In about a week, Björk will release her much-anticipated new album Fossora. This morning, after releasing the early songs “Atopos” and “Ovule,” Björk has shared a deep and expansive new track called “Ancestress. On Instagram, Björk writes that “Ancestress” is one of two songs on Fossora that’s about her mother. She goes on to explain that “Ancestress” “is written after her worldly funeral and is probably a common musician’s reaction, the impulse of making your version of the story, later.”
“Ancestress” is about seven minutes long, and it’s a strange and overwhelming piece of music, full of sweeping strings and bells and gongs. The song has its own sense of melody and meter, and it gives Björk a lot of room to consider her relationship with her mother. Early in the song, Björk sings about childhood memories: “When I was a girl, she sang for me/ In falsetto lullabies, with sincerity.” As the song continues, it becomes a poetic account of what it’s like to watch a loved one die.
Björk made the “Ancestress” video with director and frequent collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang, and it taps into the Jodorowsky school of mystical surrealism. In the clip, Björk, in an elaborate red veil, leads a troupe of dancers and musicians across a mountainous landscape in a sort of funeral rite. Watch it below.
Fossora is out 9/30 on One Little Independent.