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 the Netherlands. Since then he has published no other comic books. Soon after the release he took over a local comic book store and started his grahpic design studio inside the shop besides the sales of comics.
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. His comic shop closed in 2001 and he was the graphic designer for Oog & Blik from 2001 till 2010, until the instrument business became his full time activity.
Landman is musically untrained and cannot play chords. Unsatisfied about the limitations of prepared guitars Landman began creating and building several experimental string instruments, including electric zithers, electric Cymbalum, and electric Koto. Many of the designs are focused on 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.
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. After the Moodswinger, he started making more instruments for other bands as well.
From November 2006 to January 2007 Landman finished 2 copies of The Moonlander, a biheaded electric 18 string drone guitar, one for Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo and one for himself.
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 Moon and Gaspar Claus. Meanwhile, he continued to build instruments for artists such as These Are Powers, Women and Kate Nash. For his own musical career he develops a 25-meter electric long-string instrument, often featured at his performances.
The Moodswinger led to a research on harmonics theory. He published a clarifying 3rd Bridge diagram related to this subject in 2012 (and a more elaborate version of this diagram in 2017). Besides his output as an inventor and noise musician, he starts to focus on music education, and participatory art. At first Landman started giving musicological lectures at venues, festivals and music related educational institutes. 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 the guqin. He published an extensive 8 chapter guide on how to prepare a guitar, that was later transformed to the book Nice Noise.
His lectures and presentations with his instruments lead 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. Events mainly took place in Europe and in February 2010 in the US at the Knitting Factory and Eyedrum. 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. Soon after the start of the Home Swinger workshops he developed a wide of range of workshops with different kinds of instruments like kalimbas, triochords, plates with crossed strings and mallet guitars.
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, instruments for befriended acts such as Lau Nau, Tomoko Sauvage, Hifi Club, Remko Scha, Ritornel, Ex-Easter Island Head and an instrument for the SONS Museum in 2011. Because of his touring with the workshops he connects more to the experimental music scene, doing performances with acts such as Jad Fair, Rhys Chatham, Wu Fei, Noël Akchoté, Action Beat, Dustin Wong (ex Ponytail), Camera and others.
In 2012 he published an album featuring Jad Fair and the French noise artist Philippe Petit. He also started a two piece band and called Bismuth, with multi-instrumentalist Arnold van de Velde. 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. In November he did a TEDx talk. Around this time as a builder he alienates more and more from stringed instruments. Inspired by the sounds of Indonesian Gamelan instruments and the metal percussive works of Lou Harrison, John Cage and the Belgian sound artist George Smits he creates a collection of metal percussion instruments and amplifies them with guitar pickups. These instruments are widely used on the recordings of Bismuth and in his live performances. Also he builds a set of motor instruments and invents an instrument made from soda pop PET bottles.
The March 2013 edition of Premier Guitar featured a cover story written by Landman about a guitar modification he did on request of the magazine. Later that year the documentary Alles, Tot Dit was published. In April 2014 Bismuth released their first debut album. This album was published in a limited deluxe edition as well with a special designed instrument called 'Svikt' mounted to the album cover. In the same year he starts his solo performances and collaborates with the Dutch noise rock act Those Foreign Kids, functioning as his backing band on his European solo tours. Occasionally Landman performs together with Dutch sound artist Wessel Westerveld, who has built a collection of replicas of Luigi Russolos Intonarumori. Stichting De Stilte created a dance production with Landman playing live during the dance performances.
Since 2015 he has built a series of kinetic objects made with motors and pendulums that together operate as a sound installation. He exhibits this project in addition to his on stage performances. 2016 Premier Guitar approached him for the second time for a guitar building request, which resulted in an experimental guitar built for Thurston Moore. Similar to the first project the building process was published as an article in Premier Guitar and he did a 20 minute YouTube interview with Thurston when he handed over the guitar. In the same year he developed a DIY daxophone workshop. In May/June 2017 he was artist-in-residence for one month at iii in The Hague where he developed a motorized sound installation.
Landman wrote the educational book Nice Noise about prepared guitar techniques and guitar modification with Bart Hopkin. This book was released in 2012 by Experimental Musical Instruments and came along with 60 sound fragments made with a wide range of guitar preparations.
Around 2014 Landman started spreading out instrument collections among a growing group of non-profit organisations focused on sound art, electro-acoustic music, media art and avant garde music. Inspired by pioneering sound labs like the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Philips' NatLab and Studio for Electronic Music (WDR) these collaborations create an infrastructure of sound labs within Europe for experimental artists and builders. Frequently he is invited as an artist-in-residence to build permanent collections of his instruments for musical practise, education, recording and sound research purposes. Organisations that own collections are WORM (Rotterdam), the Sound Lab of Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ (Amsterdam), Extrapool (Nijmegen), De Toonzaal ('s-Hertogenbosch), Flipside (Eindhoven), MoTA-Ljudmila (Ljubljana), Radiona (Zagreb), St James Cavalier (Malta), Sonoscopia (Porto), TAMK (Tampere), Liebig 12 (Berlin), Maajaam (Otepää), and Conservatoire TPM (Toulon).
He's a regular guest teacher and lecturer at several academies and universities in Europe, such as the Academy for Pop Culture (Leeuwarden), Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Escuela Massana (Barcelona) and the MediaLab of the University of Liepāja.
In the period 2000-2005 Landman created 9 prototype instruments.The black 4-string movable 3rd bridge zither.
The red capozither, shown on the cover of Vivre dans l’aisance.
Robocop, a 6 string heavily adjusted guitar with 2 additional bridges and 3 outputs.
The 12 string overtone zither, the first prototype of Aaron Hemphill’s Moodswinger.
The blonde 3 string stereo-guitar, 1 bass string tuned B, and 2 thin B tuned guitar strings.
The green 7 string trio-guitar, 1 bass string, DAD tuned guitar string and 3 G♯-strings.
The Electric Spring"
The electric cymbalum, 72 strings, 12 pickups, one for each tone.
The blue 4 string supertremolo-guitar, with no fretboard, but an adjustable pitch control for the left hand.
Moodswinger, built in 2006 for Aaron Hemphill of Liars
Moonlander, built in 2007 for Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth
Bachelor QS, built in 2007 for Jad Fair
Springtime, built in 2008 for Laura-Mary of Blood Red Shoes
Twister, built for John Schmersal of Enon
Tafelberg for Liam Finn and The Dodos
Desu for HEALTH
Burner Bass for Pat Noecker of These Are Powers
Burner Harp Guitar for The Veils
Quickstep Electric kalimba
Caterpillar Drum guitar
White Eagle tailed bridge guitar
Empire State Rocker
Amped Soda Pop Bottles
Brooklyn Bridge, 24 string mini instrument
Whopper, 3 string mini instrument
Crotales, 2 disk circle saw blade crotales
Steel on Foam
Landmine, a long string instrument
Double Swinger, 24 string double Home Swinger
Svikt Kalimba (for the deluxe edition of the Bismuth debut album)
Zoppo - Chi pratica lo impare zoppicare (lp, Drowning Man Records, 1998)
Zoppo - Nontonnen promo 7" (Blackbean & Placenta, 1998)
Zoppo - Double the fun splitt 7" (Drowning Man Records, 1999)
Zoppo - Belgian Style Pop (cd, Drowning Man/Transformed Dreams, 1999)
Avec Aisance - Vivre dans l'aisance (cd, Drowning Man Records, 2004)
Yuri Landman Ensemble featuring Jad Fair & Philippe Petit - That's Right, Go Cats (cd March 2012 Thick Syrup Records, lp May 2012 Siluh Records)
Bismuth - s/t, LP, April 2014 Geertruida Records
Schoolhouse - Soft Focus, 2014, cassette tape on Tombed Visions #11 w/ PJ Taylor, Harry Taylor (Action Beat) & Ben Duvall (Ex-Easter Island Head)
Bismuth - I Said No Doctors! (2017, Dymaxion Groove) (Compilation album w/ several artists)
Alles, Tot Dit, 20 min, 2013