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Crystalline by Björk

Album: BiophiliaReleased: 2011
  • The first single from Bjork's seventh album, Biophilia, is an electronic song in which the Icelandic singer compares the process of crystal formation with her own personal growth over a trickle of triangle chimes before concluding with a raucous drum n bass section. It was released as a single on June 30, 2011 accompanied by an iPad app developed exclusively for the tune, which enables the user to build their own song structure as they tap through multi-colored tunnels.
  • Biophilia is a collaboration with Apple and is billed as the world's first "app album." It features music videos and unique apps for all ten tracks created to add multiple dimensions to each song.
  • In the app for this song, players can navigate through neon-colored tunnels and collect different crystals that change the musical structure of the song mix. "I didn't want the connection between the song and the app to be superficial," Björk told Billboard magazine. "It had to go to the core."
  • The song's music video was helmed by French director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) who previously collaborated with Björk on clips for such singles as "Human Behavior." On the visual we see Björk's image projected onto a spinning metallic disk whilst below, gold meteorites fill in moon craters.

    "We shot it frame by frame, and we shot it by recranking the camera and re-exposing the film many times," Gondry told Billboard magazine. "I decided for this that the shower of meteorite would hit the ground and produce a sound... The idea that a beam of light can have the impact to make these things move is something that intrigued me. Later on, they create some ripples-like rain. At the third verse, they create bubbles in which the metallic objects appear. All of those are the result of multiple conversations with [Björk] that were going in many directions."
  • The song features the Gameleste, one of several new musical instruments Bjork developed for Biophilia. A combination of the piano-like celeste, and a Gamelan, the name for an Indonesian musical ensemble, it was developed by UK-based cymbalsmith Matt Nolan and Icelandic organ-maker Björgvin Tómasson. Nolan told Spinner UK it was Bjork who originally conceived the machine. He explained: "It was Bjork who made the realization that her existing celeste could form the basis of the new instrument. A stroke of genius! She had it sent to Bjorgvin Tomasson in Iceland. He had already made her a compact MIDI-playable pipe organ, and Bjork was already in touch with me about a different instrument project, one that was more cymbal-based. So, when the idea of 'a MIDI Gamelan in a box' came up, I was first-call for the tonebars. I think, in the end, I was the only person both able and willing to do it. It was rather extreme!"
  • Bjork explained the song's meaning to NME: "It's about a connection between two people, that's stagnated, crystallized. You wanna bring out the pick-axe."
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