Pieter Theuns, the founder of Flemish indie-baroque collective B.O.X., had a chance encounter in Antwerp over 11 years ago that has since led to an Icelandic odyssey journeying to the Benelux for the realisation of The Loom of Mind. Already having wowed audiences at three performances in Belgium, the next crowd to be captivated will be in Amsterdam on 19 June.
The show resonates around the songs of Icelandic troubadour Mugison, set to a musical score arranged by his compatriot Pétur Ben and performed together with the musicians of Baroque Orchestration X. Initially inspired by the craft of weaving and traditional looms, the show is also a metaphor ‘for the creativity and complexity of the mind, but also for its fragility and easily-induced confusion’.
The tale begins
The tale of the story began 11 years ago when Mugison travelled from the wild Westfjords of Iceland (and they can be pretty wild, as mentioned in an earlier article here) to the calmer plains of Belgium to play a show in Antwerp. Pieter Theuns witnessed this performance and was so impressed that, years later, when developing a concept of his own, he knew that Mugison was the musical man for the job.
Shaping The Loom of Mind
After many meetings and late-night discussions, The Loom of Mind was shaped into the show that it has become. When I ventured to Ghent to meet the team behind the production, Mugison mentioned to me his inspiration, “It is based around three versions of ‘loom’: firstly, the loom used in the traditional craft of weaving; along with the verb – meaning something is about to happen, perhaps with a sense of forboding or intent; and also the kind-of electronic loom that I use in the show, the ‘Mirstrument’.” The latter is his unique MIDI controller that ultimately inspired a fourth type of loom: the ‘Loomion’. Designed by Jeroen Theuns (Pieter’s brother) and created as the scenography for the show, this installation transformed into a form of sonic architecture of its own and, ultimately, into an ingenious and mesmerising musical instrument (for more detail about the Loomion, see here).
With its songs and storytelling, together with the arrangements by Pétur Ben for the historic instruments of the B.O.X. collective, The Loom of Mind weaves together threads and themes of the mind as meaningful messages. The whole show is an enchanting experience, not least witnessing the cast of performers on stage engaging with (and, hopefully, not entangling with) the newest instrument, the Loomion. For the show’s last song ‘Tispy King’, both it and the audience sway in time with the tune, until its uplifting and euphoric finale. A special acoustic version of this track was recorded prior to the show in Antwerp, which can be seen here:
The last performance in this current run will take place at Bimhuis in Amsterdam as part of Holland Festival on Friday 19 June. There are still a final few tickets available, so if you feel like treating yourself to little bit of magic, grab yours here whilst you still have the chance.