• Zurich | Norient Sounds

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 visual artist Marcel Weber (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
6th Oct 2017 - Funkhaus, Berlin, DE
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
1st Mar 2018 - Orpheum, Elevate Festival, Graz, AU
16th Mar 2018 - Heaven, London, UK
17th Mar 2018 - Harpa, Sonar Reykjavik, IS
18th April 2018 - ISM Hexadome, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin, DE
21st April 2018 - Schauspielhaus Zürich, CH
11st May 2018 - Nuits Sonores Festival, Lyon, FR
8th June 2018 - Sideways Festival, Helsinki, FI
30th June 2018 - Tauron Nowa Muzika, Katowice, PL
3rd & 5th July 2018 - Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, DK
22nd July 2018 - Tones in the Stones Festival, Baveno, IT
2th Nov 2018 - Miraikan, Mutek Festival, Tokyo, JP
15th Nov 2018 - Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome, IT
17th Nov 2018 - NODE Festival, Modena, IT
15th Dec 2018 - Unsound Adelaide, Adelaide, AUS

A conversation about the visual side started long before the tour. Ben's interest was about the Ocean, a constant state of movement and flux - and Ultramarine Blue. I was quite excited working towards all the Ocean's qualities; the churning sea, an arena of dramatic weathers unfathomably vast, it's surface -a permeable and translucent membrane between two worlds-, and beyond: the deep-sea, a stark absolute, streaming pressurized darkness, alive in a beautiful bizarre ecosystem. Taking it further there are tropes of being adrift, disorientation and isolation, a realm of never-ending motion. From a political viewpoint it is also a conflict zone, a separator between places, its cold symbolic for its dividing role.

With the sea surface in mind I started researching into 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 blue landscape with Ben as a mysteriously obfuscated figure within. Yet, he preferred to stay connected with his audience.
Eventually I focused on mirror foil for its metallic shine and picked one that is not only is reflective, but also permeable for light! Adding smoke as a diffusor the projections become volumetric, shimmer, while strobe flashes shatter like churning waves; synergising beautifully with the nervous noisy shivering in sound.

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

The video imagery was captured at various trips to the North Sea: to the island of Heligoland and to Nørre Vorupør on Denmark's coast line, filming the spring storms of 2017. The footage is treated and processed heavily to yield an intense, entangling experience and to avoid a too obvious narrative.
In addition more abstracted footage was made in studio. Various custom-built tanks allowed the liquids to flow in controlled ways and to film at well-defined vantage points. –m