Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts

One of the benefits of moving house is that it forces you to go through your stuff. Yesterday I dug out a box of cassettes, many probably unplayed for over 2o years. One of the treasures was My Life in the Bush of Ghosts by David Byrne and Brian Eno. I remember thinking that it was a revelation when I heard it for the first time. The musical collage of electronic sounds overlayed on real world speech and singing is dramatic. It was considered ground breaking at the time and influenced many other musicians.

After getting over the issue of what a cassette tape was, the kids settled down to listen in the car as we drove to sports camp. At the end, they asked to hear it again because they really liked it. Some of the tracks reminded me of the computer games that Ryan loves to play. All very familiar given the number of times I played it in the 80s.

It was rereleased recently with new tracks and some politically correct edits to address concerns by Islamic Groups who objected to singing the Koran. New to me. Having spent time in Indonesia, I thought that was what you did at 5am.

The sources that form the basis for the tracks are as follows.

Side One:

  1. "Unidentified indignant radio host, San Francisco, April 1980."
  2. "Inflamed caller and smooth politician replying, both unidentified. Radio call-in show, New York, July 1979."
  3. "Dunya Yusin, Lebanese mountain singer. (From The Human Voice in the World of Islam, Tangent Records TGS131)"
  4. "Reverend Paul Morton, broadcast sermon, New Orleans, June 1980."
  5. "Unidentified exorcist, New York, September 1980."

Side Two:

  1. "Algerian Muslims chanting Qu'ran. (Same source as 3 (Tangent Records, above))"
  2. "The Moving Star Hall Singers, Sea Islands, Georgia. (From The Moving Star Hall Singers, Folkways FS 3841). Produced by Guy Carawan."
  3. "Dunya Yusin. (See 3 (Tangent Records, above))"
  4. "Samira Tewfik, Egyptian popular singer. (From Les Plus Grandes Artistes du Monde Arabe, EMI)."
  5. "Unidentified radio evangelist, San Francisco, April 1980."
Worth a listen if you can find it. Some of the tracks are available on teh interweb.

Now to see what other relics from my music library the kids can stomach.


James Higham said...

Cleanouts are useful.

doctorvee said...

I bought the re-release a couple of years ago. I think it's fantastic.

Pablothehat said...

Like you, the clearing out the old tape collection and rediscovering Talking Heads, David Byrne and Brian Eno has been a great walk down memory lane.

David Byrne's Blog is very informative and entertaining, and his images are sometimes breath taking.

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