Sunday, 12 April 2009

Royksopp and Fever Ray at the Ether Festival

On Saturday night I was privelaged enough to get tickets to see Royksopp and Fever Ray at the Ether Festival at London's Southbank Centre.

We started the evening off by meeting up with the lovely Peaches (as in Teaches of Peaches/Fuck the Pain Away, not the annoying Geldof variety) and being treated to the premier of the short film "The Delian Mode", directed by Kara Blake. The documentary focuses on the work of Delia Derbyshire and her work at the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop. Deryshire's most well-known piece of work being the chilling and distinctive Doctor Who theme song. The whole film was totally inspirational, revealing the Derbyshire's troubled genius and the extraordinary process she went through to create her music; including the complex mathematical systems she used to create her music, and the huge number of hours she'd put into hand splicing tape - often running the tape along the Maida Vale's corridors at night in order to work with it undisturbed.

Here's a clip from a BBC 4 documentary featuring Delia...

After the we settled down in the Royal Festival Hall to witness Fever Ray's only UK performance. For those of you that don't know; Fever Ray is Karin Dreijer Andersson's (from The Knife) side project. Being a massive fan of The Knife I knew how big-a-deal it is to catch Karin playing live (The Knife have only played in London once before EVER (to my knowledge)). Both Karin and her brother Olof Dreijer hid behind screens and masks when performing live as The Knife, and nothing's changed with Fever Ray. Although, half way through the show Karin did take off her mask for a few songs, neither her or the other musicians on the stage were ever lit up. The costume, stage and lighting design were all created by Andreas Nilsson. The whole thing was spectacular. Consisting of a nice juxtaposition of mind-blowing lazers and dainty table lamps. Here's a clip...

With those lazer beams flying over your head, it really was a totally encapsulating 3D experience. Karin's voice was just remarkable, and it really drives home what an achievement the Fever Ray album is.

Next up was Royksopp. Now, I'm not a massive Royksopp fan, but the show was actually pretty good. Highlights included duets with Robyn (for a stomping version of "The Girl and The Robot"), and Karin Dreijer Andersson coming on at the end of the show for an eerie version of "Tricky Tricky", dressed in a gold and black cloak, with an amazing sheep skull/hair-piece/mask.

Here's a reminder of the stomping Royksopp/Robyn collaboration...

I was slightly disappointed Karin didn't come on for "What Else Is There", arguably Royksopp's best song, which she provided the vocals for in the recorded version, but I guess with Karin, we were lucky to see her at ALL!

With Royksopp's heyday being associated with their 2002 album "Melody AM", the band did feel a quite dated when they were playing their old tunes, but the select tracks off their recent album "Junior" really shone out like diamonds, demanding that they're not quite set for the history books just yet.
The night, like the "Junior" album, really managed to encapsulate all the exciting musical and visual gold that's sprouting from both Norway and Sweden at the moment.
However, for me, nothing could compete with the overwhelming wonder that was the Fever Ray live experience.

To finish off the night was a quick trip backstage to say a thanks to Karin for getting us tickets (what a lovely lady), and gawp at Robyn's amazing white hair. Then Rex The Dog played out with night with an awesome DJ set. Wonderful.

All this, and I didn't even know I was going until Thursday! A BIG thanks to James Bland for sorting this all out.

What an Easter Treat!!

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