by carl wilson

A Bush Who Gets My Vote

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News comes today, from the lips of Peter Gabriel to the Toronto Sun to Zoilus to you, that Kate Bush is casually at work on her first album in 11 years - though when Mojo magazine recently asked how long it will be till it appears, Bush's business manager replied, "How long is a piece of string?"

I maintain an unshakeable adoration of Bush's 80s-era music, a near-guilty level of pleasure in how at once sensual and wigged-out it was, not-quite-prog-rock sometimes built around pop-classical piano chording and sometimes around oneiric sample collages, full of multiple-personality character transformations, literary allusions, British whimsy and sex. From The Kick Inside through Hounds of Love, and particularly on The Dreaming, Bush cultivated a feminine musical vocabulary that was second to no man in wild individualism but didn't feel the need to prove she could rock out like a guy. Sure, she can be blamed (along with 70s-style "womyn's music") for nurturing the Lilith Fair subgenre of woodnymph balladry (Tori Amos is like a decadent emo retread of Bush, Sarah McLachlan is an obvious fan), but she also deserves credit for clearing a path for Bjork, Cat Power or PJ Harvey.

And she's also been named a favourite by Outkast - and by Big Boi, not Andre! - a non-intuitive link, but when you think about it you can hear a Kate-like touch in the textures and catercorners of Outkast's music. Says Big Boi, ""She was so bugged out man! But I felt what she was talking about in the songs. ... I just found out that she was producing all that shit herself! She's so fucking dope and so underrated and off the radar."

"Kate had a son and lost her mom and I think that kept her [occupied]," Gabriel told the Sun. "I spoke to her quite recently in fact and she's just about finished on a new record. It is exciting. She's being a mom and loving it. So, if you like, music's gone from being full-time to being part-time, so that slows you down." Gabriel collaborated with Bush several times, their voices meshing luxuriantly, as on his hit Don't Give Up, a fact immortalized by The French (ex-Hefner) in 2003's maybe-single-of-the-year Gabriel In The Airport: "Don't you wish that you could stay/ Don't you wish that you could say/ You never thought of Kate Bush in a dirty way?"

There are few hints what the new album will sound like whenever it does arrive - will it have the Gurdieff-manic spark of 1980s Kate, or the over-perfumed limpness that came to mar her early-90s efforts? Bassist Mick Karn (ex-Japan) reportedly plays on a track titled How To Be Invisible, percussionist Peter Erskine (Diana Krall, Joni Mitchell, Weather Report, etc.) is on others, and the London Metropolitan Orchestra came out to party too. She began to muck about with it some five years ago.

To egg on her progress and in tribute to her sudden resurfacing in the news, here's a mini-gallery of Kate pics, each one linking to sites maintained by sorry buggers far more fixated than I am, who will tell you everything about Kate Bush you never thought to ask, and also offer an endless supply of her full-on-wacked-out-beautiful photographs:

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News | Posted by zoilus on Wednesday, December 01 at 03:24 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)

 

COMMENTS

Side two of "Hounds of Love" ("The Ninth Wave") was one of the first song cycles (er, concept records) I ever heard that really worked as dramatic literature. I remember the excitment of hearing "Under Ice" and realizing that the cello lines were exactly the same as ice-skating motions, and that the fragmented voices and the remembered "wake ups" were all -- in a literal way -- the sounds heard and imagined after falling through the ice...

It worked for me in a way that something like The Wall never did.

Posted by Eric Z. on January 8, 2005 11:15 PM

 

 

Whoa. I, too, was a Kate Bush fan way back in the 80s, but sort of gave up on her in the 90s. I'm now quite curious about how she sounds these days (although if the new album takes too long, I'll probably get tired of waiting).

Posted by Michael on December 3, 2004 03:36 PM

 

 

glory be.

Posted by Sean on December 1, 2004 11:21 PM

 

 

 

Zoilus by Carl Wilson