It’s Saturday morning here at the Wilderness. I’m lying in my tent, enjoying the breeze in the shade when I overhear a conversation from one of the surrounding tents. ‘It’s like coming across music from another galaxy. Even the notation… Did you notice the visuals matched the notes?’ one of the voices says. ‘Yea, she’s a true artist’ someone else nods in… The conversation carries on in superlatives for a while and of course they are talking about Bjork’s performance we all saw last night.
I don’t consider myself diehard Bjork fan to be honest. I’ve stupidly even missed the start of her sonically and visually stunning show, but what saw and heard seized me. The set consisted a lot of songs from her new record Vulnicura, but of course there was time for the good old hits too. Bjork’s vocals supported by a string orchestra, electronic beats and percussions were seamlessly moving between melancholic slow songs such as Lionsong or Family to the heavy, almost techno tunes. At times, they had me pinned to the ground, standing there lost in the sound not able to move. A minute later I would find myself uncontrollably banging my head to the beat of Army of Me and similar.
The brutality of Army of Me was also supported by footage of a small group of hornets attacking and killing out an entire colony of bees one by one, playing on the giant screen behind the stage. This is was not one of Bjork’s own original visuals, but somehow it seemed very fitting non the less. During all the songs from Vulnicura, each note of it was visualised on the screen using abstract geometric shapes, looking almost like a different way of writing music in a sheet.
Bjork was of course dressed up in one of her out-of-this-world costumes was moving around the stage, balancing on the border between her genius and madness and nobody could really tell what has been rehearsed and what was purely spontaneous. Combine all this together, add fireworks and a great Wilderness crowd and you have a vague idea of what it was like, although it’s probably hard to imagine if you haven’t seen it yourself. Or you know, if you’re not Bjork and you don’t have visions like this in your head.
Photos by Carsten Windhorst