BSK 3674 Big Science
Produced by Laurie Anderson & Roma Baran
Released on May 1982
US CHART POSITION #124 . . . UK CHART POSITION #29
Find it at GEMM
BSK 3674 cover
[high resolution photo]
 

L uminous stuff. Laurie Anderson made her reputation as a performance artist with the United States tour, which featured her playing the violin on a block of ice. It was that kind of absurdist attitude that made her plainspoken songs so unforgettable. Big Science featured material from the United States performance, including the surprise UK hit “O Superman.” The songs are minimalist dialogues that shine like the short ambient pieces of Brian Eno. Sometimes they feature actual melodies, like the wonderfully catchy “From The Air,” and sometimes there’s just a wisp of sound behind them, as on “Walking & Falling.” Looking for a reference point for Laurie Anderson is tricky; there are elements of David Byrne, Kate Bush, Philip Glass and Stan Ridgway at work, but they all arrived at their styles at about the same time. Her later albums were too self-aware of expectations; Big Science blazes into new musical frontiers fearlessly. To call songs like “Example #22” strange sort of misses the point, since Anderson is after bigger quarry than raised eyebrows. She wants you to rethink music, or at least think about music more deeply than usual. The lyrics are often spoken rather than sung, and they hang heavy in the air. Behind the lyrics are slowly shifting waves of keyboards, marimba or violin, and the unpredictable percussion of David Van Tieghem. When it all comes together, Big Science is stunning. When it doesn’t, it’s still thought provoking. Her manipulation of everyday events, her timing, her ability to drop words will have you scratching your head and smiling. She’s not a musician, she’s a magician. You’ll wonder whether you’ve been duped by Big Science, but it’s done so skillfully you’ll admire the effort, maybe even feel flattered by it.

BSK 3674 back cover BSK 3674 lyric sleeve
BSK 3674 back cover BSK 3674 lyric sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. FROM THE AIR    4:29
  2. BIG SCIENCE    6:14
  3. SWEATERS    2:18
  4. WALKING & FALLING    2:10
  5. BORN, NEVER ASKED    4:56
  6. O SUPERMAN (FOR MASSENET)    8:21
  7. EXAMPLE #22    2:59
  8. LET X=X / IT TANGO    6:52

    All words & music by Laurie Anderson

CREDITS

LAURIE ANDERSON -- vocals, vocoder, violins, Farsifa, OBXa, percussion, electronics, sticks, keyboards, claps, whistling, marimba, cover, inner sleeve photo
ROMA BARAN -- Farsifa bass, glass harmonica, sticks, claps, Farsifa, Casio, accordion, whistling, engineer
PERRY HOBERMAN -- bottles, sticks, claps, flute, sax, piccolo, backup vocals, assistant producer, art direction
DAVID VAN TIEGHEM -- drums, roto toms, tympani, marimba, percussion
Richard Cohen -- B-flat & E-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, bari sax (7)
Chuck Fosher -- alto & tenor sax (7)
Peter Gordon -- clarinet & tenor sax (1)
Rufus Harley -- bagpipes (3)
George Lewis -- trombones (8)
Bill Obrecht -- alto sax (1)
Leanne Ungar -- backup vocals (7), engineer
Bob Bielecki -- technical consultant & systems design
Cindy Brown -- design
Greg Shifrin -- front cover photo
James Hamilton -- back cover photo

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US 1982 Warner Bros. LP/CS BSK/M5 3674 lyric sleeve
UK May 1982 Warner Bros. LP K57002 lyric sleeve
BRA 1982 Warner Bros. LP 26081  
CAN 1982 Warner Bros. LP/CS XBS/XM5 3574 lyric sleeve
GER 1982 Warner Bros. LP WB57002 lyric sleeve
JPN 1982 Warner Pioneer LP P-11192 lyric insert
WW   Warner Bros. CD 3674  

 

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