Björk has somehow fashioned a remarkably successful career from what some may suggest are meagre pickings. By any standards her voice is…a challenge. Likewise, her image is at the farty end of arty and her tracks are a challenge, even when worldwide smashes, a mix of dadaist expression and top producers pressing every button on their mixing desk to see what happens. We’re not, you’ll be staggered to learn, massive fans but who are we to judge? Well, we’re the audience who has to pay for this, so we’ll judge all we like, thank you kindly. Faced with a proposition of an artist who is Björk multiplied by very large numbers indeed, we feared the worst, especially in terms of being told off for swearing BUT we feel we may well have been bewitched.
Waterflower is the alter-ego of Sabine Moore, a Latvian-based artist of no end of bells, whistles, tricks and hoopla. Latvia is definitely more exotic than Iceland, for a start. Waterflower’s latest offering is the album Balta Gaisma, which Google Translate tells us means “white light” – we’ll take their word for it. Within is an extraordinary, in the truest sense of the word, collection of full-on, smack you round the face oddness. Latest single “Palm vs Palm” sets the scene nicely – the scene being Masque of the Red Death meets neon gay bar in the corner of a posh garden centre. There is something about it which hits you biologically, beyond sound and nearer to physical assault.
The video may put you in mind of a 21st Century Carmen Miranda but plants really do feature heavily – really heavily.
“As a conceptual artist I use many symbols, but one of my favourite art techniques for performance is something like Brian Eno’s creative strategy – to create a mechanism, run it, and see what happens. I start my Waterflower shows by connecting nearby plants. I never know how they will behave before the show, or how they will react to my touch. Experiments with different plant species intrigue me greatly.
I started working with plant synthesizers in 2015, when I saw the Kickstarter project for the Ototo synthesizer. I decided that this is what (..) “Waterflower” is all about, playing with plants as synthesizer keys. The technology used in Ototo also works with other materials, but plants are my choice. The other plant synthesizer I use is a MIDI Sprout. It measures the electromagnetic changes (impulses) in a plant and turns them into notes. Then it is up to me to find the most suitable instrument for these sound patterns. In each concert space, these plants create different melodies – I am very interested in that.” Waterflower
Even Björk never pestered plants for their tones. Honestly, we really do approve. It’s completely batshit, honestly but whose life is not enriched by being blessed with such extraordinary (that word again), thought-provoking, flights of fantasy? It’s being released on coloured vinyl too – Waterflower is truly the gift which keeps on giving.
Waterflower’s new album ‘Balta Gaisma’ is released September 28th.