Yuri Landman

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Yuri Landman
Lecture at Output.jpg
Yuri Landman @ Output Festival 2007
Background information
Born (1973-02-01) February 1, 1973 (age 41)
Zwolle
Origin The Netherlands
Occupations Experimental luthier, musician
Labels Thick Syrup
Associated acts Sonic Youth

Yuri Landman (born February 1, 1973) is a Dutch experimental luthier[1] and musician who has made several experimental electric string instruments for a list of artists including Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth,[2] Liars,[3] Jad Fair of Half Japanese, Liam Finn and Laura-Mary Carter.

Biography[edit]

Yuri Landman started as a comic book artist and made his debut in the comics field in 1997 with 'Je Mag Alles Met Me Doen' (in Dutch). In the follow-up, released in 1998, 'Het Verdiende Loon', Landman described his negative experiences on a daily job.[4] For the second title he received the 1998 Breda Prize,[5] an award for rising new comic artists in the Netherlands. Since then he has published no other comic books.

Together with Cees van Appeldoorn, he formed the lo-fi band Zoppo playing bass and prepared guitar in 1997.[6][7] After 2 albums and several 7”singles, Landman left the band in 2000. Landman then formed the noise band Avec Aisance (aka Avec-A) with drummer/producer Valentijn Höllander and released a CD, Vivre dans l’aisance in 2004. After quitting Avec-A in 2006, he focused mainly on instrument building.

Landman is musically untrained and cannot play chords. While with Avec-A, Landman began creating and building several experimental string instruments, including electric zithers, electric Cymbalum, and electric Koto. Most of them are not regular instruments, but look more like multi-string crossbows, with their sounds derived from string resonance, microtonality and an overtoning spectra based on the no wave aesthetics of Glenn Branca and the microtonal consonant theory developed by Harry Partch.[8]

four early prototypes

In the period between 2000-2005, Landman created 9 prototype instruments. In 2006 he changed his musical focus and stopped to perform and start building for other bands. The Moodswinger was the first instrument Landman made for the band Liars.[6][9] One copy of the instrument is part of the collection of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. After the Moodswinger, he started making more instruments for other bands as well.

From November 2006 to January 2007 Landman finished 2 copies of The Moonlander, a biheaded electric 18 string drone guitar, one for Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and one for himself.[6][9][10]

Springtime, 2008

The Springtime is an experimental electric guitar with seven strings and three outputs. The first prototype of this instrument, created in 2008, was made for guitar player Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes.[9][11][12][13] Afterwards he also made copies for Lou Barlow and dEUS' Mauro Pawlowski. For John Schmersal of Enon he built the Twister guitar, an alternate version of the Springtime.[9]

Besides building instruments, Landman also gave musicological lectures at venues, festivals and music related educational institutes about a theory based on physical laws. One of these lectures was given at the Primavera Sound Festival in 2008.[14] Landman published the essay 3rd Bridge Helix - From Experimental Punk to Ancient Chinese Music & the Universal Physical Laws of Consonance in which he clarifies the relation between this prepared guitar technique and the consonant values present in non-Western scales, especially the musical scale used on the Ancient Chinese musical instrument the guqin.[9][15] He published an extensive 8 chapter guide on how to prepare a guitar.

In 2009 he finished instruments for The Dodos, Liam Finn, HEALTH, Micachu and Finn Andrews of The Veils.[6][9] For The Dodos and Finn he created electric 24 string drum guitars called the Tafelberg and for Andrews an electric 17 string harp guitar called the Burner guitar. He also started to perform again after a Perpignan Festival hosted by Vincent Moon and Gaspar Claus.[9] Meanwhile he continued to build instruments for artists such as These Are Powers, Women and Kate Nash and comes up with a second DIY-workshop for festivals for building an electric 12 tone Lamellophone.

Around 2008 he started giving lectures and presentations with his instruments, leading to a request in 2009 for a practical building workshop. This started the rise of the Home Swinger project. A Gesamtkunstwerk consisting of a DIY-workshop where people built their copy of the instrument and often followed by a rehearsal and an ensemble performance with multiple Home Swingers, drums, basses, and guitars in the tradition of the Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca compositions. After the rise of the Home Swinger project, other building workshops followed. Events mainly took place in Europe and in February 2010 in the US at the Knitting Factory[16] and Eyedrum.[17] The Home Swinger instrument was selected as one of the instruments for the second Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at the Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Feb 2010. Together with the Moodswinger this instrument is also included in the permanent collection of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ. Due to the ongoing tour schedule with the DIY-instrument projects, he discontinued the reproduction of his high end products for the bands, although he makes exceptions such as the development of a 42 string instrument for Peter James Taylor, nine exclusive instruments for the Belgium composer Serge Verstockt and an instrument for the SONS Museum in 2011. For his own musical career he built several instruments with motors, crossed strings and most notable the 25 meter long string instrument often featured at his ensemble performances. Because of his workshops he connects more to the experimental music scene, sharing stages with acts such as Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham, Wu Fei, Noël Akchoté, Action Beat, Dustin Wong (ex Ponytail) and others.

In 2011 he recorded an album featuring Jad Fair and the French noise artist Philippe Petit, which was released in March 2012 in the US and in Europe in the May of the same year. He also started a two piece band and called Bismuth, with multi-instrumentalist Arnold van de Velde. With this band he has done showcases on the 2012 editions of the Eurosonic and B-Sides Festival. Soon after the start of the band, Bismuth started releasing a series of free download singles on soundcloud. Landman is connected to the Rotterdam based venue and artspace WORM that owns a collection of his instruments. Landman assists on the artists in residence programm where artists can use his instruments in the programm. In the same year he started his Strat Eraser Project and a series of instruments built in small series for direct sale, besides the workshop exclusive models. Landman wrote the book Nice Noise about prepared guitar techniques and guitar modification with Bart Hopkin.[18] This book was released in October 2012 by Experimental Musical Instruments and came along with 60 sound fragments made with a wide range of guitar preparations. In November he did a TEDx talk. The March 2013 edition of Premier Guitar featured a cover story written by Landman about a guitar modification he did on request of the magazine.

Instruments[edit]

In the period 2000-2005 Landman created 9 prototype instruments.

  • The black 4-string movable 3rd bridge zither.
  • The red capozither, shown on the cover of Vivre dans l’aisance.
  • Robocop, a 6 string heavily adjusted guitar with 2 additional bridges and 3 outputs.
  • The 12 string overtone zither, the first prototype of Aaron Hemphill’s Moodswinger.
  • The blonde 3 string stereo-guitar, 1 bass string tuned B, and 2 thin B tuned guitar strings.
  • The green 7 string trio-guitar, 1 bass string, DAD tuned guitar string and 3 G#-strings.
  • The Electric Spring"
  • The electric cymbalum, 72 strings, 12 pickups, one for each tone.
  • The blue 4 string supertremolo-guitar, with no fretboard, but an adjustable pitch control for the left hand.

Moodswinger[edit]

The Moodswinger was the first instrument Landman made for the band Liars.

Springtime[edit]

The Springtime is an experimental electric guitar with seven strings and three outputs.

Moonlander[edit]

The bi-headstock

The Moonlander is a biheaded electric guitar with 18 strings: 6 normal strings and 12 sympathetic strings. Although it closely resembles an electric version of a harp guitar it is actually an electric sympathetic string guitar, because the droning strings are not meant to be plucked, but resonate on the played tones from the six normal strings.[10] The drone strings cross the plucked strings at an angle, and are attached to the machine head by a raised headstock.

Ranaldo's Moonlander, Yuri Landman, 2007

Based on a biplane, Landman combined the theorbo with the electric guitar. The 12 droning strings create a natural reverb, with specific desired frequencies, depending on in which tones the strings are tuned. The standard tuning for the droning strings is a circle of fourths divided over two octaves.

Besides this acoustic reverb possibility the guitar is also a stereo guitar. The two rotated pickups individually send out different signals coming from different strings, to make it possible to play two different guitar parts on one instrument at the same time. The nut and bridge allow repositioning of the strings, modifying the Moonlander into a coursed instrument.

The Moonlander is visually a hybrid of the offset-waist body shaped lake placid blue Fender Electric XII with matching headstock and the Vox Mark VI. The name is derived from the 1979 video game Moonlander aka Lunar Lander.

The guitar has four separate outputs:

  1. The output for the bridge pickup, like on any other normal guitar
  2. The output for the droning strings pickup
  3. Output 3 for the upper rotated neck pickup, for a stereo option
  4. Output 4 for the lower rotated neck pickup, for a stereo option

Similar to the Liars' Moodswinger, two blue copies of this instrument have been made, one for Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth and one for Landman himself. In the same year Landman finished another experimental instrument for Jad Fair of Half Japanese.

DIY Workshop instruments[edit]

Discography[edit]

Yuri Landman Ensemble[edit]

with Zoppo[edit]

Audio[edit]
  • Chi pratica lo impare zoppicare (Drowning Man Records, 1998)
  • Nontonnen promo 7" (Blackbean & Placenta, 1998)
  • Double the fun splitt 7" (Drowning Man Records, 1999)
  • Belgian Style Pop (Drowning Man/Transformed Dreams, 1999)
Video[edit]
  • Flooded made by Dan Geesin (1999)

with Avec Aisance[edit]

Albums[edit]
  • Vivre dans l'aisance (Drowning Man Records, 2004)
Video[edit]
  • Not like my sister behaves (2004)
  • A second too lazy (2005)
  • Like my friend blue (2005)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Je Mag Alles Met Me Doen, 1997 (comic book in Dutch)
  • Het Verdiende Loon, 1998 (graphic novel in Dutch)
  • Nice Noise - Bart Hopkin & Yuri Landman. 72 pgs, Full Color, 2012, Experimental Musical Instruments, ISBN 978 0972 731 36 2

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Moodswinger". Oddmusic. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  2. ^ de Lange, Nils (21 August 2007). "Moonlander". Spunk (in Dutch). Spunk. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Experimental Luthier Yuri Landman Introduces the Moodswinger
  4. ^ "Yuri Landman". Lambiek Comiclopedia. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  5. ^ ZozoLala 103 - A copy of the article on [1], line 7 in the text notices the Prijs van Breda (Breda Prize)
  6. ^ a b c d Kivel, Adam (12 June 2011). "Audio Archaeology: Yuri Landman’s Hypercustom Guitars". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  7. ^ Zoppo bio in English on The Dutch Rock & Pop Institute[dead link]
  8. ^ Description of one of Yuri's lectures
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Pécaud, Sophie (8 February 2009). "Yuri Landman : des guitares et des hommes". Fragil (in French). Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  10. ^ a b Amsterdam Weekly[dead link], Issue 35, Page 15
  11. ^ Modern Guitars[dead link]
  12. ^ Vintage Guitar
  13. ^ The Dutch Rock & Pop Institute[dead link]
  14. ^ Notification Lecture at Primavera Sound[dead link]
  15. ^ Landman, Yuri (December 2008). "From Experimental Punk to Ancient Chinese Music & the Universal Physical Laws of Consonance". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  16. ^ Knitting Factory[dead link]
  17. ^ "Yuri Landman Homeswinger workshop". Eyedrum. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  18. ^ Williams, Turner (16 February 2012). "Harmony of The Weirdo-Sphere". Impose. Impose Magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 

External links[edit]