Byrne's 'Knee Plays' Making CD Debut Next Month
David Byrne's "The Knee Plays," comprising music written for Robert Wilson's mid-1980s theatrical piece "The CIVIL WarS," will be released for the first time on CD Oct. 30 via Nonesuch.David Byrne's "The Knee Plays," comprising music written for Robert Wilson's mid-1980s theatrical piece "The CIVIL WarS," will be released for the first time on CD Oct. 30 via Nonesuch.
Byrne's music was intended to serve as interludes between the six different parts of the opera. But financial and logistical issues prevented the full work from ever being performed in full. Byrne and Wilson later adapted portions of "The Knee Plays" into a different piece, which was presented in a handful of U.S. and European cities in 1985.
For the upcoming reissue, the 12 tracks that originally appeared on the vinyl and cassette version are augmented by eight previously unreleased instrumentals written for "The Knee Plays."
"They're pretty nutty-sounding -- mostly spacey atmospheric pieces with piercingly loud percussive explosions," Byrne wrote on his blog this summer. "Some of them also have the percussionists vocalizing as they would during a specific scene in a Kabuki play. Groaning and moaning ominously, for example, in a scene meant to evoke ghosts."
"The Knee Plays" will also include a DVD with the music set to 400 black and white photographs of the production by JoAnn Verburg, which were shot at 30-second intervals. "It turned out [this] was exactly how she had hoped to use those shots, although when she took them there was no Web or other simple means of presenting them that way," Byrne said.
Here is the track list for "The Knee Plays:
"Tree (Today Is An Important Occasion)"
"In the Upper Room"
"The Sound of Business"
"(The Gift of Sound) Where the Sun Never Goes Down"
"Theadora Is Dozing"
"I Big You Goodnight"
"Things To Do (I've Tried)"
"In the Future"
"Tree (Reprise)" (previously unreleased)
"I've Tried (Things To Do)" (previously unreleased)
"Tic Toc 2 (In the Future)" (previously unreleased)
"Whisper" (previously unreleased)
"Misterias" (previously unreleased)
"Faust Dance" (previously unreleased)
"Ghost" (previously unreleased)
"Super Natural" (previously unreleased)