Bjork’s new album Vulnicura has unexpectedly been released on iTunes less than one week after its announcement. Just six days ago, the singer posted a handwritten note on her Facebook page unveiling details of her ninth record, but the release date has been pushed forward by over two months.

The surprise decision may not have been made for fully artistic reasons, after Stereogum reported over the weekend that the new album had been leaked. The rushed release would therefore almost certainly be a response to that. The CD and vinyl editions of Vulnicura are still scheduled for their original March 23rd release dates, we understand.

Distinctive singer Bjork has rushed out the release of new album 'Vulnicura' after online leaks

Bjork accompanied the surprise announcement with an open letter about the making of the record, which she described as a “complete heartbreak album”. Speaking of her ambitions for Vulnicura, she says “hopefully the songs could be a help, a crutch to others and prove how biological this process is: the wound and the healing of the wound. Psychologically and physically. It has a stubborn clock attached to it.”

More: Bjork announces new album ‘Vulnicura’

There’s still no word on whether Bjork will be undertaking any tours to promote Vulnicura, but she is scheduled to spend most of March in New York where she’ll be performing a series of six shows in the city. Two will take place at Carnegie Hall on March 7th and 14th, before moving to the City Center for the remainder on March 25th and 28th and April 1st and 4th.

She’ll be joined onstage by the album’s producer Arca during two of the shows (March 28th and April 4th). Real name Alejandro Ghersi, the prodigiously young Venezuelan whizz-kid worked on Kanye West’s Yeezus in 2013 and FKA twigs’ Mercury-nominated LP1 last year. He and Bjork made contact in 2013, and the singer had this to say about him in the same open letter "It is one of the most enjoyable collaboration I have had!"

Meanwhile, the first of Bjork’s series of NY gigs also sees the opening of an exhibition of the singer’s career, in the Museum of Modern Art in the same city.

More: Bjork’s ‘Biophilia’ album to be adopted into some European schools curriculums