Album Of The Week: The 45th Anniversary of 'Low' By David Bowie

On the 14th January 1977 David Bowie shocked everybody but once more with one in every of his most extraordinary data when he launched his eleventh studio album, Low. Low arrived throughout what was, by anybody’s requirements, an extremely inventive interval for the prolific artist. Less than a yr earlier than, in 1976, he had launched Station To Station and fewer than a yr earlier than that he had shared the silky clean and soulful, Young Americans. Low was additionally launched precisely eight months to the day earlier than his subsequent shape-shifting launch, Heroes, and appeared instantly after he lower The Idiot with Iggy Pop.    

Low, in addition to introducing us to one more side of Bowie’s unbelievable profession, additionally marked the beginning of his particular relationship with Berlin and particularly, Hansa studios. David Bowie’s eleventh album can be one that’s completely suited to the 2 sided vinyl format. It is sort of actually an album of two halves; two distinctly disparate and radically totally different halves. Bowie eases us in with the brilliantly futuristic art-pop of Speed Of Life and instantly units the tone of the ‘A’ aspect with a synth laden instrumental. This, and the shut out monitor of aspect ‘A’ – A New Career In A New Town, share similarities with a number of the ‘B’ aspect to the album however each have way more immediacy and extra of a pop construction to them. Whilst pushing boundaries and being exploratory in their very own proper they sign what’s to return with out absolutely making ready you.

Side one’s 5 different tracks are stand alone highlights and every brings one thing new to the desk. Who hasn’t eternally puzzled simply what the terrible factor was that David drew on the carpet again in 1977? (Just me?) The succinct 1m51s of Breaking Glass might depart you hanging and begging for extra however the determination to maintain the monitor deliberately brief was masterful; it is only a very good piece of avant-garde pop.

What In The World is just not an excessive amount of longer however packs an equally compelling punch. Bowie’s lyrical yearnings coupled with the shredded guitars, layered percussion and but extra synthesisers are a pleasure. The lead single from the album, Sound and Vision, sees Bowie ship one in every of his most soulful and tender vocals throughout the beautiful synth strings. The prolonged introduction and doo-wop backing, woozy horns and revolving riffs make this a shocking excessive level on one in every of Bowie’s finest data. 

Bowie’s down-beat way of thinking on the time of recording manifests itself in some great methods throughout all 11 tracks on the album, and none extra so than on Always Crashing In The Same Car. The expressive guitar solo, atmospheric manufacturing and Bowie’s restrained supply give this music a cinematic really feel that factors to comparable work on his subsequent album, Heroes. The honky-tonk piano and David’s considerably forlorn plea, “Please be mine, Share my life, Stay with me, Be my wife”, on the album’s second single Be My Wife carries ahead a melancholic presence in Bowie’s Low work in the direction of his extra thought-about instrumentals on aspect two.

Side two is ostensibly virtually utterly instrumental. Four tracks that experiment and discover one other new and thrilling sound for Bowie. Side two of Low is arguably Bowie’s least business set of compositions in his total catalogue, particularly given the yr through which they had been recorded. They might have all subsequently been cited as groundbreaking, inspirational and vastly influential however on the time, 45 years in the past, Low divided opinion. Four and a half many years on and it’s now extremely regarded and fondly remembered by many as one in every of Bowie’s finest. 

Side two of Low is just not solely experimental, it’s courageous, daring and difficult. The sonic exploration that Bowie takes us on is radically totally different his earlier work. Quite a lot of aspect two is born out of Bowie’s work on the soundtrack for his 1976 movie The Man Who Fell To Earth. The director of the movie, Nicolas Roeg, selected to not use Bowie’s compositions which made David “furious”. After Bowie had completed recording Low he despatched Roeg a replica with a observe connected that learn, “This is what I wanted to do for the soundtrack. It would have been a wonderful score”. It would certainly.

Warszawa, the inspiration for the primary incarnation of the band that might grow to be Joy Division, opens the 19m8s of aspect two with a sinister and brooding synth led epic that lightly unfolds and evolves into fairly probably the most stunning soundscape possible. Art Decade, a monitor in regards to the cultural facets of West Berlin, is clearly influenced by the expressive ambient work of collaborator Brian Eno. Eno is credited with enjoying a Chamberlin digital keyboard, piano and Mini Moog synthesizer on this monitor. Weeping Wall, Low‘s solely solo monitor sounds, at instances, extra like a John Carpenter soundtrack with Bowie enjoying an entire host of devices, together with synthesisers, vibraphone and xylophone. Subterraneans, first recorded again in 1975 in a unique guise, closes out Bowie’s sonic exploration with a wide ranging finale of stretched synth notes and elegant saxophone. 

Low might not have grabbed the headlines like different Bowie albums upon it is unique launch however over time it has revealed itself to be a shocking, multi-faceted document that has had an enormous affect on many artists. Bowie’s visionary compositions had been, as soon as once more, manner forward of their time. His means to listen to the long run, embrace new sounds and incorporate pioneering developments was unparalleled. Bowie, along with Brian Eno and producer Tony Visconti, greater than excelled themselves on Low, a document that could be a standout within the again catalogue of all three behemoths of music.


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