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'America is a good place for stories,' Laurie Anderson told London's The Guardian right before she brought 'Homeland,' her self described 'concert poem,' to English stages. 'Homeland' contains some of Anderson's most incisive work, -- darkly humorous, starkly emotional, and, at times, movingly tender. Her stories are once again about these United States of America, the sprawling subject that first brought her acclaim more than 25 years ago with her eight-hour Reagan era phantasmagoria, 'United States, Parts I - IV.'
'Homeland' is a distilled, up-to-the-minute portrait of our agitated nation, its politics, its economics, its delusions and its dreams. Her tone is less outraged than elegiac, mourning for lives lost, ideals misplaced. The music is dramatically stripped down to a handful of players, centered around Anderson's haunting violin and voice, frequent Bill Frisell band-mate Eyvind Kang's viola and Peter Scherer's keyboards. The arrangements are embellished with such touches as the siren-like vocals of Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons), thumping keyboards from Keiran Hebden (of Four Tet), and, on the brilliant, wickedly funny 'Only An Expert,' a gnarly guitar turn from Anderson's husband and co-producer Lou Reed.

'Homeland,' long awaited in recorded form, has evolved over more than two years of touring as Anderson developed the songs in front of concertgoers around the world, from downtown clubs in Manhattan to an amphitheatre in Athens, Greece. In Artforum, Anderson summarized the songs as 'one-third politics, one-third pure music, and one-third strange dreams.' The work was shaped more by humanity than by technology; Anderson built an intimate rapport with her audience during a show that featured a shifting set-list of new material and relied on words and music far more than visual and theatrical effects. That intimacy is just as palpable in the songs that evolved to make up her new album.. The Guardian said ''Homeland' represents some of the most purely beautiful music she has ever made.' In the States, Daily Variety declared, 'The music that accompanies the vignettes and songs is some of the loveliest that Anderson has ever written ...Like the narratives it accompanies, the sound's grave but not without wit; measured and dispassionate, but not without heart.'

On the road, 'Homeland' drew acclaim and attracted controversy for its political content. But Anderson is not merely criticizing or complaining; on tracks like the stunning 11-minute album centerpiece, 'Another Day In America,' Anderson is really singing for our survival, retelling the stories of our present state in the most forthright material of her career. It can be harrowing but it can be hopeful, and it is as riveting as anything Anderson has produced since the groundbreaking 'Big Science' in 1982. As Variety concluded, ''Homeland' reinforces Anderson's place as the best interpreter of our troubled times.'

Packaging Specs: 4 color 36-page hardbound book, CD and DVD. DVD contains 'Laurie's Violin' (7:22): Laurie plays and talks about the violin, and 'Homeland: The Story Of The Lark' (41:27), an art documentary broken up into 16 chapters.
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Digital Booklet: Homeland
Digital Booklet: Homeland
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 21, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B003905M2O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,823 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By John J. Martinez on June 22, 2010
Format: Audio CD
If you are a fan of the avant-garde, the independent spirit, personal achievement in a singular artistic genre, then Laurie Anderson - and this new album - is for you. She has spent over 40 years of her life in the pursuit of creation from the heart, not overproduced garbage from (and for) the target audience - popular mainstream sad lyric-spewing bobbleheads who know absolutely nothing about true musical expression.

Laurie is a true musical artist of the highest caliber, drawing from the stream of consciousness events from the last 30 years, going as far back and slightly referencing her opus "United States I-IV", and making it very sure to the listener that this is a new world we are living in, and television and fame and emotions have become compartmentalized and filed somewhere in a dark corner of a computer.

Fame is a horrible disease, being rich is great and a curse, and personal freedoms and our choices are duct-taped to the wall with pieces of the Constitution.

She sees it all, and her music tells the horrible stories of truth, using her male alter-ego Fenway Bergamot and throat-singing and what seems at times primal scream therapy. And what's wrong with that?

She has been touring with this show since 2008 and has finally stepped into the studio to recreate her one woman show. This album is 12 wonderful songs, adding up to over an hour:

01 Transitory Life - the opening track explains it all in one sentence: "It's a good time for bankers, and winners, and sailors, with their stories of jackpots and islands of pleasure... they're sailing through this transitory life." Only Laurie can see the best and the worst of what you think is a good thing to be.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By indiefilm on June 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD
I'll start off by saying I'm not particularly familiar with Laurie Anderson's previous music. However, I had a prelisten to Homeland on the NPR website and immediately fell in love with it. This album is certainly accessible to all kinds of music aficionados (pop, alternative, etc). Each song is so beautifully crafted and the songs collectively create an extraordinary mood, that you feel completely surrounded and engulfed by the swirling beauty and art of this amazing work.

I understand that on her previous work it was mostly spoken word put to music, however she actually sings on this album and it is nothing short of breathtaking. I believe that's what makes it so accessible to a broader audience (including me). This album will take you on a beautiful ethereal flight that you won't want to return from.

The only downside is that the brilliant and best track "Lost Art of Conversation" is not included on the cd. You can download it from the special edition of this album on itunes. A definite must in my opinion.

Buy and start your ethereal journey :)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By OT on June 26, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two days ago I received this CD by mail. It is enclosed in a handsome hardcover booklet, which I find very nice. It didn't break and or take a sharp tool too open. This book(let) is well thought out, hands-on and well made, in an age of faceless mp3 downloads.
I have listened to the CD ca 20-30 times since it disappeared into my laptop. And I have learned something. What, is hard to put my finger on. But as with many stories and creative expressions there is a lot to digest and maybe best not to try to analyze to much and just enjoy the music. This album has a natural thread weaving into Anderson's previous works. Inspiring, really well thought out and beautifully played, while spoken and sung lyrics are at the level of poetry, social critique and personal awareness. Certain unique sounds, well put together, great musicians, a definite passion, an awareness of being, almost casual but with amazing integrity.
And then, this deep voice on there raises my eyebrow as it reminds me of someone who called me in the middle of the night many years ago, while I was half asleep. The authoritative announcer on many science or nature shows turned more free-flow and poetic. Just wonderful, and to realize its the person with the eyebrow, the alter-ego.
And in all this dreamlike fogginess there is clarity intertwined in some strange and beautiful way, implanted into the back of our heads.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stein VINE VOICE on August 13, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In preparing to listen to "Homeland", Laurie Anderson's first album in nine years, I went back to the beginning and listened to all of her albums in sequential order. The one thing that struck me is that each of her albums is its own entity. I know there is a compilation of her work, but I don't see how you can pull tracks from any of her albums to make a good compilation. Each of her albums stands on its own merits as a whole listening experience.

"Homeland" is its own listening experience. The first time through I immediately liked "Only An Expert" with its humorous philosophical observations about problems and who defines what a problem is, and who decides how a problem is handled and how consensus is gained as to whether there is or is not a problem. I also liked "Only In America" with its observations on how time is viewed, and I particularly enjoyed the line about how the couple, who could never really stand the sight of each other, decided, in their 90's to divorce, because they wanted to wait until their children died. Hilarious. First time I've laughed out loud at a Laurie Anderson song.

"Homeland" is filled with philosophical brain-teasers and minimalist sounds to support them. To say that "Homeland" is anything less than bold and cohesive in its approach would be tantamount to idiocy. Through further listening, I began to enjoy "The Beginning Of Memory", "Dark Time In The Revolution", "Transitory Life" and "Thinking Of You". After more listening I became convinced I liked all the odd numbered songs. The even numbered songs are solid, don't get me wrong, but they somehow are not as memorable as the odd numbered tracks.
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