Brian Eno and David Byrne – My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts

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  • An outstanding pressing of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts with solid Double Plus (A++) sound or close to it throughout – exceptionally quiet vinyl too
  • Both sides here are spacious, full-bodied and Tubey Magical with a solid bottom end and driving rhythmic energy
  • Rick Wright of Pink Floyd noted that the album “knocked me sideways when I first heard it – full of drum loops, samples and soundscapes. The way the sounds were mixed in was so fresh, it was amazing.”
  • 5 Stars: “… a whirlwind 45 minutes of worldbeat/funk-rock … it’s a tremendously prescient record for the future development of music during the 1980s and ’90s.”

If you like Remain in Light as much as we do here at Better Records, you will surely have a blast with this record. I’ve been a big fan of the album since the day it came out. As an added bonus, it’s a much better recording than Remain in Light — sweet and spacious, not hard and brittle the way that can album can be, especially on the first track.

This vintage Sire pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records can barely BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

What the Best Sides of My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes even as late as 1981
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Four, Maybe Five Key Elements

Here is a comprehensive breakdown of what we were listening for when evaluating My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.

Clarity and Presence

Many copies are veiled in the midrange, partly because they may have shortcomings up top, but also because they suffer from blurry, smeary mids and upper mids. Dull, dead sounding pressings can’t begin to communicate the musical values in this excellent recording.

With a real Hot Stamper the sound is totally involving. There is breath in the voices, the picking of the strings on the guitars — these things allow us to suspend our disbelief, to forget it’s a recording we’re listening to and not living, breathing musicians.

Top End Extension

Most copies of this album have no extreme highs, which causes instrumental harmonics to sound blunted and dull. Without extreme highs the percussion can’t extend up and away from the other elements. Consequently these elements end up fighting for space in the midrange and getting lost in the mix.

Transparency

Although this quality is related to the above two, it’s not as important overall as the one below, but it sure is nice to have. When you can really “see” into the mix, it’s much easier to pick out each and every instrument in order to gain more insight into the way the songs were arranged and recorded.

Seeing into the mix is a way of seeing into the mind of the artist. To hear the hottest copies is to appreciate even more the talents of all the musicians and producers involved, not to mention the engineers.

This is an area where Heavy Vinyl fails completely more often than not. Modern remastered records are just so damn opaque. That sound drives us to distraction, when it doesn’t bore us to tears.

Bass

No rock or pop record without good bass can qualify as a top quality Hot Stamper. How could it? It’s the rhythmic foundation of the music, and who wants a pop record that lacks rhythm?

TRACK LISTING

Side One

America is Waiting
Mea Culpa
Regiment
Help Me Somebody
The Jezebel Spirit

Side Two

Qu’ran
Moonlight in Glory
The Carrier
A Secret Life
Come with Us
Mountain of Needles

AMG 5 Star Rave Review!

A pioneering work for countless styles connected to electronics, ambience, and third world music, my life in the bush of ghosts expands on the fourth-world concepts of hassell/eno work with a whirlwind 45 minutes of worldbeat/funk-rock (with the combined talents of several percussionists and bassists, including bill laswell, tim wright, david van tieghem, and talking heads’ chris frantz) that’s also heavy on the samples — from radio talk-show hosts, lebanese mountain singers, preachers, exorcism ceremonies, muslim chanting, and egyptian pop, among others.

It’s also light years away from the respectful, preservationist angles of previous generations’ field recorders and folk song gatherers. The songs on my life in the bush of ghosts present myriad elements from around the world in the same jumbled stew, without regard for race, creed, or color. As such, it’s a tremendously prescient record for the future development of music during the 1980s and ’90s.