tendons puts fresh, new meaning to insomnia. Even Chopin’s nocturnes, quietly twinkling on repeat in my ear, were no match for the sleeplessness. Truthfully, it takes many substances and things to quell the thoughts in the night sky of my mind, meteorites flashing about often and brilliant. And so, my insomnia might be both the injury and my own doing… but then again, I’ve barely had sleep for at least two weeks, so I’m pretty sure my judgement is off. Maybe, since my mind is leaning a little loony, I’m closer to understanding the Bjorkian frequency. Wondering if Fossora‘s presumed big fat beats will sing me to sleep, instead of the loveliness of Utopia or the nakedness of Vespertine? I hope I’m not still injured to find out.

I’m really starting to feel bad for my loving partner, who is parlay to every single bad mood, observer to every sleepless night, and confidante to every bout of exhausted weeping. It’s also sweet, but unusual, that my family is checking up on me pretty frequently. I pray to God this heals quickly. This lifestyle cocktail of double doses of ibuprofen, constant physiotherapy and musculatory research, no day job shifts, no income, and no alcohol (mixing with my Motrins is a no-no for me) is no lifestyle to be had. #HotGirlsUmmer might be over, but I’m now hoping for an #UninjuredFall.

Additional reading:

“Bjork Gets Groovy with Fungi in the Video for New Single “Atopos” by Margaret Farrell, for FLOOD Magazine

“Bjork: “Atopos” Track Review” by Eric Torres, for Pitchfork

“A commentary on ‘The Fisherman’ by John Langan” for Windhill Journal

One response to “A commentary on Bjork’s “Atopos””

  1. […] “A commentary on Bjork’s ‘Atopos’” for Windhill Journal […]


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