S/D Laurie Anderson

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I tried searching and couldn't find anything of this sort on ILM but a classic/dud discussion of "O Superman" (clearly classic). I only own Big Science. Seen Mister Heartbreak around for a few bucks a bunch of times recently, but not at places with listening stations, so I'm not taking the risk. Should I? what of her's is classic?

Also, I've been wondering, did she do vocal work for Glass? Her voice always sounded so familiar on Big Science; just like the female voice on the Einstein on the Beach knee plays spoken parts ("it could be franky. it could be..."). But that could just be the style.

Dan Gr (certain), Wednesday, 7 February 2007 23:54 (fourteen years ago) link

Here's a previous overview thread: C90: Laurie Anderson

Tuesdays With Morimoto (Rock Hardy), Thursday, 8 February 2007 00:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Laurie does not sing on "Einstein".

I am now reviving that other thread 'cause I liked it.

sleeve (sleeve), Thursday, 8 February 2007 00:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Search: Big Science, Mr Heartbreak, US Live, Bright Red/Tightrope, Ugly One With The Jewels, any live show you can possibly see.

Destroy: Strange Angels is my least favorite by far although I haven't heard anything new in around a decade. I suspect I would also dislike the Moby Dick album. and the tracks on the Airwaves album are really embryonic and half-formed.

sleeve (sleeve), Thursday, 8 February 2007 00:34 (fourteen years ago) link

Destroy: contemplation of Anderson and Reed in the conjugal bower.

bendy (bendy), Thursday, 8 February 2007 02:54 (fourteen years ago) link

definitely destroy the Reed track on Tightrope, yeah.

sleeve (sleeve), Thursday, 8 February 2007 02:55 (fourteen years ago) link

S: --->Bright Red (incl)
D: Bright Red (excl) ---->

is anyone anticipating the new Baaderonixx? (baaderonixx), Thursday, 8 February 2007 09:40 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

OMG, the kids introducing this:

I know, right?, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 19:46 (twelve years ago) link

oh hi

a hat check clerk at an ice rink (n/a), Tuesday, 16 September 2008 19:52 (twelve years ago) link

They're so cute! The one on the left, how she's so awkward, but pretty, and they're so enthusiastic!

I know, right?, Tuesday, 16 September 2008 19:56 (twelve years ago) link

eleven months pass...

Has anyone heard/seen *Nothing in My Pockets*? Book + 2 CDs: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/2914563434/
I'll probably buy it anyway, although I passed on *Night Life* (http://www.amazon.com/Night-Life-Laurie-Anderson/dp/3865213391/), thinking that it would be something I'd browse for fifteen minutes and then put on the shelf.

In this interview:

...Laurie explains that she was almost going to be the narrator for the opening ceremony at the 2004 Summer Olympics at Athens!

"Q. Tell us about Greece and the Olympics. You were working in Athens with the Olympics team for, what, a year and a half?

LA Yeah. Actually I wasn’t able to talk about any of this when it was happening but it was amazing. They asked me to work on writing the opening ceremony and also to be the narrator. You know, the one who welcomes the world to Athens. So I went back and forth to Athens a lot for about a year. And I got to work with all these amazing Greeks-- writers, designers, choreographers. I just have to say, first of all, they’re a lot smarter than we are. They’re sharper, they’ve got sharper tools, they’ve got a sharper language. They just do. It’s more elegant, it’s more complicated, it’s more complex. And I’m someone in love with English. But I was really aware that they came from the people who invented virtually everything that our civilization is based on-- philosophy, geometry, physics, tragedy, sculpture, painting.

So it was – such a long story- a wonderful experience to work on making something with them. The top secret aspect was also a lot of the fun. I could never tell my friends where I was going-- I’d just disappear. Then last December there was a big money crunch and, sad to say, I was among the casualties so I didn’t get to be the narrator in the end."

ernestp, Sunday, 16 August 2009 16:05 (eleven years ago) link

Huh. If "Nothing In My Pockets" is anything like "The Ugly One With The Jewels", I'm in.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 17 August 2009 00:51 (eleven years ago) link

I adore Ugly One with the Jewels.

Alex in NYC, Monday, 17 August 2009 01:01 (eleven years ago) link

I adore Ugly One with the Jewels.

Yes, precisely. So has anyone heard the "Nothing In My Pockets" CDs that can give a pocket review?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 17 August 2009 02:11 (eleven years ago) link

nine months pass...

"Music for Dogs"

(5 min of a 20 min piece, according to what i can tell)

an outlet to express the dark invocations of (La Lechera), Saturday, 5 June 2010 17:39 (ten years ago) link

I adore "O Superman" & the disc she did with Lou Reed & John Zorn.

The rest of the things I've heard (which, granted, is only about half of her releases) have varied from pretentious & boring to boring & pretentious, with a few interesting cuts scattered about.

ImprovSpirit, Monday, 7 June 2010 15:50 (ten years ago) link

nine months pass...

I just heard "Mister Heartbreak"; neither that nor "Big Science" are pretentious or boring (maybe "O Superman" aside). Honestly I'm not really sold on her but those albums are pretty interesting throughout. I'm not really a fan of her singing voice but I could probably listen to her read the phonebook all day.

frogbs, Monday, 28 March 2011 17:12 (ten years ago) link

I love Mister Heartbreak — for me it fits into that circa 84-85 era of digital-based art pop like The Dreaming and Sakamoto's Esperanto. The sound of those records haven't been disinterred as being retroactively "cool" (yet, anyway).

corey, Monday, 28 March 2011 17:22 (ten years ago) link


corey, Monday, 28 March 2011 17:22 (ten years ago) link

i love at least half of mister heartbreak. the half with "blue lagoon".

difficult listening hour, Monday, 28 March 2011 17:43 (ten years ago) link

I like a few things cumulatively on both albums but I still prefer Strange Angels to either one.

Rich Lolwry (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 28 March 2011 17:44 (ten years ago) link

No one's heard "Nothing In My Pockets" (linked above)?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 28 March 2011 20:51 (ten years ago) link

four months pass...

I went to see her at a free outdoor show at Lincoln Ctr last week... Music about what I expected, enjoyed the jaundiced words about how NYC has been replaced by an entirely different city in the last 10 years ("tech conventions and cupcake shops"). Some very timely siren intrusions too.

Also had never heard her Willie Nelson quote, "99% of the world ends up with the wrong person, and that's what keeps the jukebox spinning." (And then she brought out Lou Reed.)

satan club sandwich (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 August 2011 20:21 (nine years ago) link


tylerw, Monday, 15 August 2011 20:22 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

Free show as part of Luminato tonight. All I knew going in was "O Superman" (perplexing), and I think I played a song or two from Strange Angels on the radio years ago. I just figured she'd be worth seeing.

There were a couple of pretty songs, but the one she opened with was excruciating--"Greetings from the Homeland," I think it was called. Went on forever--20 minutes at least.

clemenza, Monday, 17 June 2013 04:45 (seven years ago) link

All I really knew was "O Superman" before I saw her recent collaboration with Kronos Quartet a little while back. Eh, it was ok.

I see she has a new collaboration going:


“Ai Weiwei asked me to write some songs with him a few months ago,” said

curmudgeon, Monday, 17 June 2013 14:19 (seven years ago) link

you guys need to listen to 'big science' at least, it's one of the best albums ever. i've never been able to get into the rest of her stuff as much but that one is a classic (it's the one with 'o superman')

congratulations (n/a), Monday, 17 June 2013 15:17 (seven years ago) link

otm, big science is beyond essential -- haven't been nearly as knocked out by anything else I've heard her do (though there are good moments), but that one is a universe of its own.

tylerw, Monday, 17 June 2013 15:19 (seven years ago) link

The Ugly One with the Jewels is 100% awesome from start to finish. Anderson in full-on storytelling mode with Eno on synths backing her up.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 17 June 2013 15:47 (seven years ago) link

nevermind, Eno was on Bright Red, not Ugly One with the Jewels... still.

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Monday, 17 June 2013 15:49 (seven years ago) link

Nah ugly is def eno too i think?

sjuttiosju_u (wins), Monday, 17 June 2013 16:01 (seven years ago) link

I <3 Laurie. If it came down to a sophies choice between her and wifey Lou I'd pick Anderson in half a heartbeat just for united states, big science & assorted highlights

sjuttiosju_u (wins), Monday, 17 June 2013 16:04 (seven years ago) link

I saw the Luminato thing as well, about the same reaction as clemenza. Enjoyed the instrumental passages far more than the lengthy attempted Skype collaboration. I did like the occasional sounds of helicopters hovering in the background.

pauls00, Monday, 17 June 2013 16:05 (seven years ago) link

Ugly One is a mixtape-making dream come true.

Not Simone Choule (Eric H.), Monday, 17 June 2013 16:08 (seven years ago) link


Josh in Chicago, Monday, 17 June 2013 16:08 (seven years ago) link


lols lane (Eazy), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 03:43 (seven years ago) link

Home of the Brave extremely formative for me, hard to imagine anyone not enjoying listening to this

Guayaquil (eephus!), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 05:32 (seven years ago) link

I'm gonna give Big Science another try. I like it but I'm a Strange Angels stan.

A deeper shade of lol (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 12:17 (seven years ago) link

I am OK with Big Science but think United States is where it's at

align="justify" font="ancient" (flamboyant goon tie included), Tuesday, 18 June 2013 12:58 (seven years ago) link

four months pass...

Bunch of bizarre old LA PSAs!


Josh in Chicago, Monday, 4 November 2013 03:34 (seven years ago) link

my dad always use 2 tok abt hr...... bt a on a vln bow

color definition point of "beyond "color, eg a transient that, Monday, 4 November 2013 03:35 (seven years ago) link


color definition point of "beyond "color, eg a transient that, Monday, 4 November 2013 03:36 (seven years ago) link


color definition point of "beyond "color, eg a transient that, Monday, 4 November 2013 03:36 (seven years ago) link

taebtraeh ym ot netsil

Hideous Lump, Monday, 4 November 2013 03:45 (seven years ago) link


forbz (Matt P), Monday, 4 November 2013 03:49 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

from June, on "Hamilton": "It's history lite. It's musical lite. It's just...just horrible."


The Hon. J. Piedmont Mumblethunder (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 September 2016 14:52 (four years ago) link

seven months pass...

Was unaware until recently that she had made a CD-ROM game in the mid 90's.


JoeStork, Thursday, 20 April 2017 04:28 (three years ago) link

That's so cool, thanks for sharing

Carlotta's Portrait (Ross), Thursday, 20 April 2017 06:36 (three years ago) link

It's probably not your fault but it took me a moment there to realise with some relief that you were talking about a statue's ass and not LA's ;-)

Noel Emits, Thursday, 4 March 2021 19:19 (one month ago) link

lol, hey she may be old but she is not ancient! either way, i'd say that we should put her on the $100 bill but it seems to disgusting to mix her up with the world of printed circulation. but she's a national treasure at any rate

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Thursday, 4 March 2021 19:24 (one month ago) link


difficult listening hour, Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:05 (one month ago) link

is the national debt long, or is it wide?

so tonight that I might ramona quimby (f. hazel), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:08 (one month ago) link

repeatedly mentions “just a lot of questions” in this. at least as central to her technique as aquatic disaster

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:11 (one month ago) link

she is a master of the arresting question

so tonight that I might ramona quimby (f. hazel), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:22 (one month ago) link

obviously there's the zen koan connection too, and she cites them so frequently. i've never really been able to find a way into zen koans (not that i've given it a serious level of effort, like the amount of effort that it takes to run a ilm poll. so maybe i should...run another ilm poll!). but i kind of see her questions as related to those, maybe as her own versions of those for the modern day, and it makes me appreciate both her and also kind of helps me think of how those koans might be useful for other people too

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:29 (one month ago) link

nothing to add here but this is making me all warm and fuzzy

I like signing up to dead sites (sleeve), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:31 (one month ago) link

she calls common sense “really just a long list of questions” on homeland

anyway thanks v much f hazel, woulda missed this.

difficult listening hour, Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:32 (one month ago) link

same! did anyone catch when the next one is supposed to be? and there are 6 of them? 8? i may have dreamed about this last night

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Thursday, 4 March 2021 20:59 (one month ago) link

also i'm going to straight up lift a few of her video/presentation/visual aides from that, because goddamn

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Thursday, 4 March 2021 21:00 (one month ago) link

Yes. thanks---I wonder if the replay of the radio shows she mentions are going to be at 4:00am again---? Wouldn't be the same effect she describes if I set the alarm, grab a coffee--will just have to stay awake 'til they start.
Her acceptance speech for Lou at R&Roll Hall of Fame--balance to what she says about music in lecture and pretty fine anyway (comments about "Lulu" most of the balance. also now we go from Eno to re:Arethe etc)

dow, Thursday, 4 March 2021 21:06 (one month ago) link

I think the next one is 3/24.

JoeStork, Thursday, 4 March 2021 21:37 (one month ago) link

The next radio show!? What station? I'm guessing wfmu. Anyway, she's in good company amidst Steinski's Rough Mix: https://www.wfmu.org/playlists/shows/56137

dow, Thursday, 4 March 2021 22:27 (one month ago) link

no, the next Norton lecture. which apparently has a conversation / Q&A portion after the lecture, so I signed up for the second one.

lukas, Thursday, 4 March 2021 22:35 (one month ago) link

three weeks pass...

Bummed that, it appears, they aren't posting the rest of the conversations in this series.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Thursday, 25 March 2021 18:07 (three weeks ago) link

The Mahindra Humanities Center is pleased to announce an upcoming broadcast of Laurie Anderson's second Norton Lecture, initially presented on March 24, 2021. The Forest will be available to watch online for a limited time. The recording will premiere at 5pm EDT on April 7, 2021 and will remain available for the next 24 hours, until 5pm EDT on April 8, 2021.

it'll be here


lukas, Friday, 26 March 2021 16:52 (three weeks ago) link

thanks, put it on my calendar!

so tonight that I might ramona quimby (f. hazel), Friday, 26 March 2021 16:55 (three weeks ago) link


avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Friday, 26 March 2021 17:03 (three weeks ago) link

Laurie Anderson’s 1982 debut album, Big Science, will return to vinyl for the first time in thirty years with a new red vinyl edition due April 9 on Nonesuch Records. The vinyl includes the re-mastered original album first released on CD for the 25th anniversary of Big Science on Nonesuch in 2007.
...While working on her now-legendary seven-hour performance art/theater piece United States, Part I–IV, she cut the spare "O Superman (For Massenet)," an electronic-age update of 19th century French operatic composer Jules Massenet’s aria ‘O Souverain’, for the tiny New York City indie label 110 Records. In the UK, DJ John Peel picked up a copy of this very limited-edition 33⅓ RPM 7” and spun the eight-minute-plus track on BBC Radio 1. The exposure resulted in an unlikely #2 hit, lots of attention in the press, and a worldwide deal with Warner Bros. Records.

'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice.
And when justice is gone, there's always force.
And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!
..."In the ’70s I traveled a lot," Anderson recounts. "I worked on a tobacco farm in Kentucky, hitchhiked to the North Pole, lived in a yurt in Chiapas, and worked on a media commune. I had my own romantic vision of the road. My plan was to make a portrait of the country. Big Science, the first part of the puzzle, eventually became part two of United States I–IV (Transportation, Politics, Money, Love). My goal was to be not just the narrator but also the outsider, the stranger. Although I was fascinated by the United States, this portrait was also about how the country looked from a distance. I was performing a lot in Europe, where American culture was simultaneously booed and cheered. But the portrait was also a picture of a culture inventing a digital world and learning to live in it. Big Science was about technology, size, industrialization, shifting attitudes toward authority, and individuality. It was sometimes alarmist, picturing the country as a burning building, a plane crash. Alongside the techno was the apocalyptic. The absurd. The everyday. It was also a series of short stories about odd characters—hatcheck clerks and pilots, preachers, drifters and strangers. There was something about Massenet's aria ‘O Souverain’—which inspired ‘O Superman’—that almost stopped my heart. The pauses, the melody. 'O souverain, ô juge, ô père' (O Lord, o judge, o father). A prayer about empire, ambition, and loss."

And here,, in conversation w Will Young on BBC2:https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tnsk?eml=2021April2/5293848/6011771&etsubid=33248291

dow, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:45 (two weeks ago) link

The olde Official Video is in that Nonesuch link too.

dow, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:47 (two weeks ago) link

Would it kill them to re-release United States Live?

Christ, it’s ridiculous that LAURIE ANDERSON HOME OF THE BRAVE never got a DVD. Her website mentioned a box of her WB works some years ago, and I think it was supposed to include it

beamish13, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:48 (two weeks ago) link

Really would love for them to release The Ugly One with the Jewels on vinyl too fwiw.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:50 (two weeks ago) link

She's a guest on this week's Adam Buxton podcast too - https://www.adam-buxton.co.uk/podcasts

Maresn3st, Monday, 5 April 2021 18:53 (two weeks ago) link

Laurie Anderson hitchhiked...to the North Pole??

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:53 (two weeks ago) link

Really would love for them to release /The Ugly One with the Jewels/ on vinyl too fwiw.

I haven’t heard this one before - what is it like?

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:54 (two weeks ago) link

As someone who's always been a fan of her spoken word cadence and learned, through the years, to appreciate her music compositions, it was for sure a gateway drug. It's all spoken word and it's all hypnotic to me.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:55 (two weeks ago) link

Laurie Anderson hitchhiked...to the North Pole??

She references doing so on the Ugly One with the Jewels and I always wondered if she had really done that!

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:56 (two weeks ago) link

(and for my money, that's her best album)

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 5 April 2021 18:57 (two weeks ago) link

I really love that album and that story in particular

I like signing up to dead sites (sleeve), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:00 (two weeks ago) link

The whole routine about being stopped by security in Israel is all-time

jammy mcnullity (wins), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:00 (two weeks ago) link

iirc the North Pole trip is real? I think the hardcover book covers that

I like signing up to dead sites (sleeve), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:01 (two weeks ago) link

TUOWTJ is almost completely spoken-word iirc, right?

Maresn3st, Monday, 5 April 2021 19:08 (two weeks ago) link

Basically yes, and a (highly edited) live album.

avatar of a kind of respectability homosexual culture (Eric H.), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:09 (two weeks ago) link

Her narratives are so confidently related in her work that I always assumed they're all made up. Like the scene from "It Was Up in the Mountains" from United States Live... did that really happen?

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 5 April 2021 19:10 (two weeks ago) link

I had a really nice afternoon a few years back when I took acid and wandered around a park listening to The Ugly One With the Jewels, it's kind of perfectly balanced between funny and unsettling and comforting.

JoeStork, Monday, 5 April 2021 20:16 (two weeks ago) link

I'm really hoping this is the first of multiple reissues? So much of her best work is hard to find on any physical format.

You guys are caterpillar (Telephone thing), Monday, 5 April 2021 21:37 (two weeks ago) link

wow, I guess it's not surprising but the majority of her albums are indeed OOP in any physical format.

mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Monday, 5 April 2021 22:12 (two weeks ago) link

Ugly One and Bright Red were both great albums and should be in print again and on vinyl, that would be nice.

Home of the Brave: here's a really nice looking visual remaster someone did and put on youtube. It's been there for quite a while so I don't think it's going to be removed. I wouldn't hold out hope for any kind of official re-release since I've heard she has little to no interest in revisiting her past works. I wonder what kind of visual documentation there is of things like Nerve Bible and Empty Spaces? Empty Spaces was the first show I ever saw of hers and it was thrilling but so long ago I barely remember it.


akm, Monday, 5 April 2021 23:29 (two weeks ago) link

I've heard she has little to no interest in revisiting her past works

this is a shame, do you have a source or can you expand? it also explains the weird out-of-print issues.

brb gonna salvage my HOTB interview 2LP from the sell pile in the basement

I like signing up to dead sites (sleeve), Monday, 5 April 2021 23:33 (two weeks ago) link

I attended a screening of HOME OF THE BRAVE. She says the hitchhiking story is true, although she didn’t quite reach the magnetic North Pole

beamish13, Tuesday, 6 April 2021 00:04 (one week ago) link

Anderson also explained at said screening that she is proud of the music in it, but that the visuals make her “cringe” which is nuts to me

beamish13, Tuesday, 6 April 2021 00:05 (one week ago) link

it's almost uniformly amazing. maybe she cringes at whatever is going on at about 1:02:45, because holy shit they really ham it up for a while there, lol

"Radar", at 45:12, is maybe the best thing i've ever seen

Zach_TBD (Karl Malone), Tuesday, 6 April 2021 06:31 (one week ago) link

"do you have a source or can you expand? " Anil Prasad told me that based off conversations and interviews he's done with her.

akm, Tuesday, 6 April 2021 14:28 (one week ago) link

That kind of attitude is admirable but I wish there were a way to thread the needle between not forcing an artist into Legacy Mode and ensuring their past work is properly archived/made available

You guys are caterpillar (Telephone thing), Tuesday, 6 April 2021 16:01 (one week ago) link

As lukas noted upthread, part 2 of the Norton Lectures is now live until 5pm EDT on April 8th:


mark e. smith-moon (f. hazel), Wednesday, 7 April 2021 22:01 (one week ago) link

"It has never been more pertinent": Margaret Atwood on the chilling genius of Laurie Anderson’s 'Big Science'


Portsmouth Bubblejet, Thursday, 8 April 2021 08:28 (one week ago) link

Free registration now open for lecture 3, 4/14 at 5ET


lukas, Thursday, 8 April 2021 17:00 (one week ago) link

(the last one she prerecorded her segment, fwiw)

lukas, Thursday, 8 April 2021 17:01 (one week ago) link

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