Best thing yet about signing up to the official site’s mailing list has been receiving the links to download the teaser TV commercial for the Aerial album. Enjoy the tiniest taster of Kate’s Sky Of Honey album (and that album’s shortest section, Aerial Tal) by selecting your preferred format & connection speed from the following links:
Windows Hi | Lo Real Hi | Lo
Best thing yet about signing up to the official site’s mailing list has been receiving the links to download the teaser TV commercial for the Aerial album. Enjoy the tiniest taster of Kate’s Sky Of Honey album (and that album’s shortest section, Aerial Tal) by selecting your preferred format & connection speed from the following links:
Kate is featured on the cover of the new German edition of Rolling Stone magazine! Lets hope the US edition does likewise…German fans should also check out the excellent fan site and forum here and here. Kate was extensively featured on Sky News on Monday 21st, and they trumpeted the release of the single with hourly reports culminating in a 10 minute slot on The Sky Report in which fans and journalists were interviewed on Kate’s enduring appeal…
The newly published biography of Kate, simply entitled ‘Kate Bush – The Biography‘ is reviewed in The Times here by St Etienne singer Sarah Cracknell: “Rob Jovanovic’s biography portrays Kate Bush as a likeable, intensely creative personality. Her alternative, culturally enriched upbringing (spoon-fed Sibelius, C. S. Lewis, T. S. Eliot and T Rex) is enough to make the book good. It is written with fondness and filled with train-spotter-ish details about recording sessions and musicians — a little too many for my liking, such a boy thing. There are plenty of well chosen quotes, some of them very funny and self-effacing…I was in the car taking my son to nursery and what did I hear on the radio but Kate’s new single, King of the Mountain. It came out this week and will be followed by her first album in 12 years, Aerial. I was thrilled that the single was just what I wanted to hear, pure Kate Bush! A warm voice that draws you in, some nicely avant-garde production and a load of old gobbledygook. Hooray!” The book is out now and the author will be signing copies at a special reading in Norwich on Sunday November 6th at Kulture Shock books. Lisa Redford andNobodaddy will also be appearing at the event to perform some songs in tribute to Kate. More info here…Kate’s film The Line, The Cross and The Curve will be shown on the digital channel Artsworld on Nov 8th at 7pm…there is now an official German site for the new album/single, check it out here…also note Brisbane Kate fans in Australia are gathering on Sunday 8th November read more here…
The NME has reviewed the single in style: “Ok, so it was hardly worth waiting a decade and a bit for but then what is? Nothing that we can think of. What it is, mind, is an apt reminder of just how little everyone else is trying right now and just how Ms Bush has been missed. It’s five minutes of druggy acenes, has a mental breakdown in the middle, and sounds like Sade washing down lyrical razorblades with plummets of fizzy white wine nabbed from Massive Attacks rider. But with more heart than a Canadian AOR radio station or a passionate snog with a Care Bear. If we were excited about the album before we heard this (and we were, very), now we’re EXCITED IN BIG CAPITAL LETTERS.” Eye Weekly in Toronto writes: “The famously melodramatic (some would say screechy) chanteuse’s influence on such singers as Björk and PJ Harvey has come full circle on “King of the Mountain,” currently available only as a download. The rumbling bass and propulsive drumming recalls Harvey’s “A Perfect Day, Elise,” while Bush takes her creepy torch-song vibe down a notch, mostly reining in her upper register to devastatingly intense effect. Learning how to smoulder is the final frontier for great singers, and Bush does it without giving up the vulnerability that made every teenage wallflower in the ’80s stare longingly at her LP jackets.”
…here’s an article on Peter Bochan’s Alternative Music Blog which reveals that King Of The Mountain is the 231st song about Elvis! “At least one of his white jump suits is in the video with Kate, along with a storyline that seems to be a throwback to the “Is Elvis Still Alive” period in tabloid journalism, mixed with some Citizen Kane “Rosebud” imagery and some dodgy shots of Kate that seem to hide her from any full-figure viewing–maybe she’s going through her own “later elvis” type period. Whatever the reason, this first sample from the upcoming “Aerial” is very encouraging, “King Of The Mountain” is vintage sounding and full of the usual “moments of pleasure” that Kate has been delivering since 1977’s “Wuthering Heights”. Read more here…BBC Radio 1 may be largely ignoring the single from it’s playlists (no, we can’t figure it out either) but one DJ, Rob Da Bank continues to rave about the single: “She makes us wait 12 years and then bam! She’s back and jeepers creepers the lady’s been busy if this, the first single from her new album Aerial is anything to go by. Wooshy wind noises – check! Mystical lyrics – check! Genius reggae guitar and bountiful production – check! Best pop song of the year so far and proud to be a Blue Room tune. Welcome back!” See it at the BBC Radio 1 website here…finally, need wheels to get to the record shop next week to buy the single? The “big black car” from the Cloudbusting video is up for sale – see here!
So far so very, very good – Aerial is raking up a crop of very enthusiastic reviews. The Independent in the UK have reviewed Aerial in the 21st October edition, under the headline “Finally, something for the grown-ups“…”Early next month, Kate Bush releases Aerial, her first new album since The Red Shoes back in November 1993. Even by the relaxed schedules adopted by pop’s more established artists, this is an extraordinary career hiatus – not quite the 20 years separating Steely Dan’s Gaucho and Two Against Nature, perhaps, but well on the way there. Entire pop scenes and musical movements have budded, bloomed and withered in the interim…the more pertinent concern is whether her music remains relevant in a music landscape that has seen Britpop come and go, grunge atrophy into skate-metal, hip-hop conquer the known world, and talent-contest TV reduce chart pop to a production-line of vacuity. Changes flash by ever more rapidly in the modern, computer-assisted music world, and in decoupling from its dizzy progress for a dozen years, Kate Bush runs a serious risk of getting flattened like a hedgehog crossing a motorway upon her return. Extraordinarily, she manages to traverse both carriageways with only superficial damage to a few spines: indeed, such is the idiosyncratic nature of her work that she could probably disappear for a half-century and still sustain her own unique position in the pop firmament. But then, who else would write about an obsessive-compulsive housewife or attempt a vocal duet with trilling birds, or, in the most courageous of the album’s many unusual strategies, sing huge strings of numbers, a gambit that brings new meaning to the old critic’s chestnut about being happy to listen to someone singing the telephone directory? The only track so far available from the album, the single “King Of The Mountain”, employs references to Elvis and Citizen Kane to illustrate her musings upon fame and wealth and isolation. “Why,” she wonders, “does a multi-millionaire fill up his home with priceless junk?” The rest of the album – particularly the extended song-cycle that occupies the entire second disc – seems like her own suggestion as to how to use that lofty position more profitably, in a spiritual and aesthetic manner. A reggae lilt underscored with misty synthesiser textures, ” King Of The Mountain” has the gently insistent quality that proved so effective on several of her previous singles. The picture adorning the single’s sleeve is by Bush’s young son, ” lovely, lovely Bertie”, whose presence toddles joyously through much of the new album, clearly illuminating her world. Many years ago, back near the start of her career, she regarded the domestic demands of motherhood as a dubious prospect, claiming her work was her love, and how could she do that and bring up a child at the same time? The answer, presumably, was not to work for a dozen years. Ironically, childhood – and particularly the struggle not to relinquish it – has always been one of the driving concerns of Bush’s work…it’s certainly still a factor on Aerial , both in the track “Bertie” itself and in the memories and reminiscences that cobweb some other songs. But compared to the darker corners of the mind sometimes mined in earlier songs, the new album seems a much sunnier affair: an enduring image I took away from it – not necessarily a lyric, though it might have been – was of windows flung wide open, their curtains billowing out in the breeze, a room’s long-dormant dust stirred into life again…at around an hour and a half, Aerial is unquestionably a substantial piece of work, and its manifold peculiarities and quirks offer much more interesting fare than that available from today’s AOR mainstream. It’s also a more mature undertaking than any of her previous albums, an extended meditation on art and light, fame and family, creativity and the natural world. Indeed it seems, come to think of it, like an expansion of the theme of Laura Veirs’ gorgeous “Rapture”. And since that was the finest song of last year, I’d have to say that leaves Kate Bush still operating at the cutting-edge of intelligent adult pop, every bit as relevant now as at any point in her career. Just a little bit weirder, thank heavens.” Read the full review at the Independent online edition here.
The Irish music magazine Hot Press has long revered Kate, and the new issue published today has the front cover headline “Kate Bush: A Work Of Genius”. Tara Brady has given the album the top rating, 10 out of 10. She writes: “We may never know Kate Bush, but we may know this – she’s been very happy thank you very much. Both parts ofAerial – A Sea Of Honey (the collection she calls ‘Kate songs’) and A Sky Of Honey , a concept album inspired by birdsong and in part, Rolf Harris, are infused with joy. A Sea almost functions as a brand new retrospective, a classically watery wall of sound with gorgeous pop hooks. There are millions of impossibly beautiful things about it – the hippity hoppity reggae beats across the oceanic pop of ‘King Of The Mountain’, the pretty jangling guitars of ‘Pi’, the bongo sensuality of ‘Joanni’, the Latin noodles on ‘How To Be Invisible’, the familiar Hey Nonny Nonny Ophelia groove of ‘Bertie’, an achingly sweet ode to her son (“Here comes the sunshine/Here comes that son of mine/The Most truly fantastic smile I’ve ever seen”) which suddenly sweeps into a baroque masquerade ball. There’s an arch wit to match the playful rhythms. ‘Mrs Bartolozzi’ is a brilliant inverted mock epic with thundering theatricality about a washing machine spiralling out to the sea before returning to a chorus that runs ‘Swishy Swashy’. A Sky Of Honey , though rather daunting and potentially new age on paper, is equally delightful. Decadently and pleasingly fashioned from birdsong, giggling and electronics, there’s a nice circularity in Sky ‘s bassy echoes of Dark Side Of The Moon , bringing Kate right back to Dave Gilmour where it all began. It’s apt. It’s a neat reminder that this most girlish talent – a woman who sings of posies and kisses and crushes on Heathcliff – has always, beneath the whimsy, been skilled enough in musical architecture to fit snugly into record collections built around Kraftwerk and Can. If there’s more where Aerial comes from then we’ll wait and we’ll like it.” Portrait by Jon Berkley (www.holytrousers.com) for Hot Press.
Also in Ireland, in the online Sigla magazine, Sinéad Gleeson raves about the new album: “The single…is seen as a positive precursor of what’s to come on the album. Bush presents the story of Elvis the lost genius, through swooping, sweeping strings. A wood percussion sample (marimba? xylophone?) runs through adding a playful note and with one song down, it’s so far so good. Pi reminds us that we’re in Kate Bush land, where song titles about circles and numerical rambling are delivered via Bodhrán beats and keyboards stabs. By song three, you begin to notice something. The velvet pitch of her voice not only sounds as good as expected after a 12-year hiatus, it has a deeper, bewitching resonance. Production on some of the earlier albums tended to accentuate its shrill quality, not doing justice to Bush’s capability as a vocalist. Here, every nuance is teased out, arching along the spectrum of imagination. ‘Bertie’ oozes pride and spirituality. Mandolins swirl around the line “you bring me so much joy/and then you bring me more joy”, repeated like a maternal mantra. ‘Mrs. Bartolozzi’ is a real surprise; on the surface a simple domestic tale of washing machines – “splashy sploshy… get those cuffs and collar clean” – hints at something darker. Could anyone else sing about doing laundry and make it sound so beautiful? This is in part, due to a camerilla of contributors who she has worked with consistently over the years. The musical arrangements by long-time (and sadly late) Michael Kamen echo the multi-layered orchestration of The Sensual World. Most obvious on the single and ‘Joanni’ (about Joan of Arc), strings and drums build to the kind of epic mysterious highs we’ve come to expect. ‘A Coral Room’, a reflective piano piece recalls her mother and strikes the same poignant chimes as ‘This Woman’s Work’…In ‘Prelude’, vocals mimic wood pigeons and a child cackles happily, ‘Prologue’ boasts a cello echo bouncing off strings and grand piano. Much has been made of Rolf Harris’ appearance on the album – on ‘An Architect’s Dream’ and ‘The Painter’s Link’ – but this time he’s without his didgeridoo, offering subtle vocals instead. The latter is troubled by more overbearing bass but it segues in to the chameleon ‘Sunset’. All three contain the same recurring motifs, rhythms and sounds. Kate tells us “this is a song of colour”, apt imagery for her broad canvas of moods and sounds. The tempo quickens and out of nowhere Spanish guitars usher in a mariachi skiffle. It’s obvious CD 2 is a test site of sorts for Bush’s continuing interest in non-linear musical form and eclectic instruments. ‘Aerial Tal’ continues the birdsong and the most palpable electonic flashes surface briefly. Before it all gets too vague and unhinged, Kate delivers the best track on the entire album. ‘Somewhere In Between’ consolidates the overall epic rush of Aerial, but its off kilter drums, bass-heavy beats and dreamy incongruity make this the most original piece here…the title track ‘Aerial’, is sheer hysterical abandon. Violin loops fade in and out, tribal beats steer bird tweets and mandolin. By the end, you literally can’t help yourself stamping your feet…these are songs of the imagination that transport you to a place where you want to daydream compulsively.” Read the full review here.
Classic Rock magazine has a 7/10 rated review from Hugh Fielder: “The opening, reassuringly familiar-sounding King Of The Mountain is all about whistling winds, rising storms, and ‘the snow with Rosebud’. By track four she’s up to her waist in water with ‘little fishes swimming between my legs’. Only at the end of the record, when she gets into a fit of the giggles, do you suddenly realize you are listening to the sound of middle-aged laughter. There have been other changes, of course. Most notably, Kate has become a mum; and she definitely become the woman with the child in her eyes on Bertie – ‘More joy and such joy that you bring me,’ she trills above the medieval backing. Such domesticity has also inspired Mrs. Bartolozzi where, before her encounter with the aforementioned fishes, she is fascinated by a washing machine, watching as the clothes swirl around, her skirt entwined with his trousers…elsewhere she gets intrigued by numerology and circles on Pi, the chorus recites Pi’s never-ending value. But you’re never far from finding ‘clothes on the beach and footprints leading to the sea’… after only one listen it’s hard to grasp the threads. But her patient fans will be delighted that there is honey still for tea.”
The UK gay media have been ardent Kate supporters and in this month’s Attitude magazine (Madonna cover) Patrick Strudwick gives Aerial a 5 out of 5 rating, describing the album as “the ultimate in unbridled, unself-conscious masterpiece.” Strudwick gives Aerial a glowing review: “Bush followers, who have been gnawing at their flesh for 12 excruciating years in antsy anticipation of this eighth studio album, will weep with joy. In part from relief, that after all this time Ms Bush has delivered 84 exquisitely non-commercial minutes to rival her most celebrated Hounds of Love album. But also because the music itself is glistening with such euphoria as to render anti-depressants unnecessary. Seven years ago Kate gave birth to Bertie. If ever an album conveyed a mother viewing the world with the wide-eyed wonder of youth again, then Aerial does. Debut single King of the Mountain , the opening track on the first album (entitled A Sea of Honey ), is a red herring, though. The whistling winds and haunting musings about Elvis are like the darkest hour just before dawn. Daylight doesn’t break just yet, mind. First you have funky-bassed Pi , where Kate sings the mathematical calculation to 84 decimal places. (Would love to see Jessica Simpson attempt that). Next comes Bertie , a rinky-dink paean to her son, hailing directly from the 16th century, thanks to Renaissance guitars and a three-time jig. The mood saddens with Mrs. Bartolozzi . Remembering when her now late husband returned home so muddied that she had to clean all his clothes, she watches the washing machine spin round and mourns. “Slooshy, sloshy/Slooshy sloshy/Get that dirty shirty clean.” Though seemingly uninfluenced by pop music of the last 12 years, Kate’s production, particularly on How To Be Invisible , is cutting-edge. Other-worldly electro-glitches dance around her voice as she conjures a piss-take witches’ spell: “Eye of Braille/Hem of anorak/Stem of wallflower/Hair of doormat”. Fans of This Woman’s Work will swoon at A Coral Room where Kate’s incomparably beautiful voice – now even richer – soars over sumptuous piano chords as she laments her late mother. This is the English rose of old, emotions erupting, lava-like. Day breaks on the second disc, A Sky of Honey , which is homogenized by sprinklings of sampled and imitated birdsong as Kate guides us through a perfect summer’s day in the countryside. It’s impossibly poetic. Sunset opens with a running stream of a piano accompaniment, with pizzicato double bass, you’re then transported to Spain with a flamenco dance of the utmost gay abandon. The effect is so exhilarating it’ll have you stomping your feet and flapping the ruffles of an imaginary red dress. Or perhaps that’s just me. On Somewhere in Between you’re up a mountain drinking in the vista, as rhumba-esque rhythms infuse her marvelling at the dimming light. Night has fallen now with Nocturn seeing our storyteller head to the beach. “No one is here/We stand in the Atlantic/We become panoramic.” A thumping beat climaxes as the sun comes up. “Rising and rising in a sea of honey/A sky of honey”. Aerial , the finale, finds Kate wanting to “go up onto the roof”, as a bravura electric guitar solo crackles like an aerial conducting lightning. A crash sounds, leaving the birds tweeting and fading into the distance. Worth the wait? Every. Last. Second.” Gay Times also have a 2 page article about Kate’s return by Chelsea Kelsey and Richard Smith in the November issue. The Pink Paper continues to run the “Up Queer Street” cartoon strip which often references Kate such as in this recent one >here.
Beautiful. The artwork first appeared as a hidden treat on the official site’s holding page, but didn’t take long to be spotted (thanks Andrea!). Forum users are debating whether the “reflected rocks” in the image are actually a sonic wave form (thanks PDFM!)…a fascinating theory, could it be birdsong? CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE (and see if you can spot the KT symbol? – with thanks to Wieland) This tracklisting is now officially confirmed by EMI. Please ignore other track lists you may have seen floating around – this is the real one.
Part One: A Sea of Honey
1. King Of The Mountain
4. Mrs. Bartolozzi
5. How To Be Invisible
7. A Coral Room
Part Two: A Sky of Honey
3. An Architect’s Dream
4. The Painter’s Link
6. Aerial Tal
7. Somewhere In Between
As if fans didn’t have enough to celebrate this weekend with the King Of The Mountain video, Kate’s new album has received a glowing review from The Observer newspaper in the UK. Jason Cowley writes: “Twelve years is a long time to wait for a new record from any artist, even from one as consistently inventive as Kate Bush, but at least Aerial offers value. It’s a 14-track double album, and the more experimental of the two records is ‘A Sky of Honey’. It begins not with music but with the sound of birdsong, the wind in the trees and the voice of a child calling for her parents. What follows is a suite of seven unashamedly romantic and interconnected songs taking us on a long day’s journey into night and then on through to the next morning when birdsong is heard once more and the whole cycle starts all over again…’A Sky of Honey’ is music of pagan rapture – songs about acts of creation, natural or otherwise; about the wind, rain, sunlight and the sea. Sometimes it is just Kate alone at her piano, her voice restrained. Sometimes, as on the outstanding ‘Sunset’, she begins alone and softly, but soon the tempo quickens and the song becomes an experiment in forms: jazz, progressive rock, flamenco. There are weaknesses. At times, Bush can be too fey and whimsical, especially on ‘Bertie’, which is about the joy of motherhood, or on ‘Mrs Bartolozzi’, a rhapsody to nothing less than a washing machine: ‘My blouse wrapping itself around your trousers… slooshy sloshy/ slooshy sloshy.’ And the bold, musically adventurous second album is a little too insistent in its ‘hey, man’ hippyish sensibility, with Kate running freely through the fields or climbing high in the mountains…
‘What kind of language is this?’ Kate Bush sings, self-interrogatively, on the title track, the last of the album. It’s a good question, to which she offers a partial answer on ‘Somewhere in Between’, which in ambition and content is where most of the songs on this album are suspended – somewhere in between the tighter, more conventional structures of pop and the looser, less accessible arrangements of contemporary classical and the avant-garde; somewhere, in mood and atmosphere, between the lucidity of wakefulness and the ambiguity of dream; between the presumed innocence of childhood and the desire for escape offered by the adult imagination; between abstraction and the real. Even when she escapes her wonderland to write songs about actual figures in the known world, she remains attracted to those figures such as Elvis (‘King of the Mountain’, the album’s first single) or Joan of Arc (‘Joanni’) that, in death as indeed in life, have a mythic unreality. So, again, what kind of language is this? It is ultimately that of an artist superbly articulate in the language of experimental pop music. But it is also the language of an artist who doesn’t seem to want to grow up. Or, more accurately, who has never lost her child-like capacity for wonder and for pagan celebration and who, because she is sincere and can communicate her odd and unpredictable vision in both words and through sumptuous music, occupies a cherished and indulged position in the culture. There is no one quite like her, which is why, in the end, we must forgive her excesses and eccentricities. We are lucky to have her back.” Read the full review at The Observer site here
David Smyth in The Evening Standard has also previewed Aerial here although he explains that he was only allowed to hear A Sky Of Honey, the first disc: “I can report that disc one’s seven distinct songs constitute a fascinating listen, demonstrating all that Bush does best and showing a notable change in her outlook. The slightly unhinged wailer is nowhere to be heard here. Since her last album, The Red Shoes in 1993, she has become mother to Bertie, now seven, and there is a peaceful contentment evident throughout the new songs. Along with A Coral Room, Mrs Bartolozzi is one of two songs played solo on piano; it revels in domestic bliss, being principally about a washing machine. On Pi, Bush continues to find beauty in the mundane, softly reciting the infinite number over a waltzing rhythm and echoing synths. As ever, plenty of nature imagery is conjured, especially on the spooky spell described on How to Be Invisible. For lyrical complexity she remains worlds ahead of the likes of Franz Ferdinand, probably our most articulate contemporary band. But while she continues to employ layered electronics to great effect, nothing here sounds overly dramatic or elaborate. Even Joanni, about Joan of Arc going into battle, remains stately and restrained. A reserved Kate Bush is still more adventurous than a boatload of hip new guitar bands.”…Music Week has the Aerial artwork on its front cover this week, with a large picture of Kate on the inside cover detail release dates and album/single formats. The album is on their playlist “Two CDs, 16 tracks, 80 minutes of musical eccentricity, bordering on genius, this album will challenge all listeners – the release of THAT voice should be cherished.” King Of The Mountain is their Single of the Week “There is huge expectation for this single…it begins quietly with a loping dub-like rhythm, with Bush’s mysterious vocals seeming to tell the story of a powerful man and the emotional cost of his success. Already climbing the UK airplay chart, primarily because of Radio Two’s support, there is little doubt that she is back with a bang.”
The Guardian has published a fascinating piece written by Michael Berkeley on his involvement with the recording of Hello Earth in 1984, well worth a read here…Billboard in the US has reviewed King Of The Mountain: “Her first work in 12 years is predictably ethereal, mosaic and nonconformist. That is to say that it takes several listens to fathom what is going on, and even then, it is a best guess. But there is that voice: angelic, fragile and ever bewitching. It is all about atmosphere here.”…King Of The Mountain also gets a review on the Channel 4 site here…EMI Canada have an Aerial E-Card which you can send here, also Canadian fans in British Colombia can enter an Aerial preview competetion here…NME 15th Oct issue have a 1 page feature on Wuthering Heights and beyond…UK freebie gay mag Boyz has a Kate feature this week see here…Entertainment Weekly in the US are running a pollasking which album its readers are most anticipating, Kate is in second place as I write…iTunes 6 (free download) now offers video downloads of 4 Kate videos Rubberband Girl (US video), Eat The Music (similar to, but different from, The Line, The Cross and The Curve version), The Red Shoes and And So Is Love. Priced £1.89 each…Kate has contibuted to a book to be presented to the family of the electronics genius Colin Sanders of Solid State Logic (SSL), the brand of mixing desk Kate uses. Mr Sanders tragically died in a helicopter crash in 1998. The book will go on permanent display at the Colin Sanders Innovation Centre in Banbury. Read more here…finally one blog owner has done a very detailed analysis of the soundwave on the Aerial cover, see it here.
Selected journalists are being allowed to listen to Aerial at EMI offices to write up preview pieces before actual review copies are distributed. Pete Paphides in The Times (14th October edition) has written one such report based on his first hearing, and while he indentifies tracks he wasn’t keen on first time round (read the full preview here) and thus rates the album 3 out of 5 stars, this has gotten fans very excited indeed. Here are some highlights: “Named after her son, Bertie is a mother’s mad love alchemised into song. “Sweet kisses/ Three wishes,” she sings, “Lovely, love-ly Bertie.” Over and over again, repetition reduces the two words into tongues of adoration. And what instrumentation do you choose when trying to do justice to the greatest love of all? Why, Renaissance-era strings of course…the first CD, A Sea of Honey…yields a brace of songs that are among her best. Mrs Bartolozzi is like a postcard sent from the most delirious depths of mourning. Laundry duties give way to a walk into the waves, and with it the low wheeze of a single cello – the song’s two halves joined by Bush repeating a phrase. Not just any phrase, but the phrase “washing machine”. Twice. The same themes of loss seem to recur on A Coral Room. Here, her woozy depiction of “the spider of time…climbing over the ruins” of a city comes into stark, startling focus when the singer’s dead mother is invoked through a single item, a favourite brown jug. “It held her milk,” she sings, “And now it holds our memories.” Pi, which takes as its subject matter a “sweet and gentle and sensitive man” in thrall to the transcendental number of the title. “Oh he love, he love, he love/ He does love his numbers,” runs the chorus over a brisk percussive gallop. Hats off to her for being the first auburn-haired pop spookstress to address the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter…with nine tracks that variously revolve around birdsong, the change from day into night (and back again) and a painter attempting to capture the scene before him, A Sky of Honey coheres more readily than its “commercial” counterpart.
An Architect’s Dream and The Painter’s Link have Rolf Harris and Bush duetting over a spare string and piano arrangement. As his painting falls victim to a sudden downpour, he wearily exclaims, “what has become of my painting?” But she’s enraptured: “See the colours run…See what they have become/A beautiful sunset.” And so to the pagan abandon of Sunset, which has Bush offering herself to the dying light of the day over a deluge of flamenco guitars. As day makes way for night and restraint into catharsis, Somewhere in Between has Bush once again chasing intangibles and emerging with the album’s unquestionable highlight: a life-affirming chorus of hushed harmonies and whispering rhythms with more than a hint of the sexual languor that gave The Sensual World of 1989 its knee-weakening frisson. The final, eponymous, song on Aerial is also its most ambitious. A redemptive paean to the new day in which its creator joins the birds in their endless song — but not before a mid-song breakdown of hysterical laughter and trilling has ushered in a barrage of free-styling rock guitar.” The article concludes with “Five great Bush moments”.
Columbia Records in the US have issued a press release giving more details of the people who have worked on Kate’s new album, as well as some quotes from Kate about Aerial. Here are some excerpts from it:
“I have been genuinely touched by the sense of anticipation I’ve felt from people,” says Bush. “I feel really privileged that people have been waiting.” A characteristically bold and expansive work brimming with atmosphere, mystery, passion and complex aural detail, the twin-disc ‘Aerial’ has already been declared a masterpiece by all who have heard it. Realising that the amount of material she had accumulated in her time away was unlikely to fit onto a single CD, Bush made the decision to split the results in two, resulting in her first double album. Disc One, entitled ‘A Sea Of Honey’, comprises seven songs, ranging from the evocative lead-off single ‘King Of The Mountain’ through to the emotive reading of a lengthy section of the infinite series of numbers in ‘p‘, to the playful, spell-like ‘How To Be Invisible’ and the moving, impressionistic conclusion ‘A Coral Room’. Disc Two, ‘A Sky Of Honey’, is a conceptual piece in nine parts, built around recurring motifs of light and birdsong, following a day from afternoon through dusk and night and on to sunrise. “What is quite nice for me doing the two discs,” ‘Aerial’s creator explains, “is it allows me to play with the semi-classical style which I like – space and acoustic music – but also the band-based stuff with lots of drums.” Bush has spent her twelve years out of the public gaze dividing her time between preparing the songs for ‘Aerial’ and looking after her son, Bertie, born in 1998. “I was having to work in really short little bursts,” she says of her prolonged absence, “and I’d never done that before. The way I’d always worked was to just stay in the studio for fourteen hours a day. I didn’t have that luxury to use the time in the same way. So there were lots of periods where really nothing much was happening. But in some ways I’d say it was very good for me to have had those kinds of restrictions. It was continually forcing me into a situation where I had to stand back from it.”
The musicians credit list for Bush’s eighth album reveals new collaborations with drummers Steve Sanger and Peter Erskine and percussionist Bosco D’Oliveira, along with more familiar names such as Gary Brooker (founder of Procol Harum, providing Hammond organ), guitarist Dan McIntosh, drummer Stuart Elliott (who has appeared on every one of her albums), bassistsEberhard Weber and John Giblin and recording engineer/bassist Del Palmer. As such, over the years, Bush has gathered around her something resembling a close-knit musical family. “There was a sense of being at play as well as at work,” Bush notes of the sessions for ‘Aerial’. “I think that’s very important because it is so hard and so frustrating sometimes trying to get an idea to materialise. It’s not an easy process. I really like working with people who are old friends, it’s lovely.” Poignantly, ‘Aerial’ also features some of the last work of orchestral arranger Michael Kamen, who had scored for every Bush album since ‘Hounds Of Love’ and who passed away only weeks after his contributions to the album were completed at Abbey Road studios in October 2003. “What was great about Michael was his stuff was very visual,” says Bush. “He did such a fantastic job. It’s very hard to believe he’s not around any more.” Now, in November 2005, with the release of ‘Aerial’, Kate Bush is following in the grand tradition of groundbreaking double albums. “I used to really like the double albums I bought of artists that I loved,” she states. “It wasn’t in a way so directly connected with you spending money on an object. It was somehow more of an artistic statement. It said, ‘Here’s my music’.” Read the full press release as posted on this site here.
As expected, a few mentions in this morning’s UK Sunday papers. The Observer has an article entitled “Comeback Kate” by Barbara Ellen: “We’ve had a sneak preview of her new album, and can assure you – it’s been worth the wait… I’m allowed to listen to one side – I choose the first – so long as I sit in a room at the EMI offices with a man guarding me, presumably in case I try running home with it, thereby committing the crime of trying to listen to an album properly. Despite these shenanigans, first impressions of Aerial are as good as one hoped. It is in fact vintage Bush: a melodic, organic sprawl of wind, sea, seasons, time passing, dreams, secrecy and revelation, all mixed up with a sound that seems to segue smoothly on from The Red Shoes and The Sensual World…Joan of Arc pops up in the stunning, atmospheric ‘Joanni‘. Most intriguingly, there is a song called ‘Bertie‘ where one hears a whole new Kate Bush – a mature, doting creature both energised and sucker-punched by mother love. ‘Where’s that son of mine?’ sings Kate, adding breathlessly, ‘Here comes that son of mine.’ I was ready to believe anything by the time I listened to Aerial. What I discovered is that nothing much has changed in Kate Bush’s world, except perhaps everything. She’s still seething with strangeness and brilliance. Even the fact that she’s a mother now isn’t likely to change anything. Bush has always written beautiful songs on all manner of themes including motherhood, and will doubtless continue to do so. It’s just kind of cute that far from being coy and privacy-obsessed, Bush can’t seem to shut up about it. As well as the song one of Bertie’s drawings graces the cover of ‘King of the Mountain’; he’s credited on the sleevenotes as ‘The Sun’.”
Also in The Observer, Carol McDaid explores what it is about Kate that inspires such undying loyalty: “I would never have heard about the conventions had I not subscribed to ‘the oldest established Kate Bush fanzine’. Homeground (the title borrowed from a track on Lionheart) was produced by three fans, in monochrome on shiny pages which seethed with love for Kate. It was illustrated with uncanny pencil sketches of her, often wreathed in ivy, by Homeground’s two resident artists, and, in the absence of any news, there were long features entitled ‘Five years ago’, ‘Ten years ago ‘. I flinched at some of the more intense letters; the reports of ‘Kate-mas’ 30 July, Kate’s birthday (the same day as Emily Bronte) – celebrated either on Glastonbury Tor or at Top Withens, site of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. But I didn’t cancel my subscription. My first convention was at Hammersmith Palais, November 1990, post-Sensual World; outside, a queue of geeky guys and gothic girls hunched against a cold Saturday morning. I went with a friend who was, like me, riven with curiosity yet anxious to appear only mildly excited. It was a surreal, quite long day. Wall-to-wall Kate Bush music; a quiz (Q: Who played didgeridoo on The Dreaming? A: Rolf Harris). People fresh off the plane from Japan and America swapped picture discs in dark corners. And Kate appeared from somewhere – it’s a bit of a blur – sitting on a sofa in grey, saying ‘You must be mad!’, before sweetly answering questions and singing a little thank you. In 1993 The Red Shoes was released, and a film, The Line, the Cross and the Curve, co-starring Miranda Richardson, which premiered at the London Film Festival in a double bill with Nick Park’s The Wrong Trousers, which I guiltily enjoyed more. Kate, in the audience with her partner and her father, left the cinema to rapturous applause. I have a memory of standing on my seat to get a better look. In 1994, at my second, and last, convention, Kate Bush rose through a hole in the floor of the Hippodrome, Leicester Square to a deafening roar, picked some raffle tickets out of a cardboard box, waved and fled. I can’t say I blamed her. I usually remember her birthday. And when the new Kate Bush single received its first airplay two weeks ago, on my way to work, I had to pull off the road.”
In Scotland On Sunday Nigel Williamson writes: “Bush’s record company, EMI, while keen not to over-hype her return and risk disappointing fans, can barely contain their excitement, and the buzz around the industry is that the album – entitled Aerial and due to reach shops on November 7 – is something very special indeed. “Everyone who’s heard it so far has proclaimed it an absolute masterpiece, quite possibly her career peak. It’s quite astonishing,” said one EMI executive. It’s a magnum opus of a double album, too, which is good news. King Of The Mountain is…a gloriously dense swirl of electronic pulses, synthesised beats and brooding guitars with a typically ominous vocal, it’s as epic and elemental as you could want…since her last album, British music has unearthed a rich seam of pretenders to Bush’s throne, including Dido, Goldfrapp, KT Tunstall and Joss Stone. They had all better look to their laurels: the queen of them all is back to claim her crown.” In The Independent On Sunday Adam Sweeting writes:”…happily, “King of the Mountain” is a sly and subtle piece of work, suggesting that Bush’s genre-defying musical intelligence burns undimmed.”
So anyone getting excited yet? Here’s a round-up of the latest news items – mostly taken from our forum’s busyMedialog section, which you should check out. Please note for anyone who is used to the site’s usual format that all other Kate-related news, known as “newsbits” are also being gathered and we will be posting updates of those over the coming weeks, but for now the site will be concentrating on bringing you the news directly relating to Kate’s new work. It’s so nice to be able to say that.
It’s looking like Channel 4 will have the exclusive first play of the King Of The Mountain video on Saturday October 15th at 10.40pm (thanks Charles). After only a few short days King Of The Mountain has been doing very well on the iTunes UK download chart, having rocketed to the number 4 most downloaded track as of today. The track continues to perform very well in Irish, Finnish and Swedish iTunes stores. EMI publicised the wider download release, see report by Reuters here. Kate’s single remains number 1 on the Amazon UK Hot 100 CD singles chart, outselling other upcoming new releases from Westlife and U2…Kate was discussed on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme during the week. You can hear the show here (Kate is featured about 40 mins into the broadcast). Generally a good news report, although author John Mendelsson (who wrote “Waiting For Kate Bush”) dismisses most of Kate’s output. King Of The Mountain is this week’s Single Of The Week on the Ken Bruce show on BBC Radio 2. So far it seems only Rob Da Bank has played the single on BBC Radio 1, calling it “vintage, vintage Kate Bush”. The single was one of only two new additions to the Virgin Radio playlist this week. Virgin Radio playlist this week.
The Guardian has ran two pieces by Patrick Barkham. One was simply a report about the single and album here. The second longer article, here, appeared on Friday 30th Sept. In it the writer talks to EMI and also singer Roy Harper to get a more balanced look at where Kate is now coming from: “Frustrated by her refusal to play the celebrity game, tabloids have compared her to Greta Garbo and Miss Havisham, suggesting she is obsessed with her privacy. EMI, her record company, says suggestions she is a tortured recluse are nonsense. “Kate’s one of those artists who records and makes music to her own timescale rather than meet a record company’s deadlines, which is fine by us,” said an EMI insider, with no hint of gritted teeth…contrary to reports, Bush will go on television to actively promote Aerial, released on November 7 between new offerings from Robbie Williams and Madonna. Paul Rees, editor of Q magazine, believes a comparison with Madonna is instructive. Both women are 47, both have played totally by their own rules, but their careers could not be more contrasting. “There’s nothing left that you don’t know about Madonna whereas with Kate Bush there is everything left to know,” he said. “She’s retained that sense of enigma. We don’t really know what has gone on in her life in the last 12 years. That’s the key to her longevity. There’s a lot held back.” The extraordinary voice of singer-songwriter Roy Harper was one of Bush’s formative influences and he collaborated with her in the 1980s and 1990s and is still a friend. He believes Bush has been more influenced by literary writers than songwriters. “She is lovely to work with, a true musician. There is no need to tell her what to do, she has already done it and she is ahead, making suggestions. She is very honest and very gentle, bright and full of creativity, the kind of girl you should’ve married, really. She is very private and family orientated now. When you are that good a person, the danger is that everybody takes the piss. The cure for that is to keep yourself out of the public eye.” Those who have heard Aerial are, typically, amazed and slightly baffled, with Bush addressing a pigeon on one of the two albums, said to be inspired by bird song. Bush told Harper that one was a concept album and, “to lessen the blow” the other was “just Kate songs”. Read even more discussion on Kate in The Guardian in their Culture Vulture blog spothere.
The Evening Standard has ran a review of King Of The Mountain by John Aizlewood:”This is a reminder of what we have been missing with Kate Bush’s absence. Tori Amos, Björk and others have attempted to eclipse Bush’s otherworldliness, musicality and sheer weirdness, but none has come close and King Of The Mountain shows why. It’s a brooding epic which begins with an ominous guitar riff before that instantly recognisable voice charges in…the allegorical lyrical mystery makes her music more alluring. Bush was always a uniquely physical writer, but the more this song progresses, the more she sounds buffeted by the elements atop a frozen mountain. Gales howl around her before she concludes: “The wind, it blows the door closed.” It is not easy listening, but it is a landmark work. I can’t wait for Aerial.” The Sunday Times on the 25th Sept highlighted Kate’s album as part of it’s “Rich Pickings” Autumn cultural preview: “The phease “eagerly awaited” scarcely does justice to Kate Bush’s Aerial, her first album in 12 years…still, to make up for lost time, it’s a double.” review of King Of The Mountain by John Aizlewood:”This is a reminder of what we have been missing with Kate Bush’s absence. Tori Amos, Björk and others have attempted to eclipse Bush’s otherworldliness, musicality and sheer weirdness, but none has come close and King Of The Mountain shows why. It’s a brooding epic which begins with an ominous guitar riff before that instantly recognisable voice charges in…the allegorical lyrical mystery makes her music more alluring. Bush was always a uniquely physical writer, but the more this song progresses, the more she sounds buffeted by the elements atop a frozen mountain. Gales howl around her before she concludes: “The wind, it blows the door closed.” It is not easy listening, but it is a landmark work. I can’t wait for Aerial.” The Sunday Times on the 25th Sept highlighted Kate’s album as part of it’s “Rich Pickings” Autumn cultural preview: “The phease “eagerly awaited” scarcely does justice to Kate Bush’s Aerial, her first album in 12 years…still, to make up for lost time, it’s a double.”
The Irish Times ran an article by Jim Carroll on the 30th Sept here. The piece examines how Kate’s first release in 12 years may be received by the music industry and the public. Also in Ireland, King Of The Mountain was reviewed on Radio channel 2FM. Two of the panel were expecting something more groundbreaking, one was very impressed and the presenter was keeping his ‘gunpowder dry’. It was still voted as a ‘hit’…The MusicOMH site has review King Of The Mountain here. Michael Hubbard writes: “Fans can breathe easily – it is everything that could have hoped for. If before she was Running Up That Hill, now she’s on top of her mountain, surveying the scene before her with a calm, contented gaze. A mysterious pulse of synth draws the listener in before Kate’s slurred, echo-laden vocals pipe up. Essentially nonsensical lyrics culminate in a chorus of “the wind is whistling”, but it’s the inclusion of precisely considered drums and rhythmic, almost reggae guitar under trancey warm pad synth that make for the track’s atmosphere. And it’s a heady mix. The perfect taster for new album Aerial, King Of The Mountain is a perfect introduction to Kate’s wistful style for anyone not familiar with her, and a timely reminder of her effortless talent to those who are. ” The Gigwise site muses on the meaning behind the album’s artwork here. Kate was the main feature in Joe Mott’s column in The Daily Star on Sept 30th, also wondering at the album art, see a scan here. The piece examines how Kate’s first release in 12 years may be received by the music industry and the public. Also in Ireland, King Of The Mountain was reviewed on Radio channel 2FM. Two of the panel were expecting something more groundbreaking, one was very impressed and the presenter was keeping his ‘gunpowder dry’. It was still voted as a ‘hit’…The MusicOMH site has review King Of The Mountain here. Michael Hubbard writes: “Fans can breathe easily – it is everything that could have hoped for. If before she was Running Up That Hill, now she’s on top of her mountain, surveying the scene before her with a calm, contented gaze. A mysterious pulse of synth draws the listener in before Kate’s slurred, echo-laden vocals pipe up. Essentially nonsensical lyrics culminate in a chorus of “the wind is whistling”, but it’s the inclusion of precisely considered drums and rhythmic, almost reggae guitar under trancey warm pad synth that make for the track’s atmosphere. And it’s a heady mix. The perfect taster for new album Aerial, King Of The Mountain is a perfect introduction to Kate’s wistful style for anyone not familiar with her, and a timely reminder of her effortless talent to those who are.” The Gigwise site muses on the meaning behind the album’s artwork here. Kate was the main feature in Joe Mott’s column in The Daily Star on Sept 30th, also wondering at the album art, see a scan here.
The Daily Mirror raves about the single here. Gavin Martin writes: “And from the atmospheric opening to its last eerie gasp, King of the Mountain is unmistakably the sound of one of pop music’s last great originals. ..and like some sonic sorceress locked away in her private lair Bush carries on from where she left off with The Red Shoes in 1993..but any thoughts that Bush is relishing a return to rough and tumble of celebrity life, or is preparing to tackle the pop world on its own terms, are cast aside by song itself. Lyrically, with an oblique reference to Orson Welles’ classic movie Citizen Kane and to Elvis Presley, it is Kate’s meditation on the perils of fame and power. Technology has allowed her to deepen and enrich the territory explored on her Wuthering Heights debut single back in 1978. Long-time fans will recognise the wildly romantic and foreboding landscape the song creates…the mood of the record is a masterful balance of opposites – cool reserve and sonic boldness, gothic gloom and sensual awakening. Oriental percussion, ghostly harmonies, synthesisers that whisper and howl accompany Kate’s fraught but tender vocals. Fittingly for a woman who has taken so long to make a comeback there is no hurry to reach a climax. King of the Mountain builds slowly and it is the entrance of a grimy low-slung offbeat reggae guitar provides the cue for the band to slowly come together. When they do so it is like they are making music in a dream, while wading through a field of honey… Magnificent.” The Bizarre column of The Sun newspaper on the 27th reviews the single: “The track is suitably odd – as you’d expect from Kate, who had a No1 with the haunting Wuthering Heights in 1978. This, out on October 24 is equally spooky and has the air of Massive Attack. After a slow, hypnotic start it builds into a glorious crescendo. The lyrics are so strange, its hard to work out what she’s on about.”The Daily Mail reviewed the single favourably on Sept 30th. See a scan of the article here. The Daily Express ran a very tabloidy “Kate the recluse” type 2-page article on Sept 30th here. Gavin Martin writes: “And from the atmospheric opening to its last eerie gasp, King of the Mountain is unmistakably the sound of one of pop music’s last great originals. ..and like some sonic sorceress locked away in her private lair Bush carries on from where she left off with The Red Shoes in 1993..but any thoughts that Bush is relishing a return to rough and tumble of celebrity life, or is preparing to tackle the pop world on its own terms, are cast aside by song itself. Lyrically, with an oblique reference to Orson Welles’ classic movie Citizen Kane and to Elvis Presley, it is Kate’s meditation on the perils of fame and power. Technology has allowed her to deepen and enrich the territory explored on her Wuthering Heights debut single back in 1978. Long-time fans will recognise the wildly romantic and foreboding landscape the song creates…the mood of the record is a masterful balance of opposites – cool reserve and sonic boldness, gothic gloom and sensual awakening. Oriental percussion, ghostly harmonies, synthesisers that whisper and howl accompany Kate’s fraught but tender vocals. Fittingly for a woman who has taken so long to make a comeback there is no hurry to reach a climax. King of the Mountain builds slowly and it is the entrance of a grimy low-slung offbeat reggae guitar provides the cue for the band to slowly come together. When they do so it is like they are making music in a dream, while wading through a field of honey… Magnificent.” The Bizarre column of The Sun newspaper on the 27th reviews the single: “The track is suitably odd – as you’d expect from Kate, who had a No1 with the haunting Wuthering Heights in 1978. This, out on October 24 is equally spooky and has the air of Massive Attack. After a slow, hypnotic start it builds into a glorious crescendo. The lyrics are so strange, its hard to work out what she’s on about.”The Daily Mail reviewed the single favourably on Sept 30th. See a scan of the article here. The Daily Express ran a very tabloidy “Kate the recluse” type 2-page article on Sept 30th.
Lots of mentions for Kate in the brochure to mark the first Bard Indie Conference in Birmingham. An EMI spokesperson says “There is a lot of optimism within the business compared to previous years. We have our Robbie album and a Kate Bush album, so it’s shaping up to be a really strong quarter for us.” The brochue states ” King of the Mountain is a blissfully melancholic addition to her catalogue, with a delicate electronic production that updates her sound for 2005 without betraying her roots.” Other news in brief: King Of The Mountain played on the KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic show in the US…in Germany the single is released Oct 21st and the album is released Nov 4th according to German EMI here…Japanese EMI are releasing all Kate’s albums repackaged in cardboard sleeves (these are NOT the awaited EMI remasters)…Billy Sloan on Scotland’s Radio Clyde has played “here…Japanese EMI are releasing all Kate’s albums repackaged in cardboard sleeves (these are NOT the awaited EMI remasters)…Billy Sloan on Scotland’s Radio Clyde has played “King Of The Mountain by Kate Bush, the killer single from Aerial”…Best Radio was the first radio station to introduce Kate’s new track in Greece, on Saturday the 24th. Listener reaction was said to be overwhelmingly positive.
The brand new official EMI Kate Bush website is gearing up to launch on November 7th to coincide with the album release. For now check it out to see the single artwork (spin the king!) and to register for site updates!
As expected, the news of Kate’s new album Aerial has been quickly reported just about everywhere, the BBC website being one example. Please take a look at our forum’s Medialog section where many of these reports have been gathered together. Articles have already been published in UK newspapers The Independent and The Daily Mirror.
Well, hello there! It’s been twelve long years since The Red Shoes in 1993, but finally in a press release this morning EMI Records have proudly confirmed the fantastic news: Kate’s hugely anticipated new work, her eighth studio album, will be released worldwide on November 7th 2005 (Nov 8th in USA). It will be a double album.
It is entitled Aerial. The first single King Of The Mountain precedes the album on October 24th. Both the single and album are produced by Kate Bush. This site, in conjunction with HomeGround The Kate Bush Magazine will keep you up-to-date on everything you need to know as the excitement mounts. Be sure to visit our busy site forum to discuss the release of this brand new music. Kate Bush is back in business, we are delighted and we wish her all the very best over the coming months.