Edge

David Byrne and Brian Eno collaborate for first time in 27 years

“Cauliflower, broccoli, watermelon, squash,” scatted a young Billy Joel over a melody that would one day become his legendary “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant.” Joel had his own form of creating music – writing a melody and inserting filler words until he could come up with something substantial. Unlike most musicians, Billy Joel wrote the majority of his music in this disconnected, unorthodox form, creating the music first and separately writing the lyrics.

Similarly, after a 27 year gap in collaborations, Talking Heads producer Brian Eno and frontman David Byrne have reunited to create their second album together via a similar process. The project began with a collection of strictly instrumental and digital tracks that Eno had created over many years, left abandoned and unreleased due to Eno’s hesitation to write lyrics. However, when Eno approached Byrne about the possibility of writing lyrics for his tracks, a beautiful lovechild of poetry and melody was born.

On the album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, the pair takes on a new approach to their sound, introducing themes and melodic ideas that differ from their first effort in 1981, a groundbreaking experimental album entitled My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Eno, also the producer of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, made the decision to self-release the album online, and it was made available to stream for free at the end of August. On Oct. 7, the album was finally made available for purchase on iTunes.

Although 27 years have passed since their first collaboration, Eno and Byrne have reunited, crafting sounds filled with as much energy as their work in the 1980s with the Talking Heads. Describing their new sound as “gospel-electronic,” the pair accomplishes their goal of expressing hope and positivity even in the face of despair.

While their sound is far more accessible and less complicated than their previous experimental undertakings, there are still traces of digital and mathematical sounds amidst the major chord motifs. The duo claimed that they tried to “make that picture of the human still trying to survive in an increasingly complicated digital world.”

On “Strange Overtones,” a key track of the album, Byrne sings of the songwriting process itself, complete with an uplifting groove created by bongos, congas, a tambourine and a pair of guitars, reminding us of the brilliant “Once in a Lifetime,” that the Talking Heads released only 20 years ago on their album Remain in Light.

To stream the album, visit www.everythingthathappens.com, or visit iTunes to purchase a copy.

Key Tracks: “One Fine Day,” “Life is Long,” “Strange Overtones”

October 29, 2008

Reporters

Carey Goldenberg

Senior EDGE Writer


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