Skip directly to content

Life on a String

  • 79539

News & Reviews

  • Congratulations to all of the Nonesuch nominees for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards: David Byrne for American Utopia; Brad Mehldau and his Trio for Seymour Reads the Constitution!; Joshua Redman, Brian Blade, Scott Colley, and Ron Miles for Still Dreaming; Punch Brothers for All Ashore; John Adams for Doctor Atomic; Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet for Landfall; and Judith Sherman, up for Producer of the Year, Classical, for her work including Steve Reich's Pulse / Quartet.

  • Laurie Anderson will take part in five events in San Francisco as SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director this week, November 28–December 2. The residency includes a listening party and conversation, programs called Songs for Women and Songs for Men, a drone-based sonic installation with Lou Reed's guitars, and scenes from a radio play.

Buy Now

  • About This Album

    Life on a String, Laurie Anderson's Nonesuch Records debut, was released in August 2001 and was her first recording of new music since Bright Red in 1994. Anderson, certainly the most heralded multimedia artist of her generation, has an extensive discography that ranges from her 1981 debut single "O Superman" to the 4-CD document of her legendary staged work United States Live (1984) and her spoken word collection The Ugly One With the Jewels and Other Stories (1995). With Life on a String, she turned her view inward, creating the most personal recording of her career.

    Musically, Life on a String’s intensity is heightened by its spare sound. It draws both on the emotive power of strings—Anderson plays violin on a record for the first time since her debut Big Science—and the rich variety of rhythmic beds she has created. Among her compositions is a rare instrumental ("Here with You "). The album, which Anderson co-produced with Hal Willner (Marianne Faithful, Lou Reed), includes guest appearances by musicians Bill Frisell, Dr. John, Lou Reed, and Van Dyke Parks, among others.

    Laurie Anderson, in describing her lyrical approach to the album, said, "I tried to make the language plain and observational. I tried to be simple. Just to say what I saw. It is dark. But I’m glad about that, because there are plenty of cheerful songs around."

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Laurie Anderson, vocal, keyboards (1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12), violin (4, 9, 10, 12), gongs (10), percussion (12)
    Tom Nelis, vocal (1)
    John Kelly, background vocal (1)
    Joey Baron, percussion (1, 5, 8, 9)
    Chris Speed, saxophone (2)
    Cuong Vu, trumpet (2)
    Skúli Sverrisson, bass (2-5, 8-12), high bass (8), little organ (2), percussion programming (6), sounds (10, 11), bowed guitars (12), keyboards (12)
    David Torn, open loop (2)
    Greg Cohen, acoustic bass (2)
    Danny Frankel, percussion, hand claps (2),  “box-o-toys” (11)
    Mino Cinelu, percussion (2)
    Eyvind Kang, violin (3)
    Eric Friedlander, cello (3-5, 10, 11)
    Mitchell Froom, keyboards (3), Claviola (3), Mellotron (3, 8, 11), Wurlitzer (8)
    Liheng, baritone banhu (5)
    Peter Scherer, keyboards (5, 8, 12), percussion (5)
    Jamshied Sharifi, additional keyboards strings (5)
    Hal Willner, turntables (6), samples (6, 7)
    Van Dyke Parks, string arrangements, conductor, keyboards (7)
    Bill Frisell, guitar (9)
    Ben Rubin, bells (9)
    Mocean Worker, beats, keyboards (11)
    Lou Reed, guitar (11)
    Martin Brumbach, percussion arrangement (11)
    Vinicius Cantuaria, percussion (12)

    Also on track 7:
    Violin: Ann Leathers, Carol Webb, Jan Mullen, Jonathan Dinklage, Ricky Sortomme, Joel Pitchon, Ellen Payne, Barry Finclair, Enrico DiCecco, Heidi Modr, Jean Ingram   
    Viola: Sue Pray, Karen Dreyfus, Vincent Lionti, Judith Wilmer   
    Cello: Fredrick Zlotkin Jeanne LeBlanc     
    Bass: Timothy Cobb     
    Orchestra contractor: Jill Dell’Abate    
    Concert master: Elena Barere     
    Copyist: Dwight Mikkelsen

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Hal Willner and Laurie Anderson
    Music Director: Skúli Sverrisson
    Recorded at The Lobby, New York City
    Engineered by Martin Brumbach
    Additional recording at The Magic Shop and Edison Recording; New York City
    Additional engineering by Laurie Anderson, Dante DeSole, Bob Brockman and Josiah Gluck
    Mixed at NuMedia, New York City by Bob Brockman
    Additional mixing at The Magic Shop, New York City
    “Statue of Liberty” and "The Island Where I Come From" mixed by Martin Brumbach
    Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME
    Mocean Worker appears courtesy of Palm Pictures
    Lou Reed appears courtesy of Reprise Records
    Vinicius Cantuaria appears courtesy of Transparent Music

    All compositions by Laurie Anderson and published by Difficult Music (BMI), except “My Compensation,” lyrics by Laurie Anderson and music by Laurie Anderson and Skúli Sverrisson.

    Design by Barbara deWilde

    Executive Producer: David Bither

nonesuch's picture
on May 29, 2008 - 7:14pm
Artist Name: 
Laurie Anderson
genre: 
Release Date: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 04:00
DescriptionExcerpt: 

Anderson returns to violin playing on this plainspoken set, co-produced with Hal Willner. Guests include Lou Reed, Van Dyke Parks, and Dr. John. Rolling Stones says “the overall tone is sparse, haunted, intimate ... Laurie Anderson is a singer-songwriter of crushing poignance.”

Description: 

Life on a String, Laurie Anderson's Nonesuch Records debut, was released in August 2001 and was her first recording of new music since Bright Red in 1994. Anderson, certainly the most heralded multimedia artist of her generation, has an extensive discography that ranges from her 1981 debut single "O Superman" to the 4-CD document of her legendary staged work United States Live (1984) and her spoken word collection The Ugly One With the Jewels and Other Stories (1995). With Life on a String, she turned her view inward, creating the most personal recording of her career.

Musically, Life on a String’s intensity is heightened by its spare sound. It draws both on the emotive power of strings—Anderson plays violin on a record for the first time since her debut Big Science—and the rich variety of rhythmic beds she has created. Among her compositions is a rare instrumental ("Here with You "). The album, which Anderson co-produced with Hal Willner (Marianne Faithful, Lou Reed), includes guest appearances by musicians Bill Frisell, Dr. John, Lou Reed, and Van Dyke Parks, among others.

Laurie Anderson, in describing her lyrical approach to the album, said, "I tried to make the language plain and observational. I tried to be simple. Just to say what I saw. It is dark. But I’m glad about that, because there are plenty of cheerful songs around."

ProductionCredits: 

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Hal Willner and Laurie Anderson
Music Director: Skúli Sverrisson
Recorded at The Lobby, New York City
Engineered by Martin Brumbach
Additional recording at The Magic Shop and Edison Recording; New York City
Additional engineering by Laurie Anderson, Dante DeSole, Bob Brockman and Josiah Gluck
Mixed at NuMedia, New York City by Bob Brockman
Additional mixing at The Magic Shop, New York City
“Statue of Liberty” and "The Island Where I Come From" mixed by Martin Brumbach
Mastered by Robert C. Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios, Portland, ME
Mocean Worker appears courtesy of Palm Pictures
Lou Reed appears courtesy of Reprise Records
Vinicius Cantuaria appears courtesy of Transparent Music

All compositions by Laurie Anderson and published by Difficult Music (BMI), except “My Compensation,” lyrics by Laurie Anderson and music by Laurie Anderson and Skúli Sverrisson.

Design by Barbara deWilde

Executive Producer: David Bither

Cover Art: 
Nonesuch Selection Number: 

79539

Number of Discs in Set: 
1disc
ns_album_artistid: 
144
ns_album_id: 
419
ns_album_releasedate: 
Tuesday, August 21, 2001 - 04:00
ns_genre_1: 
0
ns_genre_2: 
0
Album Status: 
UPC/Price: 
Label: 
CD+MP3
UPC: 
075597953923BUN
Price: 
0.00
Label: 
MP3
UPC: 
075597953961
Price: 
10.00
MusicianDetails: 

MUSICIANS
Laurie Anderson, vocal, keyboards (1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 12), violin (4, 9, 10, 12), gongs (10), percussion (12)
Tom Nelis, vocal (1)
John Kelly, background vocal (1)
Joey Baron, percussion (1, 5, 8, 9)
Chris Speed, saxophone (2)
Cuong Vu, trumpet (2)
Skúli Sverrisson, bass (2-5, 8-12), high bass (8), little organ (2), percussion programming (6), sounds (10, 11), bowed guitars (12), keyboards (12)
David Torn, open loop (2)
Greg Cohen, acoustic bass (2)
Danny Frankel, percussion, hand claps (2),  “box-o-toys” (11)
Mino Cinelu, percussion (2)
Eyvind Kang, violin (3)
Eric Friedlander, cello (3-5, 10, 11)
Mitchell Froom, keyboards (3), Claviola (3), Mellotron (3, 8, 11), Wurlitzer (8)
Liheng, baritone banhu (5)
Peter Scherer, keyboards (5, 8, 12), percussion (5)
Jamshied Sharifi, additional keyboards strings (5)
Hal Willner, turntables (6), samples (6, 7)
Van Dyke Parks, string arrangements, conductor, keyboards (7)
Bill Frisell, guitar (9)
Ben Rubin, bells (9)
Mocean Worker, beats, keyboards (11)
Lou Reed, guitar (11)
Martin Brumbach, percussion arrangement (11)
Vinicius Cantuaria, percussion (12)

Also on track 7:
Violin: Ann Leathers, Carol Webb, Jan Mullen, Jonathan Dinklage, Ricky Sortomme, Joel Pitchon, Ellen Payne, Barry Finclair, Enrico DiCecco, Heidi Modr, Jean Ingram   
Viola: Sue Pray, Karen Dreyfus, Vincent Lionti, Judith Wilmer   
Cello: Fredrick Zlotkin Jeanne LeBlanc     
Bass: Timothy Cobb     
Orchestra contractor: Jill Dell’Abate    
Concert master: Elena Barere     
Copyist: Dwight Mikkelsen

[{"parent":{"title":"Get on the list !","body":" Get exclusive information about NONESUCH tour dates, video premieres and special announcements ","field_newsletter_id":"14075483","field_label_list_id":"6389157","field_display_rates":"-1","field_preview_mode":"false","field_lbox_height":"","field_lbox_width":"","field_toaster_timeout":"16000","field_toaster_position":"From Bottom","field_turnkey_height":"800"}}]

Performs On