LA OBRA MAESTRA DE TALKING HEADS

Remain In Light, un álbum que suena fresco 40 años después

El 8 de octubre de 1980 los Talking Heads lanzaron Remain In Light, su cuarto disco de estudio que fue capaz de combinar la diversidad del post punk y el afrobeat en 40 minutos de puro arte. Cuatro décadas más tarde, es pertinente redescubrirlo.

Liderados por David Byrne, el grupo se creó en 1975, y tan solo dos años más tarde lanzaron su debut titulado Talking Heads 77. Rápidamente fueron aclamados como uno de los actos más interesantes en la escena emergente, al punto de que Brian Eno decidió tomar el rol de productor e intérprete en su siguiente lanzamiento More Songs About Buildings and Food (1978). Este hombre venía de una década increíble, tanto como artista en Roxy Music y con su carrera solista, como también produciendo a John Cale (ex Velvet Underground), Ultravox y Devo. Su trabajo Before And After Science (1977) tiene notorias similitudes a la complejización sonora que tendría la banda neoyorkina.

Eno se mantuvo presente en Fear of Music (1979) y su última colaboración fue justamente en Remain In Light. Desde su llegada, la sección rítmica se inclinó cada vez más hacia un atípico pop bailable bastante experimental, como también creció la incorporación de estilos africanos, principalmente el afrobeat nigeriano. Al escuchar a Fela Kuti podemos encontrar ciertos parecidos a lo que logran en algunas canciones los Talking Heads, con la incorporación de funk, poliritmos y una carga energética muy fuerte. No es de extrañar que su mayor influencia haya sido Afrodisiac (1973), disco del artista nigeriano.

Durante los años siguientes a su debut, los estadounidenses atravesaron diversos cambios basados principalmente en su estrellato y algunos fastidios. Su líder era cada vez más controlador, e incluso la prensa los asociaba como «la banda de Byrne», razón por la cual la pareja Chris Frantz y Tina Weymouth (baterista y bajista respectivamente) estaban considerando dejar el grupo. Aunque se encontraban desgastados, el vocalista recuerda que en esta situación decidieron «sacrificar los egos para una cooperación mutua«.

Para lograr salir de este formato déspota decidieron dejar de componer música inspirados en las letras de Byrne, y en lugar de eso hicieron improvisaciones instrumentales partiendo de ‘I Zimbra’, una canción de su disco anterior Fear of Music. La nueva fórmula resultó ser un éxito.

Además de estas texturas exóticas y los percusionistas invitados, se mantienen los aires de art punk que caracterizan a la banda, logrando una fusión entre el post punk y el new wave. También es destacable el uso de teclados y sintetizadores, algo muy presente y con efectos notorios en canciones como ‘Once in a Lifetime’ y ‘Listening Wind’. También existe una relación que podría pasar desapercibida: Weymouth remarcó que la escena del hip hop en ese entonces fue bastante influyente para ellos, y con esto en mente, es bastante curioso escuchar ‘Seen and Not Seen’, que podría parecer un beat de De La Soul o A Tribe Called Quest. A su vez, vale remarcar la presencia de Adrian Belew, virtuoso guitarrista que tocó junto a David Bowie, King Crimson, Frank Zappa y más, siendo un invitado de lujo que se luce a lo largo del disco.

Remain In Light fue un álbum que marcó el comienzo de una década, siendo la musa para incontables artistas, desde R.E.M. hasta Radiohead, pasando por las incursiones africanas de Paul Simon y la producción de U2. ¿Es este tu disco preferido de los Talking Heads?

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