Music Review | posted 20.01.2012
Laura Gibson
La Grande
City Slang, 2011
Text Sebastian Hinz , Translation Julia Frohn
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Cover Laura Gibson - La Grande

Lately, the label »retro« has been over-used frivolously, especially in order to describe a kind of music, which just doesn’t seem to fit into our high-tech, overstimulated world. With Laura Gibson, it’s quite easy to blunder straight into this trap. There is a woman in her early thirties, who doesn’t make a secret out of leaning towards a certain kind of nostalgia, who also likes the music from back then, who enjoys »vintage«, when it comes to clothes, too, and who writes songs which simply seem to be from another world. But to turn your eyes towards the past doesn’t automatically mean being »retro«. Especially not, when this looking backwards allows her to draw conclusions concerning the present. Laura Gibson is present, through and through. She already proved this »presentness« in 2009 together with sound-artist Ethan Rose on Bridge Carols, by besinging his soundscapes – which consist of musical instruments aged by reanimation and manipulation – from a far away distance. A similar kind of reverie is to be found on La Grande, her third album, with the only difference that the singer from Portland, Oregon is much more on her own, only greeting the Roseian electronica with a mild playfulness and replacing it by flutes, percussions, piano and a nylon-string guitar. Still, there’s no note on La Grande that’s is actually »retro«. Laura Gibson uses folk, country, walz, and doesn’t use tradition as a template, but rather as material. Therefore, she creates a sound which evokes intimacy and familiarity and serves as a contrast to the the hard-bitten calculation that surrounds us every day. Furthermore, La Grande is a remarkably well-balanced work; there isn’t a single deficiency to bemoan, instead, there’s a lively energy, which, as a leitmotif, runs through the whole record. A force so unconstrained and full with joyous anticipation that it almost physically looks towards whatever there is to come: »Still to this day, I can hear the whistle blow/ I can smell the sage burn,/ I may be as old and stubborn as a pine,/ but I’m still as wild as the young.«

You can find Laura Gibson’s La Grande at hhv.de: LP
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