Back to The Sensual World album page
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 89 03:26:37 EST
From: email@example.com (Chris'n'Vickie of Kansas City)
Subject: Hi-Fi News and Record Review and New Hi-Fi Sound
Hello, Chris here. First a review from "Hi-Fi News and Record Review" (the British publication) the Dec. issue.
The Sensual World EMI CDP 7930 7 82
At a private playback party which Kate Bush held earlier this summer, the audience of friends and colleagues was stunned into silence by the end of the first tape. Among those present was Nigel Kennedy, who plays on the album, and the Trio Bulgarka, there to here what Kate had done with their vocals. Kate looked genuinely surprised at the strength of everyones reaction, but she does have an uncanny ability to move the soul. "Sensual World" may not have the obvious singles and instant appeal of "The Hounds Of Love" but it washes over you like a great wave. Some tracks, like "Rocket's Tale" include some surprisingly heavy guitar from Dave Gilmour-the man who introduced her to EMI. Other tracks are haunted by Davy Spillane's Uillean Pipes. The mixture of old and new works perfectly. The songs are less clearly structured than those on the last album. At times they seem to meander aimlessly, as with the eerie title track: but Kate Bush is a remarkable woman and this is a remarkable album. [ A : 1* ]
( "A" is for "Very Good" - their best rating - for recording, "1" is also for "Very Good" - for performance, with a star "denotes outstanding quality" )
They also have a nice interview with Nigel Kennedy.
A review from "New Hi-Fi Sound" (also British) Nov. issue:
Kate Bush: The Sensual World EMI EMD 1010
Although neither a continuous piece, nor obiously conceptual, "The Sensual World" takes its lead from the vocal and textural experiments on side two of Kate Bush's last album, "The Hounds Of Love".
To this end she has looked to the folk scene, currently and rather ironically the best place to find real instrumental innovation these days. Subsequently employed have been the services of bouzouki player Donal Lunny (ex member of the superb Bothy Band and last heard on Elvis Costello's "Spike" LP); Uilleann pipe player Davy Spillane (a prime mover behind Enya's "Watermark" album); Celtic harp player Alan Stivell; and her own brother Paddy Bush, who plays mandolin, whips (!) and a variety of obscure wind and stringed instruments.
She has also used Trio Bulgarka, a group of female Bulgarian singers whose shrill, wavering tones Bush contrives to imitate, often to rather embarrasing effect, on parts of the LP.
Such a radical lineup of talent is augmented by violinist Nigel Kennedy and original Bush mentor, guitarist Dave Gilmour, sounding far sharper than on recent Pink Floyd work. With these and arrangers like Michael Nyman, it's little surprise that "The Sensual World" boasts some extreme sounds and ideas. Nor that at times it fails pretty dramatically.
The title track is quite superb. Opening with a peal of church bells and a great sweep of multi-layered keyboards, it simply builds and builds over a relentless, plodding beat. Bush half-chants a lyric that repeats and re- iterates unconnected lines until they develop into a powerful and erotic Mantra. The debut single from the album, it repays repeated listenings if only for wondering at how someone can glue such an expansive arrangement so securely simply by moaning 'mmh,yes' at the end of each line. Draw your own conclusions from that one.
"The Fog" is similarly fascinating. Bush compares the shock of first love to a childhood swimming lesson, her real-life father intoning the haunting phrase: 'Just put your feet down, child, because you're all grown up now'.
The tune develops from Davy Spillane's solo whistles into a middle section of quite awesome beauty; Nigel Kennedy's tortuously brilliant fiddle-playing pierces a great orchestral swell.
The rest of the album, inventive though it may be, never quite matches the power of these two tracks. Much of the fault lies with the underlying tone of naivety and rural conservatism which seems to pervade the whole recording. "Deeper Understanding", a song about a child's obsession with a home com-puter is as weak and shallow as it's theme is hackneyed. And almost for the first time ever - on a song entitled "Between A Man And A Woman" - Kate displays a frighting lack of nous about love and romance. 'It's so hard for love to stay together,' she sings, 'with the modern western pressures'- she seems to be witnessing, rather than experiencing, that pressure, however.
Contrast this song with her classic "Running Up That Hill", and it's easy to wonder whether Kate - the reclusive country girl, a star since her early teens - gets her ideas from life or from some very good books.
"Never Be Mine" restores some of the faith in her extraordinary talant. It's first verse - an account of walking home through the burning stubble and seeing her lover's face 'ghostly in the smoke' - could only be plucked from real life, and brilliantly underlines the sense of a love lost in the very moment that it's won. The vocal work of the Trio Bulgarka and the mournful tones of Spillane's Uilleann pipes combine quite beautifully here.
"The Sensual World" is a highly sophisticated musical tapestry which will take dozens of listenings to unravel and appreciate. At this stage, though, it seems to lack the edge and sheer musical power of "The Hounds Of Love", and depicts an artist, who for all her will to experiment, has become just a little too introverted and self-obsessed.
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 90 21:07:18 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Dirty Linen
There's an article about Kate in the Winter issue of Dirty Linen, a magazine published in Baltimore. For those worried about copyright infringement, I should say that this magazine says, "Excerpts and entire reviews my be reprinted as long as credit is given to the author, artist, or photographer and Dirty Linen magazine." I intend to do that. Here's the article:
Kate Bush: In Focus
by John Anthony Wilcox
"Imagination sets in,
then all the voices begin."
-- from "Fullhouse"
Kate Bush. In the U.K. and Europe the name invokes memories of a seemingly endless string of hits. "Wuthering Heights," "Babooshka," "Sat in Your Lap," "Running Up That Hill," "Cloudbusting," the list goes on and on. But in the States, it's a different story. Here, La Diva Bush has only obtained a small, albeit devoted, audience. Her music is alternately wistful, folky, gutsy, and passionate. Perhaps it's the inability for the public to pigeonhole her into one concrete style of music that has let stardom elude Bush here. No matter. What Kate Bush the singer/songwriter/performer/producer presents has very little to do with stardom and quite a bit to do with substance and storytelling.
In a conversation I had with Kate Bush a while back, she mentioned that she seldom, if ever, wrote in an autobiographical context. She much preferred creating characters, and the songs were stories either about them or from their point of view. One need look no further than her introduction to the public -- the song "Wuthering Heights." She relates the story of obsessive love from the viewpoint ot the deceased Cathy and her beyond-the-grave love for Heathcliff. Bronte would surely find no fault in Kate Bush's homage to her timeless characters. "Wuthering Heights" was a prelude to Bush's debut album The Kick Inside. The album showcased a fragile, imaginative young woman and focused on delicate piano (played by Kate) and lush arrangements to counterpoint Bush's willowy multi-octave voice. Her sophomore album, Lionheart, was much in the same vein. Perhaps *too* much.
Lionheart came across as a somewhat lightweight Xerox of The Kick Inside but with less substance. However, for all its faults, the album did contain a few gems among the pebbles. "Fullhouse," "Wow," and "In the Warm Room" are very strong compositions, and "Wow" in particular is to date the closest Kate has come to writing about herself. This album was also backed by a brief but memorable tour that yielded both the Kate Bush: Live at the Hammersmith Odeon videocassette and the live EP On Stage. This would mark an end to a chapter in Kate's career, as the next release brought us a new and different performer.
1980 saw the release of Never for Ever. With it, Bush took a more active hand in every facet of her music -- from concept to arranging to producing, she was in on every step. The album opens with "Babooshka," a tale of infidelity, and closes with "Breathing," a prayer for our Earth. In between, Never for Ever offers a cornucopia of styles, and an impressive array of guests. Look for contributions from Preston Heyman to Mike Moran to Roy Harper (Kate would return the favor by appearing on Harper's The Unknown Soldier disc that same year). The album is full of mandolin, balalaika, bodhran, and even a strumento de porco, thanks in no small part to Kate's brother Paddy, a specialist in ethnic instruments.
As big a step as Never for Ever was from Lionheart, 1982's The Dreaming was a giant *leap* from Never for Ever. A caustic, dark album full of cynicism and shattered dreams, The Dreaming puts aside Bush's inherent romanticism in favor of kinetic energy. Bush whoops, snarls, and quivers her way through the predominently percussive "Sat in Your Lap," "Get Out of My House," and "Suspended in Gaffa," to name a few. But it is the title cut that shows Kate Bush at her strongest, her most confident. "The Dreaming" relates the plight of the Aborigines and is punctuated by authentic digeridoo and Bullroarer. Bush handles it all with sensitivity and respect for all involved.
By that time Kate was in full control of every aspect of her musical endeavors and clearly loving it. That buoyancy is reflected in 1985's Hounds of Love. Side one of Hounds... showcases Kate Bush, the quirky pop princess in "Running Up That Hill," "The Big Sky," and the title cut. Bright and poppish, they are full of color and sparkle. They are contrasted by "The Ninth Wave," a side-long concept piece. Kate informed me that "The Ninth Wave" relates a tale of a drowning person who encounters their past, present, and future. Cheer up, folks, there's a happy ending. Folkaholics should note that members of Planxty turn up on this epic to provide some musical wonder to a section entitled "Jig of Life." Once again, another chapter in Kate Bush's story closes, and the 1986 retrospective The Whole Story is a fine souvenir, collecting many of her finest moments as well as a new tune, "Experiment IV".
Which brings us to 1989. After a lengthy hiatus, Bush came back with The Sensual World. It's clearly her most "global" effort to date, incorporating rhythms and instrumentation from such diverse sources as the Middle East and the Balkan countries. One of the most well-known Bulgarian groups, The Trio Bulgarka, provides authentic vocals. Lyrically, Bush is delving more into relationships and less into creating stories from whole cloth. Songs like "Never Be Mine," "Reaching Out," and "Between a Man and a Woman" are her most direct yet. Curiously, she also chose to include an older song, the delicate "This Woman's Work", which originally appeared a few years back on the motion picture soundtrack to She's Having My Baby [sic]. Also, in a tip of the hat to her mentor, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, who was responsible for getting Kate her big break, lends some blazing guitar to the album.
It should be noted that Kate Bush doesn't lie idle between albums. She's guested on several other artist's albums, as well as turning up on the odd soundtrack or two. Bush has also lent her considerable talents to several charitable organizations, most recently to the preservation of the rain forests. This woman's work is clearly far from finished!
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 90 15:35:56 PST
From: email@example.com (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: CD Review
As Dave Steiner just posted, there's a review of the album in the Feb. issue of CD Review. Not only that, but there's a prominent picture of the album in the table of contents. Here's the review:
Best CD of the Month
Performance: 9 Sound Quality: 9
Kate Bush: The Sensual World
Columbia CK 44164 (AAD) 1989 (89) [I don't know what that last number means.]
Disc time: 45:59
Kate Bush doesn't know it yet, but she's not 19 anymore. Preciousness still wraps around her like a silk shawl, too fragile to handle, yet so beautiful and pure that it demands attention. Fortunately, beneath the affected mantle lies a woman whose eyes are wide open to the world around her. You see, Kate Bush is a poet, an observer of life, and whatever role she chooses to play is simply an attempt to convey her observations.
On The Sensual World, as on most of Bush's albums, those observations deal mainly with male-female relations. From the eroticism of the breathy "mmmm, yes" that accents each verse of the title track (a technique sure to be despised as much by critics of her work as it will be worshipped by her loyal fans), to the unrestrained outpouring of feelings on "Never Be Mine" (as cathartic for the listener as it probably was for the singer), bush ponders the eternal struggle of intimate human emotion and the communication of those emotions between man and woman.
As usual, Bush plays all piano and keyboards. Joining her is guitarist and perennial fan David Gilmour of Pink Floyd (who "discovered" Bush at age 16, organized her first demo, and arranged her signing to EMI), Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka (whose unusual vocal style can be heard on "Deeper Understanding," "Never Be Mine," and "Rocket's Tail"), Del Palmer (who also engineered the disc, in addition to supplying bass, guitar, and percussion), and Davey Spillane on Uillean pipes (which add a haunting edge to the title track, inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses.
Bush's mystical, almost minimalist approach to music revolves around the building up and releasing of tension, not any preconceived notion of song design. While her voice is the material with which she weaves this at times libidinous tapestry, the dreamy arrangements and Bush's attention to melody (however odd their structures may be) leave no doubt that she is not as self-indulgent as some think. The Sensual World also reveals just how much Bush, who takes producer credits, cares about sound. Thick with layers of instrumentation that are orchetral in scope, the soundstage is never cluttered.
Bush wants us to understand with this disc that the past and the future are not abstract entities over which we have no control. She is singing about concrete realities affected by present-day activity. The beauty of living in the sensual world is one of emotion, of pure, unadulterated experience with no values attached to it. -- Edward Murray
Review of the album from the Jan. 26 issue of Goldmine :
The Sensual World Columbia (OC 44164)
Kate Bush has always invested her music with enough odd textures and musical twists and turns that she not only keeps her music sounding fresh, but unpredictable from disc to disc. The Sensual World, Bush's sixth studio LP, isn't quite as bizarre as, say, 1982's The Dreaming, but it has its moments. The ourtright strangest song here is the whimsical "Rocket's Tail" in which Bush packs herself with gunpowder and lights a fuse, launching herself into the stratosphere.
The song begins with the layered vocal harmonies of Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka, then segues into a cacophony of voices set to a rocking beat. The trio lends its distinctive melodies voices [sic] to "Deeper Understanding," about a lonely woman's love affair with her computer, and the ballad "Never Be Mine," where a woman clings to a fantasy world ("I want you as the dream, not the reality") but lives to regret it ("The thrill and the hurting/I know that this will never be mine").
Bush doesn't go for typical lyrical themes. She's much too eccentric for that: in the percussive stomp "Heads We're Dancing," Bush takes on the voice of a woman at a '39 dance who recognizes her partner of the night before in the morning's newspaper ("It couldn't be you/It's a picture of Hitler"). Further, Bush's ballads ("The Fog," "This Woman's Work") are more inventive than most other artists' attemps at balladry, and though she may keep her fans waiting a long time between recordings the results are always well worth it. -- Tierney Smith
Interestingly, Gillian G. Gaar, who used to edit For The Love Of Kate, wrote several reviews in this issue, but not this one!
That's it for now, folks!
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 90 21:39:47 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Suranyi)
I found a review in a magazine called Cover, published in New York City. This is from the Jan. issue.
The Sensual World CBS
Pick Of The Month: A rich and ephemeral song cycle set in Lawrencian images. Stunning in its success, and like other of its kind (namely Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and Roxy Music's Avalon ), its rewards are reaped by repeated intent listenings and forgetting all you've read about it. -- Paul Paddock
Today I came across the premier issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) of a new magazine called Exit, which calls itself "The Alternative Magazine." It's published in La Jolla, California (near San Diego for those unfamiliar with California geography).
Anyway, it has a whole page Kate Bush Discography for some reason. No article or interview, just a discography. I won't post it since it's not quite as comprehensive as the lists IED has posted lately. However, it does include almost all the official singles, albums, etc. It also includes the addresses of the Kate Bush Fan Club and eight fanzines.
Eight pages before this discography, they have a review of the album:
The Sensual World CBS
After four years of ripening, a new fruit is hanging on Kate Bush's tree of talents and inspirations, blending its sounds with the echoes of Hounds of Love. Although The Sensual World can hardly become as commercially successful as its precedent, it is an album of mature work. The listener will probably have to listen to it several times before they can attempt to appreciate its value. Although carefully balanced and mixed, the album might sound (sort of) raw, as far as timbre is concerned. This is a consequence of Bush's using quite unusual instruments such as villain pipes [sic], valiha, bouzouki, fiddle, whistles, etc., which hug the songs with a special warmth.
Another contribution to the overall sound is made by three Bulgarian singers, the Trio Bulgarka, whose melodic lines, although sounding unfamiliar to the western ears, create an harmonic effect that ranges from interesting to hair-raising, especially in "Never Be Mine" and "Rocket's Tail". Two other important contributions to the sound of the album are made by Michael Kamen, who skillfully made the orchestra arrangements and Dave Gilmore [sic] (old buddy of Kate's) who did not fail to make his presence noticeable by playing a couple of his strumming guitar solos.
In spite of the many guest musicians, however, The Sensual World is still a very personally made album. It is charged with Kate's own emotions and experiences. Don't hesitate to respond to her invitation of sharing those emotions. Grab the delicious fruit from her tree and take a deep bite. (Mmm.. .yes!) -- Nectarios Tradas
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 90 22:24:28 PST
From: email@example.com (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Feb. issue of Car Audio
Hi folks. I've got some items I hope will be of interest.
First, I found a couple more good reviews of the album. This one's from the Feb. issue of Car Audio :
The Sensual World (Columbia)
Kate Bush has been making compelling music for about a decade, and she still has only a small, dedicated core of fans. Her appearance on Peter Gabriel's So album brought her exposure to a lot more people, but she is not the type of artist that makes a record with an eye toward the pop charts.
Instead, Bush follows her own muse, and it takes her to some pretty interesting places on Sensual World : the dreamy, swirling environs of "The Fog" and a study of computer dependency in "Deeper Understanding," for example. Bush's lyrics and music are mystical, but not in the forced, air-headed sense of a cape-twirling Stevie Nicks.
With her somewhat excessive musical backdrops stripped away and her frail voice at the forefront of the music, as on "This Woman's Work," Bush proves herself a potent, evocative vocalist and songwriter.
-- Doug Newcomb
And here's the review from the Feb. Music Technology :
The Sensual World Columbia
Pick of the Month [Yeah!]
After four long years since the release of Hounds Of Love, die-hard Kate Bush fans can rejoice in yet another startling display of exceptional creative talent. In many ways, this new album is a refinement of the style that she has been cultivating for years. Her particular brand of theatrics blended with mutant Irish folk rhythms blended with far-out spacey arrangements permeates every nook and cranny of The Sensual World to produce a fantastically affecting brew.
As with her past recordings, she once again breaks new ground in soundscapes. The beetle's wing of the brew this time around is the inclusion of the Trio Bulgarka on four [?] of the tracks, most notably on the tragic 'Rocket's Tail.' The bizarre vocal timbre and nuance of these Bulgarian folk singers lend an unearthly quality to the mood of the album (as if Kate ever needed help in *that* department!)
In many ways, The Sensual World is more akin to her first two albums, The Kick Inside and Lionheart. Whereas Hounds Of Love placed major emphasis on atmosphere (and she certainly doesn't abandon this altogether -- 'The Fog' is perhaps her most richly crafted tone poem to date), this album focuses on *songs*. And like her first two albums, The Sensual World is remarkably listenable. An excellent example can be found in 'Love and Anger,' with its infectious rhythm, propelled by a titillating inaction between the drums and wildly arpeggiating synths (*warning*: the video does not do the song justice!).
I could go on raving about this album for pages, but instead I'll simply insist that you listen for yourself.
-- Dan Rue
Lastly, a while ago I posted the cover story on Kate that appeared in the Dec. issue of Pulse! magazine. The Feb. issue has just come out (there was no Jan. issue), and the following letter appears in it:
Thank you for being among the few to have broken the U.S. silence on the subject of Kate Bush and her work. In 1979, I believe I was the only person in Connecticut listening to The Kick Inside and I was relieved to move to California in 1980 and discover two other people who knew who she was. Will Johnson's article [December '89] was informative, but I would like to correct two errors he made.
First, "The Man With the Child in His Eyes" was on The Kick Inside, not Lionheart, and in fact was recorded in 1977 (along with "Saxophone Song") with David Gilmour producing.
Second, in the "Breathing" video, Kate is not inside "large bubbles," but is an infant yet in the womb, hence the lines "Outside gets inside through her skin/ I've been out before but this time it's much safer in." This is, as far as I know, the only song about the "end" due to a nuclear war written from the perspective of an unborn child. Also, one need not be condemned to seeing only fragments of the 1979 concerts; the Kate Bush Live at Hammersmith Odeon video is available, just hard to find.
Tracy E. Hodson
Unfortunately, in correcting some of the article's errors new ones were introduced. I won't point them out, but if anybody else wants to (IED or |>oug, for example), be my guest.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (David Datta)
Date: 30 Jan 90 02:35:18 GMT
Subject: CBS Press Release
Hi folks, I don't remember if anyone posted this but I figgured all of the fellow love-hounds would like to know what what is in the "official press-kit" Here is the scoop:
There is a 2 page press release which I have included. A 8x10 black & white glossy of Kate's head. It looks like a shot from the Sensual World single cover sessions. The picture is of her looking up and to the left, it shows a semi-profile where the right side of her face is almost all washed out white.
So, if you want to compare the following with the so-called articles in the magazines, read on:
CBS Press Release, Posted January 1990
Eclectic Music is not affiliated with CBS or any other record company, this press release is being reprinted here with full permission from CBS and is being reprinted with the sole intent of disseminating information.
The following text is directly from a CBS Press Release
THE SENSUAL WORLD, the sixth studio album from Kate Bush, features ten new compositions by the artist (eleven on compact disc and cassette). The new LP was produced by Kate, recorded by Del Palmer, and mixed by Kevin Killen.
THE SENSUAL WORLD was recorded mainly by Kate's studio in Kent, although sessions also took place in Dublin and at EMI's Abbey Road complex. Kate plays piano and keyboards and is augmented by a host of acclaimed musicians. These include Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka, whose unusual voices are heard on three songs: "Deeper Understanding," Never Be Mine," and "Rocket's Tail." There is also the haunting sound of Davey Spillane's Uillean pipes on the title-tune (and first U.K. single), "The Sensual Word," inspired by the James Joyce masterpiece, Ulysses.
Kate Bush was born in Bexley, Kent, England, on July 30, 1958. Her father, an avid spare time piano player, and mother, an Irish woman who takes much joy in music and dancing, raised Kate and her two older brothers with an open mind to artistic experiments.
Kate began violin lessons (reluctantly) around the age of nine but took a passionate interest in the piano. The day after her father showed her the scale of C, Kate became a songwriter.
As a result of a three-track demo, organized and financed by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Kate was signed to EMI before leaving school. Accepting a modest advance from EMI, she was able to concentrate full time on her dance studies, which were initially inspired, and later taught, by theatrical mime-master Lindsay Kemp. They would prove invaluable later on with the dawning of the age of video.
"I'd wanted to make a record more than anything else," Kate remembers. Her ambition was achieved in mid-1977 with the recording of her debut album, The Kick Inside. Her first single, "Wuthering Heights," became a #1 single in the U.K. (January, 1978). It was followed by the album, which rapidly sold over one million copies in the U.K. alone.
The pressure was on to make and release a second album. But when Kate realized her recording schedule has to be fitted around promotional demands all over the continent, she vowed to exercise much more control over her career in the future. Nonetheless, the Lionheart album came out in December '78 and a decision to tour was finalized.
Thirty odd dates took place in Britain and Europe during the spring '79. Every show was a sellout and the two and a half hours of music, dance, mime, and magic defied critics' expectations. But the rigors exhausted Kate to such an extent she's never been able seriously contemplate the idea of another tour.
The Kate Bush on Stage (Live EP) was released September, 1979. This was the first co-production between Kate and John Kelly (who'd engineered the first two albums).
Then came the five and a half minute single, "Breathing," which championed Green issues back in 1980, and marked a major change in the expectations of Kate Bush's many observers. The single entitled "Babooshka" (June, 1980) was followed in September by a new album, Never For Ever. Here was a vinyl confirmation that Kate had much to offer for the often bland world of pop.
"The Dreaming album was so difficult to make," says Kate of her next record (released September, 1982). "Just about everything that could go wrong did during that period." With studio problems and her method of working the cost involved, she decided to upgrade her own demo studio into a professional recording level.
Meanwhile, critics were left to ponder the merits of an album that had yielded "Sat in Your Lap" and the title track as singles. In fact, The Dreaming added considerably to the Kate Bush fan base between it's release and that of Hounds of Love exactly three years later. As with The Dreaming, Kate produced Hounds of Love, Del Palmer engineered and, for the first time, they could boast of an album recorded in their own studio.
Hounds of Love quickly established itself as Kate's most successful album to date both in a commercial and critical sense. It was the first to give her real chart success in America, hitting the top 30 in 1985 (as did the "Running Up That Hill" single). The album was also the catalyst for several superb videos, most memorably the one that accompanied "Cloudbusting," which starred Kate and Donald Sutherland -- one of her favorite actors.
The Whole Story came next, the million-selling compilation album and video released late in 1986. Both formats charted high amongst the best-selling titles that year. Kate's videos, many of which are directed by her, are almost as popular as her records.
"I know it's taken a long time but each record gets harder to make," she says, explaining the four-year gap between the albums, Hounds of Love and THE SENSUAL WORLD, the latter released worldwide on October 17, 1989. "This is my most personal and female album so far. I particularly wanted "The Sensual World" as the first single because I feel it is a strong expression of positive female energy."
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 90 23:28:24 EST
From: email@example.com (Chris'n'Vickie of Kansas City)
Subject: Audio magazine review
Chris here, Here is the review from the February issue of Audio magazine.
The Sensual World:
Kate Bush Colombia 44164, CD; AAD; 45:59
Sound: B, Performance: B
Had she not been so stubbornly original from the start of her career, it would be tempting to say that Kate Bush is trying to edge toward main-stream accessibility with The Sensual World. Compared with earlier albums, there's less here that grates on the unprepared ear, and she has delivered some bluesy, even arguably funky, vocals. But there's also little evidence that she's traded her quirkiness for pop flash. There are no superhooks, no Top 40 bids; even the cover art is subdued. A simple black and white headshot in which a flower obscures Bush's mouth, it betrays exactly why this album may well distance her from old fans and new prospects alike.
As producer, Bush presents a collection of sonic experiments whose success or failure depends largely on whether or not she has obscured her own singing. When she veils her voice, with it's amazing range of pitch and mood, the songs simply bog down. On the title track, a tame and uninspiring Bush sounds like Madonna singing Peter Gabriel. Worse, she has often pushed her voice so far back in the mix that it's lost among thick, airless layers of strings, woodwinds, Fairlight wizardry, and zillion-tracked background vocals. Bush's great angry-cat snarl in "Between a Man and a Woman" for example, is ruined whenever it runs into the dense accompaniment.
Without making full use of her voice, the title track and other songs are simply layers of overpowering sensuality - baklava without a nip of coffee to cut the sweetness. Bush chose analog recording for this project; had she worked digitally, there may have been more crispness and separation.
The songs with spare arrangements work better, letting Bush's voice and often exquisite keyboard work shine through. Talk about a sensual world: Few singers have Bush's power to touch the listener this way, to make singing so luscious and physical - carnal and sublime in the same breath. Listen especially to "This Woman's Work," where a breathy whisper tickles the ear like a feather, and "Walk Straight Down the Middle," where the voice is a sinuous and reedy snake.
Bush's canniest move was to enlist the Trio Bulgarka, the hot Bulgarian a cappalla group with jackhammer vibratos. The Trio is cleverly used to portray the voice of a "loving" computer on "Deeper Understanding." But it's on "Rocket's Tale" (where Bush gets down to some straight-out blues punched into shape by Dave Gilmour's guitar) that we hear what this matchup was meant to be: a glorious battle of the sopranos, where Bush goes head-on with the Trio, no holds barred.
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 90 21:01:57 PST
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Wilson Library Bulletin
I found another excellent review of the album. This one is from the January issue of Wilson Library Bulletin. Many of you probably don't realize that this magazine consistently gives Kate great reviews. Here's this one:
"Kate Bush's soprano is haunting, her lyrics are enchanting, and on her latest album, The Sensual World, one of Britain's most tantalizing singers has made what she calls "a strong expression of positive female energy." Ever since recording her debut album twelve years ago, Bush has insisted firmly on creating her own ethereal kind of music, never being swayed by fads or trends. Instead, she turns to flowery language and strange accompaniment to help bring her lyrics to life. The album's title song is rife with literary allusins to James Joyce's Ulysses, accentuated by the plaintive call of uilleann pipes. On several tunes, Bush complements her own pure lead vocals with the exotic chants of Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka. Bush's albums spin webs that are difficult to escape."
Date: Mon, 12 Mar 90 03:22:34 EST
From: email@example.com (Chris'n'Vickie of Kansas City)
Subject: The Absolute Sound
This is the latest review of "The Sensual World" from the March/april issue of The Absolute Sound. I'll warn you beforehand... it's lousy.
Kate Bush: The Sensual World
[Kate Bush (prod.); Del Palmer (eng.).] Columbia OC 44164 LP.
Let's start with the sound: Magical! No matter how good your system, this record will turn it into a glazed donut. Bush's voice sounds sampled and synthesized. It's always thin, reedy, sometimes raspy, flat, and simply not pleasant to listen to. At the end of one track there's just Bush laughing-attached to so much garbage you can hear the sea gulls circling.
Instruments are vaguely lateral on a two-dimensional soundstage, awash in icy, digital reverb. Drums are soft dull thuds and bass is a deep, character-less rumble. There's no space between instruments, no contrast, few colors. It's like viewing television with the brightness control turned up. This is one of those recordings that forces you to go back to a reference disk just to make sure nothing's wrong with your system.
Musically, things start off hot. "You don't need words-just one kiss then another," the beautiful Kate sings in "The Sensual World". In the end, though, she avoids her "arrows of desire", singing and licking her lips: "I said, mmh, yes, But not yet, mmh, yes, mmh, yes." Tease.
From there, I'm aFreud the symbolism becomes a bit obscure for me on too many songs, and too obvious on others, though a couple of times, Bush strikes just the right balance, advising an outsider to stay out of the age-old battle "Between a Man and a Woman" and on the finale, "This Woman's Work". Overall, it's just not worth trying to penetrate the oppressive gray cloud in which Bush has cast her music on this record. The Sensual World is only for adoring fans of this quirky artist.
A few things are worth mentioning. First, he had the mis-fortune to hear the CBS Lp release. Anyone who wishes to truly hear Kate's music should run out and buy British Lp pressings. The British EMI pressings aren't the quietest, (the Japanese are) but they are the most musical.
What's so baffling is that TAS did a wonderful feature on Kate in January of 1987 after Hounds of Love. The writer (Ifan Payne) complained about the sound quality then, but understood and admired the artistic intent.
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 90 16:31:49 PDT
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Boston Rock
In the new issue of Boston Rock (No. 101), there's an item about "Boston Rock's Top Tens for the 1980s". A couple of people mention Kate, most notably Michael Bloom. He says:
"Rather than try to pick the ten best records of the decade, I wanted to salute the people that made it happen."
"KATE BUSH: Her offer, in 'Running Up That Hill,' to trade sensoriums with her lover is the ultimate answer to sexism. Plus, it's one of the most erotic things I've ever heard."
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 90 17:20:01 PDT
From: email@example.com (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Review of TSW in the Pittsburgh Press
Today I discovered the following review of The Sensual World. It appeared in the Nov. 19, 1989 issue of the Pittsburgh Press.
Kate Bush sends 'Sensual World' into orbit
By Peter B. King
"The Sensual World," Kate Bush. Columbia
Imagine heat lightning shooting from your speakers, and you get some idea of the effect of one listen to the title track of Kate Bush's new album. Like Joe Jackson's "Steppin' Out" or Bruce Hornsby's "On the Western Skyline," "The Sensual World" has a rare immediacy.
Over Davey Spillane's wailing uillean pipes and a racing high-tech rhythm track, Bush trills a lush, shimmering ode to the senses based on James Joyce.
If nothing else, you'll have to agree her repeated "Oh yes" -- sung in a breathless vibrato quicker than a hummingbird's wings -- is the sexiest pop song utterance in years.
By comparison, the rest of "The Sensual World" is merely excellent. The songs are passionate, intelligent and mysterious.
The slightly ambiguous subject matter focuses on men and women. Bush has been called arty and precious, but the toughness of her sentiments belies those labels.
Musically, Bush has a knack for melodic, funky, organic blends of electronic gear with exotic world-music touches such as the bouzouki and Bulgarian folk singers.
Comparisons? Peter Gabriel will put you in the ballpark, I suppose. (British, electronics, world music, etc.)
In her own style, Bush's singing conveys the depth and utter conviction of, say, Joni Mitchell or Chrissie Hynde.
Only one song -- "This Woman's Work" -- sounds ordinary. But also on the down side, Bush's penchant for packing the sonic gallery gets in the way a little. The arrangements are occasionally too busy.
Nevertheless, "The Sensual World" is a palpable garden of earthly delights.
Date: Tue, 9 Jun 1992 12:26:38 -0700
From: "Katrina Michael" <katrina firstname.lastname@example.org>
I thought I'd post a review I happened to come across recently on TSW. It appeared in "Beat", a Melbourne-based music paper. If anyone would like to read the full (typed) review, email me and I'll send it to you.
Full Bloom - The Sensual World
"When Lauren was a small girl, she would stand in the field and call the cats. One by one they would come to her through the grass, across which lay the ice of the coming winter; and she could see them in the light of the moon. She herself wondered why they came. They were wild and heeded no one else; their thrashing in the fields did the farmers no good and Lauren's father hated the howl they invested in the night, like a thousand bleeding babies in the grass. But they came for her and it was certain therefore, because of that, that she was in some way special"
- from 'Days Between Stations', Steve Erickson.
Even reading the record company's biography of Kate Bush - that too is like beginning a breathless windswept novel - "her father is an avid piano player and her mother is an Irish woman who takes much joy in music and dancing. Kate and her two brothers were raised with an open mind to artistic experiments". Signed to EMI before leaving school, Kate never had to worry too much about real life. Quite right. We should be eternally grateful that Kate was never stifled by mundane reality, was always allowed complete freedom of expression in a non-contemporary fashion. Her confidence grows and we benefit from a music which is so naturally 'outside', so gracefully 'above' the sweatings and strainings of those who strive to be alternative, so instinctively 'other'. Because Kate Bush's music emanates from a grander reality, an inner truth.
She takes her time, acts like she lives in a leafy vacuum with her heart, and every so often sends out a record as a message in a bottle. Like all her best achievements, this album marries the physical honesty and self-pride of Marvin Gaye to the querying passionate intelligence of say, Elizabeth Smart, and gives birth to a rare mystical precision.
Kate Bush seems acutely conscious of the gap between the infinite potential of the dream and finite fancies of reality. There's a song later, called "Never be Mine", where she's making an apparently anti-love statement sound like love in bloom: "I want you as the dream, not the reality. It disturbed me that in our times, even Kate Bush - our last Bronte, our last Mishima - was backing off from amour, but gradually what the songs here demonstrate is that she's neither a saucy-eyed dim dewy damsel or a sceptical she-puma suffering the first blasts of doubt. She acknowledges both the successes and failures of romantic idealism. The coda is "This Woman's Work". We're told this was written for a John Hughes film. Tarkovsky would be more fitting. When Kate and her piano are singing with so much heaven in their blood, the state of music in 1989 is not a reference point. Her escape within is so determined and unqualified its infectious. And radiant with inflections.
Once every few years, the burning Bush completes a chapter in her work and it's like a visitation from a guardian angel. Like flowers are never really out of vogue. Like slow dancing with the lights out and the windows open. The Blue Nile have a challenger for the most impossibly beautiful music of the year, but it's not a contest. It's not even a year. Kate Bush is Kate Bush, and thank Christ for that. She appeals to the feral elemental child in every woman, and if you think she only appeals to every man for one reason then frankly, you know nothing about anything and I can't help you. The sensual world is a world without end - let's get it on.
- Katrina Michael
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" - Robert Herrick
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 92 17:38:28 +0200
From: Ulrich Grepel <email@example.com>
Subject: Hoerzu (German TV magazine)
There are two other articles about TSW in German magazines I got hold of, but they are not interviews. Since they are rather short, I'll include them here:
Hoerzu (German TV magazine) printed the following
(a photo of - I would say - the RockPop video of RUTH or Cloudbusting)
"Sensual World" mit Kate Bush "Sensual World" with Kate Bush
Nach vier Jahren Pause hat After a four year break Kate
Kate Bush, 31, ihre neue LP Bush published her new LP,
"The Sensual World" (EMI) "The Sensual World" (EMI).
rausgebracht. Vor allem bei Especially in the ballads she
den Balladen zeigt sie ihr gan- shows her complete facete-rich
zes facettenreiches Koennen. skill.
"Ich wollte ein sehr weibliches "I wanted to make a very feminine
Album machen", erklaert Kate. album", Kate explains.
Um sich nicht von Maenner- For not getting infected by
Energie anstecken zu lassen, man-energy, the English woman
tat sich die Englaenderin mit got togehter with the
dem Frauen-"Trio Bul- womans-"Trio Bulgarka".
I dare say that this is a quite nothingness about Kate...
Der Spiegel (German news magazine) was a little better:
(Photo of Kate with seemingly short hair, a black shirt and jeans, she sits on the floor. The background is colorful painted (the picture is bw, but the same picture is used in the 'Fachblatt MusikMagazin" article)).
Kate Bush, 31 (Foto), englische Pop-Saengerin mit einer Vorliebe fuer diffizile Musik, entschuldigte sich vorsorglich fuer moegliche historische Missverstaendnisse. Auf ihrer neuesten Platte "The Sensual World" besingt sie in einem Titel "Heads we're Dancing" eine im Jahre 1939 mit Adolf Hitler durchtanzte Nacht. Erst durch ein Zeitungsfoto erfaehrt die Nachtschwaermerin am anderen Morgen die wahre Identitaet ihres Charmeurs. Kate Bush ueber die ahnungslose Taenzerin: "Die Frau glaubt hernach, sie haette ihn beeinflussen und den Lauf der Geschichte aendern koennen, wenn sie ihn erkannt haette. Doch sie braucht sich nichts vorzuwerfen. Adolf Hitler hat eine Menge Leute genarrt, und ich glaube nicht, dass man die dafuer tadeln kann." Zu ihrem Lied inspirierte sie ein Freund, der von einer Begegnung mit einem witzigen und belesenen Herrn erzaehlte; erst hinterher habe er - erschrocken und wuetend ueber das Zusammentreffen - erfahren, dass er sich mit J. Robert Oppenheimer unterhalten hatte - dem Vater der Atombombe. "Der Teufel", singt Kate Bush, "ist ein charmanter Herr."
Kate Bush, 31 (photo), English pop-singer with a fondness for complex music, precautiously excused herself vor possible historic misunderstandings. On her latest LP "The Sensual World" she celebrates in the song "Heads we're Dancing" dancing all night in 1939 with Adolf Hitler. Just through a newspaper photo she learned the true identity of her charmer. Kate Bush about the innocent dancer: "The woman afterwards believes she might have been able to influence him and change the course of history, if she had recogniced him. But she has nothing to accuse herself. Adolf Hitler has fooled a lot of people, and I don't believe that you can rebuke them for that." Her song was inspired by a friend who told her of an encounter with a funny and well-read man; only afterwards he learned - horrified and furious about the meeting - that he talked with J. Robert Oppenheimer - the father of the atom bomb. "The Devil", Kate Bush sings, "is a charming man."
Unfortunately I do not have the publishing dates of those two articles, but they were a little bit after the TSW release (what else...).
On to The Videos
written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Sept 1995 June 1996