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Brian Eno talks remixing David Bowie on “powerful” new release ‘Get Real’ to combat climate change

Brian Eno has spoken about his “powerful” David Bowie collaboration ‘Get Real’ which he is now reworking as part of a new climate change album project.

The record, titled ‘Sounds Right’, has been developed by Eno in conjunction with the Museum for the United Nations, in the lead-up to Earth Day on April 22. Aurora and London Grammar are among the other artists enlisted as part of the project.

‘Sounds Right’ also sees Mother Nature becoming recognised as an official artist, with her own profile on major streaming platforms, with tracks posted that include sounds from the natural world, including ocean waves, wind, rainstorms and birdsongs. As the accredited artist, ‘Nature’ will also receive royalties for the tracks as they are played.

Bowie and Eno’s track ‘Get Real’ is a reworking of a song they recorded together during the ‘1. Outside’ sessions in the mid-’90s, and the new version incorporates recordings of hyenas and wild pigs to ground it in nature.

In a new interview on the Midnight Chats podcast, Eno has spoken about the creation of the track, and the choice to include the animal sounds. Listen below:

“Well, I’ve got a number of recordings of different animals here,” he explained. “I wanted big, slightly menacing animals in the song. Not birds and wind and things like that. So I tried a Siberian tiger, that was a bit too overwhelming. I tried some rooks. I’ve always loved rooks, but they sounded like ducks in that context, which is not quite the same message. And the two I’ve settled on and I’m working with at the moment – I haven’t finished this piece yet – are hyenas and wild pigs.”

“The wild pigs sound really good. They’re in a kind of frequency range which is quite hard to fit into the music, but I’m working on that. So yes we’ll have David, Bri and some wild pigs!”

Eno went on to say that he thinks Bowie would have “loved it”, adding: “Yeah, he’d say: ‘Sounds good to me, Bri. I think we should go ahead with that’.”

Eno explained that he didn’t have many memories of recording the original track with Bowie, but added: “It’s a powerful song. Very good lyrics. And with this new kind of container that we’re putting it in of being a song about relationship with the Earth, I think it really works.”

The goal of Sounds Right is to raise money for global conservation projects, and funds will be collected by the Brian Eno-founded charity EarthPercent and directed to threatened ecosystems around the world. It also comes “at a critical time” as Wildlife populations have declined by an average of nearly 70 per cent in the past 50 years and at least 1.2million plant and animal species are estimated to be at threat of extinction.

Find out more about the initiative here.

Jarvis Cocker has also recently collaborated with EarthPercent on his climate-themed “PowerPoint presentation” ‘Biophobia’, which he delivered at the Green Events and Innovations conference in London in February.

Cocker spoke to NME about the project, saying: “Having been born in a city [Sheffield], I used to be quite scared of nature in a way,” said Cocker, speaking backstage at GEI. “Not scared like shitting meself scared, but just not sure what to do. I’ve tried to deal with it.

“In this talk I’m trying to look at what’s happened to me as a person. People know there’s a climate emergency, but a lot of people aren’t connected to nature. We are natural beings, and it’s just that we’ve become divorced from that concept.”

In the Midnight Chats podcast, Eno also discussed Jarvis’ contribution. “It’s really a piece of performance art,” he said. “It’s so clever. I think it’s one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen done in this area. It’s a sort of PowerPoint presentation with a difference. The difference being, of course, Jarvis Cocker, who doesn’t do a PowerPoint presentation like anybody else would do it. It’s very powerful, and it’s very moving.”

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