Icelandic songstress is simply breathtaking

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Bjork : London Shepherd's Bush Empire

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Bjork : London Shepherd’s Bush Empire

May 27 2003

Bjork drifts across the cosmos, white yarn unravelling from a hole in her back. How Scandinavian of her. She looks thirty feet long. She is thirty feet long: beamed up on the backdrop while her mini, real self cavorts below in a pink puffy ballgown and oversized remembrance poppy combo, matching eyeshadow smeared warpaint-like across her face. It’s hard to decide which of the two looks the most spectacular.

Business as usual for the celestial diva, then. With the help of harpist Zeena Parkins and San Franciscan sound sculptors Matmos, who’ve fashioned lithe, subtle beats from the sounds of cracking ice and shuffled cards, her Bjorkness is moving ever closer to her ultimate dream. A breathtaking fusion of tradition and progress, of electronica and steam, of classical beauty in a groundbreaking frame.

The best songs tonight are gloriously impossible to dance to. Old favourites like ‘Joga’ and ‘Hunter’ swell with the orchestra, Bjork‘s magical voice pirouetting in mid air, while the new ‘Desired Constellation’ is light years away from the fashionability of her debut. As she sings on another rare song, “Nature is ancient but surprises us all.” Even in such familiarly magnificent form, Bjork in a heartbeat.

Ian Watson