KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words

Deeper UnderstandIng

This is about people... well, about the modern situation, where more and more people are having less contact with human beings. We spend all day with machines; all night with machines. You know, all day, you're on the phone, all night you're watching telly. Press a button, this happens. You can get your shopping from the Ceefax! It's like this long chain of machines that actually stop you going out into the world. It's like more and more humans are becoming isolated and contained in their homes. And this is the idea of someone who spends all their time with their computer and, like a lot of people, they spend an obsessive amount of time with their computer. People really build up heavy relationships with their computers! And this person sees an ad in a magazine for a new program: a special program that's for lonely people, lost people. So this buff sends off for it, gets it, puts it in their computer and then like , it turns into this big voice that's saying to them, ``Look, I know that you're not very happy, and I can offer you love: I'm her to love you. I love you!'' And it's the idea of a divine energy coming through the least expected thing. For me, when I think of computers, it's such a cold contact and yet, at the same time, I really believe that computers could be a tremendous way for us to look at ourselves in a very spiritual way because I think computers could teach us more about ourselves than we've been able to look at, so far. I think there's a large part of us that is like a computer. I think in some ways, there's a lot of natural processes that are like programs... do you know what I mean? And I think that, more and more, the more we get into computers and science like that, the more we're going to open up our spirituality. And it was the idea of this that this... the last place you would expect to find love, you know, real love, is from a computer and, you know, this is almost like the voice of angels speaking to this person, saying they've come to save them: ``Look, we're here, we love you, we're here to love you!'' And it's just too much, really, because this is just a mere human being and they're being sucked into the machine and they have to be rescued from it. And all they want is that, because this is ``real'' contact. (1989, Roger Scott)


Both emotionally and sonically, the trio fits deftly into bush's multi-tracked choral vocals. On ``deeper understanding'' they are the spiritual countervoice in a song about emotional disconnection, where the protagonist finds love in a computer program.

Yes, it is emotional disconnection, but then it's very much connection, but in a way that you would never expect. And that kind of emotion should really come from the human instinctive force, and in this particular case it's coming from a computer. I really liked the idea of playing with the whole imagery of computers being so cold, so unfeeling. Actually what is happening in the song is that this person conjures up this program that is almost like a visitation of angels. They are suddenly given so much love by this computer - it's like, you know, just love.

There was no other choice. Who else could embody the visitation of angels but the Trio Bulgarka? SHE LAUGHS. (1990, Musician)


I suppose it's looking at society where more and more people are being shut away in their homes with televisions and computers, and in a way being encouraged not to come out. You know, there's so many people who live in London in high-rise flats - they don't know their neighbors, they don't know anyone else in the building. People are getting very isolated. It was the idea of this person who had less and less human contact, and more and more contact with their computer, where they were working on it all day and all night. They see an advert in a magazine for a program for people who are lonely and lost, so they write off for it. When they get it back in the mail and put it into the computer, it's the idea - a bit like an old sci-fi film, really - where it would just come to life and suddenly there's this kind of incredible being there, like a great spiritual visitation. This computer is offering this person love, and the idea that they've had such little human warmth, they're getting this tremendous affection and deep love from their computer. But it's so intense it's too much for them to take, and they actually have to be rescued from just being killed with love, I suppose. (1989, KFNX)


This computer buff sends away for a programme that says: ``Are you lonely? Are you lost?'' He plugs it in and out come voices of angels. In our city times we do have less and less affection for each other and become more and more isolated. Here is something real and meaningful - deep love coming out of a bloody computer! (1989, Tracks)


How do you feel about the character who's so desperately, pathetically lonely, (s)he's formed an addictive relationship with a computer?

Well, wherever you live, chances are you won't know your neighbours, you won't even know the person who lives next to you. But I see this song set in America, just because it's so much more extreme out there: people don't go out of their houses, they watch the television, they can shop from the television, they speak to people on the phone. If they want, they needn't have any form of human communication of a real kind at all, and I think that's being encouraged.

You know, a couple of years ago there was a lot of news about how women were divorcing their husbands because they were spending all their time with their computers - they were in there all night. I suppose it's still happening. And this song is about this very intense relationship that developed, where this person spends all their time with computers. They talk to the computer and the computer talks back.

I suppose I really liked the idea of deep, spiritual communication - deep love which should come from humans - coming from the last place you'd expect it to, the coldest piece of machinery. And yet I do feel there is a link. I do feel that, in some ways, computers could take us into a level of looking at ourselves that we've never seen before, because they could come in from outside all this...I'm not really sure what I'm saying...

She laughs and takes a sip of tea.

I think a lot of things in Nature are almost programme-based, and a lot of things that we do are very mechanical, so maybe somehow going right through a computer, almost so that you come out the other side - going through all that science - will take us to something very spiritual but very earthy.

I was very inspired by Stephen Hawking. Have you heard about this guy? I think he was an Oxford scientist. [Actually cambridge.] He's very ill and, basically, he's coming up with how everything is created...or not created, as he sees it.

I saw him on television, and it was so moving: this guy who's so close to the answer of it all, in a body that was desperately...it was going, and quickly. And he was fighting against the time he had left, and yet...Here was this guy who was probably the closest to knowing it all, and he was speaking through this voice-processor. It was almost, for me, like hearing the voice of God.

What he was saying was so spiritual, it was not like a scientist. It was someone saying, ``Well, look: it wasn't ever created and it won't end, it just is.'' You know, this wonderful conceptualism is almost beyond words, because he's gone so far through the process. Words can't explain what he's discovered.

I find that a bit scary. I wonder if we want the answer?

Well, I wonder if we'd understand it! Even if we knew the answer, we probably wouldn't understand it.

But if we ever found out, definitely, whether there's a god or not, it would be like definitely finding out there are aliens from outer space: The human race couldn't handle it, couldn't cope with not being the centre of the universe. And what if we found out there definitely isn't a god, what then? The truth would be too much to bear. The idea of death being an inconceivable nothing would drive us mad with the contemplation of extinction.

We seem to be very much in the era of reason, and I think science is the ultimate example of that. The other side is the instinctive, which is not logical on any level. Perhaps it's the putting together of the two. You know, like what you were just saying there about aliens? Most people's response would be that it's just not possible because their reason says so, but then an instinctive person might feel, 'Yes, this is so's because it just feels right.

Maybe we've lost touch with our instincts, so it's become very important for us to work out logical explanations for things all the time, which I think is a bit of a shame, really. (1989, Melody Maker)


It's like today, a lot of people relate to machines, not to human beings, like they hear telephone [Makes ringing noise] and think ``Is that for me?'' I guess it playing with the idea of how people get more and more isolated from humans and spend a lot more time with machines. I suppose America's a really good example where there are some people who never go out, they watch television all day, they're surrounded by machines, they shop through television, they speak to people on the phone; it's just distant contact. The idea of the computer buffs who end up going through divorce cases because their wives can't cope with the attention the computer gets. They have an obsessive effect on people, and this track's about one of those types.

"But I was lonely, I was lost/Without my little black box/I pick up the phone and go Execute. . . . I turn to my computer like a friend/I need deeper understanding."

I was playing with the juxtaposition of high tech and spirituality. I suppose one inspiration was a program I saw last year about a scientist called Stephen Hawking who for years had been studying the universe, and his concepts are like the closest we've ever come to understanding the answer. But unfortunately he has a wasting-away disease, and the only way he can talk is through voice process. It was one of the most moving things I've ever heard. He was so close to the answers to everything, and yet his body was going on him - in some ways it was the closest I'd ever come to hearing God speak! The things he was saying were so spiritual, it was like he'd gone straight through science and come out the other end. It was like he'd gone beyond words, and I do think that there is this possibility with computers that we really could learn about ourselves on levels that could take us into much deeper areas. With my music, I like to combine both the old and the new, the high tech and the compassion from the human element, the combination of synths and acoustic instruments. (1989, Pulse)


It's about someone being trapped in the city, in isolation at work, where they just spend all the time with this computer, actually really developing a relationship with it. Which a lot of people seem to do - they talk to it. So the idea is in sending off this programme for the lonely lost; they put it in and this sci-fi being comes out and says ``I know you're lost, but I'm here to help you, we love you.'' This person doesn't have human contact any more, he's just kind of addicted to the machine. I suppose in subject matter terms I really do see it visually.

So I had this thing and started to write it on the Yamaha piano at home - one of the old CP90s, which is still great. I asked Del for a rhythm, and he put down this very mechanical rhythm on Fairlight. I put DX7 over the top, John Giblin did the most beautiful bass - though it took a while. It always does when I work with John - the main problem is that he just makes me laugh so much.

"Deeper understanding'' is also the first track to feature the trio bulgarka.

That song was sort of finished when I got involved with the Bulgarian singers. I just thought of all the people to represent a being that exudes divine love, it had to be the Bulgarian singers. The idea was to put them in the chorus where the computer was singing, so that they'd have this ethereal sound. (1989, International Musician)


There's a song on the album that is finally a love song for lonely computer hackers [Kate laughs]. They have their own song now. ``deeper understanding''

That's right.

People are of course gonna think that you are a whiz on computers now because you've done a song about them, but what's the real truth ?

It's kind of what you said, its about these lonely people in this modern world who more and more we're being encouraged to stay in our houses and watch television and not go out and not meet people but do it through computers all the time. And this song is about someone who spends all their time with their computer. They have a very steady relationship and they see very few people, have not much contact. And its the idea of them seeing an ad in a magazine for a program for people who are lonely and lost. And they send off for the program and when they put it into their computer it comes alive and its like, its like a visitation and what the computer is offering them is real love and basically this human being just can't take it [Laughs]. Its too much for them, its like trying to be killed by love. I suppose in a way this song is saying that this world is getting colder and getting more and more isolated. To experience love and affection is getting more difficult in the world we live in and its the idea of this person actually getting that kind of love from the coldest form of machine we have, which is the computer.

But it's still love.

Yeah, I think actually that computers could hold a tremendous amount for us in the future. I think they could teach us an awful lot about ourselves. I have a lot of faith in the potential for computers and our spirituality. (1990, KDGE)


*I think, more and more, we're becoming isolated. We don't have healthy human contact, we spend the entire day with machines, all of us. And I do think human beings are getting lonely. There's a lot of unhappy people in our modern world.

You must know these people, who spend all night in this crazy relationship they have with their computers. Their wives want to divorce them because they're in there all night with the computer. And it was an idea born out of something so cold, so inhuman, so unfeeling as this computer buff sending off for a programme he sees in a magazine. He puts it in - and suddenly this programme almost becomes a being, like the voices of angels, a visitation. And it's the idea that this could actually happen through a computer, that someone can get the most real love they've ever experienced from the most unexpected source.

I suppose in some ways one of the inspirations for that... have you ever heard of Stephen Hawking? I recently saw an interview with him on television; it was so beautiful, that's the impression I was left with. It was this really moving notion of a guy whose body is really deteriorating, but his mind and soul are so alive. Hearing him speak through his voice-processor, for me it was the closest thing I've heard to God speaking. Because some of the things he was saying were pure science, but it was as if he'd gone right through science and onto the spiritual level.

I don't have a ``downer'' on computers at all. I think they're really good and very important. And I also feel there's this really strong spiritual age that's going to hit us soon and it will be very much due to computers, because of the pure way they can break things down. Also I think they can teach us a lot about ourselves; we've never been in the position of having something else through which to look back at ourselves. But they are encouraging humans not to have as much contact as they should have, not to be as affectionate as they should be. We should really try to develop our priorities as people. (1989, RAW)


I must confess one comic note on ``deeper understanding'' I have a telephone that has the exact same sound [Kate laughs] and the first eight or nine times through the album I was continually running up to get the phone and no one was there [Kate laughs again]. Two minutes later I'd do it again and I finally we wait a minute that's on the record.


It was running at such a volume that...

That's great. The time you wanna worry is when you pick up the phone an there's a voice at the end going Hello George !!! (1990, KDGE)


About ``deeper understanding": On the way here, the driver kept leaping because he though his vodaphone was going.

It's very interesting that you should say that because so many people have. If they'd have that track on, people would be talking away and then they hear the computer sound, they're completely distracted. And I think it reinforces in a way what the whole song is about, which is rather nice. It's almost like people respond more to a machine talking to them than to a human. It's like we're all keyed into mechanical information.

Do you like all of that? Having a studio? Do you get excited about new gadgetry?

Yes. I suppose it always wears off a bit...It's just fantastic. I really can't believe that we got such a good studio that I can work in and make records in. Because I couldn't do it in a commercial studio now. I think it would be impossible for me, and I'd get so nervous - I'd feel completely out of my depth. I've got so used to having the privacy, and I can just pop in and have a cup of tea. (1989, Greater London)


That seems to be something we're encouraged to do, in that, more and more, it's almost easier for us to stay in our rooms, watch the television, shop from our computers. To become such isolated beings. (1990, Los Angeles Times)


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