Voltaic: Paris, France

Concert Film Of Bjork’s Volta Tour. Starring: Bjork & Company…
Voltaic: Paris, France

Not being a fan of most concert films I usually watch them with a large grain of salt. I tend to find myself let down. However, in the case of Bjork’s newest release, Voltaic, I found myself pleasantly surprised.

Voltaic has been released in various packaging. You can find it solo on CD, a CD/DVD package and a Limited Edition two CD/two DVD version as well. FANCY! I would highly recommend the Limited Edition package for the most Bjork for your buck. It contains the studio recording, the Volta mixes [featuring mixes by RATATAT, MODESELEKTOR and SIMIAN MOBILE DISCO], two concert films [Paris, France and Reykjavik, Iceland], and the Volta music videos.

In this instance I viewed the Paris, France concert. There are no pre-show/post-show scenes here. This is a straightforward documentation of the Paris, France stage performance. And for that I am not complaining in the least. The sound and vision of any Bjork video or performance is hardly ever a let down. This document stands as firmly as the rest.

We find our pint-sized pixie princess clad in a multi-colored contraption of a dress that kept reminding me of a newly born butterfly unfolding its wings as it emerges from its cocoon. Which also happened to be trimmed with rainbow colors, a personal favorite of mine. Her Volta-themed aesthetic adorns her forehead with grease paint that only becomes more glossy with her increasing sweat. She’s a tiny thing, but mighty!

She travels with a tribe. The tribe is composed of brass players. They are all girls. At least they all appear girlish. And somewhat geekish to an extent. I say this because they give the impression of slightly awkward high school band members [aren’t they all?]. They too have VOLTA stamped on their foreheads and their own smattering of color on their dresses. And strapped to their back, like lighting rods, they each have a flag that waves and bobs (as they tend to do) throughout the concert. At one point they form a half circle around Bjork while playing their various horns, a fairy ring gauntlet of sorts.

Bjork continues her token “thank you” after songs throughout the concert. Except in this instance it’s mostly “merci” on account of it being France and all. I found this very entertaining, as she is very entertaining. And, as per usual, no shoes. The girl prances around the stage in all her gnomish glee sans shoes, another thing I find entertaining about her.

From this small creature comes this large voice. The pipes are strong in this one. She really knows how to put on a show. Dramatic lighting, lasers, fire, exploding confetti cannons and a costume change. Gee whiz, what a gal!

The reinterpretation of her material with each passing phase of her career is something I’ve always found enduring about her as an artist. She’s not afraid to play around with her songs. This keeps her live performances fresh and alive.

Helping her accomplish this feat are various talents. There are two gentlemen on electronics, including the use of a ReacTable. A ReacTable can only be described as something out of Star Wars. Basically it’s a round puck of a table that has a sensitive top. When special computer-sensitive devices are placed on its surface it makes sound. And that’s not even beginning to describe its ultra futuristic look and usage. Just watch!

Also, a keyboardist and a drummer. The drummer is extremely impressive. He seems to have everything but the kitchen sink over there to make sound with. Pay attention to the things he uses and where he places them.

Unless you were at the concert you probably wouldn’t get the full tactile experience of live music. Unless you had the pleasure of seeing Voltaic screened in a theatre that had a booming sound system, as I did. And as you may have guessed, the theatre was filled with many Bjork uber fans. Throughout the screening people were singing along and even applauding after songs. It felt, at times, as if I were watching the movie in interactive 3D sound, Analog fans right next to virtual ones. Give yourself a “real” treat and give this a look and a listen.

Posted by:
Joey Jenkins
Jul 13, 2009 2:45pm
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