- Title: O'Superman
- Artists: Com.a, Radboud Mens, Freiband, Electric Company, staalplaat soundsystem, Danny de Graan, Team Doyobi, Massimo, Origin of Sound
- Labels: Staalplaat, ERS
- Format: CD
- Genres: Experimental Electronic, Compilation
- Price: €14,50EU (incl. 19% VAT)€12,18non-EU
"This compilation, that is so topical for current history, contains remixes by; Com.a, Electric Company, Team Doyobi, Freiband, Massimo, Danny de Graan, Origin Of Sound, Staalplaat Soundsystem and Radboud Mens.
This remix compilation CD deals with the legendary popsong"O Superman (For Massenet)" by Laurie Anderson. This song was released by One Ten Records (OTR-005) in 1981 and becomes a No. 2 hit in England in 1982. It is subtitled 'For Massenet' because it is"musically paraphrasing" Jules Massenet's composition 'O Souverain'.
It was performed live for the first time during her show called United States at New York's Orpheum Theater. Phrased like an electronic mantra, the song is charged with the composer's foreboding over the dawn of the Reagan era.
When it was first released One Ten Records, the tiny New York label that released some of Anderson's early recordings, couldn't keep up with the demand. Warner Brothers became interested and offered to record and distribute"O Superman" as a single and a track on what would eventually become Big Science, her first album. Still stunned by her sudden fame, Anderson signed a contract with Warner. Notoriety made her uncomfortable, and years would pass before she came to terms with it.
In the pioneering, offbeat music video Laurie Anderson teases out the quirks of a post-modern world. The artist evokes complex relationships through simple gestures: for instance, she appears in a circular"window" in the corner of the television screen as an interpreter for the hearing impaired; flexing her muscles, she emulates a body builder; and, in a scene reminiscent of kiddie parties, she performs shadow puppetry. The spotlight, a recurring motif and the background for Anderson's silhouetted figure, is alternately transformed into a globe, a window and a screen. At another point, light emanates from Anderson's own mouth.
Anderson utters sound bytes and canned messages through an electronic voice, an effect which evokes an advanced, yet emotionally-distanced society. Evoking this world of increasingly impersonal, corporate relations she sings,"This is the hand, the hand that takes, as a hand casts a shadow against the wall. Initially open, the hand retracts and becomes a shotgun. Where is justice? Justice is gone, the voice declares, there is only force.
The lyrics of this song by Laurie Anderson still strike me as an amazing startling premonition of 9-11. Just have a look at the middle part:
"...Here come the planes. They're American planes. Made in America. Smoking or non-smoking? And the voice said: Neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. 'Cause when love is gone, there's always justice. And when justice is gone, there's always force. And when force is gone, there's always Mom. Hi Mom!..."
I think we have reached the age of force, justice is gone already. But what does the last sentence mean? Is Mom = Mother Earth? Or is the end of force the end of the male dominance and the beginning of a new age of matriarchy? Or maybe it refers to the fact that after force, which in practice means war, most men are dead and only widows, old people and kids are left? Whatever. Laurie Anderson who also made some of the most lucid comments on 9-11 just released a two CD album of her concerts at Town Hall, NYC Sept. 19-20 2001, a little more than a week after the attacks. It was the first time in twenty years she performed O Superman. The atmosphere was rather eery as she explains in an 11'30'' interview for Here and Now broadcast on NPR. She regrets the lack of analysis of what really happened almost two years ago and talks about the song, New York, the current atmosphere there and her next project involving a gigantic violin in the Wintergarden."