do not occupy yourself with all kinds of thoughts
August 13, 2019 7:10 PM   Subscribe

On Laurie Anderson's upcoming Songs From The Bardo, she narrates from the Tibetan Book of the Dead, with improvisations by Tenzin Choegyal (HP) and Jesse Paris Smith (HP). They've released a 7-minute excerpt, "Lotus Born, No Need to Fear (YT)" .

Best with headphones? Album is out Sept. 27. The Bardo previously: do not occupy yourself with the book of deadlinks
posted by sylvanshine (9 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Me: Laurie Anderson has a new album out! Gonna listen!
She who loves me: What do you think?
Me: Laurie is too brilliant for this world.

Many thanks.
posted by grimjeer at 7:38 PM on August 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

Ah, just what this era calls for. Knowledge of our Death accompanied by an absence of fear.
posted by cultcargo at 7:50 PM on August 13, 2019

I love Laurie Anderson. I was a bit reminded of Mike Cooper's "I've Got Mine" when listening to this...
posted by Catblack at 8:19 PM on August 13, 2019

Laurie Anderson's previous album, Landfall (with Kronos Quartet) was her first foray into composing for a classical group, and it's outstanding. It's about Hurricane Sandy hitting NYC and what that meant for her in her life. It's beautiful, evocative, and completely heartbreaking. Exactly what everyone wants from Laurie Anderson.

(Except for that period of her career where she did massively fun stuff like Mister Heartbreak and tour, and also Strange Angels which was her pop album and had videos and a kick-ass tour and everything.)
posted by hippybear at 9:56 PM on August 13, 2019 [1 favorite]

Knowledge of our Death accompanied by an absence of fear.

Laurie Anderson has two virtual reality pieces at MASS MoCA. One of them, Aloft, has you sitting in an empty airplane which disintegrates around you, leaving you high, high above the ground with no support. You are aware of the possibility of death, but Laurie's smooth, comforting voice leads to a complete absence of fear, and you are free to explore this world she's created. Because of Laurie, I faced my death and I didn't mind it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:41 AM on August 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Wow, I don't even know if I can listen all the way through, the minute she began speaking, I just felt tears in my eyes.

She's one of those artists--I've written here before about how much she has meant to me, how just crucial she was to me, at so many points in life--but now that years have gone on, she has moved into that category where every week or so I'll wonder what she's up to, but I don't want to check, because what if what she's up to is having died? I would be so heart-broken.

But I want to listen, and I will, soon. As soon as I get over the shock of hearing her voice again.

(I still remember sitting in our old house and playing the VHS of Home of the Brave obsessively and my dad looking bemused and asking what the hell was that crazy stuff, and little did either of us know that when he died, the thing that would keep going through my head is that line from World Without End, "When my father died, they put him in the ground / When my father died, it was like a whole library burned down." And when I first heard Strange Angels and spent hours studying the cover, how I didn't realize that I would also be spending hours carrying a crying infant from room to room as a new parent totally out of my mind with exhaustion and grief and stress, and would start singing "They say that like TV..." and also the bits I could remember of Coolsville and The Dream Before, because they were the only things I could think of that sounded like a lullaby.)

I can't think of any other singer who has been so continuously influential in my thoughts, in my emotions.

And now I know she's singing about death so I guess I'm going to go listen and maybe cry some.
posted by mittens at 6:53 AM on August 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

Thanks! I love her work. This is too low tempo to listen to while I work, but the perfect thing to soothe me (after other threads on the blue) and help me get out of bed.
posted by itesser at 8:17 AM on August 14, 2019

Laurie Anderson does have the perfect reassuring voice for this project.

Leonard Cohen's 1994 NFB version is a sentimental favourite for me.

Many years ago I heard a late nite college radio DJ recite some of the Bardo slowly with long pauses, with a drone industrial/ambient soundtrack. It was also heavy.
posted by ovvl at 6:06 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

Leonard Cohen eh? Thanks for that.

OK, I found that documentary available at the NFB site. I thought you meant a recitation of the text, but I'm interested in this too.

It appears that there are two parts. The NFB link is for part 1 and the site doesn't even mention the second part, far as I can see. The best I can find for part 2 is a low-quality set of youtube videos in five parts, which at least has a playlist.
posted by sylvanshine at 10:25 PM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

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