CMU Approved

Approved: Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet

By | Published on Wednesday 6 December 2017

Laurie Anderson

Both Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet have been at the forefront of experimental music for more than 40 years. Their coming together for ‘Landfall’ – therefore – seems somewhat overdue, but also perfectly timed as it draws the best out of both of them.

First performed live in 2015, ‘Landfall’ is inspired by Hurricane Sandy and sees Anderson deliver short stories on everything from loss to a failing karaoke system in a Dutch bar, all in her unmistakable lilt. The Kronos Quartet’s ever-striking performance is interwoven with electronic sounds, with a tense but natural flow.

To date ‘Landfall’ has been a live collaboration. For the live performances they are also accompanied by a piece of software called Erst, which translated the music into text projected on a screen behind them fracturing the narrative provided by Anderson.

In February next year, it has now been announced, a recorded version of the performance will be released through Nonesuch Records – coinciding with the publication of a retrospective book by Anderson.

“These are stories with tempos”, says Anderson of the piece. “I’ve always been fascinated by the complex relationship of words and music whether in song lyrics, supertitles or voice over. In ‘Landfall’, instruments initiate language through our new text software, Erst. The blend of electronic and acoustic strings is the dominant sound of Landfall”.

She goes on: “Much of the music in this work is generated from the harmonies and delays of unique software designed for the solo viola and reinterpreted for the quartet. In addition, there were elements of the optigan, a keyboard that uses information stored on optical discs”.

Kronos Quartet founder David Harrington adds: “Laurie Anderson is the master magician musician who has always inhabited those secret places where technology has personality, where ‘real time’ is questioned and where all the elements of performance meet and combine into music”.

He added: “Her process is to gather and continue to gather potentially useful aspects as she sculpts a shape. Her sense of play and fun and her continuous experimenting make her the ideal chemist – or is it alchemist? – in the laboratory of music”.

Watch the video for ‘We Learn To Speak Yet Another Language’, taken from ‘Landfall’, here:

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.