Release Date: Nov 25, 2008
Record label: TODO MUNDO
Sitting down to review Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Brian Eno and David Byrne’s first collaboration since 1981’s ambient/electronic masterwork My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, one can’t help but feel a little intimidated. These are, after all, two of the most revolutionary geniuses working in music today. Even if one were to leave aside the absolutely groundbreaking work they have done in the past with Talking Heads, Roxy Music, and David Bowie, they would still rank near the top of intellectually stimulating artists.
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco It’s amazing what a couple decades can do. When we last left Brian Eno and David Byrne, it was 1981 and the two had just released My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a funky postscript to the hallowed Talking Heads/Eno trilogy (More Songs About Buildings and Food, Fear of Music and Remain in Light). Their collaboration was a final pioneering burst of creative energy that broke ground by pairing found sounds with post-modern disco.
The musical reunion between David Byrne and Brian Eno comes with a fair amount of baggage. After all, they produced some of the greatest records in rock history: the trio of Talking Heads records that Eno worked on, culminating in Remain in Light, and followed by the duo's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, where all manner of Afro-funky beats and freaky sampladelic rhythms were wedded to Pentecostal exorcisms and ceremonial bush chants. Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is a nearly 180-degree turn from the duo's collective musical past.
T here's a particular sea-shanty kind of pop song that Brian Eno has played around with since his 1990 collaboration with John Cale. There are a couple here on this reunion with the former Talking Head, a record on which electronics and a grown-up wistfulness meet in a charming, comfortable manner..
(Download only, available from everythingthathappens.com) Towards the end of David Byrne's sleevenotes for the recent reissue of My Life in the Bush of Ghosts - the album the former Talking Heads singer made with the band's producer and mentor, Brian Eno, in 1981 - he describes the duo encountering a novel problem. The vocals on the album had been taken from Arabic pop singles, ethnographic recordings and late-night talk-shows and evangelists' sermons they had taped from the radio. Now they had to get permission to use them, which proved to be an arduous task.
The last time Byrne and Eno met on record was 1981's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, a sample-heavy sound collage screwed and chopped in the experimental twilight of NYC. Its follow-up 27 years later shrugs off the avant coil and puts on a sensible sweater. Byrne provides vocals, Eno the music, and the two layers yield actual songs this time: the charming, wobbly "Strange Overtones," where Byrne jabs: "This groove is out of fashion.