Tag Archives: Talking Heads

Baby’s on Fire

befroe

My first year of college, 1983, was a huge transitional year in my musical awareness. I worked at the university’s music library and I also became a DJ. At work, I was exposed to classical music for the first time, international music like Indian ragas, and contemporary composers like Steve Reich and Edgar Varese. At the radio station, I played music I was more familiar with at first, punk and prog rock were my staples, but I greatly expanded my repertoire every day. At home, I was obsessed with these four albums by Brian Eno:

jets Here Come the Warm Jets (1974)

tiger Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy) (1974)

Postcards for this Peking opera gave Eno the idea for the name.

green Another Green World (1975)

Here is a book detailing the album: Brian Eno’s Another Green World by Geeta Dayal.

befroe Before and After Science (1977)

Listening to them on Hoopla has brought me back to that time.

These albums are pop music and avant-garde at the same time. They contain driving rhythms and multi-textured aural qualities, with glam-rock sensibilities at times, ambient electronica at others. I hear direct influences of David Bowie and David Byrne. I also hear a unique set of songs similar to other music only in what has come after. The vocal timber is what I think draws me the most. Eno’s voice goes from almost sneeringly punk to decidedly New Wave. A frequent contributor to the albums is Robert Fripp, my favorite guitarist of the era.

I listened to these so often, they would be in the soundtrack to my college years if it were a movie, just like in this one: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl.

Brian Eno has been an influential record producer since the 1970s. His sonic stamp is present on the albums of The Talking Heads, U2, Coldplay, and many others. He was planning to collaborate on another project with his good friend David Bowie. It was Bowie’s recent death that prompted me to revisit these touchstones of my past.

 

-Joelle

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SilverDocs Part 3: Byrne-ing Down the House

Ride Rise Roar is a concert documentary based on David Byrne’s tour for Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.  The CD, released in 2008, was a collaboration between Byrne and Brian Eno.  The tour itself, however, featured music from that album and other Byrne/Eno collaborations.

The film chronicles Byrne’s process for putting the tour show together, including adding an unexpected element – modern dance.  The stage show features three dancers performing the choreography of Annie-B Parson and Noémie Lafrance.  The result: a charming, playful, and entertaining production.  I am a dance lover, so the concept appealed to me immediately, but what I most loved was how the work of the dancers impacted all of the other performers onstage, from making the stage equipment part of the choreography, to back-up singers and musicians (male and female) dancing in tutus.   Check out the trailer below and this Wired blog post for a longer review of the film.

While you’re waiting for Ride Rise Roar to become available at the library, why not enjoy some of the many other Byrne- related options we already have.

The Everything That Happens Will Happen Today tour was not Byrne’s first collaboration with dancers.  In 1983 he composed, produced, and performed the music for Twyla Tharp’s The Catherine Wheel.

We also have Jonathan Demme’s critically aclaimed 1984 documentary about the Talking Heads, Stop Making Sense.  David Byrne himself directed Ile Aiye (The House of Life) and True Stories. You can also borrow the music of the Talking Heads, or Byrne’s solo albums, compilations, or other productions.

Try one of our biographies if you are interested in reading more about David Byrne or the Talking Heads.  Or check out a book with artists’ interpretations of Talking Heads lyrics.  Finally, you may also enjoy the meandering observations and philosophical musings in Byrne’s book Bicycle Diaries.

Sarah

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