Ever wondered what Björk sounds like without the unique voice of Björk herself? European musicians preforming under the name s t a r g a z e have, and presented their interpretation on 17th January at Korzo Theatre in The Hague.
The multi-talented, classically trained group of ten musicians played to a packed Korzo made up of a mixture of people of almost all age groups and backgrounds. Some came as fans of the successful and intriguing Icelandic singer in order to hear another interpretation of her first album, Debut, released in 1993. Others came as regular visitors of the venue, or perhaps intrigued fans of s t a r g a z e. These different backgrounds, mixed with some art or music students and their parents, produced a rather static, but nonetheless enthusiastic crowd.
As the musicians started performing, we were immersed into the sea of sound — literally. Sea-like sounds introduced the concert and an hour later also ended it. Guitarist Aart Strootman, who wrote all the arrangements, led the group and consequently guided the audience masterfully through a beautiful journey — from the sea, to the jungle and back. From the beginning with some sort of slow, peaceful grotesqueness we were taken into louder dance, jazz-like rhythms of the drums. The unspoken rule of a silent audience during a classical performance was broken when the violinist exploded with a solo and lured the applause out of the crowd.
The multi-layered aspect of Björk’s unusual voice was successfully replaced with the multitude of instruments and sometimes even voices singing or talking. Human Behaviour was one of the extremely well interpreted pieces, with lyrics spoken into the microphone and intervals of Dutch chatting, by the performers, in the background. This game of various instruments, from classical ones to less common percussion and wind instruments, that sounded like birds singing or noises and sounds of a forest or jungle, created an almost tangible environment.
The theatre was immersed into waves of sounds, that together with the instruments entangled the crowd into a beautiful emotionally charged performance. After all, as Björk sings in Human Behaviour, “to get involved in the exchange of human emotions is ever so, ever so satisfying.” Eva Tisnikar 18th January 2019