AAC-M4A download link: - https://www.mediafire.com/file/n18ktoradrgjcm9/ - Björk:
Live @ Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, USA,
NYC, USA, 2nd Night, May, 12th (12-05-1998)
Rehearsal Soundcheck Setlist:
01. Isobel (Rehearsal Soundcheck)
02. All Neon Like (Rehearsal Soundcheck)
03. All Neon Like (2nd Rehearsal Soundcheck)
04. You ve Been Flirting Again
06. All Neon Like
07. Possibly Maybe
09. Come To Me
10. Five Years
11. Venus As A Boy
13. Human Behavior
14. Violently Happy
18. Play Dead
Sagas of the Future from the Icelandic Diva
With her forehead and the bridge of her nose painted white and her matching vinyl dress equipped with pleated wings, Björk Guðmundsdóttir accomplished her latest metamorphosis at the Hammerstein Ballroom Monday night. “I don’t recognize myself,” sang the cutting-edge Icelandic diva as an eight- piece string section conjured a lush grove entangled by the beats and blips emerging from Mark Bell’s bank of machines. “This is very interesting.”
Exploring the mutations of the human experience is Björk’s prime directive as an artist. She has become one of pop’s primary musical innovators by connecting electronic dance music to vocal traditions ranging from folk ballads to torch songs. Her latest album, “Homogenic” (Elektra), surprised the seemingly indefatigable dance-club crowd with meditative tracks that forced listeners to sit down and look inward.
For much of her set she continued in this quiet vein, letting the strings and Mr. Bell’s carefully constructed soundscapes guide her vocal phrasing. She sang of being nourished by the music’s soft distortion ; in “Explode,” her scratchy wail seemed to merge with Mr. Bell’s machines. Older songs, like “Isobel,” were stretched out into shapes dictated by the string section, with the circular dance beats submerged in the mix.
This mysterious marriage of elements complemented Bjork’s carefully modulated yet raw singing style. She moved outside the usual structures of verse-chorus-verse, trying both repetition and distended vocal lines to get at more complicated emotional narratives. Material from her first album, 1993’s “Debut,” offered dance-club fare that was more easily understood but ultimately less intriguing.
Her music’s evolution has served Bjork’s thematic focus. She is a student of modern mythology, connecting ancient folkloric subjects to futuristic scenarios. Her lyrics often recall science fiction or rustic tales, echoing the music’s blend of old folk melodies and hi-tech rhythms. Bodies burst ; hearts unravel into skeins of yarn ; Bjork throws car parts and cutlery off a mountaintop at dawn, the controlled chaos of their fall making her feel safe enough to live at such a great height. These little fables trace the internal aspects of her journey through a landscape in which the timeless—intense emotion and the wisdom of tradition—meshes with the new.
For this show, Björk created a habitat that evoked the music’s journey to the center of her mind. A filmy backdrop with shards of color sewn in, augmented by ribbons of cellophane, served as a screen for watery, abstract projected images. The effect was both ethereal, causing a dreamy mood, and fleshly, as if these images were coming from inside someone’s body.
Refusing to separate the carnal, the psychological and the supernatural in the same way that she disregards differences in musical genres, Björk creates a total environment. Entering into it is always a heady experience. On Monday night the crowd was prepared by the winsome electronics of Mu-Ziq (Mike Paradinas). Still, when Björk took the stage and spread her synthetic wings, the atmosphere utterly belonged to her.
Ann Powers - New York Times
The Luminous Beam
“State of emergency is where I want to be,” Björk sang over and over in her encore at Hammerstein Ballroom last week, but that’s just where she’d been for the previous hour and a half. Working her vocal range like a DJ scratching and fading vinyl, she never merely sang, she shaped noise. She shouted, she whispered, she crooned, she shredded lyrics and rewove them in midair. She moved beyond language, beyond words to create a buzzing, burbling, weirdly thrilling soundscape—a place you could lose yourself in for days. “I don’t recognize myself,” she sang, and we knew just what she meant.
In a funny little white leather Jeremy Scott dress with pleated, bat-wing sleeves, she was Alice in Wonderland as Merlin the Magician, lost in spaces that only she could have imagined. Björk has always seemed to inhabit a world of her own, part twee fantasyland, part gnarly fun house. For the Hammerstein show, the stage was transformed into an underwater scene with a backdrop of flimsy scarves that fluttered like seaweed. Foaming billows of cellophane hung high above the singer, clear streamers dangled around her, and she bobbed before liquid projections. But because Björk is not entirely at home in swoony psychedelia, the tranquilized mood was repeatedly undercut by blackouts and shattered by harsh spotlights trained out into the audience. Björk thrives in this gap between comfort and unease, sweet and sour, lulling us and jolting us by turns. She knows the drama of extremes and the excitement when they mesh. On one side of the stage was an atoll of strings ; on the other, Mark Bell and a craggy mountain of synthesizers. Scampering between them, Björk appeared to mix sound with a wave of her wings, sending jagged keyboard shards crunching through the violins like a crosscut saw through silk.
“I thought I could organize freedom/How Scandinavian of me,” Björk confesses in “Hunter,” and clearly she’s learned to let go. But, onstage and on her records, she’s also learned how to turn chaos to her own ends. She wills herself to lose control. She strides into a song tentatively, or forcefully, then lets it take her and toss her voice every which way. Listening to her, the rush of release is exhilaratingly physical ; watching her, you long to be equally possessed. But if Björk’s hyperemotionality edges into gorgeous mess, it never goes there. She might skewer her songs with raw, crashing synths, but her vocals remain meticulously orchestrated, operatic even when frayed. This tiny gamine, buffeted by sweet cacophony at center stage, only rides a whirlwind when she can hold the reins real tight.
Because she sings about transformation, metamorphosis, it often comes as a surprise that Björk’s also singing love songs. Even when you pay close attention, the songs tend to dissolve and bubble away, leaving phrases to float through the brain : “Don’t get angry with yourself,” “emotional landscapes,” “You can’t handle love.” One song on her latest album, Homogenic (Elektra), is composed entirely of what seem to be overheard quotes, most memorably “I’m no fucking Buddhist but this is enlightenment.” No matter. Björk turns words into atmosphere—bursts of sensibility that use language as freely as they use sound. In “5 Years,” when she bites into the line “I’m so bored of cowards,” her anger is bracing ; she turns the word cowards into a chewed-up piece of garbage and tosses it into a pot of boiling synths. In “All Neon Like,” she promises, “I’ll heal you,” but follows it, “with a razorblade, I’ll cut a slit open and the luminous beam feeds you honey.” Her luminous has nearly eight shimmering syllables. Tossed on wave upon wave of now brittle, now honeyed synth combustions and those impossibly lovely strings, Björk’s lyrics are as ephemeral as smoke, as vivid as a lightning bolt—and sometimes as illuminating.
“Excuse me, but I just have to explode this body,” she tells us, matter-of-factly. Go on, girl. She already knows how to explode a song. At the Hammerstein, she could have been Liza Minelli channeling Lotte Lenya, tossing out crisp little Thank yous in between flights of speaking in tongues. She’s Venus as a girl— or a mermaid, a sprite, a friendly alien. She’s the smallest thing onstage, but she fills the whole room. Who could imagine this ? Perhaps only someone yearning to be violently happy and create a soundtrack for the neverending process.
Vince Aletti - The Village Voice
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