Crystalline (song)

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"Crystalline"
Single by Björk
from the album Biophilia
Released June 28, 2011
Format CD, 12"
Genre Electronica, intelligent dance, trip hop, breakbeat, alternative dance
Length 5:05
Label One Little Indian, Polydor (Europe), Nonesuch, Warner Bros. (NA)
Writer(s) Björk
Producer(s) Björk, 16bit[1]
Björk singles chronology
"The Comet Song"
(2010)
"Crystalline"
(2011)
"Cosmogony"
(2011)
Biophilia track listing
Music video
"Crystalline" on YouTube

"Crystalline" is a song by Icelandic artist Björk, released as the lead single from her eighth album Biophilia. The song was released as a single on June 28, 2011[2][3] accompanied by an iPad app developed exclusively for the song. It was afterward released as part of The Crystalline Series alongside the second single from the album, "Cosmogony".[4]

Development[edit]

In March 2011[5] it was announced that Björk would play at the Manchester International Festival with a new concept of concert. Several songs from the album debuted during a series of performances at the festival between June 27 and July 16, 2011. Björk called the performances a "meditation on the relationship between music, nature and technology"."Special" instruments were designed and constructed specifically for these concerts.

A 28-second audio sample of "Crystalline".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The release of the song was preceded by three teasers: on the first one, entitled "Road to Crystalline" we can see Björk driving her Hummer through a road in Iceland while playing an excerpt of a demo version of the song; on the second one, we could see one of the new instruments developed for the Manchester performances, that also plays on the track: the 'Gameleste', a celesta which was modified by Icelandic Organ builder, Björgvin Tómasson and British Cymbalsmith and Gong maker, Matt Nolan so that it sounds like Gamelan and could be played remotely by MIDI or even an iPad;[6] and on the third teaser, recording sessions of the remix featuring Omar Souleyman were shown. The song leaked onto the internet on June 25, 2011.[7] On June 28, 2011, UK producers 16bit confirmed via Facebook that they produced the song.

"Crystalline" is a mostly electronic song, featuring a continuous 'gameleste' base and electronic beats and rhythm. After the bridge, the song features a gameleste solo, and consequently ends with an uproarious drum and bass section which uses the Amen break. The soundscape seems to be a hybrid of the musical stylings of her previous albums Post and Vespertine, with undercurrent percussive elements from her album Homogenic.[8]

The lyrics to "Crystalline" talk about the process of crystallization in minerals and rocks but taking a more personal point of view, relating the growth of a crystal structure with the growth of relationships in people's hearts. Björk took inspiration for the song from cities and buildings:

Promotion[edit]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Crystalline" was recorded on May 26 and was directed by long-time collaborator Michel Gondry.[9] It was premiered on July 26, 2011 on YouTube. The video opens with a view of the moon and a meteor shower on it, forming different forms and crystals. Björk stars as a spectator of the meteor rain in the sky, as some kind of god. The video features heavy computer and stop-motion animation. Gondry explained about the video:

The video received a nomination at the Antville Music Video Awards, in the Best Art Direction category.[11]

Apps[edit]

Every song on Biophilia has an app for iPhone or iPad. The main app was released on July 19, 2011, coinciding with the release of "Cosmogony", and it integrates all the songs' apps.

The app for "Crystalline" is a video game that uses the iPod Touch/iPhone/iPad's tilt feature to move a crystal through various underground tunnels. By collecting different crystals from the walls of the tunnel, new tunnels are unlocked, each one playing a different section of the song. Green tunnels play sections from the first verse, pink tunnels play sections from the second one, orange tunnels play sections from the third verse, red tunnels play the chorus and blue tunnels play the coda.

Live performances[edit]

Björk debuted the songs during a series of performances at the Manchester International Festival in England between 27 June and 16 July 2011. Björk performed Biophilia tracks and music from her back catalogue with a small group of musical collaborators, including Graduale Nobili, an Icelandic female choir.[12][13] She performed "Crystalline" during every concert of the Biophilia Tour.

Björk performed the songs live on BBC2's Later... with Jools Holland. On November 22, 2011, the performance of "Crystalline" was broadcast, while the performances of "Cosmogony" and "Thunderbolt" were shown on November 25.[14]

Track listing[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • Album version – 5:08
  • Serban Ghenea Mix/Single Mix – 5:06
  • Radio edit/Serban Ghenea Mix Edit – 3:47
  • Omar Souleyman Remix – 6:41
  • Matthew Herbert Mix – 5:17
  • Matthew Herbert Instrumental – 5:15
  • Current Value Remix – 5:02 released on Part 1 of the Biophilia Remix Series
  • MIF live version – 5:26 (Biophilia: Manual Edition CD2)
  • PMRH version – 5:21 (demo version, stream available for a limited time on Icelandair In-flights)

Charts[edit]

Chart (2011) Peak
position
Brazil (Billboard Hot 100)[15] 93
Brazil (Billboard Hot Pop Songs)[16] 20
Japan Hot 100 (Billboard)[17] 18
Portugal (AFP)[18] 43
UK Coalition (Official Charts Company)[19] 1
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[20] 29
US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs (Billboard)[21] 21
US Rock Digital Songs (Billboard)[22] 49

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Worldwide[23] June 28, 2011 (2011-06-28) "Crystalline" digital download One Little Indian
July 19, 2011 (2011-07-19) Serban Ghenea Mixes CD/LP/digital download
July 26, 2011 (2011-07-26) Omar Souleyman Versions CD/LP/digital download
August 2, 2011 (2011-08-02) Crystalline Matthew Herbert Mixes CD/LP/digital download
August 2, 2011 (2011-08-02) Cosmogony Matthew Herbert Mixes CD/LP/digital download

References[edit]

  1. ^ "16bit, un projet avec Björk". Bjork.fr. 2011-06-25. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  2. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Biophilia / Lanzamiento en Septiembre - App desde 30 Junio". BjorkSpain.net. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  4. ^ "Crystalline et Cosmogony en cd et vinyl". Bjork.fr. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  5. ^ Collett-White, Mike (2011-03-17). "Snoop Dogg, Bjork to star at Manchester Festival". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  6. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  7. ^ "Escucha "Crystalline", primer single de lo nuevo de Björk". BjorkSpain.net. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  8. ^ Cragg, Michael (2011-06-29). "New music: Björk – Crystalline | Music". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  9. ^ "Niet compatibele browser". Facebook. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  10. ^ "Le clip de Crystalline". Bjork.fr. 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  11. ^ "The Antville Music Video Awards 2011". Retrieved 12 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (17 March 2011). "Björk to Debut New 'Biophilia' Songs at Residency in England". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Young, Alex (17 March 2011). "Björk readies iPad album, Biophilia". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 
  14. ^ "Björk, Later 2011". Retrieved 27 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Brasil Hot 100 Airplay". Billboard Brasil (Brasil: bpp) (2): 100. August 2011. ISSN 977-217605400-2
  16. ^ "Brasil Hot Pop & Popular Songs". Billboard Brasil (Brasil: bpp) (2): 97. August, 2011. ISSN 977-217605400-2
  17. ^ "Björk - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  18. ^ "Top 100 Portugal". 
  19. ^ "2011 Top 40 Coalition Singles Archive". Official Charts Company. 6 August 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "Archive Chart: 2011-07-09" UK Indie Chart.
  21. ^ "Björk - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  22. ^ "Björk - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  23. ^ "bjork.com official shop". Retrieved 24 September 2011.