One week ago, ABBA teased the long-awaited release of a follow-up to its last studio album, 1981’s The Visitors. Now, the four-piece act – which arrived on the scene with Ring Ring nearly five decades ago – has officially detailed plans for this upcoming record as well as a hologram concert next year.
ABBA and Universal Music Group unveiled the new album – entitled Voyage and slated to release on Friday, November 5th – and the digital concert (set to begin showing next May) via a formal release today. Beginning with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-inducted group’s ninth studio album, ABBA has released two of the 10-song work’s tracks, “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down.”
ABBA co-founders Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus – who’s made headlines in recent months and years as president of CISAC – penned all 10 of the songs on Voyage, and according to the release from Universal Music, the band members recorded these tracks “together at Benny’s studio Riksmixningsverket in Stockholm.” Even with the decidedly long stretch since ABBA’s last recording sessions, Andersson stated that it felt “like no time had passed,” while Ulvaeus emphasized that he’s “proud” of the album.
Additionally, despite their breakup some four decades ago and their many (sometimes contradictory) public comments regarding the possibility of a reunion, the veteran artists have also put in “weeks and months of motion-capture and performance techniques” to create “digital versions” of themselves, working with “an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic.”
Star Wars creator George Lucas founded the latter – now a subsidiary of Disney – in 1975, and these digital versions of ABBA (circa 1979, that is) will “perform” alongside “a live 10-piece band” at a concert series dubbed ABBA Voyage. Possibly because of mixed fan responses to previous concerts featuring computer-generated depictions of artists, the word “hologram” is conspicuously absent from the release.
In any event, ABBA Voyage is scheduled to kick off “in a purpose-built arena” in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Friday, May 27th, 2022. Tickets to the show will become available for purchase this coming Sunday, September 5th, for those who pre-order Voyage, with the general sale beginning on Tuesday, September 7th.
ABBA has also debuted a four-minute video explaining the creative process behind Voyage (which began as a two-song mini-project) and the nuances of the half-century-old group’s digital-performance series, besides an hour-long livestream about the album and hologram concert. All manner of “superfans” appeared in this livestream – which coincided with in-person happenings in multiple cities – and Ulvaeus and Andersson indicated that the concert will feature 22 songs and run for about 90 minutes.