Art

On our reading list: David Byrne’s book, How Music Works

David-Byrne-How-Music-WorksMany people simply listen to music. Not David Byrne, the solo artist and former frontman of the Talking Heads. Even beyond making music, Byrne thinks deeply about how music functions on a perceptual level.

At TED2010, Byrne spoke about how the nature of a space effects what kind of music is played there, from a gritty club like New York’s CBGB to the echo-filled chambers of a gothic cathedral. Now, Byrne has expanded the ideas from the talk into the book How Music Works, published on September 12 by McSweeney’s.

BoingBoing calls the tome “possible the book [Byrne] was born to write.” Reviewer Cory Doctorow continues, “Though there is plenty of autobiographical material in How Music Works that will delight avid fans (like me) — this isn’t merely the story of how Byrne made it, or what he does to turn out such great and varied art. Rather, this is an insightful, thorough, and convincing account of the way that creativity, culture, biology and economics interact to prefigure, constrain and uplift art.”

Meanwhile, fellow TED speaker Kathryn Schulz writes in New York Magazine, “Byrne’s style and energy are as apparent on the page as on the stage.”

Below, watch Byrne’s TEDTalk and his latest music video.

Here, Byrne speaks at TED2010 about the relationship between architecture and music. Read what he had to say to the TED Blog at the time >>

And while we’re reading How Music Works, we’re also listening to Byrne’s brilliant collaboration with songstress St. Vincent, Love This Giant. Here’s their first video together.