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Eno/Byrne Everything that happens
August 26, 2008 12:53 AM   Subscribe

After 30 years, a new collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne. Stream it all there or download the free MP3.
posted by twoleftfeet (53 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
*swoon*! Thank you thank you thank you! Terribly exited about this, positively adore "my life in the bush of Ghosts"
posted by dabitch at 1:13 AM on August 26, 2008


The Hillman Curtis commercial. (also mentioned in projects)
posted by gac at 1:18 AM on August 26, 2008


Thanks for this.

Is it me, or is it Byrne who is now starting to sound more like Belew?
posted by three blind mice at 1:33 AM on August 26, 2008


It is you who is now starting to sound more like Belew.
posted by pracowity at 3:31 AM on August 26, 2008


Belew's vocals are known for their distinct, sometimes manic feel - his singing voice is often compared to that of Talking Heads singer David Byrne. So says Wikipedia.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:55 AM on August 26, 2008


Help Me Somebody...!!!
posted by thrakintosh at 4:06 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Gold-gloved, leopard-shirted Eno makes a joyous noise, 1972, twiddling the knobs and caressing the tiny joystick of his analog synth along with Roxy Music, in the absurdly satisfying Ladytron. So fucking cool, and way ahead of its time. Here's Eno with Roxy again, with Do The Strand, from 1973. Eno raided the Christmas tree for his jacket in this one. What an amazing band they were.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:10 AM on August 26, 2008


this is *good*
posted by seawallrunner at 5:33 AM on August 26, 2008


This is a great album. The Byrne/Eno collaboration seems to be seamless - it's not like a Byrne album produced by Eno or an Eno album featuring Byrne, but instead the songs have elements of both styles, and as a fan of both I love it!

The distribution mechanism is interesting too - relying on word-of-mouth and internet publicity rather than record companies and the like. I'd be very interested in seeing figures on takeup.

I have to have a bit of a techno-rant though, as the site is totally inaccessible (all flash, so no chance for screen-readers to get anything out of it). And don't try to buy it with any non-standard browsers - on linux, after much faffing and back-and-forth with Topspin media's helpful customer support, we worked out that an upgrade to Firefox 3 and the most recent version of flash was the only way they could take my cash. The entire site is done in a very recent version of flash and there is no alternative to a flash "purchase flow". As someone who's against DRM and who takes the whole "politics of music" very seriously, I am somewhat surprised that Byrne has gone for a non-standard non-open non-accessible technology for the distribution, particularly when the entire purchase section of the site could have been implemented on the server-side using web 0.1 technologies.
posted by handee at 5:37 AM on August 26, 2008


Is that free mp3 link there legal?
posted by handee at 5:38 AM on August 26, 2008


Your favorite old, bald, past-their-prime, over the hill, next in line to attempt a reunion band sucks.
posted by netbros at 5:48 AM on August 26, 2008


It's like America was waiting for this message of some sort or another.
posted by ftrain at 6:07 AM on August 26, 2008 [4 favorites]


There's some more Byrne-Eno clips on this ISO50 post.
posted by wundermint at 6:26 AM on August 26, 2008


Belew's vocals arle known for their distinct, sometimes manic feel - his singing voice is often compared to that of Talking Heads singer David Byrne.

Yes but the point is that Adian Belew has always been compared to David Byrne who is a better singer. Now that David is getting older and losing some of his range it's not clear who should be compared to whom.
posted by three blind mice at 6:30 AM on August 26, 2008


"I’m also wondering whether the web-curious will allow news of the album to spread more or less by itself."
Yes it will.
posted by tellurian at 6:35 AM on August 26, 2008


twoleftfeet - I'm curious, why did you drop the 'Will Happen Today' off the title?
It can be argued that 'Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)' can be abbreviated to 'Taking Tiger Mountain' (and I've heard it referred to as such) because 'By Strategy' is in brackets, but then (No Pussyfooting) would have no title. Similarly, 'E.E.E.I. (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information)' would be reduced to an acronym.
posted by tellurian at 7:17 AM on August 26, 2008


I was expecting a little more of a continuation of the Bush of Ghosts sound.
This is not the album I was expecting. It sounds old, stodgy, and frankly, boring.

You have no idea how joyously I was anticipating this, only to have my hopes dashed upon the rocky shores of commerce.

Sorry guys.
posted by SPUTNIK at 7:25 AM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


old, stodgy, and frankly, boring

I've listened to it 5 or 6 times and the word the keeps coming to mind is "vibrant."
posted by davebush at 7:42 AM on August 26, 2008


this post led me to rediscover a favorite source of interesting new music:
radio davidbyrne.com

"A friend who relocated to California from NY said she missed hearing all the odd variety of music that was played around the office here. “I miss hearing what you all are listening to,” she wrote. This “radio” is my response."


this months playlist: tropical africa

its like a monthly mind expanding mix tape from your crazy old musician friend
posted by Merik at 8:00 AM on August 26, 2008


I remember hearing My Life in the Bush of Ghosts on college radio in 1994. My brother (a Talking Heads fan) and I (a Brian Eno fan) were thrilled to discover that they had collaborated on a "new" album. After purchasing the album and reading the liner notes, we were shocked to find that it was made in 1981; it showed just how far ahead of the curve they were. I'm excited that they are working together again.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt at 8:01 AM on August 26, 2008


It is so so so so good.
posted by Damn That Television at 8:31 AM on August 26, 2008


I have high hopes for this album - but the first two minutes (all I got to listen to, they're running jackhammers outside my window) weren't so promising, sorta regular.

My Life In The Bush of Ghosts was distinguished to me because it sounded so unlike any other album from the very first note; King Crimson's Discipline, which came out at about the same time, was another sui generis work.

I'll try to keep my expectations low; and I'm sure there will be something of interest for me on it. What's funny is that I remembered "The Jezebel Spirit" from MLITBoG and now I can't get it out of my head, despite the jackhammers...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:03 AM on August 26, 2008


The album is a delight, and I get the feeling the tour is going to be even more of a delight.

(pleasepleasepleaseplease don't let the Chicago show sell out before I can get tickets. I don't care if they're shitty seats as long as I'm inside the building.)
posted by sparkletone at 9:12 AM on August 26, 2008


When Eno said this recently -- "You can make major chords sound sad, but you can never make minor chords sound happy" -- I started to worry that he'd lost it. I dunno, I'm trying to give this a chance, but so far it just sounds like another soporific latter-day Byrne album with an even more limited sonic palette.
posted by speicus at 9:13 AM on August 26, 2008


I'm a huge fan but I also have to go with "old, stodgy, and frankly, boring".
posted by 2sheets at 9:44 AM on August 26, 2008


Oh happy day! I can't wait to devote some serious listening time to this.
posted by lekvar at 9:51 AM on August 26, 2008


Your favorite old, bald, past-their-prime, over the hill, next in line to attempt a reunion band sucks.

To be fair, only one of them is bald, and was already starting to go bald since 1972, at least.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:52 AM on August 26, 2008


When I was in my early teens, these guys really opened up my mind to a broader conception of music. That makes this album more disappointing, though I've learned to set extremely low expectations from these guys since the 90s or so. This work is so flaccid and ho-hum, as if it were commissioned for a Starbucks or Ikea campaign. When the sound is so standard, it of makes their attempts at copyright moralizing moot.

I guess I just find myself wondering why they did it - were they bored? Were they in search of praise? They showed such prodigious musical creativity in the 70s and 80s, it gives me pause and makes me wonder if I'll be able to recognize if the spigot's dry and it's time to consider letting go of the drive to be at the forefront of a particular craft. Also makes me wonder what the difference is, if any, between these guys and people who seem to keep driving creative change in a field for much longer periods of time.
posted by LoneWolfMcQuade at 9:53 AM on August 26, 2008


It is kind of amusing how people who all purport to love the early stuff have such a different take on this.

I like it (the new album) quite a bit, and have found Byrne's continual evolution through music to be interesting and refreshing in an artist. There isn't the seemingly manic desire to remake the "best-of", or "this is almost like the last album" going on here. I guess I understand how some see this as hard to get into, because you don't know what to expect, and if you liked something previously you usually want more of the same.
posted by edgeways at 10:12 AM on August 26, 2008


Byrne-ing airlines give you so much more. Thanks for the post!
posted by porn in the woods at 10:16 AM on August 26, 2008


The jackhammers stopped. I'm on the fourth track now and I also have to go with "old [...] boring".

For those of you that like it, which track should I pay attention to?

I'd have been happy with Bush of Ghosts II, ecstatic with a "new sound" but this seems very regular.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:19 AM on August 26, 2008


...were they bored?

Everybody gets bored from time to time.

Were they in search of praise?

Everyone seeks, and needs, some sort of praise from time to time.

...makes me wonder if I'll be able to recognize if the spigot's dry and it's time to consider letting go of the drive to be at the forefront of a particular craft.

Why do you assume they have a drive to be "at the forefront" of their craft? Maybe they're just doing what they enjoy doing, and not trying to make some sort of grand statement. Jeezis, they're both musicians who've made very noteworthy contributions to the human musical canon. So they're not, in your opinion, right there on the razor-sharp cutting edge of musical innovation? Big fucking deal. These guys have done plenty. When you've done as much, and then you do some more, as your years add up, then your comments will hold some weight. Until then, you should probably just keep quiet, and keep working on your own grand opus, at the forefront of your particukar craft.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:35 AM on August 26, 2008


and your particular craft, too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:38 AM on August 26, 2008


It is kind of amusing how people who all purport to love the early stuff have such a different take on this.

Well, this album is completely different, innit? But I don't quite get the evolution here. Aside from being a little slower and using the "flavour of the month" drums (that part is particularly annoying), it's standard David Byrne all the way.

Again, the thing that caught us all about Bush of Ghosts is how distinctive it sounded from the very first note - and how different it sounded from either Eno's or Byrne's previous work. I mean, does Byrne even sing on Bush of Ghosts?

I have to confess, I've also gotten very sick of Byrne's voice by now - because he only does one voice. Come on, d00d, you've been playing this instrument for years and you haven't learned any new tricks? (Well, I still like Leonard Cohen who's only slightly more versatile but I don't have to be completely consistent.)

I'm also pretty disappointed in Brian Eno as well. Where's the sparkle? Typically, Eno tracks have something good musically, some interesting solo, some effect. It seems like half the songs are based on a rhythm guitar track, yawn. The new material is crowded, it's mostly medium-loud and medium-fast. Frankly, it sounds like they're lacking in confidence.

Take a listen: I think it will come through despite the terrible sound quality. (This text starts at about 2:25...)

Jezebel,
Spirit of destruction,
Spirit of grief,
I bind you with chains of iron
I bind you out of that bounded heaven.
Loosen your hold and come out of her now.
(It’s no good our sister.)
Out. Out Jezebel.
Come out now
(Go ahead)
Out in the name of Jesus
Come out destruction
Come out destruction
Come out grief
Jezebel you are going to listen to me Jezebel
(Go ahead sister; keep going.
Jezebel will abandon you)
She was intended by God to be a virtuous woman
You have no right to her
Her husband is the head of the house
Out Jezebel. Out. Out.


(Lyrics from here.)

It's hard not to get chills just thinking of this song. I've often said that I consider this one of the great orchestrations of a spoken word piece, the way the band drops down to cool menace just before the segment I'm quoting, and then slowly builds up to an ecstatic major key around the same bass line with that weird, almost toy percussion sound that's one of the hallmarks of the album.

I might be jaded but there's no way so far the bland, pretty songs on the album new are going to do this to me. America is waiting for a message of some sort or another, but this isn't it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:48 AM on August 26, 2008


These guys have done plenty. When you've done as much, and then you do some more, as your years add up, then your comments will hold some weight.

We have to have had experience comparable to Byrne or Eno before we're allowed to critique their work?! I think not.

If someone's arguments are good, they're good regardless of who they are.

Or bad. The one time I saw Eno speak, I was very excited - and then I disagreed with almost everything he said about art (but not about politics).

I was particularly sad when he took quite a long time to systematically slag Reich's Drumming, basically claiming it had no content at all. I almost but not quite put my hand up and said, "People will still be playing Drumming when your work is a period curiosity."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:58 AM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


flapjax: my suggestions that they might've been bored or in search of praise accompanied by feelings as indifferent as yours. i wouldn't impugn them if those were their motivations.

it's pretty manifest that both of these guys are obsessed with the future, and being prophets of it - not to mention, as you say, having accomplished a lot on that tip (only perhaps not as much recently as in the past). you seem to be reading too much judgment into what i wrote. i'm not saying byrne and eno are bad people, or that we should lobby for congress to bar them from recording.

i will say this new material is very mediocre, though (something a lot of people seem to be in agreement on), and i remain curious how their careers came to arrive at this particular spot and not another. this is not because i expect to make a 'grand opus,' but because i have a curiosity about the dynamics of inspiration and creative expression.

finally, i think you're certainly mistaken to suggest that someone needs to have accomplished something on the same scale as someone else in order to have a valid, useful, or in some way constructive evaluation of that other person's work. i also think your admonition for me to 'keep quiet' is where you crossed the line from a snide tone into being antagonistic toward conversation in general.
posted by LoneWolfMcQuade at 11:01 AM on August 26, 2008


i also think your admonition for me to 'keep quiet' is where you crossed the line from a snide tone into being antagonistic toward conversation in general.

Point taken, LoneWolf. Apologies for that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:10 AM on August 26, 2008


This music makes me sleepy. I like Byrne, but not much of an Eno fan. Definitely has an "older" feel to it. Maybe when I'm his age, I'll appreciate this album the way I appreciate the music he made when he was my age now (and have for the past 25 years).
posted by Eideteker at 11:41 AM on August 26, 2008


flapjax: thank you for the kind gesture. you deserve credit, and you're reinforcing the things i value about metafilter.
posted by LoneWolfMcQuade at 11:52 AM on August 26, 2008


Is it me, or is it Byrne who is now starting to sound more like Belew?

I think it is deeply weird that David Byrne would be sounding like Wally Belew.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:26 PM on August 26, 2008


My Life In The Bush of Ghosts was distinguished to me because it sounded so unlike any other album from the very first note; King Crimson's Discipline, which came out at about the same time, was another sui generis work.

Could not agree more, and Belew's vox on the latter goes a long way in making his case to be the better singer vs Byrne. Chris Franz actually asked Adrian Belew to REPLACE Byrne in the Heads after their work together on Remain In Light, essentially My Life... pt 2, which is about a strong a creative collaboration as ever made.

These guys have done plenty. When you've done as much, and then you do some more, as your years add up, then your comments will hold some weight.

Could not agree less. Just because Eno did tremendous stuff throughout the 70s doesn't make his output over the LAST THIRTY YEARS any more interesting to me. He was a pioneer with a certain toolset, but he's since been lapped many times by the technology and has been just slightly above the realm of New Age music in recent years. This new Eno/Byrne collaboration is a real disappointment- I was playing it at work and a coworker asked 'who put on Jamiroquai?' At one time, they reinvented pop music- any kid with Garage Band could have made this new song.
posted by tremspeed at 12:30 PM on August 26, 2008


"Strange Overtones" and "The Lighthouse" are cool.
posted by and for no one at 12:40 PM on August 26, 2008


After listening a few times, I’m cool on this album, too. I guess I expect better from them, but most of this album sounds to me like Eno’s recent Another Day on Earth with less “sparkle,” the same programmed drums, and more rhythm guitar.

As much respect I have for Eno and Byrne, I think Radiohead have co-opted and one-upped their sound to much better effect. My main complaint is this: if there are any musicians with the cred and chops necessary to take the kinds of risks Radiohead has with success, Eno and Byrne ought to be they.

Still, I plan to catch their show next month in Atlanta. I just hope it’s not as much of a snooze as this recording.
posted by breaks the guidelines? at 12:43 PM on August 26, 2008


The free MP3 is legal. They were giving it away on the site (as Byrne mentioned here), though it seems to have been replaced when they started streaming the whole record.
posted by twoleftfeet at 1:13 PM on August 26, 2008


Bah, the flash app keeps rebuffering.

This looks like a job for Remain in Light.
posted by lekvar at 1:29 PM on August 26, 2008


If you stop treating it as "Not My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" - a new world opens up.
posted by davebush at 5:19 PM on August 26, 2008


If you stop treating it as "Not My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" - a new world opens up.

That being...?

(I didn't want another "Bush of Ghosts" - but I wanted something interesting!)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:53 PM on August 26, 2008


It's ok, but not that great. I also don't expect Ghosts, but I desire something as interesting, which is why I've moved on to other artists. That doesn't take away from the fact that Ghosts is one of the most interesting albums of all time, and Byrne and Eno deserve to be recognized for that. Not to mention Remain in Light...

As an aside, I went looking for the song that was removed from Ghosts... Qu'ran... and then realized that the cassette that I owned back in the day included it. It's much better than the replacement, Very, Very Hungry.

Google will find it pretty quickly.
posted by Huck500 at 9:40 PM on August 26, 2008


I find it quite strange that people are looking for Bush of Ghosts II when that album is over 20 years old, and the musicians in question have spent the intervening time developing and maturing and just, you know, doing other stuff. The new album doesn't have the edginess of their earlier collaborations, but they're no longer 20-somethings with the world to prove. If you take the album as a collaboration between two people where they are now, rather than where they were when they last collaborated, the record makes sense.

It took me a while to get into David Byrne's solo stuff after a lifetime as a Talking Heads fan (it was Look into the Eyeball that did it, that and a trip to Brazil where I finally got samba which opened up a lot of the latin influenced material). Eno has always been someone I quite like, but haven't obsessed about as much. I mean, Coldplay?

I think it's great stuff. Maybe they're old and boring and I'm getting old and boring too - but I still love the stuff they did in the 70s and 80s, so maybe I've just got broader tastes.
posted by handee at 12:37 AM on August 27, 2008


I find it quite strange that people are looking for Bush of Ghosts II

I don't think one person here said that. The complaints are that the album is dull, not that it isn't BoG II.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:58 AM on August 27, 2008


For those who've forgotten, or who never knew, My Life In the Bush of Ghosts was originally a book title, from the wonderful Nigerian author Amos Tutuola.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:20 AM on August 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had an interesting chat today with someone at work who's pretty knowledgeable about the music industry and he claimed to me that the two musicians did this album entirely over the net - they weren't ever in the same room at the same time (he claimed the reason being that they don't get on very well).

I couldn't find any evidence one way or t'other. I couldn't find evidence that it was true, neither did I find any information about where it was recorded. Details welcome.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:14 PM on August 28, 2008


An article in Rolling Stone (page 2 of 2) says that they did indeed work on it through email, but it also says they had dinner together in 2006. And we know they had lunch in 2008 (you can hear part of their conversation at Wired). So they probably don't hate each other.

The more likely reason they worked on it through email is that Eno wrote the music first (some of it years ago) while Byrne added the lyrics later, and Eno was in London while Byrne was in New York.
posted by twoleftfeet at 8:54 PM on August 28, 2008


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