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Published: 2007/09/13

David Byrne Finally Will Release Music For The Knee Plays on CD

David Byrne will release his long out of print album, Music For The Knee Plays, on CD this October. The former Talking Heads singer original composed the material included on Music For The Knee Plays for Robert Wilsons proposed 8 hour theatre epic The CIVIL WarS, which was never performed in its entirety. Byrne dusted off the song-cycle for a performance while overseeing a series of shows at Carnegie Hall last February. Byrne posted the following about his new project:
_Mastered the Knee Plays recordings for a re-release this fall (October). Last week we dug into the archives to see what was available as bonus tracks and unseen visual materials. Theres a truckload of stuff. My hoarding pays off!
There are early sketches by Bob Wilson (probably cant use those) and some by myself and Adelle, quite a few unused texts, storyboards and lots of photos, notably a set of 400 B&W shots of the whole production taken by JoAnn Verburg (who has a show at MoMA now!) that were taken every 30 seconds or so. These can therefore be turned into a slideshow of the stage production, accompanied by the music. Conveniently, JoAnn was in town for her MoMA opening, so we met and discussed that possibility- which it turned out was exactly how she had hoped to use those shots, although when she took them there was no web or other simple means of presenting them that way. _
On the music end, Frank discovered a couple of reels of multitrack analogue tape that contained my aborted attempts at using Kabuki percussionists (augmented by stuff I added) as the music for this project. There were about 7 pieces on the tape. Pat Dillett and I mixed about 5 of them for this re-release. Theyre pretty nutty-sounding mostly spacey atmospheric pieces with piercingly loud percussive explosions. Some of them also have the percussionists vocalizing as they would during a specific scene in a Kabuki play. Groaning and moaning ominously, for example, in a scene meant to evoke ghosts. The vocal sounds are remarkably similar to the way kids at Halloween presume that ghosts go ‘ooohhhhhh.’
While Byrne currently has no live performances scheduled, he will hit the speaker circuit next month. On October 6 he will host the How New Yorkers Ride Bikes event at New Yorks Town Hall and on October 10 Byrne will talk with Geoffrey Miller at Bostons Institute of Contemporary Art as part of a program called Connections Between Biology and Culture, Sex and Beauty, Genes and Creativity.

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