The Independent on Sunday

Live Box

The genius of art-pop resides not, as is often supposed, in unusual trousers and close study of the life of Oscar Wilde, but in a musician’s willingness to take a basic pop structure and subject it to a lot of naughty formal tinkering. Art-pop is partly about attitude and style ; but it’s essentially about art. It is, if you like, a way of making pure formalism socially acceptable in a pop context. And of all the historical legatees of gloriana-period Bowie and Roxy, only Björk is worthy to play out of the same dressing-up box. Here’s more evidence : a four-CD (plus five-track DVD) set of live recordings, contrived rather cutely to remake the four studio albums on different dates and in a variety of languages and locations. Debut, Post, Homogenic and Vespertine emerge from the experience not only facelifted but deeply re-engineered to serve new purposes, generate new feelings. Post is vigorous and stark. Vespertine is utterly beautiful. Some listeners find Björk’s relentless self-curating as pretentious and irritating as her relentless self-stimulation. Your loss, loves. It’s the stuff of life.

Nick Coleman

publié dans The Independent on Sunday - 31.08.2003

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