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Old 04-22-2009, 05:28 AM   #191 (permalink)
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For anyone who may or may not be following this thread, sorry for the lack of updates. Been frightfully busy for the last week or so. Just thought I'd bump the list and say there'll be at least one more review popping up by the end of the week.

'til then, stay tuned
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:09 AM   #192 (permalink)
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Damn you, toying with me like that.
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Old 04-22-2009, 06:43 AM   #193 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fruitonica View Post
Damn you, toying with me like that.
Hey, at least I'm keeping you on your toes
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:48 AM   #194 (permalink)
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Bugger it, may as well do the next one now...

6. David Bowie - "Heroes" (1977)

1. Beauty and the Beast
2. Joe the Lion
3. "Heroes"
4. Sons Of the Silent Age
5. Blackout
6. V-2 Schneider
7. Sense Of Doubt
8. Moss Garden
9. Neuköln
10. The Secret Life Of Arabia

Having completely reinvented his sound with Low earlier that year (and inspired generations of musicians and music-listeners to come) by incorporating European electronica into his songwriting, David Bowie had taken another giant leap ahead of the pack with the album which many regard as his classic. Following such a brilliant, influential and ultimately massively important album would be no small task. When David Bowie, producer Tony Visconti, Brian Eno (his collaborator on Low), King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp and the same band which recorded that album with him (minus guitarist Ricky Gardiner) took to Hansa Studios in West Berlin to record this follow-up though, all this and more was achieved. Whereas the backbone of Low was a melancholic, isolated and despairing sort of vibe, "Heroes" is injected with a more positive kind of musical atmosphere, resulting in the songs on side A (with lyrics) feeling much more fully-formed, and not the unfinished yet eerily-effective fragments which made up most of side A of Low. Given that most of side B is populated with beautiful electronic instrumentals, this similarity in layout and approach between the two albums makes "Heroes" (in effect) Low part 2. However, as I've mentioned, I reckon this album's not only more than just a stylistic sequel to its predecessor, but that it also improves on it and has a unique identity entirely of its own.

Beauty and the Beast, which kicks the album into life, sums up this new approach to songwriting nicely, taking the ambitious, synth-heavy instrumentation of Low's lyric-inclusive songs and spicing things up using elements of Bowie's more melodic past as a composer. It features a wonderful performance from the Alomar-Murray-Davis rhythm section (one of the consistent strong points of this album), as does the following Joe the Lion; a pretty mental song which gets by on a rolling George Murray bassline and a guitar duel between rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar and lead guitarist Fripp which underpins the whole track, making for one of Bowie's finest and most overlooked tracks (seeing as it never saw release as a single and wasn't performed live all that often, for obvious reasons).

As for "Heroes", what's to be said that hasn't already been said so many times before? This monolith of a song oddly enough didn't see much success when it was initially released as a single in '77, probably because the single mix was cut to a more broadcast-able length than its 6 minute entirety, sacrificing a lot or the drama and passion of it. Fun bit of trivia here; during the recording, producer Tony Visconti set up mics several feet away from Bowie's headset and initial mic, which operated with a kind of electronic gate which would see them activated/unlocked when Bowie's vocal track hit a certain pitch, which explains the notes he hits on this song. Absolute classic of a track, and deservedly one of the man's best-known.

From its lively opening, Sons Of the Silent Age sees the pace and overall tone of the album slow down a little, as Bowie's baritone sax in the intro sets up a more pensive yet equally effective song, featuring another marvellous vocal performance over the backing band's show of their diversity as a unit. Coming right after it, the madly lively cut Blackout sets up a nice contrast with it, rolling along on the back of a heavily-treated guitar track from Fripp, some more Burroughs-esque cut-and-paste lyrics and a fittingly wild performance from the rest of the band.

It calls time of the first, song-based side of the record as, like Low before it, starting with the blissful, distorted instrumental V-2 Schneider, the album goes down the instrumental route. This, as if there weren't enough on this album already, is another one of Bowie's most overlooked tunes - a lively cut featuring saxophone interludes between sections of the recording. At about 3 minutes in length, it's all a bit too short really. Sense Of Doubt is a much more dramatic and haunting instrumental and sounds a lot more like the kind of track you'd find on Low, with four descending piano notes as its spine and varying keyboard chords to give things more of krautrock-esque colour.

As the album nears its end, the music begins to take more of an Eastern kind of feel, with the koto and beautiful synth chords on Moss Garden giving things a sort of Japanese-flavoured edge, and not exactly sounding unlike something Kitaro would record. Neuköln is an absolutely remarkable track which, in the music alone, tells the story of the cultural struggle between German and Turkish citizens of the Neuköln suburb of Berlin, with the fittingly Arabic-sounding saxophone representing the dying struggle of the Turkish culture in the face of the German synthesizers. To finish up, where one might expect another instrumental to bring the album to its end, the Secret Life Of Arabia comes in and turns any expectations one might have had on their heads, with its nonsense lyric, wonderful bassline, Eno's synthesized atmospherics, vocal harmonies and such bringing a brilliant album to a brilliant climax. Of all the songs on the album, this one probably would've made the most effective single.

So, in the midst of Bowie's creative peak as a songwriter came this magnificent album. In truth, it's part of a string of classics which began with the previous year's Station To Station and ended with 1980's Scary Monsters, so I could've picked any one of them. On the other hand, where Low was the most influential of those albums, "Heroes" took the studio antics of Bowie and Eno a step further, feeling more complete an album than its predecessor and conjuring some unforgettable classics, all the while backed up by the finest backing band Bowie would ever assemble who really help this album to tread that fine line between gloomy krautrock atmospherics and blissful new wave melodies very nicely indeed. Therefore, this is what I'd call the man's masterpiece.



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Old 04-22-2009, 08:09 AM   #195 (permalink)
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Yes yes yes. I think this is better than Low which most people prefer out of the two. There is not one blip on the album. Awesome pick Sir.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:07 AM   #196 (permalink)
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I think I might do a mixtape for numbers 10-6, two from each album. I'll probably get a link up for it in a bit.

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Yes yes yes. I think this is better than Low which most people prefer out of the two. There is not one blip on the album. Awesome pick Sir.
Cheers Would you call it your favourite Bowie album as well perchance?
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:13 AM   #197 (permalink)
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Top idea (Though I have 4 of them), can't wait for 1-5. I really have no idea who's going to be up there considering you have already 'eliminated' a lot of other artists I thought would have been higher. There's only one artist I feel I KNOW will be in there...
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:17 AM   #198 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Zarko View Post
Top idea (Though I have 4 of them), can't wait for 1-5. I really have no idea who's going to be up there considering you have already 'eliminated' a lot of other artists I thought would have been higher. There's only one artist I feel I KNOW will be in there...
Yeah, I wonder who that could end up being

Next one's probably going up tomorrow evening. As for the mixtape, may as well get cracking on it now.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:31 AM   #199 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bulldog View Post
I think I might do a mixtape for numbers 10-6, two from each album. I'll probably get a link up for it in a bit.



Cheers Would you call it your favourite Bowie album as well perchance?
No that would be Station To Station, then Heroes and 1.Outside, Scary Monsters with Low completing my top 5.
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Old 04-23-2009, 07:45 AM   #200 (permalink)
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No that would be Station To Station, then Heroes and 1.Outside, Scary Monsters with Low completing my top 5.
Fine choices. Do you have the Buddha Of Suburbia? If you don't you should definitely give it a go - it's in a very similar vein to those 5, and probably his best album post-1980 (in my opinion). Give us a shout if you need a link eh.

Here's the new mixtape as well;

10-6.rar
1. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - Man Out Of Time
2. The Fall - Paranoia Man In Cheap Shit Room
3. Elvis Costello & the Attractions - ...And In Every Home
4. The Fall - Service
5. David Bowie - Sons Of the Silent Age
6. The The - The Beat(en) Generation
7. David Bowie - V-2 Schneider
8. The The - Beyond Love
9. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - The Sorrowful Wife
10. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Gates Of the Garden
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