Björk has shared another single from her upcoming album Fossora before its September 30th release. This one, “Ancestress,” is one of two songs on the album the Icelandic artist wrote about her late mother.
“This song is a letter to my mother, her story seen from my point of view,” Björk wrote on Instagram. “It is written in chronological order, the first verse is my childhood and so on.” The track arrives with a mystical music video directed by Andrew Thomas Huang that seems to depict a memorial ceremony of sorts: “When I was a girl, she sang for me/ In falsetto lullabies, with sincerity,” Björk sings as she marches through a mountain range in an elaborate red gown and veil.
As the song progresses, Björk offers a poignant recollection of what it’s like to watch someone you love begin to die: “The machine of her breathed all night/ While she rested/ Revealed her resilience/ And then it didn’t.” Backed by majestic strings and grandiose gong, “Ancestress” feels incredibly ceremonial.
On the topic of family, Björk also discussed in a recent interview her choice to move back to Iceland full-time after nearly two decades of splitting her time between her native country and New York: “The violence in the USA is on a scale I can’t even fathom,” she said in a new cover story for Pitchfork. “And having a daughter that’s half-American in school [in New York], 40 minutes away from Sandy Hook… When we are here, I absorb all of Iceland. If one person is killed in the north, we all hurt. It’s an island mentality. In the States, just being a simple islander, all the violence was just too much for me.”
Aside from mass shootings and an epidemic of police brutality, she also recalled feeling “ruined” when Trump resigned from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017: “It’s the only time something happened on the news where I actually just broke down and cried,” she added, though she does see light at the end of the tunnel. “Everybody looks at [President Biden’s plans to lessen emissions], like, ‘No fucking way.’ But that’s how survival mechanisms work when everything is broken! We have to come up with some utopian shit, and if half of it comes true, great.”
As you can see from the “Ancestress” video, Iceland’s geography also looks pretty tempting right now. Listen to Björk’s latest single below.
Björk has also teased Fossora’s release with “Atopos” and “Ovule,” and she’s also been hosting a podcast series about her discography. She’s set to play Primavera Sound’s new Latin American festivals later this year.