A couple of weeks ago I posted about buying a fifth copy of The The‘s ‘Infected’ album upon finding a test pressing secondhand. Whilst record shopping in Montreal this summer I found a new copy of the Nonesuch vinyl reissue of Eno & Byrne‘s ‘My Life In The Bush of Ghosts’ – another of my all time favourite albums. The CD reissue in 2008 with the bonus tracks is already in my collection but the double vinyl version added multi-track parts to two album cuts on the fourth side as well so I couldn’t help but pick it up.
Add to the bonus audio that the whole package was housed in a beautiful, heavyweight card gatefold sleeve with notes and it was an instant sale. Around the time of the reissue a special website was created with additional content such as extra sleeve notes by Paul Morley, recording session photos and discarded screen captures from the original artwork. Unfortunately it hasn’t been updated and now all you can get is the home page (possible out-dated Flash plug-in is my guess) so here are some of the artwork outtakes.
I now own five versions of this seminal record – the original vinyl (with the track, ‘Qu’ran’ which was later removed), original CD, Nonesuch reissue CD and vinyl. There’s also an Italian bootleg CD called ‘Ghosts’ with demos and original versions before samples were removed or tracks reworked which features a couple of things not on the reissues. I also have the two 12″ singles that were released originally in the early 80’s but not the ‘first edition’ vinyl bootleg of demo versions.
Apparently above is a scan of an earlier version of the album sent to the record label. Because of ‘sample-clearance’ issues (this was 1980, such a thing was unheard of) the record was delayed and later some of it was reworked by Eno and Byrne. Some tracks were dropped or titles changed, some mixes were redone and some new tracks were added. Most of the dropped tracks were reinstated on the reissues on Nonesuch. I never tire of this record and the reissue is the rare exception of the bonus material actually adding to an enhancing the original rather than just padding it out.
Much like Malcolm McLaren‘s ‘Duck Rock’ album this record is a product of its time and exists almost in a vaccuum, barely dating in the 30 years + since its release. You can hear echoes of the sounds Eno & Byrne created here on either side of their respective discographies around the time but they never fully reached the other-worldliness achieved on this album