The

Mick

Sinclair

Archive

Laurie Anderson

July

1984

Zigzag

feature

 
 
LAURIE ANDERSON dipped into the rock world by producing a vinyl off shoot/aural chronicle of her performance work.

'United States Parts I-IV' in its natural, live setting (films, slides, music, performer herself almost as prop) carried a range of hinted possibilities, thought provoking context shifts and enough of the Charlie Chaplin (trademark of a thousand other interviews subject in ill fitting suit, neon violin bow taking place of walking stick) in Laurie to leave an audience both stunned and laughing.

The LP 'Big Science' and the relentless wedge of 'Oh Superman' which preceded it were, as records per se, oddities. Possessed of a shadowy black and white sparseness they lingered. Strangely.

By the time 'Big Science' was released here, Laurie was already thinking of ways to make what might be termed a ‘record’ record.

To wit: 'Master Heartbreak'. (That title! See cuttings of 60s girl groups scattered over floor and Laurie Anderson in black leather on back of motorbike riding across them.)

"This LP was the first time I'd actually written something for a record. On 'Big Science' I thought of it as a kind of documentation. I thought reverb was cheating! I thought it should sound like it's coming direct from the board as in performance without the audience noise. And I thought that would make it more intimate too in a way.

"It came out as the opposite, cardboardy. I changed my mind, decided that reverb wasn't cheating and I really wanted things to be airy. 'Blue Lagoon' and 'Langue D’amour' were from the 'United States' series but the others I wrote in the summer right before recording. They were specifically for the disc. And that was so different."

To continue reading this article and to discover many more (over 140,000 words-worth!), purchase Mick Sinclair’s Adjusting the Stars: Music journalism from post-punk London. 

 

 

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