Last week I put on the headphones and listened to an old episode of Meet the Composer, which is not something I ordinarily do, but this one featured Laurie Anderson, whose music has enchanted me since I first heard O Superman in the 80s and thought, wtf is this?
(Did I say wtf in the 80s? Probably not. Never mind.)
The segment with Laurie Anderson came at the end of an hour-long conversation with several other composers of synthesized sounds, and at first I was just going to skip directly to her segment, because I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend all that time listening to people talk about something I didn’t know much about and maybe wasn’t all that interested in. But here’s the thing: listening to people talk about things they’re really interested in can be really interesting.
Last November I was in a studio in Copenhagen with Brian Eno … and he said, “I’m going to reach into this can because there are, like, thousands of rubber bands in here.” And we spent the next two days making them do every kind of sound you could think of. I just heard things that I never imagined were going on. Now, we played four hours every morning, and then we sat down and we listened to that same four hours. They were so beautiful. They were so incredibly beautiful.
I listened, and yeah, they really were.