Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie, and may God's love be with you


What a bummer it was to wake up on a chilly monday morning, dragging myself out of bed to get ready for work (that alone can cause me to crawl right back under the sheets) - - only to find out that David Bowie - a major contributor to the soundtrack of my life and a gigantic influence on The Out Of Bodies - had passed away only a few hours ago. It wasn't publicly released until now that he had been battling cancer for about a year and a half - and according to his long-time friend and record producer Tony Visconti, Bowie wanted to leave his fans with a parting gift in the form of what critics are saying is his most extreme album ever, titled "★" (Blackstar) which was released on January 8th, just days ago on his 69th birthday. 

Visconti wrote on his Facebook page "He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was no different from his life - a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift. I knew for a year this was the way it would be. I wasn't, however, prepared for it. He was an extraordinary man, full of love and life. He will always be with us. For now, it is appropriate to cry."

In spite of some downright creepy visuals (which Bowie is known for creating in his videos) and obvious lyrical references to his own mortality, Bowie's last album is also somewhat dreamlike - driven by, as one critic noted "long, jazzy jams mixed with the kind of driving beat pioneered by Seventies German bands Can and Kraftwerk." About it's origins Visconti elaborated "We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar. We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn't do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll."

Tonight I'm going to pick up my copy on compact disc rather than just downloading it - I'm imagining Bowie would appreciate the fact that there are still those out there who, in spite of all that technology offers, prefer to hold something visual in their hands. Bowie was, after all, just as much a visual artist as he was with his music. I guess I can also safely assume I will be listening to Blackstar during many car rides - perhaps even getting a little spooked. I'm looking forward to it.

Enjoy the videos... and thank you, David, for everything...

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