Album: Brian Eno & David Byrne
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, VIRGIN
Friday 24 March 2006
On its initial release 25 years ago, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was generally regarded as an effete avant-garde exercise, the niche-market hobbywork of pop's most self-consciously intellectual chums, with none of the commercial potential of Talking Heads' mainstream works, or even Eno's. Now, it sounds like the mainstream - some measure of just how effectively the virus which it released has infected pop. It was, as Hank Shocklee of Public Enemy's innovative Bomb Squad production crew acknowledged, the album that invented sampling: until My Life, sonic collaging had been the sole province of the avant-garde, only creeping on to the furthest fringes of rock thanks to the likes of Faust and Zappa; it had never been marshalled by funk rhythms into repetitive hooks. It was also the first time African percussion and guitar styles had been used in pop, not to mention the Arabic vocal samples that resulted in the removal of one track, whose recitation from the Koran was deemed blasphemous. A shame, as it made for a pointed contrast with the US preachers whose disembodied voices comprise most of the other ghosts of this ethereal bush.
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