REVISIO: Dickie Landry and Lawrence Weiner | Having Been Built on Sand

Having been built on sand, with another bases, basis, in fact… A sequence of words we are confident you haven’t read, used, or heard much before you visited this page. Unless you knew the original release back in 1978, this re-issue of Dickie Landry & Lawrence Weiner’s Having Been Built on Sand is a late 2022 creative treat.

Imagine a space somewhere between John Cage’s Indeterminacy and Robert Ashley’s Private Parts – other albums that glue elements that don’t often get glued. Why those and Having Been Built on Sand are quite so powerful remains somehow impossible to fully explain. Balancing acts, daring blends, beautifully achieved by pure artists.

This is the 3rd Dickie Landry album to be lovingly reissued by the always visionary Unseen Worlds in the last month. The heady spaces of 4 Cuts In ‘A first quarter’, and the vast extended grooves of Solos are also both hugely recommended. Ultimately though, this is the jewel in that thoroughly stellar pack.

Considered as a gallery piece, various disparate elements are gathered in the resonant sonic space of Robert Rauchenberg’s studio. As an audio document, it’s a wildly hypnotic arc through bizarre but completely invigorating moving parts.

Over 8 untitled songs, Landry plays sax, flute and clarinet, Weiner reading the pieces title and political texts from the Middle Ages, Britta Le Va and Tina Girounard reading texts in English and German.

Storyboard/graphic score for “Having Been Built on Sand”
Photo credit: Unseen Worlds

Quickly, these odd fragments enmesh into a form of music that can only come into being from pure open-eyed curiosity. By the time Song 3 starts to see-saw, Weiner’s voice peppers the words ‘having been built on sand…’ and its repetition begins to feel like some oddly addictive incantation. The rhythm of the words, the spaces between them, somehow anthemic, hypnotic, the actual sound, and all against this drone in your brain saying ‘why those words and what do these words mean?’ Any answer thankfully never really emerges.

For us, Lawrence Weiner’s work as a visual artist is staggering, but here, he has just as much momentum in sound. Le Va and Girounsard’s voices, weaving textured grids and blocks in language, like cross hatching, and Landry, both in the background and fore, colouring the whole piece with spacious jazz fractals and thick ambient scribbles.

Having Been Built on Sand is an album that somehow shouldn’t work. Perhaps, it feels like it’s continually teetering at the edge of some impenetrable, savagely avant garde listen but it never moves beyond a singular form of magnetic creativity. It’s impossible to not be totally seduced by its unique atmospheres and peculiar layering – for something so unusual it’s also superbly repeatable.

What was undoubtably an art gallery experiment blossoms into a dizzyingly beautiful catalogue of sounds and tangents never seemingly captured before. Given time, it will quickly draw you in.

Having been built on sand, with another bases, basis, in fact… is absolutely the wildest ear worm we’ve ever had. A definite highlight of recent listening – truly amazing stuff.

Having Been Built on Sand is out 11 November on vinyl and digitally here and here

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s