I did not take this picture, I found it on the interweb. After some research I believe it is from PurplePR Music.
When they announced Bjork’s Biophlia for the Manchester International Festival we already had the tickets to LADOMA, our plane tickets, and some of the trip planned out. The only show we could fit in was on the day we arrived, a short 4 hours after landing. Again Morgan surprised me by saying he would go, not that I wouldn’t have gone by myself.
Biophilia, Bjork’s most recent album (review to come), grew into a multimedia project. Including a series of shows, a book, a documentary and a series of i-pad apps. The brass tacks of the project is to expose the melding of nature and technology to create music. She designed several instruments, stuff like gravity harps and a gameleste. And as if to prove the amorphous nature of her music, Bjork delayed the release date of the album so that she could change the sound so that it reflected the new life the music took on during the festival shows.
The show was at Campfield Market Hall, inside was a medium-sized square stage in the middle flanked by four sets of bleachers. The instruments were set up along the perimeter, one corner for the drum kit (Manu Delago) and one corner for Matt Robertson‘s electronics (including a reactable!). There was a ring of screens over the stage playing DNA/virus like visuals to a playlist of Bjork songs that wouldn’t be heard live that night. We found a spot on the bleachers closest to the drum kit and waited as the hall filled. When the lights went dark the crowd exploded. Bjork and the 24 piece choir filled about half the stage. With the theater in the round format you end up looking at a lot of back, that would be my only complaint about the show. Bjork and the choir did seem to have some loose choreography and did their best to work the crowd. Bjork sounded great in the venue, the slight echo of the market hall worked for her. The choir added that special etherial element that Bjork’s recordings often have. All the songs of Biophilia were played, some featuring the custom instruments and visuals that, I’m learning now, related to the i-pad app for each song. I was in love from the beginning with the singing tesla coil during “Thunderbolt”. The gravity harp used during “Solstice” was a dramatic way to end the main set. The set also had well curated selection of older songs, “Where Is The Line” and “Nattura” I will never forget.
Where is the line