Yuri Landman (born February 1, 1973) is a Dutch experimental luthier
who has made several experimental electric string instruments
for a list of artists including Lee Ranaldo
of Sonic Youth
, Jad Fair
of Half Japanese
and Liam Finn
. He has also been active as a comic book creator
Yuri Landman started as a comic book artist and made his debut in the comics field in 1997 with 'Je Mag Alles Met Me Doen' (in Dutch
). In the follow-up, released in 1998, 'Het Verdiende Loon', Landman described his negative experiences on a daily job.
For the second title he received the 1998 Breda Prize,
an award for rising new comic artists in Holland. Since then he has published no other comic books.
Together with Cees van Appeldoorn, he formed the lo-fi band Zoppo playing bass and prepared guitar in 1997. After 2 albums and several 7”singles, Landman left the band in 2000. Landman then formed the noise band Avec Aisance (aka Avec-A) with drummer/producer Valentijn Höllander and released a CD, Vivre dans l’aisance in 2004. After quitting Avec-A in 2006, he focused mainly on instrument building.
Landman is musically untrained and cannot play chords. While with Avec-A, Landman began creating and building several experimental string instruments, including electric zithers, electric Cymbalum, and electric Koto. Most of them are not regular instruments, but look more like multi-string crossbows, with their sounds derived from string resonance, microtonality and an overtoning spectra based on the no wave aesthetics of Glenn Branca and the microtonal consonant theory developed by Harry Partch.
From November 2006 to January 2007 Landman finished 2 copies of The Moonlander, a biheaded electric 18 string drone guitar, one for Sonic Youth guitaristLee Ranaldo and one for himself.In the period between 2000-2005, Landman created 9 prototype instruments. In 2006 he changed his musical focus and stopped to perform and start building for other bands. The Moodswinger was the first instrument Landman made for the band Liars. One copy of the instrument is part of the collection of theMusical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. After the Moodswinger, he started making more instruments for other bands as well.
Besides building instruments, Landman also gave musicological lectures at venues, festivals and music related educational institutes about a theory based on physical laws. One of these lectures was given at the Primavera Sound Festival in 2008. Landman published the essay 3rd Bridge Helix - From Experimental Punk to Ancient Chinese Music & the Universal Physical Laws of Consonance in which he clarifies the relation between this prepared guitar technique and the consonant values present in non-Western scales, especially the musical scale used on the Ancient Chinese musical instrument theguqin. He published an extensive 8 chapter guide on how to prepare a guitar.The Springtime is an experimental electric guitar with seven strings and three outputs. The first prototype of this instrument, created in 2008, was made for guitar player Laura-Mary Carter of Blood Red Shoes. Afterwards he also made copies for Lou Barlow and dEUS'Mauro Pawlowski. For John Schmersal of Enon he built the Twister guitar, an alternate version of the Springtime.
In 2009 he finished instruments for The Dodos, Liam Finn, HEALTH, Micachu and Finn Andrews of The Veils. For The Dodos and Finn he created electric 24 string drum guitars called the Tafelberg and for Andrews an electric 17 string harp guitar called the Burner guitar. He also started to perform again after a Perpignan Festival hosted by Vincent Moonand Gaspar Claus. Meanwhile he continued to build instruments for artists such as These Are Powers, Women and Kate Nash and comes up with a second DIY-workshop for festivals for building an electric 12 tone Lamellophone.
In 2011 he recorded an album featuring Jad Fair and the French noise artist Philippe Petit, which was released in March 2012 in the US and in Europe in the May of the same year. He also started a two piece band and called Bismuth, with multi-instrumentalist Arnold van de Velde. With this band he has done showcases on the 2012 editions of the Eurosonic and B-Sides Festival. Soon after the start of the band, Bismuth started releasing a series of free download singles on soundcloud. Landman is connected to the Rotterdam based venue and artspace WORM that owns a collection of his instruments. Landman assists on the artists in residence programm where artists can use his instruments in the programm. In the same year he started his Strat Eraser Project and a series of instruments built in small series for direct sale, besides the workshop exclusive models. Landman wrote the bookNice Noise about prepared guitar techniques and guitar modification with Bart Hopkin. This book was released in October 2012 by Experimental Musical Instruments and came along with 60 sound fragments made with a wide range of guitar preparations. Around 2008 he started giving lectures and presentations with his instruments, leading to a request in 2009 for a practical building workshop. This started the rise of the Home Swinger project. A Gesamtkunstwerk consisting of a DIY-workshop where people built their copy of the instrument and often followed by a rehearsal and an ensemble performance with multiple Home Swingers, drums, basses, and guitars in the tradition of the Rhys Chatham and Glenn Branca compositions. After the rise of the Home Swinger project, other building workshops followed. Events mainly took place in Europe and in February 2010 in the US at the Knitting Factory andEyedrum. The Home Swinger instrument was selected as one of the instruments for the second Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at the Georgia Tech, Atlanta, Feb 2010. Together with the Moodswinger this instrument is also included in the permanent collection of the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix AZ. Due to the ongoing tour schedule with the DIY-instrument projects, he discontinued the reproduction of his high end products for the bands, although he makes exceptions such as the development of a 42 string instrument for Peter James Taylor, nine exclusive instruments for the Belgium composer Serge Verstockt and an instrument for the SONS Museum in 2011. For his own musical career he built several instruments with motors, crossed strings and most notable the 25 meter long string instrument often featured at his ensemble performances. Because of his workshops he connects more to the experimental music scene, sharing stages with acts such as Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham, Wu Fei, Noël Akchoté, Action Beat, Dustin Wong (ex Ponytail) and others.