Courtesy of Nonesuch
In her long and singular career, Laurie Anderson has never sounded quite so pointed, and perhaps so dark.
Some of the most compelling music being made today comes from the increasingly blurry boundary between indie-rock and contemporary classical music. This is not a new phenomenon — rock fans were among the earliest converts to Philip Glass's music in the early 1970s, for example; Glenn Branca's symphonies for adapted electric guitars and Frank Zappa's turn to composed music later in his career also set the stage for what's happening today. But what's happening today is a rise of interest in instrumental rock that's more about texture and sonic exploration than three minutes of disposable pogo-ing fun, as well as a new look at the song form — especially at the song cycle. In the old days, we would've called these "concept albums." Now, we're throwing around terms like post-rock or indie-classical. Basically, we're talking about musically literate (i.e., able to read and write classical music notation) singers and players who grew up with and still play some form of rock music. The result is a convincing blend of styles.
Actually, no — it's no longer a blend of styles at all. It's something new, something distinct and original. And it's some of the most provocative and exciting work of the year.