David Byrne: Get It Away
Resident in the Room from 17 - 19 February 2012
"London's tempo is 122.86 beats per minute."
David Byrne on the boat. Photograph by Tom Oldham
London's tempo is 122.86 beats per minute.
I brought along some field recording gear to use while I was staying in the lovely pod/room/boat. I went out during the day and recorded sounds that I thought might be useful and evocative. It turned out that most of the sounds—even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral—seemed to converge around a common rhythm. It's a bit too good to be true—that every large city should have its own rhythm, but here it is. I let the sounds dictate the groove, the tempo, and then I simply played along.
Here are where the sounds come from:
Strawberry seller: Borough Market
Woman Evangelist: Spitalfields Market
Organ: Southwark Cathedral
Jackhammer: near Waterloo
Footsteps: mine, embankment
Thames waves: near Surrey water
The videos are from all over. I took lots of photos around town while walking about, but I felt that moving images complemented London's groove a little better.
Before his stay, David Byrne said:
“My decision to be involved with A Room for London stems from my relationship with Artangel. Though there might have been a great temptation to squat in a house filled with poisonous crystals or one with strange twins, a view of the Thames seems a lot more sensible, more comfortable and private. I have some pretty good ideas about what I'll do up there, but I suspect there'll be room to react to the boat itself and the surroundings - so there'll be some improvising as well.”
About David Byrne
Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly-regarded record-label Luaka Bop, David Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author, and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade. Recent works include Playing the Building, an interactive sound installation at New York’s Battery Maritime Building and London’s Roundhouse; Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Byrne’s first collaboration with co-writer Brian Eno since 1981’s My Life in the Bush of Ghosts; a series of unique bike racks installed throughout New York City in conjunction with the New York City Department of Transportation; Bicycle Diaries, a chronicle of David’s travels on his bicycle published by Viking Press and available as an audio book featuring narration and original music by Byrne; Here Lies Love, a 22-song cycle about the life of Imelda Marcos in collaboration with Fatboy Slim; and a collaboration with Will Oldham for the soundtrack to the upcoming Sean Penn film This Must be the Place.