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   Author  Topic: RE: virus: Big Science  (Read 891 times)

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Rate Blunderov

"We think in generalities, we live in details"

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RE: virus: Big Science
« on: 2004-11-14 05:57:38 »
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[Blunderov] I had the album "Big Science" years ago and found it again
in a 2nd hand bookstore the other day. Finally I got the joke after all
this time.
Have a Surreal Day.

Hey Pal! How do I get to town from here?
And he said: Well just take a right where
they're going to build that new shopping mall,
go straight past where they're going to put in the freeway,
take a left at what's going to be the new sports center,
and keep going until you hit the place where
they're thinking of building that drive-in bank.
You can't miss it. And I said: This must be the place. <\snip>


"Laurie Anderson was a performance artist who achieved a brief moment of
success in the early 80s. Her biggest art work was the extended stage
presentation, United States I-IV, in which she created a sensory
onslaught of music, words, sound, and visuals to describe in
hallucinatory fashion this nation in all its modern idiosyncracies. She
also created two studio albums containing songs from that epic; the
first, Big Science, contained her big hit "O Superman"; the second, Mr.
Heartbreak, was more melodic yet still very adventurous.
It is difficult to call Big Science a collection of songs; Anderson's
music is more like contemporary classical welded with pop music with
spoken word over the top, carrying Anderson's strange yet insightful
narratives. However, the spoken word is by no means just spoken word.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this album is the way the human
voice is used; it is an exploration of and experimentation with the
syntax and parameters of the human voice. The human voice is at times
electronically processed. The processed voice is used to create
minimalist rhythms as well as surprising "lead" instruments. For
example, in "O Superman", sampled vowels are looped and used in layers
as the unnerving rhythm for the song. In "Sweaters", the lead instrument
sounds like a human cry piped through what sounds like the perverted
result of a saxophone and violin mating. Laurie half-sings and
half-talks over the various electronic noises like a telephone operator
that is talking so softly and deliberately as to lull you to sleep; yet
she disturbs the flow at unexpected points by interrupting the rhythm or
the syntax. At times, the dreamy telephone operator voice is interrupted
by other kinds of human voices; like the happy questioning sound of a
mother saying hello to her daughter. In the surprising "It Tango", the
whole composition is reduced to focus mainly on Laurie's voice, and
Laurie's voice is reduced to repeating sentences (a snippet of a
conversation) in monotone, yet each time she repeats the sentence, she
drops some of the words, subtly changing both the meaning and the
rhythmic flow of the strange vocal music.

In addition to the voices, these songs also have very intriguing
instruments providing the melodies and rhythmic backings. For rhythm,
sometimes hand claps and clicking noises are used. One song features a
ringing telephone. "Big Science" has a glass harmonica. Many of the
songs also feature "normal" instrumentation like drums, bass, saxophone,
and keyboards.

Highly recommended to anyone that loves the possibilities of music and
is open to a little strangeness."


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