- The Icelandic superstar headlines one of the UK's most spectacular venues.
- In a contemporary landscape that often takes a binary approach towards nature and technology, Björk's headline performance for Eden Sessions—the last of seven summer concerts at Cornwall's Eden Project—was a marriage between artist and venue that reminded us that the world need not be split in two. Nestled between the former china clay pit's two biomes, the yearly environmentally-focussed event series began shortly after the opening of the site in 2001. The decision to book Björk so soon after the release of Utopia felt like a particularly strong one.
Arriving at The Eden Project, a mirage of sequins and glitter was the exact microclimate I expected. It was hard to spot the difference between the native Cornish eco devotees, the stage performers wandering pre-show and the dedicated audience members—one of whom told me she'd travelled from Italy. The crowd spanned every age group, sharing a common thread of eccentricity and graciousness.
It's aways been refreshing that Björk stays up to date with the underground's brightest new acts. Klein's opening set fused performance art, experimentalism and humour with a confidence that has soared since the first time I saw her play only ten months ago. Underneath the layers of sonic complexity in an almost musique concrète set, there was laughter, playful choreography and reflective costume that the audience couldn't help but smile at.
Next up was Lanark Artefax. The music sounded great, though I couldn't help but feel that the daylight expanse of the former quarry broke down the fourth wall of his live set, where lighting plays such a key role. Nonetheless, by the time he finished up at dusk, I felt waves of goosebumps as the bass heavy euphoria of "Touch Absence" emerged out of the smoke.
A blanket of silence fell over the crowd as Björk, dressed in a neon exoskeleton getup, entered the stage on a rotating podium of foliage. She was joined by the Icelandic flute septet Viibra, one member of which was birthed out of an inflatable flower that opened up as giant roses bloomed in time to ecstatic opener "Awaken My Senses." The setlist was dedicated to a career-long infatuation with nature, its sonic fluidity only broken when cross-pollinated with lyrically relevant hits such as "Isobel" and "Human Behaviour," whose four-on-the-floor rhythms felt like a (albeit slightly jarring) breath of fresh air among the deconstructed beats. Despite the older tracks, the lens always refocussed back to Björk's fascination with the world's climate as it is now.
The concert felt too meticulously rehearsed at times, which is perhaps only to be expected for an artist so dedicated to the conceptual. Acts as iconic as Björk are often put on a pedestal where people forget that there's a human being underneath the performance, but, on Saturday, things were ruptured by small moments of joyful imperfection that kept the audience engaged. At one point, she laughed as she slipped up and repeated the tongue-twister lyric "relentlessly restless" during "Wanderlust." Within The Eden Project's natural amphitheatre, the meaning of the words rang particularly true.
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