INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Shaking Through JULY 18, 2006 - by Laurence Station
BRIAN ENO AND DAVID BYRNE: MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS (REMASTERED EDITION)
It's notable that Qu'ran has seemingly been banished forever from subsequent editions of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. The appreciatively remastered and expanded edition of the highly regarded and forward-looking 1981 original can't help but dredge up the prickly absence of this key track. Granted, the song is easy enough to find on auction sites or through trader depots like Gemm.com. But for an album brimming over with religious references and vocal samples (be they African, Christian, or Middle Eastern), it's amazing how a piece that could hardly be considered The Satanic Verses of cut-and-paste collage noise art has been so rudely (and universally) silenced. The Islamic Council of Great Britain didn't want recordings of the sacred text referenced and, hence, no one gets to enjoy Qu'ran regardless of geographic location, religious denomination or spiritual outlook. Thematically and sonically, Qu'ran makes a far better fit than its replacement, Very, Very Hungry. And the album still loses focus with the concluding tracks Come With Us and Mountain of Needles, which never fit into the admittedly eclectic brew concocted by Eno and Byrne. Other omissions include late evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman's sermon on The Jezebel Spirit after her estate requested it not be used. Such are the hazards of borrowing from worldly clatter. The main selling point of this Ghosts is the richly improved sound: The frenetic tribal rhythms backing the Gospel sermonizing on Help Me Somebody are more forceful and pronounced. The Carrier sports a nicely contrasting vocal inserted in the middle that apparently got excised due to time constraints the first time around. Basically, this is the definitive (if incomplete) version of a landmark release.