I spent a year of my life working on this soundtrack. I recorded the demos with David Byrne in a couple of days at a little studio in London called Snake Ranch.
I’ll never forget the first session. David arrived the day after finishing a Talking Heads album in Paris. I had everything set up. The movie (7 hours long at this time) and an emulator keyboard. I’m pretty sure David hadn’t rehearsed his ideas (as he had no time!), but I hit record and played the film. He knew which scenes he had to find music for and he did it live 1 take without me having to hit stop once!
Then spent forever re-recording with the real instruments & finally mixing to the picture.
The tracks David Byrne composed are “Main Title Theme (The Last Emperor)”, “Picking a Bride”, “Bed”, “Wind, Rain, and Water” and “Paper Emperor” (tracks 10 to 14 on the album).
The Last Emperor soundtrack won "Best Original Score" award at the 60th Academy Awards in 1998.