18 Songs, 59 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taking cue from the works of Jon Hassell, with whom Brian Eno previously collaborated, this 1981 partnership between ambient and avant-garde record producer Eno (Talking Heads, U2) and Talking Heads leader David Byrne incorporated Third World rhythms, found sounds (radio broadcasts), ambient sounds (field recordings), electronics and whatever else the duo could find and manipulate with studio effects and tape edits to make what at the time was a novel and adventurous departure from the expected grooves of conventional record-making. That many of these innovations found their way into mainstream recording only make this early and rudimentary effort – look ma, no sampler! just tapes – all the more fascinating. It is, however, a polarizing album, one its adherents love and its dissenters hate. Few fall in between. “The Jezebel Spirit,” with its recording of an ‘exorcism,’  “America is Waiting” and “Very, Very Hungry” are the obvious standouts, layered in currents of sound and held together by brilliant, elliptical rhythms that create an effect both hypnotic and flowing. It is music best absorbed gradually through osmosis. Live with it in the background until it takes over.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taking cue from the works of Jon Hassell, with whom Brian Eno previously collaborated, this 1981 partnership between ambient and avant-garde record producer Eno (Talking Heads, U2) and Talking Heads leader David Byrne incorporated Third World rhythms, found sounds (radio broadcasts), ambient sounds (field recordings), electronics and whatever else the duo could find and manipulate with studio effects and tape edits to make what at the time was a novel and adventurous departure from the expected grooves of conventional record-making. That many of these innovations found their way into mainstream recording only make this early and rudimentary effort – look ma, no sampler! just tapes – all the more fascinating. It is, however, a polarizing album, one its adherents love and its dissenters hate. Few fall in between. “The Jezebel Spirit,” with its recording of an ‘exorcism,’  “America is Waiting” and “Very, Very Hungry” are the obvious standouts, layered in currents of sound and held together by brilliant, elliptical rhythms that create an effect both hypnotic and flowing. It is music best absorbed gradually through osmosis. Live with it in the background until it takes over.

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