INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Rockol SEPTEMBER 1, 2008 - by Gianni Sibilla
DAVID BYRNE AND BRIAN ENO: EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY
Are fireworks born to become fizzers?
Listening to Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, it's a legitimate thought. It's creators are Brian Eno and David Byrne - not just two of the most influential names on the music scene during the past thirty years, but also a pairing that, in 1981, released My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. A truly revolutionary recording for that time, its use of sampling and exotic colourings opened up a multitude of possibilities and posed a series of questions still relevant today (the legitimacy of the use and remixing of sounds produced by others and the related issues of paternity - who is the composer, who controls the rights, who is the producer and what is left over?).
Now the two have produced a reactionary recording - if it is possible to apply such a term, without political connotations. But Everything That Happens is a "normal" record of songs - "electronic gospel", as Brian Eno describes it on the cover. It happened like this: one evening over dinner Eno mentioned that he had some musical fragments; Byrne offered to complete the lyrics and vocals. The result is a record focused on the vocal parts, but with music of stratified depth: sometimes very direct, as with the initial 1-2 of Home/My Big Nurse or Life Is Long - at other times more rarified like I Feel My Stuff with its a-la Eno electronic percussion somewhat similar to the sounds used on his last solo album, Another Day On Earth, and on his collaboration with Paul Simon, Surprise.
Rather than being an actual collaboration, Everything That Happens is a recording composed of layers, a summary in which there is little intersection but where the individual contribututions are very recognisable - much like the recording with Simon, even if in that case that was not the aim. In other words, Byrne and Eno used to look forward - today, they look around. Having said that, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today is a great album that sees Byrne more decisively "on fire" vocally than on his recent solo outings. In other words, great songs with beautiful melodies and optimal sound.
Maybe, to fully appreciate this album, you need to pretend that My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts doesn't exist. For those who have never heard or don't remember Bush Of Ghosts, Everything That Happens is a first-class work. For those who have, it's still great - just not what they were expecting.
For the record, the album is available exclusively from www.everythingthathappens.com in three versions: digital for $9; digital and CD for $11.99 plus postage and handling; and a deluxe edition for $70 with extras and four bonus tracks. A Flac version is also available on request while the site states that the physical CD will be available at the end of November.
TRACK-LISTING: Home / My Big Nurse / I Feel My Stuff / Everything That Happens / Life Is Long / The River / Strange Overtones / Wanted For Life / One Fine Day / Poor Boy / The Lighthouse