Scored by David Byrne, Big Love: Hymnal, Music Written for the HBO Series Plus Other Recent Compositions is out now on Todomundo. A selection of Byrne's music from all 12 episodes of the second season of the HBO series Big Love, the disc also features as yet unheard tracks written for and inspired by the series.
Big Love, which follows the polygamist family of fundamentalist Mormon Bill Hendrickson (played by Bill Paxton), takes a decidedly dark turn during the second season. What begins as a study in juggling three wives in an orderly and disciplined manner devolves into a morass of widespread crisis, bitterness and jealousy, replete with stories of betrayal, evil rival clans and child brides. Byrne echoes this in his score and the changing mood of the music as the series moves along.
Originally conceived by Byrne as a collection of fake Mormon hymns the score gradually morphed from a general library of musical themes into a number of individual tracks. Rather than being overtly melodic, the tunes aim to establish mood or create tension without resorting to melodrama. With such an extensive amount of themes to choose from, Byrne was able to include a number of additional never-before-heard tracks on the album. "It's not a pop record by any stretch," notes Byrne, "but I'm proud of it."
Known as the force behind Talking Heads and later as creator of the highly regarded record label Luaka Bop, David Byrne is currently working on a number of upcoming musical projects including "Here Lies Love", a song cycle with Fatboy Slim based on the life of Imelda Marcos. Other recent musical works include "Grown Backwards", Byrne's debut for Nonesuch Records, the Talking Heads box set, the "Knee Plays" CD from Robert Wilson's 1984 stage piece "the CIVIL wars" and Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Byrne's second collaboration with Brian Eno.
Byrne also works as a photographer, film director, author and solo artist; he has published and exhibited visual art for more than a decade, with installations in Toronto (2006, 1996), Tokyo (2002), Sydney (2002), Stockholm (1998), Belfast (1998) and San Francisco (1997). Recent artworks include his PowerPoint installation EEEI-Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information (Steidl Publishing & Pace/McGill Gallery); the Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal-winning book of "tree" drawings, Arboretum (McSweeney's, 2006); an exhibition of chair-themed artworks, Furnishing the Self-Upholstering the Soul (Pace/McGill Gallery, 2007); Voice of Julio / Voz de Julio, a singing robot art installation currently installed at Reina Sofia museum in Madrid; Playing the Building, an audience-interactive installation presented by Creative Time at the Battery Maritime Building in New York City and a series of unique bike racks designed by Byrne and installed throughout New York City in collaboration with PaceWildenstein Gallery and the NYC Department of Transportation.