Tuesday, February 05, 2008

485. Brian Eno/David Byrne - My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (1981)

Track Listing

1. America Is Waiting
2. Mea Culpa
3. Regiment
4. Help Me Somebody
5. Jezebel Spirit
6. Very Very Hungry
7. Moonlight In Glory
8. Carrier
9. Secret Life
10. Come With Us
11. Mountain Of Needles


I remember listening to this album for the first time many, many moons ago, long before I started this list thing and thinking that it was one of the strangest things I had ever heard. Now I put it on again for the purposes of this list and while not the most harmonious thing I have ever heard I did not find it in the least strange.

This is one of those album that is more important than known and also more important than a joy to listen to. There are just so many bands who have built their whole careers around this that it is hard to imagine the face of music today without it. Firstly the use of sampling made the career of countless artists from Beck to Moby, in fact Play by Moby is basically a more harmonious version of this. Oh, and 20 years later.

This is just incredibly ahead of its time, using field recordings, putting beats to it both electronic and analogue and making music like that does not seem so impressive today, but this is all before digital mixing, this is all trial and error sampling and cutting, this is an amazing piece of art. And it works! Some tracks here are just brilliant, the first track being possibly the best example. Some of them are less successful but as an achievement this is truly impressive.

Track Highlights

1. America Is Wating
2. Regiment
3. The Jezebel Spirit
4. Help Me Somebody

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The track "Qu'ran", which features samples of Qur'anic recital, was replaced by "Very, Very Hungry" in some later releases. On some early editions of the record, "Very, Very Hungry" was included along with "Qu'ran" as a non-cassette and non-LP CD only release.

"Way back when the record first came out, in 1981, it might have been '82, we got a request from an Islamic organization in London, and they said, 'We consider this blasphemy that you put grooves to the chanting of the Holy Book.' And we thought, 'Okay, in deference to somebody's religion, we'll take it off.' You could probably argue for and against monkeying with something like that. But I think we were certainly feeling very cautious about this whole thing. We made a big effort to try and clear all the voices, and make sure everybody was okay with everything. Because we thought, 'We're going to get accused of all kinds of things, and so we want to cover our asses as best we can.' So I think in that sense we reacted maybe with more caution than we had to. But that's the way it was."

And on Super Tuesday, America is Waiting:

1 comment:

taphead said...

Oh, that video was lovely.

For as long as I've had the records, I've felt My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Remain in Light and King Crimson's Discipline form a very nice triptych. Discipline may be the first to sound a bit dated (those electronic drums'll get you every time), but the other two tend to sound topical no matter what year we're in. Very, very few albums can make the same claim.

Oh, another one of these separated-at-birth combinations would be Depeche Mode's Violator and Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine. One is a demented and decadent sibling of the other, but I can't make my mind up as to which is which...

I can't remember if I've given you props for this project yet, but here, have some more anyways!