FEATURE: Violently Happy in This Post-Utopia: Björk’s Studios Albums on Cassette: Her Five Essential Releases to Own



Violently Happy in This Post-Utopia: Björk’s Studios Albums on Cassette

 IMAGE CREDIT: @bjork  

Her Five Essential Releases to Own


GOOD news for Björk fans because...



she has announced her studio albums will be released on tape! It is not only great for her fans – such as myself – but it will capture the imagination of other artists. Some might say it is a bit of nostalgia and who really owns a cassette player in this time? I must admit it is quite tricky getting hold of a stereo tape deck but I think it is great we get to see these multi-coloured Björk albums available in a nice bundle. You can order your favourite albums or you can get hold of the lot. Here, as Tiny Mix Tapes explain, 26th April is an exciting date to put in your diaries!

 “Here’s what you can get: DebutPost, HomogenicVespertineMedúllaVoltaBiophiliaVulnicura, and Utopia (R.I.P. Selmasongs) individually or in a bundle as stunning colored cassettes. They’ll look incredible on your shelves! (Or, more realistically, the Discogs Marketplace.)

For fans who love Björk as much as they love inconvenience, lack of durability, and low fidelity, you can pre-order one or all of the cassettes here, with an official release date of April 26. Individual tapes cost £8.99, while the bundle will run you £69.99, which Google tells me is currently equivalent to 92.91 United States Dollars (or 10,972.77 Icelandic Króna!), which is honestly a steal”.

I do think that, following Björk’s announcement, more artists need to get involved with cassettes. I will definitely be buying Post and Debut on cassette and I would love to see other bands and artists do the same.

It is not mere nostalgia and a way to accrue new interest in her back catalogue. Instead, we get to see her work in a new light and, against digital onslaught, this is a way we can truly cherish her albums. I think I still have a cassette player somewhere but, at any rate, I can see a new interest in tapes. Vinyl is healthy and we are still crazy about that but, with the decline in cassette sales, many of us are either buying records or going digital. There is the problem with cassettes and the plastic: if an alternative material could replace plastic then I can see more people buying them. I would love to see The Beatles’ catalogue back on cassette and a limited edition run of tapes from someone like Joni Mitchell. There are endless possibilities and artist options and I think Björk will definitely start a bit of a wave. It has been twenty-six years since her Debut release and, since then, she has released some of the most arresting records ever. It might be a bit pricey buying all her albums but, if you want an affordable bundle of five, I have picked the ones you need. Every Björk album is full of life and interest but, with so many cool and colourful cassettes about to come out, here are the five...


THAT you’ll want to snap up.

ALBUM COVERS: Spotify/Getty Images




Release Date: 5th July, 1993

Labels: One Little Indian/Elektra

Producers: Nellee Hooper/Björk 

Key Cuts: Venus as a Boy/Big Time Sensuality/Violently Happy


Björk's playful energy ignites the dance-pop-like "Big Time Sensuality" and turns the genre on its head with "There's More to Life Than This." Recorded live at the Milk Bar Toilets, it captures the dancefloor's sweaty, claustrophobic groove, but her impish voice gives it an almost alien feel. But the album's romantic moments may be its most striking; "Venus as a Boy" fairly swoons with twinkly vibes and lush strings, and Björk's vocals and lyrics -- "His wicked sense of humor/Suggests exciting sex" -- are sweet and just the slightest bit naughty. With harpist Corky Hale, she completely reinvents "Like Someone in Love," making it one of her own ballads. Possibly her prettiest work, Björk's horizons expanded on her other releases, but the album still sounds fresh, which is even more impressive considering electronic music's whiplash-speed innovations. Debut not only announced Björk's remarkable talent; it suggested she had even more to offer” – AllMusic

Standout Track: Human Behaviour


Release Date: 13th June, 1995

Labels: One Little Indian/Elektra

Producers: Nellee Hooper/Björk/Graham Massey/Tricky/Howie B

Key Cuts: Hyperballad/It’s Oh So Quiet/Isobel


On Björk second solo album, Post, the ex-Sugarcube finds a bizarre and irresistible connecting point between industrial-disco, ambient-trance, and catchy synth pop. She even shoehorns in a big-band number, though few will confuse the Icelandic pixie — with her otherworldly lyrics and supernatural pipes — with Peggy Lee. Luckily, there’s a conviction to Björk’s delivery and an assurance to her hooks that make her most surreal passages as relatable as moon-June standards. Ultimately, she reinvents that tradition, constructing standards for the cyber age” – Entertainment Weekly

Standout Track: Army of Me


Release Date: 22nd September, 1997

Labels: One Little Indian/Elektra

Producers: Mark Bell/Björk/Guy Sigsworth/Markus Dravs/Howie B

Key Cuts: Hunter/Bachelorette/Alarm Call


Björk’s voice is, without question, the life force of this music. You can hear her finding a new confidence on “Unravel”: The edge of her voice is as jagged as the lid of a tin can, her held tones as slick as black ice. A diligent student could try to transcribe her vocals the way jazz obsessives used to notate Charlie Parker’s solos, and you’d still come up short; the physical heft and malleability of her voice outstrips language” – Pitchfork  

Standout Track: All Is Full of Love


Release Date: 20th January, 2015

Labels: One Little Indian/Megaforce/Sony

Producers: Björk/Arca/The Haxan Cloak

Key Cuts: Lionsong/Black Lake/Mouth Mantra


On History of Touches, a nostalgic litany of old intimacies is backed by a series of weirdly muted electronic explosions; Mouth Mantra, a song about escaping the numbness of a relationship’s end and finding your voice again sounds like a sudden gushing of pent-up sounds, exploding from a waltz into sonic chaos.

The album ends with Quicksand, a song on which a relatively positive, life-must-go-on sentiment – “Hackle this darkness/ Up to the light … When we’re broken we are whole” – feels undermined by its nervous rhythm. It sounds like a breakbeat with some essential workings missing: it moves forward, but refuses to swing in the way it should. This is a fitting conclusion to an album that begins, on Stonemilker, with Björk’s frank admission: “I better document this.” You could say there’s something gimlet-eyed about a woman who realises her relationship is collapsing and automatically thinks: still, great material. But it’s nothing if not honest. And besides, on the evidence of Vulnicura, she has a point” – The Guardian

Standout Track: All Is Full of Love



Release Date: 24th November, 2017

Label: One Little Indian

Producers: Björk/Arca/Rabit

Key Cuts: Blissing Me/Utopia/Tabula Rasa


The electrifying Tabula Rasa is even more specific, speaking of Björk’s “deepest wish”. “We are swollen from hiding his affairs,” Björk mourns as flutes sigh. She wants to wipe the slate clean. “Tabula rasa for my children/ Not repeating the fuck-ups of the fathers/ For us women to rise and not just take it lying down.” Later, the discussion widens out, away from the personal. “Embarrassed to pass this mess on to you,” Björk aches. Eventually, rain falls.

Traditionalists might still wonder where all the nice steady beats have gone, why so little music here is anchored. The dominant message, though, is of limitlessness, of hope and, on Future Forever, of “a matriarchal dome” with “musical scaffolding” – The Guardian

Standout Track: The Gate