Aural Fixation: On Björk: Biophilia Live and Metallica bio Into the Black
 Alibi V.23 No.45 • Nov 6-12, 2014 

Aural Fixation

From virus to solstice

I've always held Björk in high esteem as an artist. But after thrilling to her big-little-big voice for ages, I simply wasn't all that enthralled anymore. So I was reticent about screening her new concert film Björk: Biophilia Live. In three-plus decades on Earth, I've discovered my gut reactions are sometimes disturbingly wrong-headed. So I watched, and I listened. And I'm sheepishly admitting to once again being in Björk's thrall.

Biophilia Live's filmic world features breathtaking biological imagery, oh-so-creative post-production editing and a live performance of Björk’s sublime new album Biophilia. It’s one of the most stunning, evocative concert films I've ever seen. Collaboration with amazing live musicians—including a female Icelandic choir dressed in sequined, mesh and crushed velvet garb—is supplemented by five new instruments borne of Biophilia: the gravity pendulum harp, sharpsicord, MIDI-controlled pipe organ, gameleste and musical Tesla coils.

Visuals like dayglo genetic sequencing, pulsing starfish, blood vessels and a multitude of microbes are just the starting point for this inner space journey. Much of Biophilia's music is trademark Björk, but a more primal, industrial aesthetic emerges toward the end. Please be warned: Biophilia Live's A/V finale will move you ... perhaps literally. But Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE) isn't exactly known for its dance floor. Björk: Biophilia Live screens Friday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 9, at 4pm and 8:30pm. For more info visit (Samantha Anne Carrillo)

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Out of the blue and ...

Metallica is the heavy metal band that single-handedly destroyed Dave Mustaine’s career, conquered the metal world with standards like “Master of Puppets” and proved Kurt Cobain’s excursions into thrash on Bleach were more than a drunken anomaly.

New Metallica bio Into the Black: The Inside Story of Metallica (1991-2014) takes off where classic rock history tomes like Hammer of the Gods and No One Here Gets Out Alive left off, painting an ashy portrait of one of rocanrol’s darker, massively listenable entities.

Like the hagiographic predecessors mentioned above, Into the Black (Da Capo Press; hardcover; $26.99) does its utmost to portray a band to which its fans can relate: a group of men whose work is heroically attractive and mysteriously alluring. With chapter titles like “Don’t Tread on Me,” “Carpe Diem Baby” and “Broken, Beat and Scarred,” the book clearly has a specific audience in mind and uses that conceit to present their history in a mythic tone, albeit one aimed at beer-guzzling, head-banging Gen-Xers.

Writers Paul Brannigan and Ian Winwood, both Rolling Stone veterans and notable music critics, spend most of these pages describing and commenting on a world filled with screaming guitars, rotating drummers and infamous trips abroad into endless seas of undulating, adoring fans and perplexed radio promoters.

This is a readable, engaging biography, but it should be taken with the same sort of it's-only-rock-and-roll attitude that other pop culture reflections on the genre permit. As Metallica frontman James Hetfield was quoted with regard to the band's market positioning, “People think way too fucking much about our motivation.” To learn more visit (August March)