It should come as no surprise to any of his fans that David Byrne wasn’t going to take the staid conventional route to publishing a “book”. His newly released Bicycle Diaries (out as of Sept 28/10) is a fully illustrated account of his worldviews that musically extends itself via it’s companion ‘audiobook’. This hybridization goes a long way to proving that the almighty written word can indeed embrace the complimentary strengths of Mixed Media to produce something that transcends the sum of parts. It also offers us a much easier “read” while doing housework…
Though many Authors have created “audio books’ by simply reading their text, David Byrne has gone much further in developing this format by artfully combining his creative vision and immense musical acumen, and using these as sonic illumination for sensory backgrounds. Creating contextual mood and emotion that elevates the simple audiobook into the rarefied echelon of a bonefide artform, in its own right. Though radio drama has been creating “theatre of the mind” for decades, this work was fully constructed around audio treatment with an almost ‘documentary’ sense of rich authenticity. In a much more visual (nay, over-televised) age, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the power of hybridized Mixxed Media that’s produced to support the visual richness of the printed artifact, rather than compete with it’s depth and complexity.
Perhaps eventually we might even need a better label for this “audiobook” format. One that would better define an aesthetic such as the one found in Bicycles Diaries” which creates aural landscapes, weaves musical tapestry throughout, and seamlessly supports Byrne’s traveling meditations as a constantly moving experience that transcends the base narrative. At the very least what we see here is another brilliant addition to a budding genre that will surely also stand as a cultural icon for others to enjoy, and perhaps even build upon….Like so much other great Art.
What David Byrne has been saying:
“Each chapter, as befitting the various themes, is slightly different in sound design. “Buenos Aires” has a lot of examples of local music (gracias to all the generous rights holders!), and others contain a lot of what I hope works as moody mysterious music, much of which was written specially for that chapter! Woo! “
” This was a fun project (full disclosure: I had braces on my lower teeth during this reading – I wacked myself in the mouth with a guitar two days before our tour ended a year ago. My teeth began to move and poke into my lip. Emergency action was needed. Anyway, long story short, reading aloud wiss brathes on is not to be recommended. They’re off now and I am no longer sounding like David el Feo.”
What the Press is Saying:
“Reading Bicycle Diaries makes cosmic indifference a lot easier to deal with.”
—The Seattle Times
“Entertaining…newcomers will enjoy these off-the-cuff sketches from an unpretentious cultural polymath; acolytes will cherish a closer look at Byrne’s weird, wonderful brain chemistry.”
—Time Out New York
“Whether you are a cyclist or not, Byrne’s insights into everything from outsider art to aboriginal folklore are wry, witty, and more often than not, wise as well.”
—The Philadelphia Inquirer
For more innovations in literary formats, CLICK HERE
to consider the strange new space that PopSandbox has taken
the “Graphic Novel” into…