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Nordic Giants at Hoxton Hall: 7 Depths of Consciousness Tour

Nordic Giants at Hoxton Hall: 7 Depths of Consciousness Tour

By: Josie Faulkner

Described as an immersive, cinematic experience, Nordic Giants took over little-known arts venue, Hoxton Hall, for the London leg of their newly curated 7 Depths of Consciousness tour. “Every year we try to create something different –something to push the boundaries of the technology we use, the instruments and players we perform with live, or the ways in which we can make people think.”

Described as an immersive, cinematic experience, Nordic Giants took over little-known arts venue, Hoxton Hall, for the London leg of their newly curated 7 Depths of Consciousness tour. “Every year we try to create something different  –something to push the boundaries of the technology we use, the instruments and players we perform with live, or the ways in which we can make people think.”

The masked, post-rock duo has a knack for starting pivotal discussions through their music, and live is no different. “For this tour we chose to focus on the most complicated object in the known universe: the human brain, and specifically the levels of consciousness within it. The show has messages of hope through to destruction, and we touch on political and environmental issues; the main point being to awaken your consciousness,” they explain in an interview with Disorder.

Inside, the high-set, gothic balconies overlook an elevated stage as openers Alma set the tone for the evening. They are as atmospheric as they are depressing, with lead vocalist Pete Lambrou briefly commanding our attention as he hits surprising high notes before descending into guitar led, looped noisescapes. But the duo (completed by a keyboard player tonight) are missing something that makes their set wane, seeming a little samey throughout as each member stays stock still in their positions onstage. They experiment with bowed guitars, even a screwdriver makes an appearance to create an industrialised distorted affect, while somber piano melodies build to a climax that doesn’t fully come to fruition; falling short on its climax without delivering any meat.

But it’s Nordic Giants who steal the show. Using multi-media to make this an unforgettable live experience, this is more than just a gig. The huge screen centre stage has the rather conservative audience transfixed, showing apocalyptic themes of the future of mankind, cartoon like pallbearers losing control of a coffin and incidentally killing themselves, and an Orwellian style film showing an alternative reality where Big Brother is always watching.

Their silhouettes are barely visible through all the stage fog and strobe lights, like haunting mythical creatures that you’re aware of in the periphery. Their precise multi-instrumentalism is all-encompassing; Roka on the drums, stepping fourth to take control of his bowed guitar, while Loki steadfastly commands his keyboard and trumpet in a fashion that’s enough to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Never breaking the fourth wall, never speaking, and always in character.

Having released their debut album A Séance of Dark Delusions earlier this year, this tour saw the duo remix some of their older material live, where songs ‘Mechanical Minds’ and ‘Neotonie’ use mere snippets of their spoken word lyrics, while added piano melodies and drum frills shine through with more prominence than their recorded counterparts.

The cascading melodies, particularly in ‘Evolve or Perish’ and ‘Dark Clouds Mean War’ cast an ominous shadow on the forbearing themes; an onslaught that builds with high intensity before dropping off into a calm, somber moment of respite: a moment to pause and reflect. The pair expertly play with pace and timing, using drawn-out synths and trumpets like the calm before the storm before lapsing back into chaotic, climactic heights.

At times it feels more like an art project than a gig, not quite managing to figure out whether to watch the band or the films, but it seems that tonight it’s the moment that matters most, immersing yourself into the messages and themes Loki and Roka have to cleverly managed to portray – rather than the deconstruction of every small element.

“Each song we write has a message, whether obvious or hidden beneath the surface. The purpose of the films is to help draw emotion and emphasise these messages,” the masked duo explains. “We have no set structure or method to finding what works or does not – it is a long process of research and pre-production, testing and re-testing until you find something that connects with you; that grows with the song and combines the two elements into one.”

Ending their set with an encore that leaves the audience stunned to silence, Nordic Giants have done their job well: making us question everything from the future of society as it stands to our own mortal, fleeting existence. It’s not often you go to a gig and exit asking one simple question. Why?