Film and orchestral music composer Eleni Karaindrou has made a beautiful and moving statement with THE WEEPING MEADOW. A native of Greece, Karaindrou's influences are decidedly European, and within the music, one can hear the stamp of impressionistic composers like Erik Satie, avant garde innovators like Bartok, as well as Greek and Balkan folk forms. Karaindrou's music also traffics in 20th-century minimalism, creating tense, atmospheric spaces that feel empty and dense at once (one of the composer's frequently used motifs involves "patterns" that recall the tingling, polyphonic gestures of Phillip Glass). Although several themes are reprised throughout the album, the combination of ambient textures, folk phrasing (accordions, guitars, and violins figure prominently into several pieces), and lush orchestral work keep the music consistently interesting. The pieces are often set in a minor key, so a somber, melancholic mood prevails yet never feels forced or melodramatic, and the spacious, tasteful arrangements are in keeping with the ECM aesthetic.
While Laurie Anderson's music works well enough on its own terms, her 1986 concert film Home of the Brave (which she directed herself) makes it clear that her work is better served when you can see her performing it. While Anderson isn't exactly playing to the cheap seats most of the time, she's a far more accessible and engaging performer than most folks involved in "performance art" (and watching this film makes it clear that, while music is the core, performance art is indeed what Anderson is doing – the dancing, storytelling, and visual constructs are as much a part of the presentation as the musicians).