David Byrne - “In the Future”
The prophetic “In the Future” by the endlessly talented David Byrne was first released on the album Music for “The Knee Plays”, a 1985 album released by Burns and composed for avant-garde director and playwright Robert Wilson’s opera the CIVIL warS: a tree is best measured when it is down. The opera, originally intended to be performed in five acts internationally and as a single daylong piece to accompany the 1984 Summer Olympics, has never been performed as a whole. The album was finally re-released as The Knee Plays in 2007.
Despite the numerous problems associated with the actual opera, what ultimately made “In the Future” so challenging and important was Byrne’s keen sense of observation. Selected lyrics such as “In the future there will be machines which will produce a religious experience in the user,” “In the future water will be expensive,” and “In the future everyone’s house will be like a little fortress” are thought-provoking, especially since Byrne wrote them in the early 80s. Although everything in the song has not come true (thankfully), it is enjoyable to examine Byrne’s curious foresight.
Talking Heads - “Right Start”
One could talk endlessly about the Talking Heads’ Remain In Light. For instance, one might construct a narrative about the way the band’s first three albums pave a path for a great moment, for a Remain in Light. One might consider the relation between concurrent David Byrne and Brian Eno recordings and the record: Is Remain before or after science, so to speak? One could talk about the famous Joy Division imitation in The “Overload”, or one could even perform a psychoanalytic reading of the record. Like many great, canonical records, Remain In Light is a gift that keeps on giving.
When Remain In Light was reissued in 2005 as part of the lavish Talking Heads Brick, special attention fell on the newly unearthed outtakes and demos, and “Right Start” became an early favorite for discussion. The other three Remain outtakes provide interesting glimpses into what could have appeared on the album (see “Fela’s Riff”), but as an early sketch of the band’s greatest hit—“Once In A Lifetime”—“Right Start” invites a keener interest.
The song certainly is a fine instrumental piece for the band, though it’s hard to imagine Bryne working within this space. Moreover, the only trace of “Right Start” extant in “Once In A Lifetime” seems to be the noodling during the chorus and the “same as it ever was” refrain. Rather than shedding any light on its parent record, “Right Start” demands speculation about the recording process that transformed it. Not surprisingly, the gift keeps on giving, or to quote my favorite Heads song, the heat goes on!
Oh I almost forgot! My name is Tristan, and this is my first Tuneage post (“Right Start”—get it?!). I’m a tumblinguist, and I run a post-punk tumblr. The Fall and the Talking Heads are my favorite bands, and M83’s Saturdays = Youth was my favorite album of 2008. I plan to check in here occasionally with post-punk classics and gems from recent reissues.
Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - “Knotty Pine”
Dark Was the Night is a killer 2-disc compilation album from 4AD being released Feb. 17th. The album features music recorded specially for the compilation (some new songs, some covers) and the artist list is a veritable who’s who of noteworthy acts: Arcade Fire, The Books, Jose Gonzalez, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Feist, The Decemberists, and the list goes on and on. As if that wasn’t enough, all proceeds from Dark Was the Night benefit the RED HOT Organization. So it’s not just a pretty line-up, it’s for a good cause as well.
“Knotty Pine”, from the Dirty Projectors and David Byrne, is the lead-off track from the album, and I think it does a great job of setting the stage for the rest of the compilation. It’s upbeat, fun, it features a piano, and you can’t go wrong with pianos. A new song from the record is streaming at DWtN’s MySpace page everyday until the album is released on Feb. 17, but if you’re already convinced it’s worth owning, head over to the official page and pre-order the album.