Photography by The Might Gudzill
This album takes me back… Way back. I can’t remember exactly when I first heard this album, I think I was in early high school and originally on cassette, but I remember laying on the floor with my friend (who I had a small crush on, she wasn’t that attractive or anything, she was just so damn interesting to me and, as it turned out later, rather fucked up) as she played this for me.
Of course, it was “O Superman” that performed hypnosis on my young impressionable mind, with that ha-ha-ha-ha-ha repeating, repeating, repeating, and the computerized harmonies, I was smitten. But that’s just the beginning of side two (which, I’d rewind and play back again), this album is a marvel of weird nerdy experimentalism and minimalism, an album, if released today by some quirky & relatively cute artist, would be sucked up into top 10 lists like ants to honey, like deer to a salt lick, like a cat to an empty box (what’s up with that?) or better, like critics this year to Deerhunter, Fleet Foxes, and Portishead.
Not sure what the execs at Warner Bros were thinking when they signed Laurie Anderson, did they really think this somewhat androgynous, lighted-electric-violin playing, nerd with the calming voice who plays avant-garde would take over the world? Or is it a artsy-creditials thing? Either way, I’m thankful they did… She became part of my prog family tree and –
Wait, what? You’re confused? Let me explain.
The “prog family tree” is how all the proggers are related and you see, Anderson is on Peter Gabriel’s So, well, at least the version that had “Excellent Birds”, Peter Gabriel led early proggers Genesis, therefore Laurie Anderson is only two degrees away from prog, giving her a nice fat maple leaf on the prog family tree. Back in high school, my friend and I played a prog “degrees of separation” thing all the time (keep in mind, this was the 80’s, Kevin Bacon was really only known for Footloose at the time), man, we were so cool, eh?
Anyways, let’s get our avant-garde on, shall we? Oh, I guess I should mentioned, I (and a few readers) have noticed that my record player is running a hair fast, about 4.57% actually, I’m looking into this and hope to get it adjusted soon. I hope the small extra bit of speed doesn’t take away from your enjoyment, you are still hearing the album exactly as I am, sharing in my experience, and really, that’s the whole point! So let’s do it as…