Yuri Landman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Yuri Landman
Lecture at Output.jpg
Yuri Landman @ Output Festival 2007
Background information
Born (1973-02-01) February 1, 1973 (age 43)
Origin The Netherlands
Occupation(s) Experimental luthier, musician
Years active 1996 - present
Labels Thick Syrup
Associated acts Bismuth, Sonic Youth
Notable instruments
Moodswinger, Home Swinger, Long String Instrument

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.


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] 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] 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. For his own musical career he develops a 25-meter electric long string instrument, often featured at his performances.

Around that time Landman started giving musicological lectures at venues, festivals and music related educational institutes. 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][14] He published an extensive 8 chapter guide on how to prepare a guitar, that was later transformed to the book Nice Noise.

His lectures and presentations with his instruments lead 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. Events mainly took place in Europe and in February 2010 in the US at the Knitting Factory[15] and Eyedrum.[16] 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. Soon after the start of the Home Swinger workshops he developed a wide of range of workshops with different kinds of instruments like kalimbas, triochords, plates with crossed strings and mallet guitars.

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. Because of his touring with the workshops he connects more to the experimental music scene, doing performances with acts such as Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham, Wu Fei, Noël Akchoté, Action Beat, Dustin Wong (ex Ponytail), Camera and others.

In 2012 he published an album featuring Jad Fair and the French noise artist Philippe Petit. He also started a two piece band and called Bismuth, with multi-instrumentalist Arnold van de Velde. 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.[17] This book was released in 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. Around this time as a builder he alienates more and more from stringed instruments. Inspired by the sounds of Indonesian Gamelan instruments and the metal percussive works of Lou Harrison, John Cage and the Belgian sound artist George Smits he creates a collection of metal percussion instruments and amplifies them with guitar pickups. These instruments are widely used on the recordings of Bismuth and in his live performances. Also he builds a set of motor instruments and invents an instrument made from soda pop PET bottles.

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. Later that year the documentary Alles, Tot Dit was published. In April 2014 Bismuth released their first debut album. This album was published in a limited deluxe edition as well with a special designed instrument called 'Svikt' mounted to the album cover. In the same year he starts his solo performances and collaborates with the Dutch noise rock act Those Foreign Kids, functioning as his backing band on his European solo tours. Occasionally Landman performs together with Dutch sound artist Wessel Westerveld, who has built a collection of replicas of Luigi Russolos Intonarumori. Stichting De Stilte did a dance production for children with Landman playing live during the dance performances.

He's a regular guest teacher at academies and universities in Europe, such as the Academy for Pop Culture (Leeuwarden), TAMK (Tampere), and the MediaLab of the University of Liepāja. Landman works with a series of organisations focused on sound art and avant garde music like WORM (Rotterdam), Flipside (Eindhoven), Sonoscopia (Porto), Liebig 12 (Berlin), and Maajaam (Otepää) that own permanent collections of his instruments for artist in residence programms.


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.

Instruments for artists (2006-2009)[edit]

DIY Workshop instruments[edit]

For Bismuth and his solo performances[edit]

  • Brooklyn Bridge, 24 string mini instrument
  • Whopper, 3 string mini instrument
  • Crotales, 2 disk circle saw blade crotales
  • Hurdy Yuri
  • Steel on Foam
  • Landmine, a long string instrument
  • Double Swinger, 24 string double Home Swinger
  • Reshaped cymbals
  • Railtrack Kalimba
  • Brrr Kalimba
  • Svikt Kalimba (for the deluxe edition of the Bismuth debut album)



  • Zoppo - Chi pratica lo impare zoppicare (lp, Drowning Man Records, 1998)
  • Zoppo - Nontonnen promo 7" (Blackbean & Placenta, 1998)
  • Zoppo - Double the fun splitt 7" (Drowning Man Records, 1999)
  • Zoppo - Belgian Style Pop (cd, Drowning Man/Transformed Dreams, 1999)
  • Avec Aisance - Vivre dans l'aisance (cd, Drowning Man Records, 2004)
  • Yuri Landman Ensemble featuring Jad Fair & Philippe Petit - That's Right, Go Cats (cd March 2012 Thick Syrup Records, lp May 2012 Siluh Records)
  • Bismuth - s/t, LP, April 2014 Geertruida Records
  • Schoolhouse - Soft Focus, 2014, cassette tape on Tombed Visions #11 w/ PJ Taylor, Harry Taylor (Action Beat) & Ben Duvall (Ex-Easter Island Head)


  • Alles, Tot Dit, 20 min, 2013


  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 Archived February 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  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. ^ Amsterdam Weekly[dead link], Issue 35, Page 15
  11. ^ Modern Guitars Archived October 11, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Vintage Guitar
  13. ^ The Dutch Rock & Pop Institute[dead link]
  14. ^ Landman, Yuri (December 2008). "From Experimental Punk to Ancient Chinese Music & the Universal Physical Laws of Consonance". Perfect Sound Forever. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  15. ^ Knitting Factory Archived July 13, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Yuri Landman Homeswinger workshop". Eyedrum. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 
  17. ^ Williams, Turner (16 February 2012). "Harmony of The Weirdo-Sphere". Impose. Impose Magazine. Retrieved 2013-05-21. 

External links[edit]