26 août 1995

Reading Festival

Reading, Royaume-Uni

Vidéo backstage


Ice maiden is Bjond belief
She is so ubiquitous, so assimilated, that we sometimes need to be reminded of how strange Björk really is. So here is a reminder : Björk is very strange. She is peculiar from the top of her head (flung from side to side in a novel variation on standard headbanging technique) to the soles of her feet (bare and either tiptoeing, skipping or sprinting across the stage). Headlining the Reading Festival last Saturday night, she sported a sparkly pink Chinese dress. Presumably, she had given all those brown woollen jumpers she used to wear back to the jumble sale where she found them. But don’t be fooled by the new couture : she still dances and screams like a wild forest toddler who has been driven mad by sudden exposure to Nintendo games.
Rather more interesting, though, is the strangeness of her music, especially as it was arranged tonight. Sounds were thrown into unconventional formations, just as her astonishing voice sparks English vocabulary off an Icelandic accent. Which other song apart from “Isobel” could happily marry a solemn Baroque harpsichord and a jungle beat (thumping tribal drums, not a super-fast club rhythm) ? Which song but “Hyperballad” would juxtapose a squeaking accordion and a jungle beat (the club rhythm, not the tribal drums) ?
It doesn’t always work, of course. For ears attuned to music drawn from a mere 19 or 20 influences, say, Björk’s polyphonic sonic collages can sometimes be baffling. But considering that the best British pop groups are choking on beer fumes and stale cigarette smoke, any strangeness at all is such a breath of fresh air that you risk a dose of the bends. Visually, Ms Guðmundsdóttir had come prepared. At the end of her set a crane hauled a gigantic postage stamp, fizzing with sparklers, high above the stage. To follow, a firework display, as dazzling as the music. Bjond belief.

Nicholas Barber - The Independent


01. Le Petit Chevalier > Headphones
02. Army Of Me
03. Modern Things
04. Human Behaviour
05. Isobel
06. Venus As A Boy
07. Possibly Maybe
08. I Go Humble
09. Anchor Song
10. Hyperballad
11. Enjoy
12. I Miss You
13. Crying
14. Violently Happy
15. Big Time Sensuality
16. It’s Oh So Quiet

sur scène

  • Guy Sigsworth
  • Kobayashi ’Coba’ Yasuhiro
  • Leila Arab
  • Trevor Morais