Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet: Landfall – should come with a hurricane warning

Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 05:00



Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet



With no end of plaudits for their respective interconnected works, this is the first time that Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet have teamed up to record an album. Landfall – inspired by Anderson’s experience of Hurricane Sandy, the October 2012 storm that ravaged areas of North America, including her New York apartment – blends spoken-word narration of reminiscence, regret and anger with string arrangements and electronic weaving.

Those who attended Anderson’s three-night residency at Dublin’s NCH last summer will recognise the enthralling interludes that touch on living nightmares and sift through decades of wrecked possessions – once logged, admired and prized, but now, says Anderson in that tranquil, hypnotic voice of hers, “nothing but junk”.

The highlight of this 70-minute collaboration is Nothing Left But Their Names, an audacious nine-minute centrepiece of distorted voice and often gorgeous musical accompaniment.

What surrounds this startling track is an electro-acoustic song/sonic cycle of varying appeal, as Kronos Quartet apply their instruments to mirror states of panic and fear, oncoming hurricane twists and subsequent storm damage. As an exercise in soundscaping it doesn’t miss a trick, but unless you’re a fan of determined, freak-out violins, it might have limited interest.