Cosmogony (song)

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Cosmogony Björk Cover.jpg
Single by Björk
from the album Biophilia
  • "Crystalline"
  • "Thunderbolt"
ReleasedJuly 19, 2011
LabelOne Little Indian
  • Bjork
  • Sjón
Björk singles chronology

"Cosmogony" is a song by Icelandic artist Björk, released as the second single from her eighth album Biophilia. The song was released on iTunes on July 19, 2011. It was also released as an app, which served as the "mother app" for the Biophilia app. It was released as part of The Crystalline Series alongside the first single from the album "Crystalline" on CD and vinyl.

Development and composition[edit]

In January 2011, when the app Solar System by Touch Press was released, it was accompanied by an instrumental introduction written by Björk. This song was the instrumental version of "Cosmogony". In March 2011[1] 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.

"Cosmogony" is a calm and warm song, marking the link between the previous Björk project, Volta and Biophilia, using distorted brass, but in a much more intimate soft way. It has a time signature 4/4, and runs at a slow tempo of 60 beats per minute. The lyrics to "Cosmogony" are also far from the rest of the songs on the album, while those are focused on technic or metaphoric facts about a natural phenomenon, the "Cosmogony" lyrics turn into a philosophic view, based on several myths about the creation of the universe. Björk explained:

Björk also considers the song as some kind of joke, branding the Big Bang theory as a 20th-century creation myth:



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.

"Cosmogony" is the "mother app" that consists of the main menu of all of the other apps connected to Biophilia. Visually, it is a 3D universe designed by M/M (Paris) that can be explored that includes shortcuts to the rest of the apps.

Live performances[edit]

Björk debuted all songs from Biophilia 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.[3][4]

Björk performed "Cosmogony", alongside "Crystalline" and "Thunderbolt" 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.[5] On January 31, 2012, Björk performed "Cosmogony" live on The Colbert Report, wearing an Iris Van Herpen blue dress and a red wig.[6] She sang the song accompanied by Icelandic choir Graduale Nobili, snare drum and percussion played by Chris Thompson, and a set of iPads that produced beats, played by Max Weisel. Her performance was well received by critics who deemed it as "heavenly"[6] and "pretty euphoric".[7]

Track listing[edit]

Official versions[edit]

  • Album version – 5:01
  • Serban Ghenea Mix – 4:51
  • Matthew Herbert Mix 1 – 5:04
  • Matthew Herbert Mix 2 – 4:17
  • Matthew Herbert Instrumental 1 – 5:05
  • Matthew Herbert Instrumental 2 – 4:15
  • El Guincho Remix – 6:21 released on Part 3 of the Biophilia Remix Series
  • MIF live version – 5:24 (Biophilia: Manual Edition CD2)
  • Brass Instrumental version – 2:58 (released in early 2011 to accompany the Solar System App)


Chart (2011) Peak
Iceland (RÚV)[8] 23
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[9] 31
US Dance/Electronic Digital Songs (Billboard)[10] 44

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
Worldwide[11] July 19, 2011 (2011-07-19) "Cosmogony" 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


  1. ^ Collett-White, Mike (2011-03-17). "Snoop Dogg, Bjork to star at Manchester Festival". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-24.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Perpetua, Matthew (17 March 2011). "Björk to Debut New 'Biophilia' Songs at Residency in England". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  4. ^ Young, Alex (17 March 2011). "Björk readies iPad album, Biophilia". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 17 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Björk, Later 2011". Archived from the original on 6 December 2011. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b Matheson, Whitney (2012-02-01). "Video: Stephen Colbert gets up close with Bjork". USA Today. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  7. ^ Bleggi, Doug. "Watch Björk perform 'Cosmogony' and get interviewed by Stephen Colbert". Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Björk Chart History". RÚV. Retrieved August 31, 2017.
  9. ^ "Official Independent Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company.
  10. ^ "Björk - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  11. ^ " official shop". Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.