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Ode To Gravity:
Laurie Anderson (Special Edition, II of IV)

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 114 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

Additional Media Files (click to view)

Having signed with Warner Brother Records, Laurie Anderson was soon to be at the height of her career in the mid-1980s. This interview/lecture from 1984 is incredibly insightful for both Anderson fans and those who have fond memories of the experimentation being done in the form of challenging and intelligent "pop" songs during the early to mid-1980s.

In Part 1 of this interview, recorded before a live audience of 1000 as part of the San Francisco Exploratorium's Speaking of Music series, Charles Amirkhanian speaks with Laurie Anderson about songs from her album, “Mister Heartbreak”. Anderson discusses the influences on many of the songs on that album including “Kokoku” and “Sharkey's Day”. In addition, the composer explains this album's departure from her last release, “Big Science”, which contained the hit song “O Superman”.

Laurie's sense of humor emerges in stories of her "past" lives, the controversy of extinct animal cloning, and a funny incident with her "clone" being spotted in New York City. Laurie discusses and plays the music of those who have influenced her through the years, including Ken Nordine, Bongo Joe, Henry Fiol as well as her immersion in Cuban music through club visits in uptown New York, and how it has affected her music on her latest album.

In Part 2, Laurie discusses the origins and variations of the song "O Superman (for Massenet)". She plays a Jules Massenet piece sung by Charles Holland ("O Souverain") then her own "O Superman", as well as various bootleg/cover versions of "O Superman". She discusses the Eventide Harmonizer, the "three states of a song" while analyzing the song "Its Cold Outside" which was to become "Big Science" and listens to variations of both pieces. Laurie takes questions from the audience and then talks about writer William S. Burroughs.

Part 1 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  Kokoku / Laurie Anderson -- Flibberty Jib / Ken Nordine -- Listen At That Bull [excerpt] / Bongo Joe (George Coleman) -- [excerpt, unidentified piece] / Henry Fiol -- Sharkey's Day / Laurie Anderson
Genres:  New Music; Popular Music
Subject:  Nordine, Ken; Coleman, George, 1923-; Fiol, Henry; Anderson, Laurie, 1947-; New music; Performance art; Cloning; Popular music; Rock music; Monologues with music; Percussion music; Latin jazz
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Anderson, Laurie, 1947-; Nordine, Ken; Coleman, George, 1923-; Fiol, Henry
Recording Date:  12/6/1984
First Broadcast Date:  4/20/1989
 
Part 2 of 2:  
Musical Selections:  O Souverain (1885) / Jules Massenet -- O Superman / Laurie Anderson -- [excerpted remixes of “O Superman”] / [Various artists] -- It’s Cold Outside [excerpts] / Laurie Anderson -- Big Science [excerpt] / Laurie Anderson -- Big Science [Synclavier version, excerpt] / Laurie Anderson
Performers:  Charles Holland, voice (O Souverain)
Dennis Russell Davies, piano (O Souverain)
American Composers Orchestra (It’s Cold)
Dennis Russell Davies, conductor (It’s Cold)
David Van Tieghem, percussion (Big)
Genres:  New Music; Popular Music
Subject:  Anderson, Laurie, 1947-; Holland, Charles; Burroughs, William S., 1914-1997; Van Tieghem, David; New music; Popular music; Songs (High voice) with piano; Performance art; Rock music; Orchestral music; Monologues with music
People:  Amirkhanian, Charles; Anderson, Laurie, 1947-; Massenet, Jules, 1842-1912; Holland, Charles; Davies, Dennis Russell; Van Tieghem, David
Recording Date:  12/6/1984
First Broadcast Date:  4/20/1989
 
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