Big Science (Laurie Anderson album)

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Big Science
LaurieAnderson BigScience.JPG
Studio album by Laurie Anderson
Released April 19, 1982
June 18, 2007 (reissue)
Recorded The Lobby, The Hit Factory, New York City
Genre Avant-garde, art rock
Length 38:19
Label Warner Bros.
23674
Nonesuch/Elektra Records (reissue)
79988
Producer Laurie Anderson
Roma Baran
Laurie Anderson chronology
You're the Guy I Want To Share My Money With
(1981)
Big Science
(1982)
Mister Heartbreak
(1984)
Singles from Big Science
  1. "O Superman"
    Released: 1981
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[1]
Blender 4/5 stars[2]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[3]
Pitchfork 8.7/10[4]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[5]
Spin 4/5 stars[6]
Uncut 4/5 stars[7]
The Village Voice A−[8]

Big Science is the 1982 debut album by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson and the first of a 7-album deal she signed with Warner Bros. Records. It is best known for the 8-minute epic "O Superman", which reached #2 in the UK. The album is minimalist and monochrome in sound, and like a great deal of Anderson's work is based largely on spoken word. It is a selection of highlights from her eight-hour production, United States Live, which was itself released as a 5-LP box set and book in 1984. United States Live was originally a performance piece, in which music was only one element. After Big Science music played a larger role in Anderson's work.[9]

Although considered her debut album, Anderson had previously recorded one side of a 2-LP set titled You're the Guy I Want to Share My Money With, a collaboration released on Giorno Poetry Systems with William S. Burroughs and John Giorno. She had also contributed two pieces to a 1977 compilation of electronic music.

A newly remastered version of the album was released on 18 June 2007 by Nonesuch/Elektra Records with new liner notes, and, in the data portion of the CD, the bonus track "Walk the Dog" (B-Side of the original "O Superman" single) and the "O Superman" video.

The album has been sampled in a number of hip hop songs:

  • "From the Air" was sampled by Mr. Lif in the song "Home of the Brave" on his Emergency Rations EP. The song deals with political repercussions of September 11, 2001, playing off the original song's description of a plane crash.
  • "Raspberry Fields" by Cannibal Ox contains a sample from "Sweaters".
  • "This about the City" by cLOUDDEAD contains a sample from the song "Big Science".
  • Brief snippets of "O Superman" were used by Cut Chemist in the introduction to his song "Spat".

Slant Magazine listed the album at #44 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[10]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks by Laurie Anderson.

  1. "From the Air" – 4:29
  2. "Big Science" – 6:25
  3. "Sweaters" – 2:18
  4. "Walking & Falling" – 2:10
  5. "Born, Never Asked" – 4:56
  6. "O Superman (for Massenet)" – 8:21
  7. "Example #22" – 2:59
  8. "Let X=X/It Tango" – 6:51 ("Let X=X" – 3:51; "It Tango" – 3:01)

Personnel[edit]

Additional personnel

Sample[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album
Year Chart Position
1982 Pop Albums 124[11]
1982 New Zealand Albums 8[12]
1982 UK Albums 29

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Big Science – Laurie Anderson". AllMusic. Retrieved August 31, 2005. 
  2. ^ "Laurie Anderson: Big Science". Blender. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved May 6, 2017. 
  3. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8. 
  4. ^ Klein, Joshua (August 2, 2007). "Laurie Anderson: Big Science". Pitchfork. Retrieved August 3, 2007. 
  5. ^ Holden, Stephen (June 10, 1982). "Laurie Anderson: Big Science". Rolling Stone (371). Archived from the original on July 26, 2008. Retrieved May 12, 2006. 
  6. ^ Hermes, Will (September 2007). "Reissues". Spin. 23 (9): 124. Retrieved May 2, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Laurie Anderson: Big Science". Uncut: 89. [T]he broader themes of alienation and disconnection, as voiced in deadpan manner on 'From the Air' still resonate ... 
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (June 1, 1982). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 11, 2012. 
  9. ^ Susan McClary. "Laurie Anderson". In L. Root, Deane. Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press.  (subscription required)
  10. ^ http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/feature/best-albums-of-the-1980s/308/page_6
  11. ^ Big Science - Laurie Anderson > Charts & Awards > Billboard Album at AllMusic. Retrieved 16 March 2006.
  12. ^ http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=Laurie+Anderson&titel=Big+Science&cat=a

External links[edit]