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PJ Harvey

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Joseph Campbell would consider Bjork's  journey in Biophilia  true to the dynamics of a classic hero mythJoseph Campbell would consider Bjork's journey in Biophilia true to the dynamics of a classic hero myth

> Bjork: Biophilia

I learnt many things from Bjork's 7th album, Biophilia. I was listening to it while reading Joseph Campbell's "The Power of Myth". Those two experiences, randomly juxtaposed, happened to make for a beautiful and unexpected overlap. Both works happened to discuss a lot of the same ideas...the human body as an electrical energy field...the similarity of the movement of atoms and the motion of the planets...the music of the spheres above us. Or to quote the breathless Wired magazine cover story on Bjork's revolutionary app album, this magnum opus promised to "define humanity's relationship with sound and the universe" even as it was to "pioneer a music format that will smash industry conventions". Cut to my eye roll. I am not ashamed to admit that my key motive for downloading this sucker was to see how the M/M (Paris) design ethos would translate to the technical language of an app. (That was totally fabulous btw and the font work sits so prettily on an IPad I loathe to contaminate with bad design). I was thinking the music would simply be superflous. So I started playing with the "Heaven" app, a song with lyrics which overlay different myths of the creation of the universe as told in various cultures. Joseph Campbell again you see. The app gave me the option of singing along to the "sheet music" scrolling by on my I-Pad in an acapella version. And in a magical moment I found I could actually follow the notes, high and low. Not since childhood had I experienced such a sense of openness and play when it came to music. They say making Biophilia cost Bjork and her record company a fortune. Apparently not only did this complex, imaginative and supremely creative experiment boggle the minds of most of Bjork's listeners (you don't want to read the Itunes reviews), the critics couldn't figure out what to make of it. But for all the people to whom Bjork whispered that "you too can decode the mystery of music", "You too can make a song" , she has achieved something beyond historic. She has created a new template for listening to music in the 21st century. Joseph Campbell would consider her journey true to the dynamics of a classic hero myth.

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