Songs About People
Photograph: Alan Murphy.

Songs About People

Through her songs, the New York musician Laurie Anderson resembles an anthropologist – but it is the ambiguity of her instrumental work that catches Alan Murphy's ear.

Laurie Anderson 

Triskel Christchurch, Cork
25 June 2011 

A minimal, red-draped stage holds a microphone, violin, diverse electronics and a vintage armchair (barely used). Spoken word and songs are interspersed with electronically processed violin playing. A rumbling wash of industrial ambience with murky organ or electric piano chords make an oneiric sonic backdrop for Laurie Anderson’s every clipped consonant, pregnant pause and arched cadence.

It was fitting that Anderson should perform on the former altar of a renovated eighteenth-century church – her idiosyncratic blend of insight, moral fable and dry irony come across like a kind of art sermon, delivered by a high priestess. But Anderson’s themes are very much mortal and of this world; more cultural anthropology than spiritual guidance.

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Published on 13 July 2011

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