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MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS (WITH DAVID BYRNE)

Brian Eno

Progressive Electronic


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Brian Eno My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with David Byrne) album cover
3.87 | 100 ratings | 14 reviews | 24% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

A1 America Is Waiting
A2 Mea Culpa
A3 Regiment
A4 Help Me Somebody
A5 The Jezebel Spirit
B1 Qu'Ran
B2 Moonlight In Glory
B3 The Carrier
B4 A Secret Life
B5 Come With Us
B6 Mountain Of Needles

Virgin/Nonesuch re-release (2006) bonus tracks:

12 Pitch To Voltage 2:38
13 Two Against Three 1:55
14 Vocal Outtakes 0:36
15 New Feet 2:26
16 Defiant 3:41
17 Number 8 Mix 3:30
18 Solo Guitar With Tin Foil 2:58
-
Video Mea Culpa



Lyrics

Search BRIAN ENO My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with David Byrne) lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

Brian Eno & David Byrne / guitars, basses, synthesizers, drums, percussion and "found objects"

Guest musicians:
- John Cooksey / drums (4)
- Chris Frantz / drums, additional arranging (3)
- Robert Fripp / additional arranging (3)
- Busta Jones / bass, additional writing and arranging (3)
- Dennis Keeley / Bodhran (2)
- Bill Laswell / bass and additional arranging (1)
- Mingo Lewis / Bata, sticks (5, 8)
- Prairie Prince / can, bass drum (5, 8)
- Jose Rossy / congas, agong-gong (7)
- Steve Scales / congas, metals (4)
- David van Tieghem / drums, percussion (1, 3), additional arranging (1)
- Tim Wright / click bass (1)

Releases information

LP : Sire Records Company SRK 6093 (US/Canada) /Cassette M5S 6093(US) , LP: EG Records 2311 060 (Italy), Polydor 2311 060 (Italy/Spain),Polydor 2302 100 (Netherlands/France/Germany/Sweden),

On almost all later releases "Qu'Ran" is changed to "Very,Very Hungry".

LP: E'G Records EGLP 48 (UK,1981) ,Virgin Schallplatten GmbH 207 963-620 (Germany,1981), Nonesuch 79894-1 (US,2009, 2 x LP, bonuses)

CD: E'G Records EGCD 48 (UK ,1987), EGCD 48, 0777 7 86473 2 4 (UK & Europe ),Sire Records Company 9 45374-2 (US,1993), Virgin 0946 331341 2 6, BEDBX 1, 0946 3 31341 2 6 (UK & Europe,2006, bonuses+video)

CD: Sire Records Company 6093-2 (US/Canada,1989),Warner Music (Japan) WPCR-1182 (Japan) (incl. both Qu'Ran and Very,Very Happy)

Thanks to FloydWright for the addition
and to snobb for the last updates
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BRIAN ENO My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with David Byrne) ratings distribution


3.87
(100 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
35%
Good, but non-essential (23%)
23%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)
5%

BRIAN ENO My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts (with David Byrne) reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I will admit it--when I first heard this album, I couldn't help but wonder exactly what I'd got myself into, or even whether I was going to like the thing. It sure had some neat stuff, that I could tell, but other things were very quirky, highly unusual, and perhaps a bit dated on the first hearing. But over time, I came to appreciate this album, and now I rate it quite highly indeed.

The key to really getting used to this album--is in remembering that these were the first ventures into things we now consider ordinary: sampling, drum loops, and so on. In a certain way, the roughness of parts of it gives it a unique sound that sets it far apart from the overpolished works of today. That is not to say this is sloppy in any way--the best was done with the technology that existed then, and for that I respect David Byrne and BRIAN ENO.

While I admit that one song, "The Jezebel Spirit", is well put together, there are times when I skip it because it can be quite unnerving! If you ask me, that exorcist sounds much more evil at times than the supposed demon he is trying to remove! Probably, in addition to "The Jezebel Spirit", my least listened-to track on this album is "Moonlight in Glory"--but that one has actually started to grow on me to where I enjoy it a great deal. That probably leaves only one weak track on here: "Very, Very Hungry".

In my opinion, the three strongest tracks are the ones that draw from Middle Eastern sources for their vocals. Each of them, including the painfully short "A Secret Life", I wish had been longer! My two favorites were those with vocals sampled from Lebanese mountain singer Dunya Yusin: "The Carrier" and "Regiment". I must also point out the excellent guitar work in "Regiment", which seems to me like a precursor to the similarly enjoyable work in the Talking Heads' Speaking in Tongues' "Making Flippy- Floppy". I also noticed what seemed to be almost a sort of commentary by David Byrne upon politicians and televangelists; the way sound clips are used seem to make both groups look a bit ridiculous at times. For instance, "Mea Culpa's" juxtaposition of the babbling politician's weasling out of whatever he did with David Byrne's listless "blah blah blah blah" makes just as much of a statement as if he'd written lyrics of that nature and sang them. I also notice that in the song "Come With Us", he makes the evangelist sound rather like some freaky cultist, which in my opinion sometimes becomes the case when the evangelist focuses upon creation of a personality cult rather than a religious organization. There are other examples than just these two, however.

Overall, I think this is a very worthwhile album if you're willing to put forth the effort that may be needed to adjust to it.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#33) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars For me this among the finest Brian Eno albums I have yet heard, and also one of the best 1980's rock releases along with King Crimson's discipline-era releases. The album takes its title from a book of African writer Amos Tutuola, whose fascinating story tells of tale of young boy, who escapes in a bush during a slave raid. The bush happens to be a place of ghosts and spirits, and the boy gets trapped in a parallel world full of African spiritual mythology. As the writer discusses the relations of Africa and Western world, this record also fusions elements from both western and world music to its expressive musical idioms. The overall sound is rough but enchanting, and the tracks are constructed from sampled loops and different tape excerpts. I can't name really any highlights or duller tracks from this album, as the album works as a really compact and alluring listening entity. Maybe the coolest sound elements in the mixture are the Islamic vocal passages sampled over the drum loops, creating really dense and exotic feeling. If you like Talking Heads, 1980's King Crimson and ethnic music, I would really recommend listen to this singular album.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#95720) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 26, 2006

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is more of a dual album between Byrne and Eno as opposed to an Eno solo album. As some may know Brian Eno produced the highly acclaimed Talking Heads's album Remain In Light from 1980 and shortly after David Byrne and BE continued these wonderful riffs and themes associated on that classic album on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. Certainly a must have for any avid Talking Head's or Brian Eno fan.The album kicks off with the aptly entitled ' America Is Waiting' great drum beats, Byrne lyrics, Eno landscapes, Chris Frantz ( also of Talking Heads) on the drums. The bass playing is of such high quality on this album. To be honest I am not sure if it is the highly talented Bill Laswell or Busta Jones. Excellent either way. The album consists mainly of repetitive themes with hypnotic loops but each song covering a concept or story with largely political and religious undertones. The exorcism ritual on the 'Jezebel Spirit' is spine tingling in it's narritive and authenticity. You almost want to jump right in and help the sister out!

' Regiment' is another great song full of middle eastern influences. ' Help Me Somebody' is a cry of help from a drug infused state and as always the music fits perfectly with the delivery of Eno's soundscapes and Byrnes distinctive guitar licks.' Moonlight in Glory' is another great track. The album ebbs and fades with the overbearingly sombre instrumental ' Mountain Of Needles'.It is also worth mentioning Robert Fripp helps on arrangements on this masterpiece. It is little wonder when highly acclaimed musical publications have regarded this album as being one of the top 100 rock influencing albums of all time.Go out and get this if it happned to miss you by! Four and a half stars.

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#118496) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007

Review by js (Easy Money)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars 1981 was a pivotal year in the history of pop and rock music. The elaborate styles of the 70s, English Progressive Rock, American Funk and RnB and Southern California's sophisticated Folk-Rock, were being replaced by new leaner styles. There was a lot of buzz in the air about the future of rock music, and at least two releases that came out that year attempted to point the way toward a new form of rock. One of those releases was Fripp's minimalist experiment, Under Heavy Manners, and the other was Byrne and Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Of the two albums, Fripp's release totally missed the mark because it was too dry and intellectual. Bush of Ghosts, on the other hand, presented a new futuristic style of rock made up of international rhythms, dubbed sound effects, sampled vocals and rich psychedelic sound textures, a style that remains popular to this day.

In the early to mid 90s, when an explosion of new music software made it easier for anyone to make professional recordings at home, this sort of beat and sound oriented international collage music had become as common as any other style of music. This style appears under a variety of names including Trip-Hop, DrumnBass, Ambient Techno, World Beat and Dub, but the basic components of these various styles are still similar to what Eno and Byrne introduced on this album.

One of the interesting things to listen to on this album is how Byrne handles the guitar parts with his limited, yet imaginative technique. On the songs that call for African-pop styled single note lines, David does pretty well with some slightly heavy-handed but somewhat funky riffs. On other songs he does a decent job of imitating the Fripp-Manzenera sustain tone you come to expect from an Eno record.

Since there has been so much music in a similar vein to Bush of Ghosts released over the years, ie music by Bill Laswell, Loop Guru, Jah Wobble, Eat Static, Mad Professor, The Orb and many others, it is interesting to compare Eno-Byrne's album with today's international beat collage recordings. Although I think computer editing has ruined a lot of modern metal and rock, I think in this sort of beat oriented music computers have worked wonders and unfortunately that makes this record sound dated because there is a lack of sophisticated effects.

There are a couple of interesting similarities to Ghosts and Fripp's Heavy Manners, both albums feature David Byrne and both feature at least one cut with the heavy-handed funk bassist Busta Jones. It is also interesting to note that Ghosts features Bill Laswell on one track. Laswell, of course went on to make a career for himself playing electro-world beat music with many international stars. There is no doubt that Bill picked up a few ideas from working with Eno, and possibly vice-versa.

Despite sounding a bit dated there are still many fun tracks on this album as well as some very beautiful psychedelic numbers as well. Unfortunately there are a couple tracks that didn't age as well and they drag a bit. Still this is an extremely important album because it pointed the way towards a whole new style of rock music.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#162146) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 18, 2008

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars I never thought that a collaboration between Brian Eno & David Byrne could reap such a rewarding album for its listeners! After Brian Eno's first collaboration with Talking Heads and just before the release of their second collaboration which resulted in a masterpiece known as Remain In Light Eno & Byrne made a little side project. This is how the music on My Life In The Bush Of Ghost came to be. The record is especially famous for mixing in sampled vocals into the music which might not be all that significant in out sampling day and age but was pretty innovating back then. This was after all the time before digital sequencing and MIDI sampling, meaning that all the sampled voices had to be synchronized with the instrumental tracks completely manually. What a tedious process that must have been!

The music here ranges from World Music to Electronica to Funk and it's a real blast for all senses to sit through. I think that the album opener America Is Waiting, Help Me Somebody and The Jezebel Spirit basically incorporate all of the different styles and direction featured on the album so I really recommend checking them out!

I was originally a bit surprised that the track Qu'ran was missing from my version of the CD. According to Wikipedia "In the 1982 second edition, the track "Qu'ran"-which features samples of Qur'anic recital-was removed at the request of the Islamic Council of Great Britain". In its place a B-side of The Jezebel Spirit single called Very, Very Hungry was substituted. It would have been nice to hear the original version of this album but, just like Eno & Byrne, I think that the difficult issue was well worth respecting. Besides, Very, Very Hungry is a wonderful substitute and blends perfectly in with the rest of the album.

Although Eno & Byrne would collaborate again in 2008 the whole saying that the original is best definitely applies well here since My Life In The Bush Of Ghost is still by far the best and most influential work of this duo. I strongly recommend it to fans of Progressive Electronica and although it might not appeal to all tastes the music is original enough to make it an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection!

***** star songs: America Is Waiting (3:39) Help Me Somebody (4:17) The Jezebel Spirit (4:57)

**** star songs: Mea Culpa (4:58) Regiment (4:11) Very Very Hungry (3:21) Moonlight In Glory (4:30) The Carrier (4:20) A Secret Life (2:32) Come With Us (2:43) Mountain Of Needles (2:39)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#275680) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars One of the best and most important albums of all time. The first album for the Eno & Byrne duo is a remarkable masterpiece, a perfect follow up to that historic Talking Heads album "Remain In Light", released a year earlier.

In fact, the style of this album has many similarities to RIL: funky bass lines, exotic atmospheres, electronic arrangements, even though in this album there are present in every single song. New elements include speech excerpts, electronic sounds, ambience, tension, magically alternated with relaxation. Basically, the duo invented new soundscapes, having already a very precise base. This peculiar style is possible thanks to the perfect marriage between David Byrne's love for exoticism and funk, which gives the album a more rockish feeling, and Brian Eno's arrangements and synthesizers. "My Life In The Bush Of Ghost" is the twisted, creepy, but extremely original child. As I said earlier, in almost every song we can hear in the background or a radio sample of reverends, politicians, exorcists, or a Third World singer, that could come from Egypt, or from the Lebanese mountains, or Algerian Muslims.

"My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts" is a wonderful, strange, eerie trip, that brings you to today's world; consumerism, TV, Third World, religion fanaticism, politics, leaving of course a side for surrealism. I also like to think of this album as a journey through modern man's quotidian day; the first half of the album is bright, and reminds of a midday daydream, or nightmare, most definitely the more exotic part of the album, while the second part is creepy, bleak, and nocturnal, with weird atmospheres that at times can truly chill.

All the songs are brilliant, I honestly cannot find a bad one: from the morning-glory opening track "America Is Waiting", to the dreamy ending "Mountain Of Needles", or from the bridge track between the two parts I mentioned earlier, "Moonlight In Glory", which can perfectly represent a sunset, to the exotic "The Jebezel Spirit", a true Eno classic. Every single song in this album is perfect.

As a conclusion, a terrific, amazing album, to listen to over and over, especially if you're into this type of music. Essential.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#362489) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 24, 2010

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars It is not the first time that Eno and Byrne met. Eno was already producer of the band and their music shared mutual influence IMO. This was already obvious during some songs from "Before & After Science".

I have to say that this Life In The Bush" is rather hermetic to my ears. It is quite experimental (too much actually) and repetitive. Funky rhythms all the way through, afro-Caribbean percussions, distorted vocals are plenty. Not my cup of tea actually.

To be fully honest, by that time I had already disconnected with TH. Their too obvious funk orientation was not of my interest and after their third album ("Fear Of Music") I didn't like their music any longer even if I still purchased their next one "Remain In Light".

All of this to tell you that I am not very enthusiastic about this release. At times, some Eastern influence adds a bit of flair to the ensemble, but that's not enough to make a good album. "The Carrier" and "Come With Us" are particularly weak. But I can't find any track attractive.

Two stars is the bill. You might like this type of music if you are more into experimental music than I am (which is not difficult, I admit).

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#394054) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, February 04, 2011

Review by tarkus1980
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Recorded before Remain in Light but released afterwards, Bush of Ghosts is the last time in Eno's career that we see him innovating on a really large scale (all his albums afterwards are at most minor variations on already established techniques and styles). The basic idea behind all of these tracks is this: loop a few samples of somebody talking or preaching or chanting or whatever, and lay it on top of an army of percussionists and bassists playing various "ethnic" rhythms. Rhythm-wise, at least, this sounds a TON like Remain in Light (which makes sense, of course), and overall this has influenced countless electronica artists (some better, some worse) to do basically the exact same thing that this album does.

I have to admit, this album sounds really freaking cool, but unfortunately my enjoyment is tempered by the fact that the formula starts to get old for me about halfway through. This album is all about sound, not "music" per se, and when the sound is all essentially based around the same idea, it's very difficult for me not to get tired of it after a while. I've seen this compared to Peter Gabriel's Passion, but that's a bit of a rough comparison, if only because Passion sounds (to me, anyway) like honest-to-goodness real music, and stirs real emotions within me, whereas this definitely does not. It's yet another science project, and while it's a science project of the highest level (I'm giving it a very good grade, after all, because I really think it deserves it), it's another one of those albums that I have to tip my hat to more than I really "enjoy."

Regardless, if you can't get sucked in by the grooves of "America is Waiting" or, say, the awesome rhythmic preacher rantings of "Help Me Somebody" (to just name a couple of examples), there's something not quite right with your ears. If you're going to own only one sample-based album, this is most certainly the one to have.

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Send comments to tarkus1980 (BETA) | Report this review (#434174) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 15, 2011

Review by colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I've never cared for The Talking Heads or David Byrne's vocals at all, so years ago when I picked up this album I remember feeling kind of scared, like I might be wasting my money. I was very wrong.

This collaboration effort of Brian Eno and David Byrne is fantastically funky, noisy, and partially hip-hop inspired (or maybe this album helped inspire hip-hop, which kind of seems more likely). There are also traces of world music, and plenty of spoken-word clips from various sources. This album isn't so much for creating mental imagery or for making ambient background noise (as Eno's other works tend to be), but is more about creating a collage of sound that is almost assaulting with a punk attitude of a persistent nature that is hard not to respect and pay attention to.

Aside from David Byrne, some more exciting names from the progressive rock community show up, such as Percy Jones, Robert Fripp, and Phil Collins (the same "super group" of musicians found on Another Green World. Those three musicians among the others on this album really add touches to this album that Eno and Byrne themselves wouldn't have been able to add, which would most likely make this album less enjoyable. Fortunately, this album is incredibly enjoyable and upbeat, not to mention slightly manic.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#438141) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars This excellent companion piece to Remain In Light - having been recorded at around the same time - finds Eno and Byrne indulging their passions for wild, layered rhythms as pioneered on I Zimbra on Talking Heads' Fear of Music. The deft use of sampled voices and snippets aids the creation of fascinating, murky atmospheres - such as the exorcism sequence on The Jezebel Spirit - which would later be picked up by post-rock acts such as Godspeed You Black Emperor or A Silver Mt. Zion. At times spiritual, at other times sinister and apocalyptic, this is one album which proves that "groove-laden and danceable" and "experimental and progressive" are far from incompatible.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#566273) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, November 11, 2011

Latest members reviews

4 stars A superb album from beginning to end of the original vinyl recording, which blends the paranoiac tendencies of David Byrne at that time, with the electronic wizardry of Brian Eno. What could go wrong? Nothing in fact. A marriage made in heaven where two experimental musicians could give it th ... (read more)

Report this review (#613387) | Posted by Dobermensch | Thursday, January 19, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I am not fan of Eno. His landscapes are not acoustically justified all the time, but I have most of his production on CD's so I can tell when something as perfect as "My Life in the Bush of Ghost" is playing to my ears. David Byrne on the other hand is a genius on his own terms, a man looking ... (read more)

Report this review (#554255) | Posted by steelyhead | Friday, October 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I bought this a couple of days ago, and have given it a couple spins. As a bit of background, I have heard two other Eno albums (Another Green World and Apollo), as well as most of the Talking Heads discography. This album is almost exactly halfway between Eno's work and Byrne's. Also, it reminded ... (read more)

Report this review (#209297) | Posted by nmccrina | Monday, March 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm no fan of Eno,but this is a kick-ass album.I finally got my hands on a remastered version of this,almost masterpiece.I say almost 'cause for reasons unknown to me (political correctness?) song "Qur'an" is ommited from album and I can state with certainty that this is the best song produced ... (read more)

Report this review (#75903) | Posted by ljubaspriest | Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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