Relationships end. Children grow up. Mothers cry, often grappling for new reasons for and by which to exist. When the mother is Karin Dreijer-Andersson (Fever Ray, and one half of The Knife) or Björk, it is not surprising that the tumult of their post-breakup worlds would be processed through their art.
Björk turned inwards to a prismatic, multimedia world of isolation on her album Vulnicura, perhaps clearly stating that she was indeed finally alone again. Utopia followed two years later as less of a declaration of her separation, but more of a processing of the new life she was coming to own. Dreijer-Andersson, on the other hand, dropped the hyphenate, brought back her Fever Ray persona – one that was originally presented to process the isolation and hardships of motherhood – hit up Tinder in Berlin, reconfigured their sexual and gender identities, and got to fucking their way through the transition.
Each human chose her own public path as they embarked on their new, personal life phases. Either way, the prolific Scandinavian mother artists found in one another fertile, common ground from which to spawn fascinating new creations. Enter their remixes of one another’s tracks, “Feature Creatures” (Utopia), and “This Country Makes it Hard to Fuck” (Plunge), by Björk and Fever Ray respectively (all via Mute Records).
Predictably intense, if not insane, Björk tackles Fever Ray’s track and ups the fervor by zeroing in on the harshest aural aspects of the original…then laces her vocals around Dreijer’s shrills. The result is a stark, unforgiving experience that likens itself to breaking teeth on cement in slow-motion, yet with a fecund, multi-layered undertow that could only be brought by Björk amidst the madness.
Dreijer gets two entirely different shots at Björk’s track. The first is remixed by them as Fever Ray, the second includes their brother Olof, collectively as The Knife. The latter duo, while unpredictable, had a knack for lending a more pop-savvy electronic aura to any strange project they chose to take on. The remix is no exception, and comes together as a perfect combination of their upbeat, danceable frame of mind, mixed with Björk’s deeply internal, sometimes emotionally overwhelming landscapes.
Fever Ray, takes a moodier approach to “Feature Creatures” by comparison, and injects the original track with more of a beat-driven framework…yet allows Björk’s most intense feelings to weirdly shine through.
From these two exquisitely iconoclastic minds, of course, one should expect nothing less. But still…good lord.