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Hacktivist on Björk: Why I Love

UK grime-metal quintet Hacktivist have recently released their eagerly anticipated new album, Hyperdialect. The album was released on 18th June via UNFD.

Jot Maxi from Hacktivist joins us to share his love of the quite unique artist that is Björk. Like Björk , Hacktivist are hard to put in a box genre wise. They always devastate when they play live, and their albums are always a wild trip.

Anyone who sees the name of our band (Hacktivist) next to the name Björk might have to look twice or think that it’s a wild contrast. Well, it is! But I love the fact that the rest of the boys and I all have such a broad spectrum of influences and tastes, it’s probably one of the reasons we manage to come together and effectively fuse genres like we do.

Personally, there’s only a small handful of artists that really gripped me throughout my childhood and teens that continue to do so now. When asked to write about why I love one of them in particular I didn’t have to dwell on it for more than a fraction of a millisecond before a cerebral motor protein ran along a filament to the inner part of my brain screaming Björk!

How do you even start to describe the originator of one of the world’s most timeless, elusive, raw yet developed sounds that exist? You can’t. Or at least I don’t think I can! Out of respect I won’t even begin to try to. Knowing that Björk is quite a private person like myself, I also won’t do any research or touch on anything I already know about her personal life. I feel that if we don’t look at musicians, actors or any artists in the spotlight based on purely their art, then we are probably guilty of distorting our own realities and negatively rewiring our priorities. That kind of stuff is the root of many types of evil including domestic reality TV and $1 magazines! Taking the beauty of trees and turning them into glossy smut that litters our grocery stores and feeds the inner most insecurities of those of us who have been tempted to feed on the temporary gratification stuffed between their covers! I’m sure Björk herself would feel the same way.

I remember having my mind blown by the first ever time I saw her talking on screen. She delicately dismantles a television set out of a “want to see how it operates” and dreamily compares the circuit boards inside to a “little city”. She then goes on to calmly warn us about how our minds can be so busy constructing the full image we see out of all the individual pixels in front of us that we might stop questioning the truth of what is actually being shown and said on the screen… Wow! A girl after my own heart!

Björk – It's Oh So Quiet (1995, Cardsleeve, CD) - Discogs

Not only am I intrigued by everything futuristic and science-fictionesque, but I’m also very headstrong when it comes to finding out and exposing truth. I had already long since been listening to her music and following her releases as a musician, but after seeing her in that short clip with the TV I felt an instant connection to the way Björk appeared to see things and how she voiced her imagination.

I think the first time I heard a Björk song was when I saw the video single for ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, where her outlandish energy and ultra unique voice were the qualities that spoke to me instantaneously, causing me to then dive into her discography and find myself teleported through a plethora of emotions encased in raw but brilliant lyricism and experimental yet beautiful melodies. Of course I was also happily surprised to find that almost all of her music was completely unconventional compared to my first encounter with her sound, which was arguably one of her most mainstream releases in terms of fitting into the pop genre.

In perfect synchronicity with her music, Björk also has such a strong visual identity which is reflected not just by the outfits, headgear and make-up she chooses to wear, but in every aspect of the worlds that are created in her music videos and even on her cover artwork. Although all designed and directed by different individuals, you can see a running theme or formula that links them all together, identifying her touch throughout it all.

Army of Me by Björk . Directed by Michel Gondry.

For example there is something strangely similar between the monster truck with teeth in her video for ‘Army of Me’ to the strange 3D shapes that resemble brass instruments from an alien planet on the cover of ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ and the floating sensual sand-snail creatures that appear in the video for ‘Mutual Core’. As someone who starts imagining a music video before I’m even half way through writing a song, this speaks to me very loudly.

I find genres very restrictive, especially in recent days where there are micro-genres inside of subgenres and everything has to be put in a box. I find it dizzying. There’s nothing more refreshing than an artist whom you have to hesitate about describing with a predetermined genre, and even more so an artist that you cannot describe with one, and Björk is the latter.

Her mix of audio ingredients is so vast and sporadic that stamping it with even three or four genres would be an injustice, her music truly is to be determined by each listener individually for what they take from it and how they hear it. I myself am driven by lyricism that scrapes the inner most edges of the soul. I also draw motivation from propelling melodies and as much as I love the art and talent behind designing and playing real instruments, I can’t help that I’m hypnotised by electronic sounds, and Björk ticks all of these boxes for me and then some.

She has and will always be not just a massive influence, but a reassuring safe-haven for me, an artist that is always there with the right song for any time or occasion. Even in my darkest hours when I am fed up with everything else in the world and I don’t have the energy to try to want to think about what to click play on next, Björk breaks the cold silence and brings a warmth to the room that reminds me of who I am and why I love not just her, but music altogether.

At this point, my endless enthusiasm for her work is screaming through me to urge you to stop reading anymore about what I have to say on my love of Björk and to immediately go and experience all of this for yourself if you haven’t already! From her array of albums and videos released over the last 28 years to the rare and short interviews we can find, no matter where one starts it won’t be long before you start to see that she is one of this world’s anomalies that demands a level of respect whether her music is for you or not.

I am overjoyed to be able to say that Björk is still actively releasing music, her latest album ‘Utopia’ was as recent as 2017, and included a special edition box set that included a collection of 14 hand-carved wooden flutes that imitate various bird calls! It’s that kind of unpredictable and authentic originality that I find so endearing about her. I’ll obviously continue to follow her work and I long for the day I will have the chance to go and see her perform live, as I’m very ashamed to say, is something that I haven’t had the power to make possible yet in this lifetime so far.

Our thanks goes to Jot Maxi from Hacktivist for his words on such a supreme talent in Björk. She certainly is one of the world’s anomalies and always demands attention.

Hacktivist have recently released their new album, Hyperdialect. Check out the video for Planet Zero, below. You can listen to, and buy the new Hacktivist album by clicking here.

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