Lurm: Daily creations
by Keenan Ketzner
In a creatively inclined town like Bellingham, it’s common to come across many people who have one or two really potent crafts, but Lurm is one of those individuals whose artistry knows no bounds. From visual artist, to composer and performer, to live-streamer and even a sort of self-help guru, Lurm (real name Laura Converse) weaves a wonderful tapestry of creativity and philosophy that is infinitely intriguing.
At a young age Laura learned classical piano, but their active musical endeavors started later in life as a means of diving deeper into their intellectual pursuits. “I feel like I am obsessively curious,” Lauara said, “and the way that I deal with it is with art. The art is more of a side effect of the curiosity… The quest for meaning… What is consciousness? What is a mind? And I constantly have access to one, and in a way I am forcing my mind to figure out what itself is by having it spit stuff out.”
Since around 2017, things have been very busy for Lurm. Starting off with the album Copenhagenism, a brilliant collection of science fiction tinted vignettes with smatterings of inspirational stanzas that play out in a cinematic fashion from beginning to end, it is immediately apparent that the artist behind it has put more thought and dedication into it than your average music project.
Then, some time early 2018, Laura started up a website (https://iamlurm.com) which compiles all of the Lurm-oriented art into one place. Here we see that their skills not only lie within the realm of the aural, but the visual as well. In addition to their albums Mutagenesis and Send or Receive (equally incredible works of musicianship), there are several art galleries of philosophically or procedurally varied works.
“Art Breeding” is a collection of individual pieces that have been transformed by punching hexagonal holes into them and reassembling two originals into a new work of art entirely, revealing hidden patterns and stunning textural interplay. There is also the “Organic Form” gallery which shows off Lurm’s fascination with the natural world, and the seemingly random ways that it can spring into life.
“There’s all this stuff going on in my mind that doesn’t get to express itself, unless I really intentionally try to shove that controlling part out of the way. And when I’m doing an ‘Organic Form’, I try to force myself to stop making a decision, with that controlling part of my mind out of the way. It’s kind of like meditating, and whenever I sense myself trying to make a decision, I instead just try to let myself do something else.”
Laura also has taken up live streaming in the year 2018, where every week they play around with a central theme, and freely talk about what’s on their mind. Speaking in a manner more detached and intentionally aloof than their actual face-to-face personality, Lurm dances around the topics, leaving the viewer to decipher their own meaning.
Then for a good majority of the stream, Laura does this very unique process of improvisation. “I will pick somebody in my life who I think has something creative to express that I’m curious about, and I will ask them to share something with me that no one else in their lives knows about, and I won’t read it – I’ll just put it in an envelope. Then during the livestream I will open it up and I’ll read it to myself, and I’ll let it try to impact me as much as possible… Improvising music and just drawing from the feeling that the message stirred in me.” This endows what could be an otherwise rote live performance with an intensity that translates into an audibly emotional experience.
Outside of the online realm, Laura also does quite a bit of live performance. From being an accompanist and playing in orchestras, Laura focuses in on their knack for improvisation, even playing weekly at the Upfront Theater where they come up with on-the-spot music to provide a backdrop for other performers.
“What I love about live performances is feeling people around me experience the music. I love getting to sense other people having internal reactions. There’s nothing quite like it. It’s like riding a wave… There definitely tends to be a component of improv in most of my musical performances, even when I’m playing something very precise and memorized. I like feeling the energy in the space and letting it guide the flow and intensity of what I do with sound.”
This leaves us hoping for solo Lurm performances of their written material, but Laura notes, “I’m not a big ‘in the spotlight’ kind of a person, though I’m a very relaxed musical performer. I’m just as comfortable on stage as I am in my studio, and I absolutely love bringing people into what I’m doing and taking them on some kind of adventure inside their own mind.”
As for the future of Lurm, Laura intends to continue their brand of daily creations. Whether it be in the medium of visuals, music, or print, there will be a continuous flow of meaningful entertainment coming our way. Be sure to watch Laura’s weekly performances on the Lurm Youtube channel, and have a stroll through their website where there are many paintings and drawings to be inspired by.
For more about Lurm, see iamlurm.com or follow her Facebook page.