Album: Björk, Biophilia (One Little Indian)

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The Independent Culture

The eighth studio album from Björk is the latest in a growing line of releases from major artists (Radiohead, Kaiser Chiefs) to call into question what "album" actually means in this hi-tech, fragmented age.

In addition to the traditional formats, Biophilia, which was composed largely on an iPad, is available as a series of interactive apps in which the themes of the songs can be explored visually, and the songs themselves can be reshaped.

Those themes would appear to be the structures and cycles of nature, from the micro (viruses, cells) to the macro (planets, galaxies), used as metaphors for human relations. It finds the singer in meditative mood – this is, by some distance, the least playful Björk album – and, amid soundscapes made from tinkling harps and bells and deep electronic burps and farts, she's an uncharacteristically discreet presence, a humble narrator of the wider story she's trying to tell.