Music review: Bjork, Hydro, Glasgow

Bjork''PIC: Felipe Santiago
Bjork''PIC: Felipe Santiago
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Environment is everything to Bjork. She sings about it, evokes her Icelandic homeland in her music and even creates in its inspiring landscape. And now she has recreated that natural wonder with audacious artistry on her Cornucopia tour, coupled with a strong eco message.

Bjork, Hydro, Glasgow ****

As one might hope from such an idiosyncratic artist, Cornucopia is like no other concert tour. White clad musicians, including Austrian percussionist Manu Delago, perched behind sculptural space age instruments on top of a set of stages modelled like fungi, while beautiful undulating digital images of fronds and flora were projected onto beaded curtains.

Flute orchestra Vibra swayed like snowy sprites as Bjork, in bulbous costume, unleashed her elemental voice into the canyon of the Hydro. Periodically, she retreated into her own private echo chamber for extra a capella resonance. The lighting palette graduated from rich turquoise and purple to winter white to forest green to create a thing of immersive wonder.

Beloved tracks from Bjork’s back catalogue were reworked – Venus As A Boy was backed with sonorous solo flute – but it was the unfamiliarity of proceedings which was so fascinating. The ethereal exoticism of bespoke instrumentation, such as gourds in a water trough, corrugaphones (whirly tubes) and a hoop embedded with four flutes, contrasted with the rhythmic humanity of the Hamrahlid youth choir, of which Bjork is an alumnus.

Tabula Rasa, her shrill appeal for a clean slate, was echoed by a video message from climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg and a scrolling sermon which urged us to “imagine a world where nature and technology collaborate”. Bjork and her director Lucrecia Martel have done so in thrilling theatrical microcosm. Fiona Shepherd