The latest news about the musician Kate Bush and her work

Category: How To Be Invisible (book)

More reviews for Kate Bush Remastered and How To Be Invisible!

Kate Bush Remastered CD Box 1The January 2019 edition of Classic Pop magazine (out now) has ranked the Kate Bush Remastered Part 1 CD Box as the 3rd best reissue of 2018: “The end of the year saw a tremendous reissue of Kate Bush’s back catalogue in its entirety and here was the pick, collecting her albums from 1978’s The Kick Inside to 1993’s The Red Shoes. Fifteen years of insatiable, mystical folk-pop from this most quixotic of artists – here was a dreaming indeed.”  

Meanwhile Billboard Magazine has included Kate’s Remastered box sets in their Top Ten of the best reissues of 2018. Ron Hart writes: “By pop parameters, remastering the catalog of Kate Bush is like trying to do a restoration on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel — how do you improve upon perfection? But across these two extraordinary box sets, the British visionary’s recorded output has never looked or sounded better, while a four-disc collection of extras — though in many ways incomplete with the absence of such crucial fan favorites as the 12-inch mixes from her The Red Shoes era and the material comprising the 1979 On Stage EP — is nevertheless a treasure trove filled with such rare treats as the previously unreleased 1975 composition “Humming” and a version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” that was originally recorded in 1994 with Irish musician Davy Spillane and wasn’t officially released until 2005 when it served as the b-side for the Aerial single “King of the Mountain.”

Kate Bush Remastered Part 2

Australian site, Your Music Radar, has a great article on the remasters here by Brian Parker. Brian says: “Kate has continued to make brilliant, inspiring albums, and has recently remastered all her back catalogue on her own record label, Fish People. For a woman that has always seemed reluctant to look back, the remastering of all her albums was long overdue. How can you make perfection, sound more perfect? And the result? It’s a sonic dream. Rather than making the tracks louder, Kate (with James Guthrie) has focussed on clarity, making the albums sound more crisp. Little subtleties like harder sounding drums, clearer backing vocals, crisper synth motifs. It feels as if a fresh breath of air has been injected into the albums, making them sound more vibrant, colourful, and breathing life into all her vignettes abundant from her imaginative mind.

Both the CDs and vinyls are lavishly packaged. They can either be purchased individually, or in four vinyl and two CD boxsets. She has pulled together b-sides, 12″ mixes and some other rarities as well (including a song called ‘Humming’ that has never been released in any format, which was recorded from the same early sessions as ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’). For some reason she has emitted the Kate Bush on Stage EP (which contained tracks from her first 1979 tour), and the amazing b-side from ‘The Big Sky’ called ‘Not This Time’ – okay these are only tiny gripes. The thing is the remastered albums serve a reminder of what a singular and extraordinary talent she is – a testament to artists not to compromise, stay true to your muse, whilst at the same time valuing your privacy and giving the corporate-ness of the music industry a two fingered salute. She did it her way.”

Stuart MaconieWell-known UK music journalist and BBC 6Music presenter, Stuart Maconie, has often reviewed Kate’s work over the years, and in his recent column in the Waitrose Weekend UK free newspaper he doesn’t hold back in his praise:          

“As a creator, Kate Bush is as monumental as the Great Pyramid makers and the results are just as awe-inspiring and enduring. Because Kate doesn’t like to rush things, her albums come around at intervals roughly between the Football World Cup and the appearance of Halley’s Comet. This means that its possible to chart one’s life alongside them. I certainly can. I was a music-drunk teenager when I first saw and heard her at the time of Wuthering Heights and The Kick Inside and was instantly besotted. By Hounds Of Love, I was floundering on the dole in Essex and Wigan. The Red Shoes found me actually with her in a studio in North London, chatting about it for a music magazine, my fortunes having changed somewhat. T S Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, I’ve done it with Kate Bush albums.

If you’ve had a similar life with Kate, and if your original vinyl and CDs are getting a little battered, you’ll probably be drooling over a new and highly desirable boxset just released in time for Christmas; Kate Bush Remastered…..conventional critical wisdom has it that the early records, uniquely strange and delicious, like Wuthering Heights, were a kind of gauche apprenticeship for the mature works that came along at much longer intervals and framed in state-of-the-art studio production architecture, albums like Aerial and The Sensual World. For me, it’s the early work here that delights; direct, pure, slightly odd. These are pop songs but filtered and fractured through her uncommon sensibilities. Moving, Delius, Oh England My Lionheart, these are songs utterly unlike what anyone else was doing at the time (although they spawned legions of imitators). Sometimes, as in the case of Them Heavy People or Hammer Horror they are geekily funny, sometimes eerie (The Kick Inside, Wow), elsewhere (In The Warm Room, Feel It) disarmingly, shockingly sexy. Whichever period Kate is your favourite, they’re all here. It’s not cheap. But it’s a very special body of work, unlike anything else in British pop….Wow, as she once sang. unbelievable.”

The Guardian has reviewed Kate’s new book of lyrics, How To Be Invisible. Laura Snapes grapples with understanding Kate through her lyrics, without annotation from Kate herself:

“This understanding (of gender and power) is one thread of How to Be Invisible, which splits selections from her catalogue across 10 newly curated sections, offering no clear framing devices. (Only Aerial’s A Sky of Honey suite and Hounds of Love’s second side, The Ninth Wave, remain intact.) Here is how we might find her, wedding Snowflake and Hounds of Love into a consideration of the perils of succumbing to love; contemplating alchemy and evolution from Cloudbusting, about a child losing faith in a parent, to Bertie, a tribute to how her son transformed her life.

She addresses loss movingly: Aerial’s A Coral Room finds the memory of her late mother in “her little brown jug”; The Fog, from The Sensual World, asks how to love when its objects are transient. Houdini and Get Out of My House bookend her strident interrogation in how to remain open to pleasure but protected from deception. Two sections dwell on gender. Joanni, her portrait of Joan of Arc, is juxtaposed with an indictment of masculine warmongering (Army Dreamers). Later, Bush explores masculine and feminine perspectives, contemplating desire (Reaching Out) and obligation (Night of the Swallow), never reaching trite conclusions.

If there is one to be drawn from How to Be Invisible, it isn’t that Bush is unknowable, but that life is: how much can we ever know about love, ourselves, the things we lose? She is never cowed by the uncertainty. Her songwriting suggests the only way to weather it is with curiosity; applying silliness as courageously as literary seriousness, balancing spiritual insight alongside unabashed carnality, domestic truth alongside fantasy, never concerned by contradictions. Desire runs wild in the final section: Mrs Bartolozzi’s sexual laundry fantasia; the wily, windy Wuthering Heights. This headstrong pursuit has guided Bush. The question is not what we can learn about her, but what we might learn from following her lead.”

A review piece in the New Statesman, “When Song Lyrics Become Literature”, explores four recent lyrics books by musical artists, including Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Florence Welch and the late Leonard Cohen. The writer, Jude Rogers, reserves particular high praise for Kate’s How To Be Invisible:  

How To Be Invisible“Her book, unlike Tennant’s, works magically, possibly because many of her lyrics are structured so strangely. She also adds, in her brief author’s note: “all the lyrics have been reviewed as works of verse without their music and so in some places are more detailed than how they originally appeared on their albums”. Some digging on my part reveals nothing more than her playing with poetical constructions such as “o’er”. To do this job properly, however, weeks of album listening will be required, promoting a deeper understanding of these songs. Bush clearly knows what she’s doing.

How To Be Invisible also sees Bush grouping her songs, without explaining her methods; it’s your job to spot the golden threads connecting these pages. Here are songs about clouds (“Cloudbusting”, “The Big Sky”, “You Want Alchemy”), drifting in and out with wonder. Here are songs explicitly and obliquely about war (“Pull Out the Pin”, “Breathing”, “Experiment IV”). “Army Dreamers” is also in this set, one of many that reads astonishingly on paper. A number 16 hit in 1980, its lyric about a dead soldier reminds you of the brutal economy of Sylvia Plath: “Now he’s sitting in his hole,” runs the most devastating line. “He might as well have buttons and bows.”

Themes recur at mystical intervals too. The rope that ties lovers together in “Sat In Your Lap” appears, like a ghost, in “Snowed In At Wheeler Street” (songs from 1981 and 2011 respectively; their dates are not listed in the book). The second-side song cycles from Hounds of Love (1985) and Aerial (2005) – “The Ninth Wave” and “A Sky of Honey” respectively – also incorporate pages that go beyond conventional text (the voices murmuring to the drowning woman in “The Ninth Wave” dance across a double-page spread in different typefaces; while in “A Sky of Honey” birdsong is depicted in skittish, angled handwriting). Here is an artist still expanding the possibilities of a form, as she always has.”

The Irish Times review Kate’s new book: “Not a spare word anywhere”

John BoyneJohn Boyne, bestselling author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, writes in The Irish Times about his discovery that reading the lyrics in Kate’s new book, How To Be Invisible, is to experience her songs in an entirely new way. He writes:

“Knowing the albums as well as I do, reading these familiar lyrics is to experience the songs I love in an entirely new way. They’re not structured chronologically here, and there’s more focus on the later work than the earlier, but this adds an interesting element, for Bush has clearly chosen each juxtaposition for a reason. Breathing, for example, a song about nuclear war, is placed next to Experiment IV, which recounts a military plot to create “a sound that could kill someone from a distance”, and this is followed by Joanni, a song about Joan of Arc. The entire section is introduced by the classic Army Dreamers and ends with O England My Lionheart, where “the soldiers soften, the war is over, the air raid shelters are blooming clover”. And these five songs are drawn from four different albums. It’s so subtle, but it’s so smart.” Read the full review here.

Author David Mitchell writes in today’s Guardian about Kate’s work!

As well as appearing on this morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4 (see our earlier news item with transcript here), novelist David Mitchell writes a lengthy and quite brilliant piece in today’s Guardian. For him, she has produced four album masterpieces in her career – guess which ones? Read the full article here. Here’s an excerpt in which he discusses what it means to be a fan of Kate’s work:

“I’ve been a fan of Kate Bush for nearly 40 years. Being a fan, like being in love, is giddying, it’s as personal as skin, it connects you with others in a particular way, and it sets you up for a fall. Being a fan puts you on one-way first name terms with the object of your fan-ness, even if he, she, they or “Kate” don’t know you exist – as is almost always the case. Over time, the “fan state” may change in expression but not in essence. “Fan” as a label is a slur on your critical objectivity and even your maturity, but if you weren’t a fan of something or someone, wouldn’t life be a little bland?

You don’t learn much about Kate Bush from her songs. She’s fond of masks and costumes – lyrically and literally – and of yarns, fabulations and atypical narrative viewpoints. Yet, these fiercely singular pieces, which nobody else could have authored, are also maps of the heart, the psyche, the imagination. In other words, art.”

“Fans want more of what we loved the first time, yet we complain if things feel repetitive. Kate is a mighty exception to all this, as rare as a yeti. Her fidelity to her ever-curious, ever-morphing muse has won her a body of fans who hold her songs as treasured possessions to be carried through life. By dint of never having been in fashion, she has never fallen out of fashion. By taking bold artistic risks that she navigates with ingenuity and wisely chosen collaborators, the albums Kate made in her late 40s and 50s equal and surpass the songs recorded in her teens and 20s that made her famous. To any artist in any field, her example is a hope-instilling exhortation to evolve, to reinvent, to reimagine what we do.”

You can buy Kate’s book (with exclusive bookmark), and also How To Be Invisible t-shirts and tote bags along with lots of other items, AND enter a raffle for a signed copy at the Kate Bush Remastered Pop Up in Coal Drops Yard, London, which is still open every day until Sunday December 9th at 8pm, all profits to the Crisis homelessness charity. More info here

Author David Mitchell talks about Kate’s book on BBC Radio 4

On the Today programme this morning on BBC Radio 4, author David Mitchell talks to Rebecca Jones about Kate’s book of lyrics, How To Be Invisible, for which he wrote the introduction. David previously worked with Kate on dialogue for scenes in her Before the Dawn shows. David has previously written about his love of Kate’s work in The Guardian here. Listen to the interview with David at time mark 2:22:37 into this audio stream here.

“I’m just really, really glad that this woman exists, I’m so glad she’s made the music she has done. It’s like a constellation in the sky for me, it fills me with wonder. As I’ve evolved her songs have a quality – they evolve as well. I often sort of think of them as companions who walk with me through life.”

She is notoriously private. What can we learn about Kate Bush through her lyrics?

“She is a “word nerd”…the kooky, quirky, quixotic use of language. She’s not afraid of the darker places of the human psyche. That gives her work power that most songs don’t even aspire to.

How did you first come across her? 

“Well, I first encountered Kate Bush like many people of my generation in 1978 on Top of the Pops when the video for Wuthering Heights appeared…(laughing) it was like nothing we’d ever seen before. I remember the next day I went to school and all the girls in the class were playing being “Kate Bush”, doing that dance around the playground which certainly burnt that song into my memory…and it’s still there.”

On Kate’s influence on his own writing: “She had an album in 1982 called The Dreaming which was artistically experimental, and it is a risk-encourager, you can’t listen to it without thinking, well, if it worked for her, maybe it will work for me as well. I listened to that album over and over and over when I was writing my first two novels. It’s a sort of friendly artistic muse on your ear saying: “yeah go on, have a go, try it, see if it works”

It was while he was working on his new novel that the request came from Kate Bush to write the introduction to her new book. We’re often advised not to meet our heroes, because they might be disappointing, what was it like for you then?  

“She’s not at all disappointing; she’s like her songs, she has a deep mind, the size of a planet, it’s full of interesting thoughts and images and combinations of words that you haven’t really met before, and just a very warm human being as well.”

Is there any hint that she’s working on new music? David, amused (and cautious!) says: “I’m not allowed to say, I’m SO not allowed to say…I can neither confirm nor deny so I’ll just have to lapse into enigmatic silence I’m afraid!” David concludes the interview, summing up Kate’s influence: “People will still be listening to these songs with amazement in two, three hundred years time. I think this work will last in the same way that metaphysical poetry from the Elizabethan era has lasted. I know that’s a huge claim to be making, but if I were to to make it about anyone, then Kate Bush would be in that very small circle of artists.”

You can buy Kate’s book (with exclusive bookmark), and also How To Be Invisible t-shirts and tote bags along with lots of other items, AND enter a raffle for a signed copy at the Kate Bush Remastered Pop Up in Coal Drops Yard, London, which is still open every day until Sunday December 9th at 8pm, all profits to the Crisis homelessness charity. More info here

How To Be Invisible, Kate’s book of lyrics, released today!

Kate’s book of lyrics, How To Be Invisible is published today! After escaping into branches of Waterstones a little early last weekend, it will now be available in all good bookshops priced £14.99. We hope you enjoy curling up by the fire this December, mug of cocoa or a nice glass of red in hand, pouring over and savouring the results of Kate’s decades as a wordsmith like no other, selected and arranged by her, with an introduction by her friend, novelist David Mitchell. How lovely. (You’re going to love Aerial Tal!)

How To Be Invisible book goes on sale in Waterstones in the UK!

Kate’s book of lyrics, How To Be Invisible, has been appearing on shelves in branches of Waterstones across the UK, several days ahead of the announced release date. Signed copies of the book to be won in a daily raffle, exclusive bookmarks and other items will be offered at Kate’s charity Pop Up Shop from Wed December 5th to Sun December 9th – read here for all the details.

Kate's book in Waterstones

Limited, signed edition of How To Be Invisible book announced!

How to Be Invisible Limited Edition

UPDATE Nov 22nd: The 500 signed copies of this limited edition book sold out in less than 15 minutes.

From today’s Faber press release: On 6th December we will be publishing a limited edition (500 copies) of How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics by Kate Bush. Each numbered edition is signed by Kate – RRP £150

The book will be available to pre-order from Waterstones (online only) from 10 a.m. on Thursday 22 November AT THIS LINK HERE.

The online product page is now live but you will not be able to pre-order the book until tomorrow morning. Copies will be limited to one per customer. Waterstones can ship overseas. Please note that the copy is not secure until you have gone through the checkout process and completed the purchase (i.e. simply putting the book in your basket is not enough, you need to have paid for the item for the order to be completed).

The limited edition of How To Be Invisible will be published alongside the standard hardback edition, which you can pre-order now from all good book retailers.

How To Be Invisible limited Edition

How To Be Invisible: Selected Lyrics by Kate Bush (limited edition)

Book: Quarter bound in real book cloth (spine area) and paper panels (front and back), blocked in gold foil with author and title (on spine only), title in braille on front panel, text printed on 90gsm Munken Premium Cream woodfree paper, marbled endpapers, gold head and tail bands, gold ribbon. Each copy is signed by the author and numbered and presented in a solander box.

Facsimile handwritten lyrics: Exclusive letterpress print ‘Aerial Tal’. 272x192mm (approx), printed in gold on Canaletto Velino 300gsm paper, housed in a paper envelope. Each print is numbered (not signed).

Please note that the spec of this limited edition may be subject to slight change due to manufacturing processes and availability of materials.

Kate to release How To Be Invisible – a book of lyrics in December!

How To Be Invisible small coverKate is releasing a book of selected lyrics entitled “How To Be Invisible” on December 6th. It is published by Faber and Faber and you can pre-order it here.

Selected and arranged by Kate, with an expansive introduction by the novelist, David Mitchell, How To Be Invisible presents the lyrics of Kate Bush for the first time in a beautiful cloth-bound Faber edition.

“For millions around the world Kate is way more than another singer-songwriter: she is a creator of musical companions that travel with you through life,” said Mitchell. “One paradox about her is that while her lyrics are avowedly idiosyncratic, those same lyrics evoke emotions and sensations that feel universal.”

The Guardian has ran a short piece about her book here and Guardian writers choose their favourite Kate Bush lyrics hereUncut have the story here.

You can pre-order Kate’s book here. Also, you can sign up to a mailing list to receive news about an exclusive Limited Edition format of this book here: https://www.katebushbook.com/

How To Be Invisible book cover

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