Culture / Music

Listen to Björk break down each of her albums in new podcast ‘Sonic Symbolism’

Björk podcast sonic symbolism

My favourite radio segments are always the ones that bring musicians on and give them the floor to discuss the headspace, personal events and inspiration behind an album. Rarely does this happen in extensive detail or with as much vulnerability and self awareness that Björk offers up in her new podcast Sonic Symbolism.

Peppered with anecdotes and thoughtful exegesis, in Sonic Symbolism Björk guides listeners chronologically through her music archives. Beginning with her 1993 album fittingly titled Debut, each episode is the genre-defying artist in conversation with collaborators and close friends to discuss the sound and mood of an album with surprising intimacy.

As you click on each episode, you'll see that Björk has described all ten album in single adjectives, so that Post is "urban, greedy, promiscuity, euphoric, absorb, orange, pink" and Medúlla is "primordial, motherhood, black braided hair, breastfeeding, passive, pre-civilisation, goth, folk, archeology, and bones". These are all feelings she hopes will come through in the album cover first which act as "homemade tarot cards", a process Björk dubs sonic symbolism – hence the podcast's name.

For every album, there's a particular place it evokes, usually the destination where it was conceived. For Homogenic that was Spain, and for the stormy 2007 album Volta that was the mediterranean. As the Icelandic artist points out, it takes around three years to create a new album, which is also about the same period of time one will experience dramatic shifts in their life. It's no coincidence then that her music corresponds to each phase, be it motherhood, early fame or marriage.

Whether you're a longstanding fan or new to the richly textured musical world of Björk, Sonic Symbolism is essential listening. Find the project on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever else you go to listen to podcasts and press play immediately.


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