For those of us old enough to remember this ground-breaking album by David Byrne and Brian Eno, the news of a re-issue has been a long time coming. Featuring samples of “found” vocal recordings (a Pentecostal preacher, Lebanese mountain singers, an exorcism) chopped and layered over world-inspired funk grooves, this 1981 release influenced a generation of musicians and producers. There was nothing else like it at the time. For many of us, it was not only our first exposure to sampling, but also to such a diverse mix of musical and cultural influences on a “mainstream” pop album.
I’ve been thinking about this record a lot over the past year or so (I inexplicably sold my copy long ago), and was lucky enough to find a friend who could burn a copy for me a few weeks ago. It’s been rocking my iPod ever since. As many times as the concept has been duplicated, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts doesn’t seem dated at all… it’s still every bit as exciting and fun as when I first heard it.
The reissue is completely remastered and features several unreleased bonus tracks. The official website will also encourage remixing of 2 of the songs, by making all of the individual instrument tracks available for download. No word yet on what songs will be made available for remixing (I’m hoping “Help Me Somebody” is one of them), but I’ll surely be busy with Ableton Live for many weeks, regardless.