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“Keep Kate Bush weird”: CapitalNewYork

Fascinating review of 50 Words from Daphne Carr at CapitalNewYork:

The first phrases of the opener, “Snowflake,” sound so out of touch with contemporary music as to make the past 20 years seem to disappear altogether … The sensation only continues as the bass kicks in: Taut and thin and electric, a sound unheard in pop for ages. The guitars frizzle as if Fripp were still in demand. Add Steve Gadd’s toms, brushed snares, and the amorous synth pads and the record’s most contemporary influence would still be something like Talk Talk at their least pop. Bush’s late ’70s and early ’80s chart-dominating hits … similarly fade from memory, leaving only their affect, handfuls of chords, and those velvety vocal edges of hers. As the seven songs on this snow-themed album unfold, all that anachronism is what becomes its relevance. Kate Bush in 2011 might sound out of place, but at the same time it is impossible to listen to Kate Bush in 2011 without hearing and comparing her to all the many who have followed her lead. Perhaps the sparseness of this winter walk is her best way to get out of a very crowded house … With Bush, each instrument and each word or phrase serves the whole song precisely. It’s the definition of craft: not a sound is wasted; of course, that perfectionism also yielded the gap in her recording between 1993 and 2005 … On this album, Kate Bush goes through all the other Kate Bushes to get back to “Kate Bush.” …  a parallel tradition of art into pop, one discounted at first as “quirky” or “oddball” but now able to be seen as masters at drawing from prog’s fusion impulse and new wave’s queerness, irreverence, and passion for the innovation in a pop package. Rob Young’s fantastic book Electric Eden charts the old and new of British folk as “the secret garden of British culture.” Young names Bush not as a new-waver but as one in the long lineage of Anglo musicians whose occult-tinged voices sing of nature and sky in odd time signatures with non-rock instruments, their bumper stickers reading “Keep England Weird.”

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  1. Harry Horton

    With the new album carrying its own singular beauty with the songs on it, I am still enthralled with December will be magic again, 1979 xmas version found on you tube. A full blown gorgeous piece of intricate progressions of melodic notes in the treble cleft, at time descending downwards into the bass registers. A bit of sadness, though, that I believe only such a strikingly beautiful piece could have only arrived into the world with all the spiritual ingredients including sprouting ffrom Kate Bush’s youthful creative instincts at such youthful stages of her life, that is, such ingredients only apparent around 18 to 19 years old–such circumstances could only deliver such a diamond as if the passing years would bring the exodus from these youth bourne streams of creativity. That is the psychic environs at such a youthful age that could bring about the musical piece. Decvember will be magic again 1979 x mas version is yet another piece to add into with the 50 words of snow songs , for listening, with December coming along.

  2. Electric Eden is a bloody fantastic book – it finally puts Kate where she belongs – as the unhinged heiress of Vaughan Williams, Anne Briggs, Vashti Bunyan, Pentagle, Ewan McColl and Sandy Denny. She isn’t pop, with its US r’n’b roots – she’s English to her deep, green core. As English as this:

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