Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Adventures In Awesome: Eno + Byrne = Hyperintelligence

Another swift post, this time about my belated discovery of a new project by Lib-Dem youth affairs advisor Brian Eno and secret Scot David Byrne, called Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (I'm a sucker for long album titles). It's their first collaboration since the ground-breaking My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, and here is the opening song, Home, as a taster.

If that whets your appetite, it can be downloaded from this site, in such a way as to bypass the music industry and its evil grasp. Indeed, they have put their album out there in a way similar to Radiohead's In Rainbows (and I love that they are following in the footsteps of a band named after a Talking Heads song), though the difference is you can't elect to pay what you want for the album. That's not really that much of a problem, though. I think they're aware that, despite their Amazing Powers Of The Brain and the exponential talent co-efficient that exists because of that fearsome combination of hyperintellects, they're not going to sell as many copies as Radiohead did, and besides, it's still cheaper to get it via their site than it would be on iTunes, and you can choose to purchase the actual-not-virtual CD copy when it comes out in November for a couple of $s more. Besides, this is all part of Byrne's plan to save music itself from exploitation by corporate scum. What a guy.

Is it worth downloading? I've only listened to it once, and it is certainly pleasant enough, and a far cry from their more discordant collaborations, with high praise going to the lovely Life Is Long, which is adorable, but then their recent albums have been fairly muted in comparison to their early works, so it comes as no shock. It reminds me of Paul Simon's underrated Surprise, released a couple of years ago with "sonic landscapes" by Eno. I'm confident that is an example of his computer-generated wit.

Speaking of Eno and his other projects, I'm kind of nervous about dipping my toes in the official website of The Long Now Foundation (a typically forward-thinking project from the great man, and several other great men), though my research has inspired me to get a pack of Oblique Strategies cards. However I did have a good look around David Byrne's less imposing and highly entertaining site, and was filled with regret that while in New York a few weeks back I didn't get a chance to check out his Playing The Building installation. Whenever I ponder the works of men like Eno and Byrne, I realise how much I envy and admire people who have such creative energy and confidence and education that they can just sit around conceptualising crazy shit all day long, and then implement it with the help of other intelligent and ambitious people. It would be a much better life than one spent in a gray office like the one I was stuck in today.

And yes, I'm aware that I'm being particularly whiny and pessimistic this week. Apologies. This post, written in Byrne's trademark innocent and guileless voice (as familiar to anyone lucky enough to have seen his wonderful directorial debut True Stories) really did make me smile though. Please read it. It's quietly funny, and perceptive.

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