Many thanks to my pal Broady for passing along this recent news item about a new David Byrne installation in Stockholm, in which he's transformed an abandoned factory into an enormous, audience-activated musical instrument.
That in itself was pretty interesting, although I'm mostly excited because the story inspired me to revisit Byrne's own site, which now features a really interesting radio station he's programming/curating. The streaming content changes every month; as I write, it's all Missy Elliott, all the time, which is A-OK in my book. (I missed last month's all-Dylan program, alas.)
From the main site I also found this Oct. 2004 New York Times article about the past and present of Nonesuch Records, the label which is of course home not only to Mr. Byrne's recent solo albums but Smile, many of Caetano Veloso's 80s/90s/00s U.S. releases, Steve Reich, the last few Wilco albums, a whole cool Explorers series that was my intro to non-western music back in high school and college, and so much more stuff that I really like.
I still have my beefs about Byrne (not that excited about the solo albums, perpetually annoyed by his self-appointed Cultural Arbiter role, etc.), but I have to admit once again, as I have ever since the late 1970s, that in terms of personal significance, Talking Heads was pretty much my Beatles, so I guess a part of me will always pay attention to whatever he's doing next, whether it moves me or not. (To continue the analogy, the Clash were my Stones, Costello my Dylan, and, uh, I guess that's as far as it goes.) And, face it, few of us in the States would have heard much post-bossa Brazilian music if it weren't for his Luaka Bop compilations, Tom Zé and Os Mutantes re-releases, and so on. There's something about his curatorial stance that just plain bugs me (a big part of it is probably plain old jealousy, I confess), but at the same time I can't deny that I really like a lot of the stuff he's promoted, and you can bet I'll probably be checking out that online radio station every month from now on.