How David Byrne and Brian Eno Make Music Together: A Short Documentary

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.

Relat­ed con­tent

Bri­an Eno on Cre­at­ing Music and Art As Imag­i­nary Land­scapes (1989)

David Byrne: From Talk­ing Heads Front­man to Lead­ing Urban Cyclist

Sketch­es of Artists by the Late New Media Design­er Hill­man Cur­tis

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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  • Let peo­ple bring about the truth in them and take advice to com­ply with rather than impos­ing on them sup­ply side. Peace

  • Greg says:


    Part­ly because being “artic­u­late” is not what I expect from David Byrne, and there’s noth­ing here to chal­lenge that. Cer­tain­ly noth­ing that deserves a fake word.

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