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Anything further away from a tango than Icelandic artist Björk would be difficult to imagine. Singer, actress, producer; Björk marches to her own beat and nobody else’s. As her pop career moved from house and techno music, she turned a corner with a more experimental 2001 album called Vespertine, using overlays of vocals, chamber orchestras and random sounds. It became a classic of its genre and provides the inspiration for a new live release from the Nationaltheater Mannheim working with Danish art collective Hotel Pro Forma, Vespertine, a Pop Album as an Opera. Interestingly, the work includes no electronic element at all, the whole piece being completely acoustic, and its washes of sound are quite astonishing. What it does miss is Björk’s unique voice, which somehow blends the innocent tones of a child with the wisdom of an old woman. And the story doesn’t help, new-age twaddle about a scientist pondering the origins of life before creating it herself in the form of a ‘cloud boy’. It is performed with sincerity and offers some beautiful moments, but the production photos in the booklet make one wonder whether this would have been better released on film.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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