David Byrne to release Knee Plays on CD

“In the future, there will be so much going on that no one will be able to keep track of it,” David Byrne says during the final song from The Knee Plays, a series of vignettes backed by brass band orchestrations composed in 1985 for Robert Wilson’s opera the CIVIL warS. Perhaps this prediction is best applied to the “Rennaisance Man of Rock” himself, who – in the span of a single week – will soon host an event dedicated to New York Bikers (Oct 6) and contribute to a public discussion with evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller (Oct. 10). And on Oct. 30, the very Knee Plays that doubt us will be available on CD, courtesy of Nonesuch, for the first time. Originally conceived as interludes for a multinational, six-part work inspired by Matthew Brady’s American Civil War photography, intended for use during 1984 Olympic Games, featuring music from Philip Glass and other composers, Music For The Knee Plays was eventually released on vinyl after Wilson’s opus failed to transpire in its entirety. However, Byrne performed the largely instrumental pieces a handful of times, with one London concert recorded by the BBC and — happily yet probably illegally — available almost in full on YouTube. Here’s play four, titled “Social Studies,” in which he considers the effects of stealing other people’s groceries.
According to Talking-Heads.net, the liner notes for Knee Plays states “This music was inspired by the Dirty Dozen Jazz Band of New Orleans” — a claim more apparent on songs like “In the Upper Room.” The upcoming CD will include eight unreleased cuts and a DVD with 400 black & white photographs of the production by JoAnn Verburg.

Music for the Knee Plays track list:

1. “Tree (Today Is An Important Occasion)”
2. “In the Upper Room”
3. “The Sound of Business”
4. “Social Studies”
5. “(The Gift of Sound) Where the Sun Never Goes Down”
6. “Theadora Is Dozing”
7. “Admiral Perry”
8. “I Big You Goodnight”
9. “Things To Do (I’ve Tried)”
10. “Winter”
11. “Jungle Book”
12. “In the Future”
13. “Tree (Reprise)” (previously unreleased)
14. “I’ve Tried (Things To Do)” (previously unreleased)
15. “Tic Toc 2 (In the Future)” (previously unreleased)
16. “Whisper” (previously unreleased)
17. “Misterias” (previously unreleased)
18. “Faust Dance” (previously unreleased)
19. “Ghost” (previously unreleased)
20. “Super Natural” (previously unreleased)

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Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler

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