Björk Suggests Journalists Look At Album Credits, Their Own Latent Sexism

In a note titled “Time To Put It Right,” Björk sets the record straight about who did what on Vespertine. She posted the message at her site on Friday after reading a story in Iceland’s English language paper The Grapevine that incorrectly credited Valgeir Sigurðsson with writing all the instrumentals on the 2001 collection.

i have noticed last 7 years that mr. sigurðsson has often been credited for either writing or producing that album. i’d like to say that he didn’t write it or produce. he was a computer programmer for a third of it and a recording engineer for a third. The other two thirds were done by other engineers and programmers.

After saying she doesn’t understand “where that misunderstanding has come from,” she offers four options for what might’ve caused it. Pitchfork shows ups twice.

could be one of four options:

1: the pop critics of this world have not totally yet worked out the difference between engineering, programming, writing and producing electronic music. visually this appears very similar. a man/woman sitting in front of a computer. not as different as for example a drummer, a brass arranger and an engineer. but these are 3 completely different jobs which journalists must start to see the difference

2: it could be that this is some degree of sexism. m.i.a. had to deal with this with the respected website where they assumed that diplo had produced all of her kala album without reading any credit list or nothing, it just had to be, it couldn’t have been m.i.a. herself! it feel like still today after all these years people cannot imagine that woman can write, arrange or produce electronic music. i have had this experience many many times that the work i do on the computer gets credited to whatever male was in 10 meter radius during the job. people seem to accept that women can sing and play whatever instrument they are seen playing. but they cannot program, arrange, produce, edit or write electronic music .

3: i’ll admit that one thing could confuse things: people have to use their ears and actually read the creditlist to get this information. all the music i have made: like for example string arrangements, synthbasslines or programming of electronic patterns, i never play myself live because i want to give 100% of myself into the singing i either ask the computers to play it or i get other musicians to play it. this could confuse things .

4: one thing that could have kept this misunderstanding alive is that neither me nor valgeir sigurðsson have bothered to correct it

but i am doing it now

i hope this correction will be a positive input into more discussion about this


p.s. just read that credited nico muhly for the choir arrangement of “hidden place” from vespertine. also that he has done string arrangements for me. this is not true. journalists: please read the creditlist before you write your articles

If you want to see for yourself who did what on Vespertine, there’s a direct link to the credit list in Björk’s update. (Note: Valgeir Sigurðsson did not contribute anything to Enjoyed.)

UPDATE: Pitchfork responds.

[Photo by Erez Sabag]

Tags: Björk