Monday night found me listening to electronic music with Icelandic lyrics whilst standing blindfolded between an Australian girl and a choir bass.
Instead, I was attending Beneath the Tracks, Vol. II at Omeara, a music venue in South London. After a sell-out show back in May, London’s leading alternative choir, London Contemporary Voices, organized another immersive music experience for choir veterans and novices alike. They were joined by a multitude of artists including hang drum virtuoso Manu Delago, electronic music producer Hunrosa (Cinematic Orchestra) and UK beatboxing vice-champion BeatFox.
Omeara’s arched, cavernous concert space was perfect for housing an event of this kind since it added to the mystical, haunting feel of Beneath the Tracks. With LCV’s members evenly and discreetly spread amongst the audience, attendees had to simply put their black silky sleeping masks on and abandon themselves to this intricate surround-sound performance.
Not being able to see the performers and relying on your sense of hearing alone to “locate” them across the venue was an unrivalled experience to me. Sopranos, mezzo-sopranos, contraltos, tenors, baritones, basses – you might be as unfamiliar with choir terminology as I do (guilty!) but the differences between voice types and ranges become unexpectedly palpable.
The lineup included sets from Hrím, a whimsical mix of Icelandic vocals and dark electronic music, jazzed-up Norwegian folk by Elimarit and intricately-layered vocals by Autumnmusic. To be honest, this type of music is not my cup of tea but it constitutes one of the most melodic examples of the immersive experience London itself can be – this mesmerizing plurality of voices, sounds and emotions.