David Byrne, St. Vincent Collaborate With Bang On A Can’s Asphalt Orchestra

David Byrne & Annie Clark

David Byrne, St. Vincent Collaborate With Bang On A Can’s Asphalt Orchestra

David Byrne & Annie Clark

As we reported in March, David Byrne and St. Vincent have been planning to work together since running into each other at the Björk/Dirty Projectors charity event our own Brandon Stosuy staged at Housing Works last spring. (It is the concert that keeps on giving.) As David tells it in a press release today, measuring himself against Dave Longstreth was daunting but Annie’s idea to work with a brass ensemble got the ball rolling:

About a year ago, I ran into St. Vincent at the Housing Works benefit in which Dirty Projectors and Bjork performed together. How’s that for dropping a lot of names in one sentence? Anyway, Annie and I had previously met at the Dark Was the Night benefit in which we both performed, and I’d said I was a fan of her music and disturbing videos. So when Rachel at my office, who volunteers at Housing Works Bookstore Cafe, passed on a suggestion that Annie and I do a similar collaboration, I immediately said yes, though I didn’t think we could pull together a short set of new material as fast as Longstreth did (6 weeks, I think). They’d raised the bar pretty high, and as a result we agreed to come up with new material.

I believe it was Annie who suggested we hang the material around a brass ensemble, which creatively sounded great, and besides it could be acoustic and wouldn’t require amplification in the intimate Housing Works space. Beyond that, we didn’t know in what direction things would go or how we’d work together. We were still both on tour back then, so we began by passing snippets and inspirational MP3s back and forth. I had some work in progress that I re-arranged, and Annie passed me some horn tracks she’d made in GarageBand. I restructured those a little and wrote some melodies over them. We’re still inching forwards on this — no completion date is set, which is a nice situation to be in. However, we did prod ourselves to complete a couple of tunes by setting some deadlines. A few months ago we had Tony Finno arrange the horns, and we performed one of the songs — tentatively titled “Who” — at the end of Annie’s show at the Rose Room at Lincoln Center. Now, having been approached by the Bang On a Can spinoff Asphalt Orchestra, with the help of Ken Thomson we’ve adapted another song called either “Two Ships” or “The Movie” for their group. This will be an instrumental version and we’ll do a vocal version later.

Asphalt Orchestra performs this and other commissioned works on August 4 outdoors at Lincoln Center.
– David B

Looking forward to that. Also announced today is the soundtrack to Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (AKA Wall Street 2: Greed Is Old). One of my favorite scenes from the original, which I rewatched on cable this weekend (jealous?), was the montage in which Charlie Sheen takes Daryl Hannah’s grotesquely ’80s interior design tips while Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)” plays. (Also the scene in which they then prepare dinner in the finished apartment: why are they hand-making sushi and pasta?*) The Money Never Sleeps soundtrack features nine Byrne songs. Here’s the tracklist:

01 “Prison” (Craig Armstrong)
02 “Home” (David Byrne & Brian Eno)
03 “Life Is Long” (David Byrne & Brian Eno)
04 “Sleeping Up” (David Byrne)
05 “Strange Overtones” (David Byrne & Brian Eno)
06 “Money” (Craig Armstrong)
07 “My Big Nurse” (David Byrne & Brian Eno)
08 “Helicopter Reveal” (Craig Armstrong)
09 “Tiny Apocalypse” (David Byrne)
10 “Lazy” (David Byrne)
11 “I Feel My Stuff” (David Byrne & Brian Eno)
12 “This Must Be The Place (Naïve Melody)” (Talking Heads)

That’s out 9/21 on Todomundo Records. Finally, click here to read David’s latest blog post about his visit to Stromboli.


Dilute the son of a bitch, GG.

*Because they’re greedy?

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