Bowers & Wilkins powers the audio behind Björk Digital exhibition at Somerset House

British hi-fi company Bowers & Wilkins has a history of working with Björk, having previously released an exclusive 24-bit studio quality version of her 2015 album Vulnicura on its hi-res download site Society of Sound.

In this latest project, B&W has used some of its most advanced speakers to to bring to life Black Lake, a film featured in the exhibition and previously shown at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Using custom install B&W CT800s, AM1s and assorted subwoofers - part of the same speaker stack previously featured at the Primavera Sound Festival - audiences are immersed in what is described as a "spatial audio wave field synthesis system", and placed in a "virtual soundstage" for the screening of Andrew Thomas Huang's film.

The Black Lake experience is built around the track of the same name from Vulnicura, and features a specially-designed 3D soundtrack built for the 49-speaker sound system, and is accompanied by a 10-minute video filmed in the highlands of Iceland.

Given that the song was written about the break-up of Björk's relationship with her long-term partner, it's perhaps not surprising that the film makes for somewhat moody and melancholy viewing.

After watching the video, visitors are directed to four separate VR experiences, each in a different room in the basement of London's Somerset House. All four are based on the forthcoming virtual reality version of Vulnicura, which will be released this winter.

The first, Stonemilker VR, is a 360-degree audio-visual experience in which the viewer - wearing a VR headset and listening through B&W P5 headphones - watches Björk perform the first track of the album on the shores of Iceland's Grotta Beach. As she moves around, sometimes in front of you and sometimes behind, you can follow her by rotating on the stools on which you sit.

Perhaps the most bizarre experience comes in the second room, where you are transported (again by virtual reality) inside the artists's mouth and watch the contortions of her tongue, teeth and inner cheeks as she sings in Mouthmantra VR. It's a strangely unnerving and claustrophobic experience, made even more so by the fact that you are sitting in a small, dark room.

Switching to B&W P7 headphones in the third room, Björk premieres her new Quicksand VR piece in which she sings in her specially designed 'Rottlace' face mask. The virtual reality special effects are impressive.

Finally, in an even more complex VR set-up, the audience is transported into an "interactive immersive cocoon" where you watch Notget VR, again listening through B&W P7 headphones, in which Björk performs as a three-dimensional hologram of a digital moth giantess (above) in a piece directed by Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones.

What's particularly disconcerting in this instance is that the hologram "grows" as the song progresses, so by the end Björk is towering over you.

Once you exit the VR rooms, you end up in a larger room with a screen and projector where there are several videos being shown, including one in which a robotic version of the singer gets intimate with another robot. Enough said.

As part of the European premiere of Björk Digital - which has also been shown at MOMA in New York - the artist will give two special performances at the Royal Albert Hall.

Bjork Digital runs until 23rd October at Somerset House, London.

MORE: Listening to Bjork's MOMA exhibition

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.