Posts Tagged ‘Fairlight’

1. Sat in Your Lap (3:30)
2. There Goes a Tenner (3:26)
3. Pull Out the Pin (5:30)
4. Suspended in Gaffa (3:58)
5. Leave It Open (3:25)
6. The Dreaming (4:41)
7. Night of the Swallow (5:25)
8. All the Love (4:35)
9. Houdini (3:52)
10. Get Out of My House (5:30)

Kate Bush – vocals, piano, keyboards, strings
Alan Murphy – electric guitar (5, 10)
Brian Bath – electric guitar (3)
Ian Bairnson – acoustic guitar (5, backing vocals (1)
Paddy Bush – mandolin, strings (4, ), bullroarer (6), backing vocals (1, 6, 10)
Liam O’Flynn – Uillean pipes, penny whistles (7)
Sean Keane – fiddle (7)
Donal Lunny – bouzouki (7)
Rolf Harris – digeridu (6)
Del Palmer – bass (2, 4, 7, 8), backing vocals (9)
Eberhard Weber – bass (9)
Jimmy Bain – bass (1, 5, 10)
Danny Thompson – bass (3)
Dave Lawson – synclavier (2, 4), string arrangement (9)
Geoff Downes – CMI trumpet section (1)
Bill Whelan – string arrangement (7)
Andrew Powell – string arrangement (9)
Preston Heyman – drums (1,  3,  5, 10)
Stuart Elliot –  drums (2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Esmail Sheikh – drum talk (10)
Gary Hurst –  backing vocals (1)
Stewart Arnold – backing vocals (1)
Dave Gilmour – backing vocals (3)
Gordon Farrell – backing vocals (9)
Paul Hardiman – backing vocals (10)
Gosfield Goers – crowd (6)
Percy Edwards -animals (6)
Richard Thornton – choirboy (8)

After a few weeks’ break, my blog is ready to resume is activity with another milestone release of the early Eighties – proving once again that the  much-maligned decade was not the wasteland for challenging music that many hardcore progressive rock fans purport it to be.

I have been a fan of Kate Bush for as long as I can remember.  Being a woman, I have been able to focus my appreciation of this multi-faceted, highly individual (and often imitated) artist  on her musical and lyrical output, without any considerations on her physical appearance clouding my judgment. A genuinely progressive artist (though seen by far too many people as little more than a purveyor of  intelligent art-pop),  known for her almost obsessive search for privacy and the infrequency of her releases (especially in the past two decades), Kate Bush has blazed a trail for a slew of women artists ranging from Tori Amos to P.J. Harvey – all of them very intriguing in their own way, though rarely as mesmerizing as  Kate can be.

The Dreaming, Kate Bush’s fourth studio album, is generally considered inferior to its follow-up, Hounds of Love – especially by those who find it way too adventurous for its own good.  With multilayered vocals, an impressive, often exotic instrumentation, eerie sound effects, lyrics dealing with intense, occasionally disturbing topics, it is probably Kate’s most progressive album in the true sense of the word, and as such not to everyone’s taste. Indeed, The Dreaming may be effectively compared to her good friend Peter Gabriel’s ’80s releases, which share the pervasive presence of ethnic rhythms  and instruments (immediately introduced in opening track “Sat on Your Lap”), as well as topics like the plight of indigenous populations. The influence of  the so-called New Wave movement  is also quite evident in both Kate’s and Peter’s output of those years, especially as regards the use of electronics – though it is only one of the ingredients of an intensely personal mixture.

There is very little in the way of filler on The Dreaming, although, in my view, the lilting, lighter-hearted “There Goes a Tenner” and “Suspended in Gaffa” are not as successful as the other tracks. On the other hand, the album’s  highlights rank among Kate’s best work. The echoing, heavily percussive title-track is awash with the voices and sounds of the Australian outback; while the achingly beautiful “Houdini” (to which the cover picture refers) sees one of Kate’s most poignant vocal performances, enhanced by plaintive strings and sparse piano.  Kate also explores her Celtic roots with the gentle ballad “Night of the Swallow”, laced with the distinctive sounds of the Uillean pipes and fiddle. However, the album features a true masterpiece in the haunting “Pull Out the Pin”:  with Pink Floyd’s legendary guitarist David Gilmour eerily emoting on backing vocals, the song focuses on the Vietnam war seen from the point of view of a Vietcong: “Just one thing in it, me or him/And I love life…” The lyrics starkly reflect on the absurdity of war, bearing once again witness to Kate’s deep insight into human nature.

The Dreaming is arguably not as easy to get into as either its predecessor, Never For Ever, or the highly praised Hounds of Love. With markedly fewer instances of catchy melodies such as “Wuthering Heights” or “Babooshka” , and an overall experimental feel, it also relies quite heavily on innovative production techniques, which at the time many listeners found rather baffling . However, none of these factors mar the excellence of an album that, even more so than other Kate Bush releases, manages to be soothing and unsettling at the same time – a truly ground-breaking effort from one of the most iconic artists on the current music scene.

Read Full Post »