David Byrne: Playing the Building (BBtv)

David Byrne: Playing the Building (BBtv)

my god Ed Koch okay bed bed bed bed bed bed bed bed bed bed this used to be the ferry we caught the ferries to Brooklyn should I please yeah yeah was just an old pump working there's lots of them around I think the going rate online for these is around $200 most of them don't play in tune with other instruments so like a lot of New York and industrial buildings in Europe and elsewhere there's a lot of structural steel that these columns are cast-iron or something there's obviously plumbing radiators girders up here so there's a fair amount of stuff that can't be used to make sound these are electric motors that are strapped to some of these small girders and we've made the motors that they're slightly off-kilter so that we have attached a little weight to the spinning thing in the middle and then just strap it to whatever you strap it to is going to vibrate as well these are really just like pipes and they kind of go up a scale this should be maybe an octave above that so it's the same exact that those two notes are from the exact same thing so those are mainly hitting the big metal pillars the columns cast-iron columns but they're also hitting the pipe kind of thick pipe over there there's a radiator over there that we went around and hit things with a mallet so it's not like a musician can sit down and has any more skills playing this than anyone else so it's it kind of democratizes the whole experience and I think people know that when they approach it they realize right away that they're not any worse or probably not much better than anybody else playing the things now this building isn't the only building that you've done this kind of installation and you did this once before in Sweden how were the two structures different actually they weren't that different this one Sweden was a little bit smaller but really similar elements a lot of buildings have really similar elements the big difference in Sweden was we noticed that if we put one of the motors right on the floor you could vibrate the whole floor which was kind of scary but maybe that's such a good idea we decided not to do it here it really is a kind of rude berg device where people can wander around and really see how everything's done there's no there's no speakers there's no microphones there's no electronics or amplification so it's it's it makes it even more obvious to people how everything's working yeah I love that when you can really see how things work that it doesn't take away any of the pleasure I think it actually adds a little bit can we walk around from moment and see how old this stuff works yeah yeah the dark blue ones are looks sending electricity to these solenoids that strike there's a couple on that column a couple on that column there's one on that pipe over there and then the yellow ones as you can see they go you have to go all the way to the motors work yeah there's one the big motor is down at the very end this is a solenoid which is just an electric you know an electromagnet that drives a metal rod through the middle of it and just strikes the strikes a radiator which happened to be over here and happens to be empty so it resonates nicely what reaction do you hope people will have when they come into this space tonight in Stockholm they were really I sound a little bit immodest but they were kind of transported they people were really just amazed that they were doing it and that they were hearing it coming from all around and comfortable some musicians came but also just like kids and parents with their children and all this kind of thing so it was a real you know all-ages thing and everybody was just really happy hearing that they were doing something that was coming from all this stuff and they could hear and see how it was working and I thought well that's it it works so that's it what other stuff I wouldn't recommend going to the abattoir but if you guys really want to see it that's fine yes yeah it's kind of dark well we'll let our phone guide away okay these big old industrial spaces have a great sound which really helps with these kind of things now when you say they have a sound you're not talking about the sounds that you can generate but almost the ambient sound yeah the ambient sound of space like when we're talking I'm sure yes people can hear all this echo from yes oh okay not that way okay maybe ok where do you go kind of slowly here there's a large radiator right here there's a little bit more light once you get past that here we go so this really looks like an abattoir to me with the tiled walls and a drain in the floor yeah in this room there's these big coolers so I guess once the once the slaughter was accomplished I guess the meat went into these coolers and then these slips there's a slip right here they could I suppose take the goods right over there to go that's Governors Island yeah so this building was a little bit of a mess when you first started working yes many parts of it still are David Mark took us a little bit down here yes can I show you smells like oil down here fuel Wow see this that's cool wow it's pretty nice so those would lift the the slips up and down I guess yeah for the dock that ferries that would dock yes you haven't seen this before no thank you I didn't know about this part at all it kind of snows it looks like it's still in operation yeah these look like they're still the oil looks fresh on the gables the department transportation has some offices upstairs and I think they had the ferry terminals and your various truck terminals and stuff around town when I grabbed some of the old photostats and stuff that they had in here I got Ed Koch ed sitting in a desk I can see a flag behind him Wow yeah all righty okay and what they're walkin out part but the mayor's transparency are you deliver them – yes ed you forgot this you

44 thoughts on “David Byrne: Playing the Building (BBtv)

  • live withen yr means. go back to tina bass. dont wear those hoity toity sex scareeves. hookers that look like our foundeing fathers wives are a luxery. id eat the little strings that fall off the underwear but a t shirt werks just better. naybe we dont need a lot of haarps.

  • "Yes, Talking Heads were ahead of their time here in US, but that just shows how much behind American music was (and largely is) compared to Europe."
    I agree with this statement.

  • Einsturzende Neubauten have been experimenting with found sounds for decades. Their stuff is much more musical. But they don't have the Byrne PR machine behind them… Yes, Talking Heads were ahead of their time here in US, but that just shows how much behind American music was (and largely is) compared to Europe.

  • hve you innear ear syndrome of

    like old old mayors


    if the internet was a building, i would be playing it.

  • I like this idea. The idea that EVERYONE can sit down and make the same sounds out of this instrument and no matter how much musical wherewithal you have you are no better or worse than a toddler. It is like a musical interpretation of the ideology of socialism… also it looks like a lot of fun.

  • The people responsible for American Idol and X-Factor and all that saccharine, manufactured bollocks need to go and look at what David Byrne does, and has done for the best part of four decades, and then hang their heads in shame. Five giddy boys/tarts stood in a row singing someone else's song is NOT music. David Byrne, on the other hand, is a bottomless well of creativity and originality, AND a musical maestro, and I salute him for it. The man is a living legend.

  • Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, play a few notes, blah, blah, blah, blah…

    Uninteresting because he didn't actually play the fucking thing other than just hitting like 12 notes…

  • rock on DB!

    Some – things – sure – can – sweep -me – off – my – feet
    ….Burning down the house!

  • It doesn't really sound very musical to me, but it would be cool to explore the building while someone was playing it.

  • Creative,
    BUT, who does it serve besides Davids own self gratification? A big waste of talent.
    Not genius at all. And more noise than music. IMO
    I gave it 2 stars for the effort.
    He should have stuck with the Talking Heads.

  • And the fact kids in Stockholm on the other building they did were able to get involved and feel like they controlled the noise, that's half of the amazing part of why people love sound and what it can do – and sometimes why they get into musical instruments in the first place.
    So I agree that it would be based on your own opinion. But the fact it is rubbish for not being music? To me it was a documentary bit on an ambient idea/sounds and acoustics.

  • It is creative. True I was expecting a little more but it sounds like they had fun exploring the idea, he never said it was a composition, just an exploration in the possibility of sound and ambiance of a really old building.

  • Here is our version of slime that we used in a video that our school made: Just do a search for……………. Fedde Slime Boy

  • "It's not like a musician could sit down and has any more skills playing this than anyone else…It democritizes the whole experience."

    5+ stars!

  • If you like this you should search [Pat Metheny – The Orchestrion EPK] it is un-freggin beliveable. A whole orchestra controled and programmed by his Guitar!

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