Laurie Anderson

Why this Sky?
Laurie Anderson

Information

Famous New York performance artist Laurie Anderson dedicated a song called "Gravity's Angel" on her album Mister Heartbreak (Warner Brothers, 1984) to Thomas Pynchon. The album shows some of her most mature work to date, profoundly influenced as she was by her collaborations with Adrian Belew and William S. Burroughs. Belew, currently reunited with King Crimson, was well-known for his rubber stretch-guitar, virtuoso twang-bar work, and singular torturing of his Fender with various kitchen utensils in Anderson's major-release performance film Home of the Brave, and Burroughs, the bad man of American fiction, provided her with dangerous vocal talents fresh from the Interzone. Other noteworthy contributors to the album included Peter Gabriel, who did a duet with Anderson in the song "Excellent Birds," Phoebe Snow, David Van Tieghem, Bill Laswell, and Anton Fier, prolific percussionist who has played in bands as diverse as the Golden Paliminos, Los Lobos, and Pere Ubu. Possibly the best song on the entire album was not the Pynchon piece, but, rather, the wonderful "Sharkey's Day."

Lyrics

Gravity's Angel
(For Thomas Pynchon)

You can dance. You can make me laugh. You've got x-ray eyes.
You know how to sing. You're a diplomat. You've got it all.
Everybody loves you.
You can charm the birds out of the sky. but I, I've got one thing.
You always know just what to say. And when to go.
But I've got one thing. You can see in the dark.
But I've got one thing: I loved you better.

Last night I woke up. Saw this angel. He flew in my window.
And he said: Girl, pretty proud of yourself, huh?
And I looked around and said: Who me?
And he said: The higher you fly, the faster you fall. He said:
Send it up. Watch it rise. See it fall. Gravity's rainbow.
Send it up. Watch it rise. See it fall. Gravity's angel.
Why these mountains? Why this sky? This long road. This ugly train.
Well he was an ugly guy. With an ugly face.
An also ran in the human race.
And even God got sad just looking at him. And at his funeral
all his friends stood around looking sad. But they were really
thinking of all the ham and cheese sandwiches in the next room.
And everybody used to hang around him. And I know why.
They said: There but for the grace of the angels go I.
Why these mountains? Why this sky?
Send it up. Watch it rise. See it fall. Gravity's rainbow.
Send it up. Watch it rise. See it fall. Gravity's angel.

Well, we were just laying there.
And this ghost of your other lover walked in.
And stood there. Made of thin air. Full of desire.
Look. Look. Look. You forgot to take your shirt.
And there's your book. And there's your pen, sitting on the table.
Why these mountains? Why this sky? This long road? This empty room?
Why these mountains? Why this sky? This long road? This empty room?

CDs, CD-ROMs, Books

Mister Heartbreak

Mister Heartbreak
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1987
Our Price: $11.49 ~ You Save: $0.48


Big Science
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1987
Our Price: $11.49 ~ You Save: $0.48

Bright Red
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1994
Our Price: $12.99 ~ You Save: $3.98

Home Of The Brave: A Film By Laurie Anderson (1986 Film)
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1987
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Strange Angels
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1989
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The Ugly One With The Jewels And Other Stories
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1995
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United States Of America [BOX SET]
Laurie Anderson / Audio CD / Released 1991
Our Price: $44.97 ~ You Save: $5.00


PUPPET MOTEL
Laurie Anderson / CD-ROM
Our Price: $29.95


Performance: Live Art Since 1960
Roselee Goldberg, Laurie Anderson / Hardcover / Published 1998
Our Price: $42.00 ~ You Save: $18.00 (30%)

Talking Music: Conversations With John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and Five Generations of American Experimental Composers
William Duckworth / Hardcover / Published 1995
Our Price: $30.00

Talking Music: Conversations With John Cage, Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, and Five Generations of American Experimental Composers
William Duckworth / Paperback / Published 1999
Our Price: $13.56 ~ You Save: $3.39 (20%)

Guests Go in to Supper: John Cage, Robert Ashley, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Charles Amirkhanian, Michael Peppe, K. Atchley
Melody Sumner, et al / Paperback / Published 1986
Our Price: $30.00

Laurie Anderson, Dal Vivo
Laurie Anderson / Paperback / Published 1999
Our Price: $32.00 ~ You Save: $8.00 (20%)

Links

All-Music Guide -- The AMG entry on Laurie Anderson.

Laurie Anderson Card -- At the Ultimate Band List, this page has a collection of links to Laurie Anderson Web sites and information.

Puppet Motel CD-ROM -- Laurie Anderson's mesmerizing work of computer art, Puppet Motel combines music, computer graphics, and a sense of Myst-like wonder for an unforgettable computer "game."

Anderson, Laurie.
Famous New York performance artist Laurie Anderson dedicated a song to Pynchon on her Mister Heartbreak album.

Benatar, Pat.
Believe it or not, she named a final album Gravity's Rainbow.

Benny Profane.
English hard rockers from Liverpool, they took their name from a character in V.

Blowtorch, Eric
Reggae influenced artist putting Pynchon's lyrics to music.

Cassiber.
An avant garde German group used Gravity's Rainbow to tell a different tale.

Corey, Prof. Irwin.
The man who was the infamous stand-in for Thomas Ruggles Pynchon.

Dangtrippers.
They recorded Maxwell's Demon Box on their album, Days Between Stations.

Einhorn, Richard.
Another rendition of music devoted to the Demon, and much more.

Fariña, Richard.
An long-time friend of Pynchon, this folkie named an instrumental work after a Pynchon novel.

Favorite Color, The.
A New Jersey band sets a selection from V. to music on their album Color Out of Space (1996).

Fool, The.
Surely not Slothrop's band, this was a short lived group which did, in fact, have a harmonica player.

Forked Yew.
Independent, highly experimental rockers and Pynchon fans from the American South.

Frith & Kaiser.
An instrumental pair with a piece called The Kirghiz Light.

Hall, Ed.
An early 90's band influenced by Pynchon, they named a song Roger Mexico.

Insect Trust.
This jazzy, psychedelic group mined V. for lyrics to The Eyes of a New York Woman.

Jazz Butcher.
AKA Pat Fish, who named a track Looking for Lot 49 on his Fishcoteque album.

Jones, Spike.
Pynchon himself wrote the liner notes for Spiked!

Knopfler, Mark.
The Sultan of Swing sails to Philadelphia!

Koron, Barry.
Weilding the Sjambok never felt so good!

Lot 49 (Ontario).
This now retired hardcore outfit hailed from the hometown of Spermatikos Logos' own Laurence Daw.

Lot 49 (NYC).
Indie NYC rockers named after Pynchon's second novel.

Lotion.
A New York group whose liner notes were penned by the Man himself.

 

Maas.
A visit to San Narciso.

Nirvana.
Was the famous tune Smells Like Teen Spirit acutally inspired by a song from Gravity's Rainbow?

Nova Mob.
A "Rock Opera" filled with references to Gravity's Rainbow.

Ocker, David.
Musical meditations on Eight Facts About
Thomas Pynchon
.

Okasek, Ric.
Ride The Rocket with the former frontman of The Cars.

 

Pere Ubu.
David Thomas' legendary, seminal band shows some Pynchon influences.

PopCanon.
These literate Indies hail from Flordia, and have a song about Wanda Tinasky which is highly recomm-ended!

Poster Children.
This group from Champaign, Illinois, covers a lot of Pynchon ground!

Radiohead.
English art-rockers who incorporate many Pynchon motifs into their work.

Rapoon.
An offshoot of Zoviet France, Robin Storey's group named Rapoon released an album called The Kirghiz Light.

Sauter & Dietrich, Moore.
More liner notes written by Pynchon !!

 

Six Finger Satellite.
Indie electro-rock futurists Six Finger Satellite make a reference to Gravity's Rainbow.

Soft Machine.
Seminal "proggies," they recorded a full-scale work called Esther's Nose Job in 1969.

Spock's Beard.
In memory of "the evil Spock," they do homage to V.

Time in Malta.
A California metal group with a name taken from V.

Ware, Tim.
Pynchon scholar, Web master, and MIDI Musician.

Whole Sick Crew, The.
Purveyors of pirate folk-punk, truly a gang like their Pynchon namesakes.

XXX Atomic Toejam.
F. Thorendal, from praised thrash-heroes Meshuggah, gets one in for the Vikings.

Yo La Tengo.
Making music indebted to The Crying of Lot 49.

Yoyodyne.
Related to New York's Lot 49, ths Florida group also takes their name from Pynchon's work.

Zevon, Warren.
He recently released an album containing work inspired by Pynchon.

 


--Dr Larry Daw
& A. Ruch
21 May 2000