Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
As a pair David Byrne and Brian Eno began challenging conventional concepts of rock music with the 1978 Talking Heads album More Songs About Buildings and Food. Eno produced 2 more albums for the band. Fear of Music and Remain In Light, pushed the group to new levels of experimentation and excellence. In 1981 Byrne and Eno released a duo album. My Life In the Bush of Ghost is considered a keystone album in the world of electronic and ambient music.
It’s taken 27 years but the dynamic duo have returned with their second collaboration, an album the expands the concept of what can be construed as “gospel” music. Eno discovered his love of gospel music in the late 1970s and had been playing with the idea of creating his own version of the genre. Over a 2006 dinner Eno revealed to Byrne that he had accumulated a large amount of music. He recorded rough versions of the songs and sent it off to Byrne for his lyrical input. Byrne took the seeds of these songs and began creating the vocal structure for them. After numerous email exchanges and experimentation the duo came up with the final results and self-released the effort in August of 2008.
Everything that Happens Will Happen Today is not My Life in the Bush of Ghost redux. Although the former did contain a number of gospel-themed found sound clips the similarities stop there. The new release is built on standard song structures that are directed by vocal driven melodies. The production is more akin to the densely textured and many layered sound of Remain in Light. Already the album has been dubbed “electronic folk-gospel” but don’t expect to hear choirs or organs. Gospel, in the terms of Brian Eno’s music, is represented quite differently. Eno writes “I began to see gospel music as conveying the act of surrender more than the act of worship.” This insight informed Eno’s choice of chords that lend themselves to harmony. Byrnes response to the music was to write more empathetically about the basic human condition.
As you listen to Everything That Happens…you’ll notice a positive tone to songs about aging and surviving the modern world. The music relays this as well. There’s a wistful quality about “Strange Overtones” a song about human connections. “Home” offers that familiar mix of dread and love for the place that knows us best.
Brian Eno and David Byrne are both eccentric personalities and that is apparent in their vision but they are also extraordinary musicians who have the added experience of nearly 3 decades to deepen their perspective on the world. It’s a pleasure to once again view that world From their elevation.