Bjork is so many things to so many people. She’s a production futurist and a fearless songwriting rule-breaker. She’s a melder of fizzing electronics, orchestral sounds and the avant-garde, an activist, a keen technological forward-thinker and even a pretty good actress. One thing she’s not however is a R&B-pop chart-bait hit-maker. Or at least, she never sounded like one before. Not till John Hancock III got her hands on a cult favourite track of hers.
‘Unison’ in its original form sits at the end of ‘Vespertine’, her 2001 fifth studio album, and drifts along in grand swathes of glassy ambience: the Icelandic star’s velvetine voice surrounded by big strings and scuttering laptop percussion. 10K Islands’ Hancock takes it in another direction. Out goes the breathy ambience and cathedral sized choral backing vocals. In comes a breezy summer groove and sway akin to Smokey Robinson through tropical pop goggles. “It’s probably my favourite love song ever – this great story of love pulling an introvert outside of themselves,” says John, whose last single ‘Give It Out’ sounded like LCD Soundsystem getting a life-coaching lesson from Drake at his most forlorn. “Her beats, her arrangements, her evolving production concepts…everything she is as a producer and a leader in the making of music I love.”
Oh yeah, and the artwork? That’s Hancock’s daughter, June. “My mother-in-law, Sue, took a stuffed swan and a tutu and made it into a dress in under five minutes,” says John. “We set up a little shoot in the studio while finishing the track and got my baby looking like Bjork. She was not feeling the wig, so big ups to Luke Moellman for not just being a stellar co-producer but also a quality Sears level baby photographer.”
The single, out today, is the last in our month of covers, celebrating hitting the quarter mark in our year-long every-Friday-a-single rollout. It’s back to regularly scheduled programming next week. Till then amigos, listen to ‘Unison’ above and give John a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. See you next Friday, folks.