• At Funkhaus Berlin / Photo by Alfredo Di Nardo (via Instagram)

THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD tour

Acclaimed Australian-Icelandic musician and sound designer Ben Frost released his fifth studio album, The Centre Cannot Hold, on Mute Records on 29 September 2017.
Coinciding with the release he embarked on an album tour featuring a new A/V show, created in collaboration with the visual artist Marcel Weber aka MFO.

PRESS ON “THE CENTRE CANNOT HOLD tour”

„Frost’s music is deeply affecting no matter what form it takes and Weber is one of the best immersive experience designers around. [..]
Frost walked on and [..] behind him, the curtain rippled like water. Onto this moving surface, Weber projected images of crashing waves and mesmeric blue mushroom clouds.” –
Ray Philp, Resident Advisor

„The visuals from MFO where a mesmerising mix of projections onto plastic stripes that made the illusion of lurex and liquified metal curtains.” – CLOT magazine

PAST PERFORMANCES

6th May 2017 – Donaufestival, Krems, AT
21th May 2017 – Unsound Dislocation x Mental Force, Minsk, BY
1st July 2017 – Astropolis Festival, Brest, FR
18th Sept 2017 – Ruhrtriennale, Essen, DE
4th Oct 2017 – Nemo Festival, Paris, FR
13th Oct 2017 – Unsound Festival, Krakow, PL
18th Oct 2017 – Muziekgebouw, ADE, Amsterdam, NL
21th Oct 2017 – National Gallery, Lunchmeat Festival, Prague, CZ
29th Oct 2017 – FOS Festival, Athens, GR
1st Nov 2017 – Salon ISKV, Istanbul, TR
3rd Nov 2017 – C2C Festival, Turin, IT
11th Nov 2017 – Le Guess Who, Utrecht, NL
12nd Dec 2017 – Teatro Maria Matos, Lisbon, PT

Ben and I started a conversation about the tour visual early on, his obsession was about the Ocean and BLUE.
I was quite excited working towards all the Ocean’s qualities; the churning sea, vast arena of dramatic clouds and clashing waves, storms, tides, the sea surface -permeable and translucent transition between two worlds-, the deep-sea, its coldness, its liveliness, undersea streams and pressure. Taking it further also: fluidity, being adrift, the absence of static landmarks, disorientation and isolation, a realm of neverending motion. From a more contemporary point of view it is also a conflict zone, a separator between places, its cold symbolic for its separating role.
These are the thoughts and images that reverberate in the work.

Thinking of the sea surface as a membrane, I started researching for semi-transparent, glossy fabrics – scrims, foils, gauzes – for a stage design segmenting and obfuscating the setting. Initially heavy blue PVC sheets, known from cooling trucks or factory doors, seemed an interesting possibility. Those bear a certain brutality and could mask the stage, turn it into an obfuscated blue landscape with Ben as mysterious blurry figure within. Yet, he preferred to stay connected with his audience.
Eventually I focused on mirror foil – its metallic shine like the leaden sea – and picked one that is not only reflective, but also permeable for light! Lightweight too. With it and with smoke as a diffusor the projections become volumetric and beams are broken, they shimmer, while strobe flashes shatter like the churning sea; synergizing beautifully with the nervous shivering in Ben’s sound.

For heavier musical movements there are wind machines to move the foil and dramatically distort the reflections further. All stage effects of the show (lights, smoke, wind, reflections) are controlled via custom-written software. Like in other of my projects before: with the thought in mind to play the room like an instrument, in a visceral, intuitive fashion.

For the video imagery I undertook trips to the North Sea – onto the island of Heligoland and also to Nørre Vorupør, on Denmark’s coast line, filming the spring storms of 2017.
In addition more abstracted footage was made in studio. I used various tanks, custom-built so that the liquids inside flow in controlled ways and the camera can look into it from defined vantage points. –m