Just Like London Buses, you wait a couple of decades and then two come along at once. My Bloody Valentine are by no means the most hasty of bands, with a twenty year lay off in their release schedule, but as if by magic they have produced and released a new album, tantalisingly entitled m b v.
They must be miffed though – Bowie nipped in there and stole the WOW moment for ancient acts making a comeback in January. I predict by the year’s end there will be a baker’s dozen of such miraculous events, possibly even a new Elvis Presley album.
Here it is in a slightly hobbled try-before-you-buy format.
I still can’t believe what David Bowie did on the 8th January 2013. Take a decade off for good behaviour, then show up unexpectedly and place the question “Where are we now?” into everyone’s consciousness. After so long a silence it is quite a remarkable achievement. Shut up for ten years, record a secret album, release new song on 66th birthday suprising everyone and entering top ten charts everywhere. Classy.
It wasn’t just the audacity and the coolness of the carefully maintained anti-hype which made it such a great event. It’s a very intelligent choice, to come in quietly. A nostalgic, observational song it’s a surprising choice of comeback but a good one, which catches the seriousness of these entropic times perfectly.
That Bowie scored a hit is no surprise. An intelligent man who has known and worked with highly creative people in many fields all his life, his early success could have been a one-hit wonder – he worked hard to get the audience he has. Tony Oursler’s video is a huge part of this. But by producing a complex meditative piece, a personal retrospective with a plaintive, questioning chorus, a lyric full of Berlin place-names sung in a sometimes frail voice, he makes an artistic statement which is typical Bowie, pleases fans everywhere and adds a few million more, no doubt.
If Bowie has genius it’s as much in his reading of the times we inhabit. The new song’s observant, nostalgic mood is a perfect foil for all the noisy self-assertion out there. Bang on for this historical moment, unrest everywhere, civil wars, bullets and bombs, it’s sympathetic to the mood of now. Berlin was a city under siege when Bowie lived there, with a free and bomenian culture. In the din of the endless regurgitated pop music machine, it stands out as an original as it catches a general mood. There’s a brand new dance, but I don’t know it’s name.
Having heard the question I can’t wait for the album, which is supposed to be full of variety and quite rocky. Perhaps that’s another subterfuge. Anyway, he got everyone’s attention most beautifully.
To quote another English poet from south London, the artist William Blake,
“The imagination is not a State: it is the Human existence itself.”
Busy times at Funk Towers. I’ve been remixing, remastering and in some cases finishing the songs which came out of the pilot series (five weeks) of the Rise and Shine songwriting show (more here about the show).
The official release is 11:44am GMT March 20th 2009, which is the exact time of the Spring Equinox.
It’s been a labour of love as well as hard work. Mostly I’m happy after a break to go back to song recordings, and bring them blinking into the light with the aid of cleverness, but in some cases – especially when you’re mixing three per day – it’s a pain. You have to regularly rest your ears, or the mixes sound bad, it’s simple as that.
Funnily enough, the song I most enjoy after all the extra production attention is one which I found difficult to write at the time (wasn’t feeling too well) – Money to Burn, which lambasts our culture of insanely excessive wealth and specifically the Forbes rich list.
The reason I found this song hard to go back to was that it’s a an angry protest song, and while I get the point of such songs, full shout mode isn’t a place I like to inhabit. But, like plenty of people, I love loud, aggressive songs in the right place and time. Rage is a part of the human experience, as is outrage.
Money to Burn is well written, the performances are good, I like the intro by @Langley and it was actually great fun to remix. It’s very much in the style of Beastie Boys hip hop, with trashy guitars, nice beats and samples, and megaphone vocals ripping the piss out of super-rich snobbery.
Now of course with taxpayers money being donated by the truckload to busted bankers, it’s become fashionable to poke the rich with a sharp stick. Back in March 2008, most people still hadn’t quite cottoned on to the appalling state of capitalism.
All the songs will be up and ready for tomorrow’s official launch, and we’ll have a party in London in April to coincide with the physical release of the album.* I’m also looking forward to hearing some remixes – Lagowski is on the case.