Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk is nothing if not an otherworldly creature sent down to Earth from outer space to help us learn to properly use our eyes and our ears. It follows, then, that when pop music’s favourite alien-angel releases a new song – The Gate, which premieres today on Nowness, is the powerful debut release from her forthcoming new album, co-produced by Arca – it is for us to sit up, to look and to listen. “The Gate is essentially a love song,” Björk told Dazed magazine recently of the new release, “but I say ‘love’ in a more transcendent way. Vulnicura was about a very personal loss, and I think this new album is about a love that’s even greater. It’s about rediscovering love – but in a spiritual way, for lack of a better word.”
The Gate is almost choral in its intensity, an evocative ode to hope and transformation. And as we have been taught to expect from Björk, the corresponding video is similarly spectacular. It was created by the musician herself alongside longtime collaborators and visual artists Andrew Thomas Huang and James Merry, and none other than Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, and it takes the form of a hallucinogenic, kaleidoscopic trip through light and sound and geometric shape. “I am especially proud of this film as I feel it is a culmination of my five-year collaboration with Björk and James Merry,” Huang told Nowness. “It’s been such a nourishing three-way relationship and this film is the perfect synthesis of our brains and our hearts.”
Naturally, such an endeavour required a truly extraordinary centrepiece – which came courtesy of Michele, whose own creative fervour is similarly unparalleled. Björk’s holographic gown, which comprises many panels of concertina-pleated fabric in palm-like forms, is a singular Gucci creation the likes of which stores worldwide will never see. Twirling and writhing through the darkness, the dress refracts the “lightbeams” and “prisms” that its wearer sings of, conjuring images of the dancing creatures that inhabit her light-dappled universe with an optimism that feels hard-won after the suffering of Björk’s last album.
“The doorway lies within the wound from Vulnicura, which now appears transformed into a prismatic portal channeled between the chests of two lovers,” Huang continues. “Not lovers in the quotidian romantic sense, but in a broader cosmological way. As a throughway into Björk’s new album, The Gate is a declaration of hope sung by a woman refracted and re-formed into a luminous whole.” And who better to craft this refractive and luminous starring gown than Michele?