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David Byrne Unearths the Knee Plays for CD Release

He may be 55 years old now, but except for the dashing gray of his hair, former Talking Heads principal David Byrne looks eerily like he did when he was in his 20s and 30s, tossing off gems like "Once in a Lifetime" and "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)". Thus, we have come to the conclusion that Byrne has simply transcended time.

For further proof, look no further than the fact that Byrne is, according to, issuing The Knee Plays-- his contributions to the soundtrack of Robert Wilson's the CIVIL warS opera (which also features music by Philip Glass)-- on CD for the first time over 20 years after he originally wrote them.

The Plays were originally intended to serve as musical interludes between parts of the mammoth opera, which was never performed in its entirety because of financial and logistical obstacles. However, Byrne adapted parts of his score with Wilson for use in a different piece that had a limited run in the U.S. and Europe in 1985.

Nonesuch will release The Knee Plays on October 30, supplemented with eight previously unreleased instrumentals. Also included is a DVD of the music set to a slideshow of 400 black and white photographs of the opera's production shot at 30-second intervals by JoAnn Verburg.

Digging into Pitchfork's own recent reporting past, we find that Byrne guested on the recently released Baby Elephant (aka Prince Paul and Bernie Worrell) LP Turn My Teeth Up! and that he will host "How New Yorkers Ride Bikes" at the New Yorker Festival on October 6.

Four days later (October 10, not that it matters if time means nothing to you), Byrne will participate in a conversation with evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. That talk is called "Connections Between Biology and Culture, Sex and Beauty, Genes and Creativity". Of course it is.

The Knee Plays:

01 Tree (Today Is an Important Occasion)
02 In the Upper Room
03 The Sound of Business
04 Social Studies (The Gift of Sound)
05 Where the Sun Never Goes Down
06 Theadora Is Dozing
07 Admiral Perry
08 I Bid You Goodnight
09 Things To Do (I've Tried)
10 Winter
11 Jungle Book
12 In the Future
13 Tree (Reprise) *
14 I've Tried (Things to Do) *
15 Tic Toc 2 (In the Future) *
16 Whisper *
17 Misterias *
18 Faust Dance *
19 Ghost *
20 Super Natural *

* previously unreleased



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