On Monday, we posted the Artist Series, short profiles of various aesthetically-oriented creators by the late Hillman Curtis. Today, please enjoy what feels like the jewel in the Artist Series’ crown, despite not officially being part of it: Curtis’ promotional documentary on Brian Eno and David Byrne and their collaboration on 2008’s Everything That Happens Happen Will Happen Today.
Curtis interviews Eno and Byrne in their separate workspaces, captures their conversations about parts of their songs, and even — presumably in keeping with the album’s do-it-yourself promotional spirit — lets them photograph one another. He also shows them doing what they do best when not creating: cycling, of course, in Byrne’s case, and looking pensively through windows in Eno’s.
In none of these nine minutes do Byrne or Eno perform anything. Curtis doesn’t need them to; he taps instead into the combination of articulacy, clarity, and idiosyncrasy that has earned them nearly forty years of status as cerebral popular music icons. Just as the early eighties’ nascent sampling technology gave Byrne and Eno a new framework with which to think about music when they recorded My Life in the Bush of Ghosts together, the ability to send sounds over the internet and extensively modify absolutely any recording after the fact shaped the construction of Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. The resulting production legitimately earns the critically abused adjective “dreamlike” — have a listen to the track “I Feel My Stuff” above — and the feel of Curtis’ video aligns with the feel of the album, using unblinking gazes and drifting tracking shots that wouldn’t feel out of place in an Apichatpong Weerasethakul film. If you still want to see these guys actually play something, watch Ride, Rise, Roar (trailer here, clip below), Curtis’ concert film of the Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno Tour.