Big Science [25th Anniversary Edition]

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
There was a backlash against Laurie Anderson in "serious" musical and artistic circles after the completely unexpected mainstream commercial success of her debut album, Big Science. (The eight-plus-minute single "O Superman" was a chart hit in England, unbelievably enough.) A fair listen to Big Science leaves the impression that jealousy must have been at the root of the reception because Big Science is in no way a commercial sellout. A thoughtful and often hilariously funny collection of songs from Anderson's work in progress, United States I-IV, Big Science works both as a preview of the larger work and on its own merits. Opening with the hypnotic art rock of "From the Air," in which an airline pilot casually ...
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CD (Remastered / Bonus Tracks / Enhanced)
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide
There was a backlash against Laurie Anderson in "serious" musical and artistic circles after the completely unexpected mainstream commercial success of her debut album, Big Science. (The eight-plus-minute single "O Superman" was a chart hit in England, unbelievably enough.) A fair listen to Big Science leaves the impression that jealousy must have been at the root of the reception because Big Science is in no way a commercial sellout. A thoughtful and often hilariously funny collection of songs from Anderson's work in progress, United States I-IV, Big Science works both as a preview of the larger work and on its own merits. Opening with the hypnotic art rock of "From the Air," in which an airline pilot casually mentions that he's a caveman to a cyclical melody played in unison by a three-part reeds section, and the strangely beautiful title track, which must feature the most deadpan yodeling ever, the album dispenses witty one-liners, perceptive social commentary (the subtext of the album concerns Anderson's own suburban upbringing, which she views with more of a bemused fondness than the tiresome irony that many brought to the subject), and a surprisingly impressive sense of melody for someone who was until recently a strictly visual artist. For example, the marimba and handclap-led closer, "It Tango," is downright pretty in the way the minimalistic tune interacts with Anderson's voice, which is softer and more intimate (almost sexy, in a downtown-cool sort of way) than on the rest of the album. Not everything works -- "Walking and Falling" is negligible, and the way Rufus Harley's bagpipes intentionally clash with Anderson's harsh, nasal singing and mannered phrasing in "Sweaters" will annoy those listeners who can't take either Yoko Ono or Meredith Monk -- but Big Science is a landmark release in the New York art scene of the '80s, and quite possibly the best art rock album of the decade. [Nonesuch released a 25th anniversary edition of the album in 2007, featuring greatly improved sound, liner notes from Anderson, and some enhanced content: B-side "Walk the Dog" and the video for "O Superman."]~ Stewart Mason
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/17/2007
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597998856
  • Catalog Number: 130428
  • Sales rank: 30,175

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 From the Air (4:35)
  2. 2 Big Science (6:14)
  3. 3 Sweaters (2:23)
  4. 4 Walking & Falling (2:13)
  5. 5 Born, Never Asked (4:58)
  6. 6 O Superman (For Massenet) (8:27)
  7. 7 Example #22 (2:59)
  8. 8 Let X=X (3:54)
  9. 9 It Tanga (5:34)
  10. 10 O Superman
  11. 11 Walk the Dog
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Laurie Anderson Primary Artist, Percussion, Violin, Keyboards, Marimbas, Stick, Vocals, Hand Clapping, farfisa organ, Vocoder, oberheim, Wood Block, electronics
George Lewis Trombone
Rufus Harley Bagpipes
Roma Baran Accordion, Stick, Background Vocals, Glass Harmonica, Hand Clapping, farfisa organ, tin whistle, Casio
Richard Cohen Bass, Clarinet, Bassoon, Baritone Saxophone
Perry Hoberman Flute, Piccolo, Saxophone, Stick, Background Vocals, Bottle, Hand Clapping, Walkie Talkie
Bill Obrecht Alto Saxophone
David Van Tieghem Percussion, Drums, Marimbas, Timpani, Roto Toms
D. Sharpe Drums
Chuck Fisher Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Technical Credits
Laurie Anderson Composer, Producer, Concept
Roma Baran Producer, Engineer, Music Direction
Greg Calbi Remastering
Perry Hoberman Art Direction
Leanne Ungar Engineer
Vivian Stoll Engineer
Bob Bielecki System Design
Barbara de Wilde Reissue Design
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Laurie Anderson for beginners

    If your just looking for a copy of the "O Superman" song, this is the CD for you (although I am not a fan of the enhanced CD format as having video and audio on the same disk often makes it difficult to play one or the other). If you really want a true Laurie Anderson experience you ought to get the "United States I-IV" box set from which this CD was created (that is if you can find it, and if you can afford it). For those who can't afford the huge United States I-IV box, but want more than what Big Science gives you, I recommend "Talk Normal: The Laurie Anderson Anthology" which gives a great overview of her career on two disks (if you can find it).

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews