A book by Amos Tutuola. Also, and more relevant, at least to many people, an album by Brian Eno and David ByrneOriginally released as an LP in 1981, the CD release has a bonus track (the last listed below). Eno and Byrne made this album in between work on the Talking Heads' Fear of Music and Remain in Light. This process galvanized Byrne's rhythmic exploration. They made extensive use of found sound samples from radio and recordings of ethnic or what we would now call World Music, Eno and Byrne combined with dance rhythms on drums, congas and found objects. You might not like it. I do.

The tracks:

  1. America Is Waiting
  2. Mea Culpa
  3. Regiment
  4. Regiment
  5. Help Me Somebody
  6. The Jezebel Spirit
  7. Qu'ran
  8. Moonlight in Glory
  9. The Carrier
  10. A Secret Life
  11. Come With Us
  12. Mountain of Needles
  13. Very, Very Hungry

Am I listening to it right now? No. But I was when I wrote this.

Brian Eno on the Amos Tutuola novel 'My Life in the Bush of Ghosts':

"It's a bit like the record in a way. The writer portrays himself as a young boy growing up in an African village, and at some point there's an emergency of some kind and he decides to hide in the bush. He dives through this little hole in a hedge and he suddenly finds he's entered this unmapped world of strange spirits. The bush of ghosts is a series of 21 towns and each town is inhabited by a different type of ghost . . . All of the ghosts, I gather, have a certain spiritual place; they're allegories for certain conditions of life. We started making the record before we'd ever read the book, so the record isn't in any way an illustration, or in fact it doesn't really have anything to do with it, except that in a sense it's a series of unrelated wanderings."

The above is from an interview in 'Sounds' magazine
dated March 7th 1981, by Sandy Robertson

There is a further interesting parallel between the book and the music, and that is the use of repetition, both of structure and motif. Almost all of the music is derived from overlapping tuned rhythmic percussion and features a sampled human voice generally (but not exclusively) used melodically. The book is purposely written in the manner of a traditional storyteller, and as such repetition is used liberally as a device to enthrall and involve the 'audience' (since one knows more or less what is coming, and can almost speak the words along with the storyteller). Many of the episodes are therefore similar in both style and content, and details within each of the episodes is often repeated.

It is very easy while reading the book to imagine the story being told at night around a crackling fire. When reading the book to the accompaniment of the music however, they work together powerfully to evoke, in me at least, the feeling of a strange new environment, which I'll describe here as a kind of electric jungle. Eno of course could not have foreseen this effect, since he made the music before he read the book; but such happy accidents are a hallmark of the man's work.

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