Thursday, August 16, 2012

David Byrne | How Music Works

David Byrne has just announced a forthcoming book that examines how the appreciation of music is affected by context —"financial, technical, social, and architectural". Titled How Music Works, the book is the result of several years work, though I suspect this won't be an Oliver Sacks style treatise. The publisher promises photographs and anecdotes, so this will probably be part Artist Book, part memoir. Byrne has published both before; his first title, dating back to 1995, is called Strange Ritual and combines photography and text to explore superstition and spirituality, his most recent book is The Bicycle Diaries.

"This book in all its formats—physical, enhanced eBook, eBook, and audio book—will come out on September 12 in the US (and September 13 in the UK). The physical book is truly a lovely object—the McSweeney’s folks are known for this—so if you like to touch things, this is your best option. It’s large and slightly squishy. I gave my mom my advance author's copy for her birthday. The enhanced eBook has short audio snippets embedded to help you understand the kind of music played at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, for example… but you can’t touch an eBook. Each format caters to different senses." - David Byrne, promotional email

"From the former Talking Heads frontman, a supremely intelligent, superbly written dissection of music as an art form and way of life...Byrne touches on all kinds of music from all ages and every part of the world... Highly recommended—anyone at all interested in music will learn a lot from this book."

"In this fascinating meditation, Talking Heads frontman Byrne (Bicycle Diaries) explores how social and practical context, more than individual authorship, shaped music making in history and his own career... his chapters on Heads recording sessions are some of the most insightful accounts of musical creativity yet penned. The result is a surprising challenge to the romantic cliché of musical genius... Byrne’s erudite and entertaining prose reveals him to be a true musical intellectual, with serious and revealing things to say about his art."
—Publishers Weekly

The title is available for pre-order from McSweeney's for $32.00 US, here.

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