Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Psych-Pop Week Day 2 - Eno & Byrne

This week SIART is having psychedelic flashbacks...

In between recording sessions for the Talking Heads albums Fear Of Music & Remain In Light, producer Brian Eno and Head singer/songwriter David Byrne found the time to record an album of music that remains unique to this day - 1981's My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. It was a collection of "cut and paste" tracks, featuring various found sound recordings that the two tweaked and shaped over assorted grooves. I had just discovered the Talking Heads, and so I was intrigued by what I might find. It was unlike anything I had heard. Over fractured, repetitive grooves the two of them threw actual recordings of exorcisms (The Jezebel Spirit), preachers ranting and mystical Middle Eastern chanting and wailing. Musically it was just as adventurous, crossing rock with Afro pop with avant garde artiness and mixing pop, funk and Afro rhythms. It's remarkable to think, in this age of sampling technology on every computer, that this was all done on tape - literally cut and paste. Because the album was so ahead of it's time it still holds up amazingly well. It is also a heady, psychedelic experience. There are two songs on it that source Arabic music, in particular the vocals of Lebanese mountain singer Dunya Yusin, and they are my personal favorites on the record. Regiment is one hell of a funky ride, with the loose shuffle of Heads drummer Chris Frantz' beats and the popping riffs of bassist Busta Jones pinning down a buzzing, smoky melody - Yusin's wail transports me to some mystical place every time I hear it. The Carrier is even more mysterious and deep, a shifting, drone-y percussive piece of ambience. Once again Yusin's voice is the focal point, and it's a moving, melancholic performance. Beautiful, mysterious and psychedelic. A perfect blend.

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