Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Diversion 2: An extra helping

I just finished up a major work project, so I can return to normal blogging next week. For now, here’s another video, this one for a song from my past.

This video was created to accompany the track “America Is Waiting” from the 1981 album, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a collaboration between David Byrne (of Talking Heads) and Brian Eno, whose earlier collaborations with David Bowie, especially “Heroes”, I liked.

The album was recorded during a break between touring for Talking Heads’ Fear of Music (1979) and the recording of Remain in Light (1980), but its release was delayed while they worked to obtain legal rights for the large number of samples used in the album. This was the first album to make extensive use of sampling.

My first real boyfriend introduced me to this album during my last year at university (he also introduced me to Joan Armatrading, Joni Mitchell and others). With the statute of limitations well and truly expired, I can add that there may have been illegal smoking matter involved at that time, and I’m sure it would’ve heightened my appreciation for what is often a surreal aural experience.

About the time the album was being recorded, I used to sample radio broadcasts, too, though not nearly as elaborately and without a backing track (I’ve often wondered what I might have played with if I’d had today’s technology). Maybe my playing around helped me appreciate what they did just a little bit more.

My favourite tracks from the album are “The Jezebel Spirit”, which includes a sample of an anonymous exorcist, and “Help Me Somebody”, which similarly samples an evangelical preacher. “America Is Waiting” is actually third on my list, though still a fave.

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was an influential album for me, back in the day. I suppose that, since I still remember it so well, it still is.

I like this video, in part because it captures the essence of the track so well. Someone on YouTube described the video as "better than an acid trip", and I'll take their word for that. But it does capture the surreal nature of the original track, one of the things I liked about the track and the album.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

I loved that album, and I wasn't even stoned. I always thought my pop music education came in two waves - the 1964-1973 period growing up, then 1979-1986, when I listened to one great station in Albany that was playing Joe Jackson, Elvis Costello, Joan Armatrading, the Police and of course, the Talking Heads.

That album I still have on, of all things, cassette.