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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."
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"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds