More than 1,500 people gathered at a disused train depot in Manchester this weekend to listen to trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack perform a live soundtrack that included the Siberian punk classic, Everything is Going According to Plan. The song was originally a collaboration between Russian punk rock band Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defence) and Yanka Dyagileva, a Siberian-born poet and singer-songwriter who died at the age of 24 in 1991.
The soundtrack accompanied a film by BAFTA-award-winning documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis, best known for The Century of the Self (2002), an examination of Freud’s theories and the advertising world. The dystopian film, also called Everything is Going According to Plan, is a collage of archive footage (Afghanistan, Michael Jackson, Bambi, Soviet mental health patients) that explores the illusion of democracy. Robert Del Naja, a founding member of Massive Attack, described the event as “a collective hallucination”. Later in the show, Elizabeth Fraser, the former Cocteau Twins singer, stepped in to provide vocals for a second song in Russian, My Grief is Light. The gig-film hybrid is part of the Manchester International Festival, a biennial event since 2007. The festival runs until 21 July.