Review : Kate Bush - Director's Cut
PitchforkThis is not, strictly speaking, a new Kate Bush album. Just a warning for all of you who'd gotten used to agonizingly long waits between Bush records. It was easy to hope, when Director's Cut was first announced, that we'd been blessed ahead of schedule with the latest transmission from her private art-rock fairy land. Instead, this is a rethink of a somewhat controversial period in her career, by an artist who claims not to give much thought to her albums once they've been sent to market.
Director's Cut transforms songs from 1989's The Sensual World and 1993's The Red Shoes. Sometimes crucial elements (rhythm tracks, vocals) are re-recorded. Some aspects (like certain guest performances) are left unchanged. Occasionally an entire song gets a note-by-note remake. It's a major and unexpected reinvention of familiar and very time-bound material, not quite "new" and also not quite what fans have been playing for years now. The very different mix of Director's Cut changes not just the sound but the emotional kick inside many of these songs. What was once the work of a shy woman who came to roaring life on record is now just as often subdued, reflective, inward-looking. It's worthy of standing as its own entry in Bush's discography, without necessarily replacing the albums it draws from.
At the time of its release, The Sensual World seemed both up to date and not of its time. The glossy studio-obsessive production sounded definitely of its moment, fitting for the era of booming drums and reverb-soaked pop trifles from bands like Fine Young Cannibals and INXS. But the songs, and Bush's performances, were stark reminders that she actually came out of the same tradition that gave us the operatic vocals of prog rock, the jazz-tinged complexity of the Canterbury psychedelic scene, the unashamed theatricality that led to Peter Gabriel dressing up like a giant daffodil. It made for a strange hybrid, the smoothness of the Big 80s meets the complexity and expressionism of the prog 70s. Much of the record's tension came from wrapping shiny pop accessibility around songs that might burst into emotionally raw strangeness at any time. Bush played to the moment, but couldn't be contained by it....full text
NmeWhen news filtered in from Cathy-towers that the woman who said: "I can't possible think of old songs of mine because they're past now" would be, um, re-making some of her older songs, heads were scratched. It may seem odd that Bush - known for her pioneering methods of studio layering - has decided to strip these songs back to their cores, instead of doing something more progressive with them, but after a few listens, her decision makes perfect sense.
The album is very much the Son Of ‘Aerial’; full of silence, space and maturity. If one misses the bold warmth present in the older versions, you can’t fault Bush's modus operandi which seems to be; slow thing down and focus on the lyrics.
Flower Of The Mountain
Molly Bloom's soliloquy from the end of James Joyce’s Ulysses is finally set to Bush’s music as she originally intended it to be in 1989. Her matured vocal have touch of the languid Eartha Kitt’s about them, and the meshing of the words from the early 20th century plus a floaty rhythm track creates an atmosphere of timelessness....full text
GuardianKate Bush has earned the privilege of working in geological time. She was once a pop star who turned out landmark releases relatively quickly, but now, aeons pass between releases.
Six years have gone since Aerial, her last, double album; before that, 12 years went by with barely an aerated hiccup. Bush makes you wait, and nothing is more tantalising in an age of instant-everything-on-demand than not hearing from an adored artist. Bush has not toured since 1979, an artistic quirk that has some bearing on Director's Cut.
One further reason the reclusive 52-year-old mum-of-one is a rare nightingale among starlings is that she is a fully paid-up geek – inhabiter of her own home studio, early adopter of all sorts of recording technology, and au fait with the intimidating gizmos that keep most artists enslaved to producers. She might have caught the public's eye in the late 70s as a wild-eyed warbler in a leotard, and cemented her reputation in the 80s as an arch-sensualist, but Bush is a girl who knows her way around gear.
Only a nerd of the deepest hue would bother to painstakingly transpose her 1993 album, The Red Shoes, from its digitally produced final cut into analogue tracks, held by many audiophiles to be "warmer"-sounding. This is precisely what Bush has done on Director's Cut. The album takes great swathes of The Red Shoes and choice cuts from its predecessor, 1989's The Sensual World, and reworks them, sometimes with subtlety, and sometimes with daring.
The most high-profile edit concerns the title track of The Sensual World. Bush originally intended to use Molly Bloom's climactic speech from James Joyce's Ulysses as her lyric, but Joyce's estate denied her the privilege. With that decision reversed, the resulting track – now retitled "Flower of the Mountain" – is a fascinating restoration....full text
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