I just came back from New York for the Biophilia Concerts and was blown away by the power of her performance that, at times, had me in tears. Marching from end to end of the 360 degree stage, with the 24 choir girls of Graduale Nobili following in otherworldly accompaniment, her songs tell an entrancing story of the power of nature and our ability to connect to her through technology.
Since the start of her solo career, Björk has consistently conveyed the message of electronic music as a means to connect to our humanity. Before Biophilia, her albums told personal stories–ones we can all relate to–of love, alienation, disappointment, wonder. Now, taking on nature itself as a topic, Björk in a way becomes more personal, letting us into how her own mind works, as in the song Crystalline, visualized as an 80′s style tunnel video game. The app (and concert visuals) are not just a clever idea, but a visualization of how Björk herself sees music when listening to it, with tunnels whose shape and sides correspond to the music’s tempo and structure.
The stage show is accompanied by video visuals that Snibbe Interactive produced, including eight tilted projections ringing the stage like a mandala facing down to envelop the audience. Depending on the song, these screens show imagery from the apps themselves (being “in the app” according to Björk); imagery from nature documentaries, including amazing Antarctic underwater time-lapse photography; and BBC visualizations of Earth’s tectonic plates. Several songs are accompanied by original floor projections, such as Cosmogony’s “reverse big bang” where thousands of galaxies gradually collapse onto Björk’s central singing figure; or the accompaniment of bass-line intros with cymatics imagery, as if the stage had become a giant vibrating plate.
The concert is accompanied by a residency and educational program at the New York Hall of Scienceincluding a feature-length Biophilia movie made from all-app imagery projected in the Hall’s digital theater.
There’s one show remaining in New York on March 5 and a few tickets still available. Don’t miss it!
And read the New York Times Review “Through the Wormhole With Björk.”