Think of saxophones in rock and someone always mentions Jazz.Think of violins in minimalism and you think Tony Conrad and Henry Flynt.
Yeah, Laurie Anderson was a minimalist performance artist who played the Violin,rather more in keeping with the Henry Flynt angle than any Tony Conrad one note symphonies;but blending that with minimal electronics and darkly humourous spoken word passages,not unlike Robert Ashley's work around the same time,and this is a record of that time....see what i did?
Being charmingly eccentric looking,and a lady(oh what a novelty,a lady allowed to show intelligence!?),she managed to score one of thee most unlikely top ten hits in the UK charts,with "O'Superman".An Avant Garde work at number two in the charts was,and still is, a rare beast,but i think 'the public' approached it more as a Novelty record than anything weird.After all,you don't get much weirder than a Novelty record.
This unexpected sucess allowed her be more ambitious,and an audience would actually turn up for her huge "United States" multi-media opera.The centerpiece of the show is Laurie's digital aria "O Superman". The William Burroughs inspired "Language is a virus" preceded by "Difficult Listening Hour" where Laurie speaks through a filter that gives her voice a deep Burroughesque edge. Laurie plays with language, objectivity, experimentation and,typically feminine, with logic.
Of course in her early days,before becoming Mrs Lou Reed, poor cow,he used to hang out with Burroughs,Giorno,Ginsberg and all those 'Dial-a-Poem poets in New York and appeared on a few compilations before John Peel in the UK discovered her "o'Superman" single,and success,a 'second album' with a budget,and Peter bloody Gabriel beckoned. Not content with exploiting the indiginous peoples of the third world,our second favourite public schoolboy The first place goes to Joe Strummer of course!) wanted to bland out the avant garde too.
This is Laurie Anderson unsoiled by fame and popular acceptance,the two most terrible blights any artist could be set upon by.
1.Self Playing Violin (1974 From The Record Of The Time)(0:55)
2.Is Anybody Home (1976 From Airwaves) (4:19)
3.It's Not The Bullet That Kills You, It's The Hole (1976 From Airwaves) (3:47)
4.Two Songs For Tape Bow Violin (1977 From Airwaves) (4:02)
5.New York Social Life (1977 From New Music For Electronic And Recorded Media)(3:31)
6.Time To Go (For Diego) (1977 From New Music For Electronic And Recorded Media) (2:54)
7.Sh (1977 From The Record Of The Time) (1:13)
8.Tape Bow Trio (Say Yes) (1978 From The Record Of The Time)(2:01)
9.Three Expediences (1978 From Big Ego) (3:01)
10.Songs From America On The Move (1978 From The Nova Convention) (6:59)
11.Dr Miller (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Share My Money With) (4:18)
12.It Was Up In The Mountains (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Share My Money With)(2:12)
13.Drums (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Share My Money With) (0:33)14.Closed Circuits (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Share My Money With) (7:25)
15.Born Never Asked (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Share My Money With)(4:34)
16.For Electronic Dogs (1981 From You're The Guy I Want To Shar (4:07)
17.Walk The Dog (1981 From O Superman 7'')(6:43)