Posts Tagged ‘Laurie Anderson’

Women of Echoes

March 6, 2014

A Celebration of Women in Music from the Echoes Spectrum for International Women’s Day

Laurie Anderson in Echoes Interview

Laurie Anderson in Echoes Interview

This Saturday, March 8 is International Women’s Day and as we do each year, we focus this show on the sounds of women musicians.  These days, that doesn’t seem as necessary as it did many years ago.  Even 20 years back, finding enough women musicians creating progressive, ambient and electronic music to fill this show wasn’t easy, but today, women are a big part of Echoes, if not in outright domination of the music you hear.  So this is more a show about celebrating how far we’ve come with women in music.  Today, we’ll hear women artists from pioneers like Laurie Anderson and Kate Bush  to a new generation like Norah Jones and London Grammar.

Frankie Rose Live on Echoes

Frankie Rose Live on Echoes

Laurie Anderson is the Grand Dame of new music. She defined the independent women composer and artist for the late 20th century with a personal vision that is unparalleled . She’s still creating great music and performance works today although she suffered a terrible loss this past year when her husband, Lou Reed, passed away.  You can hear Anderson’s influence on other contemporary composers like Julia Holter, a musician who probably wouldn’t have been possible without Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.”

You can hear them all tonight on Women of EchoesPlaylist here.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Laurie Anderson Freefalls with HTC AD

May 21, 2012

I know I’m a little late but since no one in my limited circle has mentioned it, I thought I would. Have you heard Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” used in an HTC phone commercial?  I’m confused with whether this is the hippest thing in the world or most lamentable.  Should I be cheering that a piece that is iconic in some circles, yet is barely known outside those circles, is finally making it to the masses some 3 decades later?

Laurie Anderson

Or should I be looking with chagrin at an icon who has spent much of her artistic career critiquing American consumerism finally selling out.  Actually, I have this nagging thought that she has licensed her music to commercials before and I’m pretty sure she’s appeared in some print ads for products other than herself.

I’m gonna go with cheering the hippest thing in the world.  It’s not a sellout.  It’s Laurie Anderson’s latest comment on consumerism and the place of self and self-perspective in the world.

There isn’t a true version online and there’s a Japanese version with Japanese announcer.  There’s an alternate US version with “Tick of the Clock” by The Chromatics. So start this version:

Mute that sound and when the woman jumps out of the plane, start this version, the original Anderson video for O Superman.

Here’s  the Japanese version.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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Skúli Sverrisson’s Seria II.

March 1, 2011

Skúli Sverrisson’s Seria II is the Echoes March CD of the Month

A sideman to New York’s music elite turns in a solo electric chamber work masterpiece.

Hear Skúli Sverrisson talk about his music tonight 5/27  Echoes.

Ambient chamber music is often atmospheric, melancholy and serene, but rarely is it as charming as Seria II by multi-instrumentalist and composer Skúli Sverrisson.  This Icelandic musician via New York’s downtown music scene has sculpted an album that sounds like a Mediterranean fling tossed into space.  Sverrisson manages to have a folkloric sense of melody and an ambient sense of sound design.

Sverrisson has been on the American music scene since the late 1980s.  He was a member of an early techno-tribal group, Mo Boma, that cut four CDs and he’s performed with people like Laurie Anderson, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and David Sylvian.  Anderson even appears on the first Seria CD.

He can play wild fusion with the likes of Allan Holdsworth, but Seria II takes him in a deeper, more contemplative direction.  These detailed and imaginative works have a more European flair with cinematic hints of Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone on some tracks, elements of Brian Eno and Philip Glass on others.  With a string section consisting of just Eyvind Kang and Hildur Gudnadottir on viola and cello, Sverrisson gets a ghostly chamber music sound on several tracks like the lilting “Unbend” and more classically pastoral “Módir.”  Even though there is only cello and viola on those tracks, they sound like an orchestra wafting in from across the lake.

It’s the details that make this album, with instrumental accents from celeste, omnichord and charango decorating Sverrisson and Amedeo Pace’s often arpegiatted guitar lines.  “Volumes” brings in toy piano, autoharp and glockenspiel set in mediaeval mode with Indian undertones before a cycling rhythm track emerges with a melody that sounds folky and gothic at the same time.

Ólof Arnalds (cousin of Ólafur Arnalds) sings on most of the tracks, and like the strings, she effects a wistful sound with wordless vocals in phantom choirs on “The Sound of Snow,” “Divena” and “Her Looking Back.”  The latter tune starts as a plaintive folk song before turning into a cinematic mood piece.

Sverrisson is best known as a bassist, but he also plays guitar, keyboards, and dobro on the album.  There’s no denying his melodic gifts on the over-dubbed “Instants” where he plays bass and electric guitar in a wistful, end of summer song that again, plays like a Rota score.

In Seria II ,  Skúli Sverrisson has composed a quietly masterful recording that draws you into a world that brims with nostalgia, while being thoroughly part of the 21st century.

Seria II is available from CDBaby.com.

If you enjoyed this, you’ll want to hear Skúli talk about his music tonight 5/27 and this coming weekend on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

Sunday Echoes listeners can hear Icelandic ambient chamber music when Ólafur Arnalds plays live on Echoes. This is already going to be one of the best Echoes Concerts of the year. http://echoes.org/comingup.html#0221

The Best Echoes Songs Ever? O Superman? Music for 18 Musicians?

August 25, 2008

Even though we play individual songs on Echoes, I don’t usually think of the music that way. Being from the pre-digital generation, I still organize music in terms of artists and albums. I thought of this recently as our local Echoes affiliate, WXPN in Philadelphia, has been pumping their latest poll,  The Top 885 Essential XPN Songs. (885 because their frequency is 88.5 FM) Listeners are being requested to submit their top ten lists on-line. 

My Top Ten Artists list has been stable for years, and my Top Ten Albums only changes occasionally. But Top Ten Songs?  I think that could change every 10 minutes. When you think about songs across genres, and open it up completely, how do you narrow it down to ten. Even limiting it to the current core XPN sound of singer-songwriter and alternative rock is pretty broad.  Hell, I don’t even think of Echoes music in terms of songs.  It’s more like sounds, moods, and at most compositions.  I tried to keep that in mind when I submitted my poll.   This is the Top Ten Essential XPN Songs list I submitted that tried to split the difference, but in the end didn’t succeed. There is no ranking to the list.
Miles Davis “In A Silent Way” In A Silent Way
Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Electric Ladyland
Klaus Schulze “Frank Herbert” X
Dead Can Dance “Cantara” Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
Kate Bush “The Dreaming” The Dreaming
Steve Tibbetts “10 Years” YR
Brian Eno “Sky Saw” Another Green World
Beth Orton “She Cries Your Name” Trailer Park
Laurie Anderson “O Superman” Big Science
Steve Reich “Music for 18 Musicians” Music for 18 Musicians

As I peruse this quickly tossed together list, I realize I kind of blew it.  Most of these are indeed, compositions, not songs and in the context of XPN, it’s a little like voting for the Green Party (no offense).    So here’s my amended Top Ten List:                                                                                               
Jimi Hendrix “Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)” Electric Ladyland
Dead Can Dance “Cantara” Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
Kate Bush “The Dreaming” The Dreaming
David Sylvian “Let the Happiness In” Secrets of the Beehive
Beth Orton “She Cries Your Name” Trailer Park
Laurie Anderson “O Superman” Big Science
The Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” Revolver
The Rolling Stones “Satisfaction” Out of Our Heads
Moby “Porcelian” Play
Jane Siberry “Calling All Angels” When I Was A Boy

It’s still a bit off base I suspect. 

If you’re a listener to WXPN, you can cast your vote on their website ballot. The deadline is September 7. Who knows what might show up on there amidst the inevitable selections of My Morning Jacket, R.E.M, the Cure, Tori Amos, Coldplay, U2, and Bob Dylan tunes. In fact, I should have put some of them on my Top Ten. Yep, that list took about 10 minutes to change, twice. 

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


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