Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hand Claps: Let X = X

Laurie Anderson: Let X = X


Music? Performance art? Spoken word? It’s tough to know what to call the work of Laurie Anderson. Sometimes it just depends on the piece. One thing that can be said is that her narrative style reminds us that Muse and musing are derived from the same root. Anderson’s pieces ramble around to a point, express it, and then ramble away from it again. Her gift is in making us feel that this is natural and comfortable.

There is always music as part of these pieces, and Let X = X boils it down to its essence. In Laurie Anderson’s works, technological and organic sounds find a way to coexist. Here, it is just a synthesizer and handclaps, plus a percussion instrument I can not identify, for most of the piece. There is a band that comes in briefly towards the end, threatening to disrupt the equilibrium that has been achieved. But then the balance is restored at the end. It will sound strange to many ears, but this piece is entrancing.


Note to readers: last week, for our Joni Covers theme, I posted a version of God Must Be a Boogie Man. There was a problem with the file, and it would not play. My apologies. The problem is fixed now, and the song is now available as intended for your enjoyment.

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