Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

 |   |  <1 min read

Laurie Anderson: Strange Perfumes
Laurie Anderson: Homeland (Nonesuch)

From the accompanying DVD, you sense this should have been a double CD for us to fully appreciate the long arc and nuances of this, Anderson's first album in a decade.

Anderson's work is allusive rather than literal or descriptive, but in these often disturbing, melancholy and dislocated meditations on the state of her country, some thread is missing between her feeling “homeland” has fascistic as well as mom'n'apple pie qualities (as she says in the DVD film The Story of the Lark about how the album developed).

As always Anderson's voice – cool, disembodied and, in the case of her alter-ego Fenway Bergamot, masculine – is engrossing. The musical settings of strings, exotic vocals from Tuvan singer Aidysmaa Koshkendey and electrobeats of haunting minimalism are equally so.

Anderson imbues small things like snowfall and sleep with great import – which means the big issues of foreign policy, words (“In America we like solutions,” she says before listing hair solutions alongside debt and world solutions) and characters in social or spiritual motion can go simply suggested.

The idea of memory is prevalent, and this works best when it engages with more simple, human concerns (the hypnotic Falling) than when it aims for the Big Picture (the disco-churn of Only An Expert) or on Bergamot's discourse Another Day in America.

So, an epic reduced to sketches, a concept rendered manageable – to its cost.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

Various: The Great New Zealand Songbook (Thom/Sony)

This nattily packaged double disc with Dick Frizzell's clever twist on an iconic and familiar Kiwi image as the cover arrives in time for New Zealand Music Month -- but already has the feel of the... > Read more

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Patti Smith, Dream of Life DVD (Arthouse/Madman)

Few, if any, musicians have been as self-mythologising as Patti Smith, she has written her story with capitals: New Jersey, Piss Factory, New York, Mapplethorpe, William Burroughs, Keith Richards,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

NAUGHTY PUSSY by KATHRYN VAN BEEK

NAUGHTY PUSSY by KATHRYN VAN BEEK

Because of their temporary nature and purpose, band and music posters are often an ignored art form. Not all such posters are artistic however, most are just fit-for-purpose: name, date,... > Read more

EPs by Shani.O

EPs by Shani.O

With so many CDs and downloads commanding and demanding attention Elsewhere will run this occasional column by the informed and opinionated Shani.O. She will scoop up some of those many EP... > Read more