Rainbownetwork.com - album preview
Boyz magazine - Review of "King of the Mountain"
Gay Times - "The Whole Story?"
Attitude - "Supernatural"
Attitude - album review
QX - album review "The Pull Of The Bush"
Rainbownetwork.com - album review
Gay Times - album review
Boyz - album review
QX - album review
To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents
October 31, 2005
There is no other recording artist in the world today quite like Kate Bush. In the course of her twenty-seven year career, since her dramatic arrival at nineteen years of age in 1978 with the hauntingly beautiful and instantly classic ‘Wuthering Heights’, Bush has built a reputation that remains unrivalled in terms of musical ambition, pioneering sonics, stirring emotional content and sheer originality. The fact that the world has been waiting for the release of her eighth album, Aerial, for more than a decade has, if anything, only added to the air of mystique surrounding her.
“I have been genuinely touched by the sense of anticipation I’ve felt from people,” says Bush. “I feel really privileged that people have been waiting.”
On the evidence of Aerial, her first album since 1993’s The Red Shoes, it may have been a long wait, but ultimately it has been a very rewarding one.
A characteristically bold and expansive work brimming with atmosphere, mystery, passion and complex aural detail, the twin-disc Aerial has already been declared a masterpiece by all who have heard it.
Realising that the amount of material she had accumulated in her time away was unlikely to fit onto a single CD, Bush made the decision to split the results in two, resulting in her first double album.
A Sea Of Honey
Disc One, entitled A Sea Of Honey, comprises seven songs, ranging from the evocative lead-off single ‘King Of The Mountain’ through to the emotive reading of a lengthy section of the infinite series of numbers in ‘Π’, to the playful, spell-like ‘How To Be Invisible’ and the moving, impressionistic conclusion ‘A Coral Room’.
A Sky Of Honey
Disc Two, A Sky Of Honey, is a conceptual piece in nine parts, built around recurring motifs of light and birdsong, following a day from afternoon through dusk and night and on to sunrise.
“What is quite nice for me doing the two discs,” ‘Aerial’s creator explains, “is it allows me to play with the semi-classical style which I like – space and acoustic music – but also the band-based stuff with lots of drums.”
Bush has spent her twelve years out of the public gaze dividing her time between preparing the songs for Aerial and looking after her son, Bertie, born in 1998.
“I was having to work in really short little bursts,” she says of her prolonged absence, “and I’d never done that before.”
“The way I’d always worked was to just stay in the studio for fourteen hours a day. I didn’t have that luxury to use the time in the same way. So there were lots of periods where really nothing much was happening,” Bush says.
“But in some ways I’d say it was very good for me to have had those kinds of restrictions. It was continually forcing me into a situation where I had to stand back from it.”
Brought to the attention of EMI Records at the age of sixteen by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour – as a prolific schoolgirl prodigy with already around two hundred of her own compositions – Kate Bush famously enjoyed a three year period of artistic development before being launched upon an unsuspecting world.
Having released two albums in 1978 – The Kick Inside and Lionheart – and staged the mould-breaking theatrics of the Europe-wide Tour Of Life the following year, Kate Bush began to assume control of her music with her co-production of Never For Ever in 1980, yielding three startling, story-compacting singles in the form of ‘Breathing’, ‘Babooshka’ and ‘Army Dreamers’.
Her next step, into self-production, saw the creation of The Dreaming, released in 1982, a year in the making and still hailed by many as her best album, showcasing an almost filmic approach to her recording craft.
Three years later followed Hounds Of Love, a stunning set of angular, rhythm-driven pop songs – including the strident ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ and the majestic ‘Cloudbusting’ – backed with the side-long suite ‘The Ninth Wave’.
In 1989 The Sensual World followed (including musical contributions from David Gilmour, Nigel Kennedy and The Trio Bulgarka) and in 1993, The Red Shoes, featuring collaborations with Eric Clapton and Prince.
Over the years, Kate Bush has collected two Ivor Novello awards – in 1979 for Outstanding British Lyric (‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’) and for Outstanding Contribution To British Music As A Songwriter in 2002 – while in 1987 she scooped Best British Female Artist at the Brits. Appearing at the Q Awards in 2001, she received a spontaneous standing ovation from an audience including former Sex Pistol John Lydon, Brian Eno, Radiohead and Elvis Costello, when accepting the Classic Songwriter gong.
And then, silence, until Aerial.
The musicians credit list for Bush’s eighth album reveals new collaborations with drummers Steve Sanger and Peter Erskine and percussionist Bosco D’Oliveira, along with more familiar names such as Gary Brooker (founder of Procol Harum, providing Hammond organ), guitarist Dan McIntosh, drummer Stuart Elliott (who has appeared on every one of her albums), bassists Eberhard Weber and John Giblin and recording engineer/bassist Del Palmer. As such, over the years, Bush has gathered around her something resembling a close-knit musical family.
“There was a sense of being at play as well as at work,” Bush notes of the sessions for Aerial.
“I think that’s very important because it is so hard and so frustrating sometimes trying to get an idea to materialise. It’s not an easy process. I really like working with people who are old friends, it’s lovely.”
Poignantly, Aerial also features some of the last work of orchestral arranger Michael Kamen, who had scored for every Bush album since Hounds Of Love and who passed away only weeks after his contributions to the album were completed at Abbey Road studios in October 2003.
“What was great about Michael was his stuff was very visual,” says Bush. “He did such a fantastic job. It’s very hard to believe he’s not around any more.”
Now, in November 2005, with the release of Aerial, Kate Bush is following in the grand tradition of groundbreaking double albums.
“I used to really like the double albums I bought of artists that I loved,” she states. “It wasn’t in a way so directly connected with you spending money on an object. It was somehow more of an artistic statement. It said, ‘Here’s my music’.”
The first single from Aerial is the hypnotic 'King of the Mountain'. From its opening faint electronic pulses, to its crashing, driving climax, 'King of the Mountain' is a unique piece of work that could only have come from Kate Bush.
Featuring her instantly recognizable vocals, a loping dub-like rhythm and evocative, mysterious lyrics, 'King of the Mountain' proves that the best things are worth the wait.
And with 'King of the Mountain' and Aerial sounding as contemporary and timeless as all of Kate's work, they are set to introduce Kate to an entirely new generation of fans across the globe.
Review of "King of the Mountain"
October 29, 2005
After years in the wilderness, the Kate Bush finally bounces back with this new single, and an album, Aerial, to follow. Hurrah! However, the question now is, has she still got what it uses after so long out of the game? Like, duh. hello! it's not like Lisa Scott-Lee has just taken 12 years off y'know, this is Kate fucking Bush we're talking about. We've watched many pretenders to the throne come (and go) in the last dozen years - Tori Amos, Fiona Apple and Björk to name but a few - but it's fair to say that no one can do bonkers like our Kate, and we're thrilled to announce she's as mad as ever. This haunting ode to Elvis is the return of the classic Kate we've all been waiting for. It's underrated yet epic, and reassuringly as stimulating as anything from Kate should be. Check out the video, and see if you too spot Rolf Harris dancing with Elvis' famous Vegas outfit in his arms...
(4 stars out of 5)
The Whole Story?
by Chelsea Kelsey and Richard Smith
November, 2005 issue
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Twelve years out of the spotlight, and Kate Bush has emerged with a new single and album. As her legion of fans greet this news with cheers of delight, there are others who can't see what all the fuss is about. Why are gay men so obsessed. and was it worth the wait? In anticipation of this historic release, Reader's Wife Chelsea Kelsey and Richard Smith both offer their differing perspectives on one of the UK's legendary performers.
For the Defense: Chelsea Kelsey of The Reader's Wifes
It's 1978, the arse-end of winter and another rainy school night in the godforsaken suburb where I grew up. It's also a Thursday, which means two things in our house; Angel Delight for afters and Top of the Pops. Suddenly, YOU are there on the TV with that lion's mane of hair and some unfeasibly eurythmic dancing. You appear to be singing about something sinister, possibly violent (bad dreams, jealously and possession all feature) but on first hearing it's The Voice that truly floors.
The Voice. It's all the words journalists have over-used about it ever since - ungodly, otherworldly, out there, ethereal - but it's also much, much more. And when my first exposure to Wuthering Heights is over, I know that something - possibly the fabric of the universe itself - has altered forever. (I've also hardly touched my Angel Delight).
Back to now, and the love affair that began all those years ago is about to be rekindled with the release this November of Aerial, the first new Kate Bush album in 12 years. If you want to hear it you have to go over to EMI Records and listen to an iPod in a locked case and then sign a statement that you won't even discuss the new record (I know somebody who's done this: bravely breaking the embargo, he described it as very good, very mental and "quite drummy").
Twelve years. Is it really that long? If it seems like a long time in Pop, then I suppose it is...if you happen to be a business-as-usual artist like Razorlight or Pussycat Dolls or (God help us) James Blunt. Entire careers may have flowered and faded in the years since the last album but, somehow, normal rules just don't apply with Ms Bush. Anyway, us fans and freaks are long-resigned to living on Kate Time, and if it takes 12 years, well, that's how long it takes. Rome wasn't built and all that.
As for the fans themselves, they're a rum lot. Who else, do we think, could claim to unite today's 19-year-old club kids (most of whom have never been old enough to actually go and buy a new Kate Bush album on release date), the entire population of New York's drag queens, John Lydon and a generation of rotund pottery teachers from the Cotswolds? While the fans wait (and wait) there's always a tremendous stack of previous albums to live inside. More than any other artist I can think of, you don't so much listen to Kate as immerse yourself in her.
And what a strange, passionate, downright dangerous place it is. The subject matter for the hit singles alone must surely comprise the unlikeliest chart of CV of all time, eschewing all the love'n'dancing fluff in favour of Russian folk takes (Babooshka), nuclear radiation (Breathing), cloud formations (The Big Sky) and WWI (Army Dreamers). Answers on a postcard is you know what "the tale of George the Wipe" from Moments Of Pleasure actually means or exactly what's going on with The Man With The Child In His Eyes. Like I said, it's Kate's world - we're just lucky enough to live there.
For the Prosecution: Richard Smith
[SCENE] Kate Bush's home - an island on the Thames in Berkshire. There is a knock on the front door.
Kate Bush: Leave me the fuck alone! I'm an eccentric and reclusive female recording artist!
Dave: Erm, Kate? Sorry, it's me - Dave from EMI. Can I come in?
Kate: [Sighs] Oh, I suppose so. [She lets him in]
Dave: Good to see you! How have you been?
Kate: Oh, the same as always - kooky but endearing. Actually, I've been feeling a bit rubber-bandy again recently. Shall we go into the kitchen?
Dave: Okay...Hey, you're looking good. Nice leotard.
Kate: Sorry, I was doing my Pilates. Can you give me a minute while I slip into something a bit more windswept and pre-Raphaelite?
Dave: Don't worry. I just thought we needed to have a little chat about your new album. It's a teensy bit overdue, love. We did try to call.
Kate: Sorry. I was in the bath...
Dave: Since 1993?
Kate: Tish-ta. Actually, I finished it this morning. Honest!
Dave: Wow! Unbelievable. What's it called?
Kate: No idea. Ummm...Areial?
Dave: Mmmm - intriguing, esoteric, and with a literary reference - like it. Don't suppose you're have time to think about artwork?
Kate: [She takes a piece of paper from the fridge door] Ta-da! What do you think of this, then?
Dave: Erm, sorry, Kate, but this looks like a six-year-old did it.
Kate: My son's seven, actually.
Dave: Okay. So, who have you been working with?
Kate: It's mainly little old me, as per. Brian Eno was going to help out, but he's been busy, 'cos there's been a war on, apparently. Luckily, my brother Paddy was free, so he's played mandolin on most of the tracks. Rolf Harris has laid down some wicked didgeridoo solos, and I've built a few tracks out of things I've sampled. The Hoover, the washing machine, the theme from Countdown, the heartbreaking smash of glass in the bottle bank...
Dave: Sort of a "sounds of everyday" thing, right? Cool.
Kate: More "Sounds of every single sodding day for the last 12 years".
Dave: What have you been writing about?
Kate: I think it's probably easiest if I convey the meaning of my new album through the medium of dance.
Dave: Is it okay if you do it through the medium of words?
Kate: Dreams, dogs, hills, England, the gays, shoes, that sort of thing. But a lot of it's just stuff I half-remembered from books I read for O-Level.
Dave: Sounds like classic Kate Bush! Wait 'till I tell the guys at EMI about this! When do you think you can deliver?
Kate: I don't want to sound like a neurotic perfectionist, but could I have just a little bit longer, Dave?
Dave: Sure. When were you thinking of?
Kate: How about Friday, December 14th, 2012?
by Nick Taylor
Nick Taylor has been waiting 12 long years for the skies to open
the Great White Witch of Pop to return. December will be magic again!
I love Bush. I don't suppose this combination of words has often appeared in Attitude. Judging from how quickly most moxosexuals rush from anything vaguely labial, Bush is a dirty word in more than just the anti-Capitalist movement. But fear not. Because Kate Bush (Hallelujah! Allah be praised!) has returned with new sounds for the first time since the invention of the spinning jenny. And as a fan for most of my life, I claim this space to fill with a thank you to Kate.
To some, Kate Bush may appear nothing more than a dance class fairy, plumped up with nonsense, wreathed in chiffon and in of blinking, unless to the lock and loading of a rifle. To such people, the opening icicles of Wuthering Heights would be recognizable; they might even remember something about dogs swapping places with God in the mid-80s but this is where their knowledge of Kate begins and ends. I'm sure such people exist, but I've succeeded in not meeting any of them.
The lion's share of my own life owe their first breath of inspiration from the strange, staring little girl, lost somewhere in a forest called home. Kate Bush's career began not long after I did. I was four and old enough to be spellbound. I don't remember badgering my parents to buy me The Kick Inside, Kate's debut album, but apparently I did. What I do remember is playing the vinyl single of Wuthering Heights on my Fisher-Price record player, until Robin Wollacott came to play with me and broke it. I have vague recollections of Kate in chain mail, swirling through the fog like a pre-Raphaelite siren; part Emily Bronte, part Christina Rossetti. I invented a language of my own and together with summoned words for cleaning products, tights and nappies, I pronounced the petrol station car washers the "wowers", on account of their similarity with Kate in full sail. I wasn't a prolifically musical child. There was just something about Kate.
Since then, I've spent as much time listening to Kate as I have thinking why Kate attracts me so much. I've broadened my church to encompass other moon bow pop witches, but there's always been something unmatched about Kate. Like a spell or a secret, Kate is private sacred and powerful. Madonna (bless her and forgive me) was anybody's. Not Kate. The Bush has always remained tantalizingly out of reach. Not for her the tuppany scratch and sniff of implant weeklies. Like any true artist, publicity is unnecessary when there's nothing to add to the art itself.
There's certainly more than a whiff of the ridiculous to Kate's music, How many other artists would return from a zodiac of years with a single about Elvis Presley? It's the kind of shameless bravery which causes the best to follow assiduously, and the worst to laugh out loud. It's the banality of it, like singing about rubberbands, kites and coffee. That's the first sediment of surface. Kate sings about the ordinary and the understood, or what we thought we understood, until she dances too close to the idea and sends our safe perceptions spinning. Like the jester, who shuffles the pack, reverses the order and throws everything up into the air, Kate possesses the ability to stop us mid-laugh and twist us to tears. There aren't many people who can begin a psychadelia-la-la song with the line "Beelzebub is aching in my belly-o" and follow it with the pure heart bleed of The Man With The Child In His Eyes.
At one level, Kate appeals because she's a very English pop star. Like Morrissey and Bowie, she is joyfully, woefully mired in this island's literary tradition which stretches back through Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde and William Shakespeare. How many artists of any gender could arrive on the scene with a homage to a literary tale of murderous and vengeful love set against the feral backdrop of northern moors? And proceed to stay at number one with it for six weeks? It is the kind of idiosyncrasy which scares the entertainment industry to death.
She appealed to me because I'm queer, Celtic and pagan. Brought up by strong female spirits, my two mothers and countless broad-bosomed Welsh aunts, by the time I approached puberty, my rugby player build held a feminine spilt which was attracted to men and attuned to women. One of my earliest crushes was on a boy who played the saxophone. Saxophone Song captured the sense of distance between the object of my affections and my own gaze. Like Kate, I was in a Berlin Bar, in a corner, brooding. And I didn't even know where Berlin was. I felt then the ability of a voice to reach out beyond the known and immediate and touch me at my core; a voice which said, "You are not alone."
My parent's divorce had been a violent and ugly experience for all. Listening to Kate was a way to rescue some sense among the ruin of rejection. The beauty of her songs at their most haunting and melancholic connected with me because I was six and had already teamed the unpalatable, vital recipe which wove the sweet with the bitter the salt for the sour. Kate knew heaven could be sundered; indeed seemed to arrive in the room as destroyer and soother at once. I turned to Kate not as escape, but as the means to best meet with the braided language of conflicting emotion. Like her, I wasn't afraid to feel. She made me cry. She was strong enough to hold me as I did so. The screamed plea at the conclusion of This Woman's Word was all life's raw, unmannered potency. This was what life had taught me. The compulsive, redundant sob at our world's essential pain. Oh darling, make it go away. Just make it go away now.
Kate's sound is life in all its stages: becoming, thriving, collapsing, ending, beginning all over again. Her roots (and ours, she reminds us) are in the old way, the rich and eternal loam of the land. Her voice is singular without limit, whether it's the Kate of Wow reminding us that all the world's a stage, or Kate Cloudbusting showing us how to change the world. With Kate, we can be both suspended in gaffa and call on the world's first mother to protect us with circles of angels and fire. We are bank robber, Russian wife, black widow, archangel, nuclear protester, Iraqi men in love with each other. Kate takes us up into a Celtic sky; she loses us in the fog; incites us to dance over avenues of mangos.
In the last few years, with Kate's absence continued and unapologetic, her relevance and importance seems to have grown. A Q award for lifetime achievement; cabaret impersonators; tribute nights from the Avant Duckies. Every new friend I make acknowledges Kate as a pivotal influence. The longer she holds off, the more we love her. With so much instant access, over-availability, someone who holds back becomes remarkable. Isn't that what's increasingly annoying about Big Brother? They want us to notice them so badly, we find ourselves fidgeting towards the other direction before we switch off. Kate buries herself in the bluebell dell and we break down the doors to pull her out. This is the first and last reason why I love her; she puts us into an exquisite agony of anticipation and we thank her for it.
Kate you've blessed us with nourishment in these shrink-wrapped, ill-fed times. And if I never heard another note from you I would live gifted. This is a small page which was written to give these moments back To those we love. To those who will survive.
by Patrick Strudwick
Wildly visionary songs about nuclear fallout, bumming, incest, Hitler, pick-pocketing, witches, Peter Pan, Ken Livingstone and wedding day massacres aside, Kate Bush is the most normal person in the world. She's just not the most normal celebrity - lacking, as she does, the standard attention-hungry ego. So rather than worrying about self-promotion or public perception, Britain's most original and influential female singer/songwriter has focussed on acheiving the ultimate in unbridled, unself-conscious masterpiece.
Bush followers, who have been gnawing at their flesh for 12 excruciating years (since 1993's The Red Shoes) in antsy anticipation of this eighth studio album, will weep with joy. In part from relief, that after all this time Ms Bush has delivered 84 exquisitely non-commercial minutes to rival her most celebrated Hounds of Love album. But also because the music itself is glistening with such euphoria as to render anti-depressants unnecessary. Seven years ago Kate gave birth to Bertie. If ever an album conveyed a mother viewing the world with the wide-eyed wonder of youth again, then Aerial does.
Debut single King of the Mountain, the opening track on the first album (entitled A Sea of Honey), is a red herring, though. The whistling winds and haunting musings about Elvis are like the darkest hour just before dawn. Daylight doesn't break just yet, mind. First you have funky-bassed Pi, where Kate sings the mathematical calculation to 84 decimal places. (Would love to see Jessica Simpson attempt that). Next comes Bertie, a rinky-dink paean to her son, hailing directly from the 16th century, thanks to Renaissance guitars and a three-time jig. The mood saddens with Mrs. Bartolozzi. Remembering when her now late husband returned home so muddied that she had to clean all his clothes, she watches the washing machine spin round and mourns. "Slooshy, sloshy/Slooshy sloshy/Get that dirty shirty clean." Though seemingly uninfluenced by pop music of the last 12 years, Kate's production, particularly on How To Be Invisible, is cutting-edge. Other-worldly electro-glitches dance around her voice as she conjures a piss-take witches' spell: "Eye of Braille/Hem of anorak/Stem of wallflower/Hair of doormat". Fans of This Woman's Work will swoon at A Coral Room where Kate's incomparably beautiful voice - now even richer - soars over sumptuous piano chords as she laments her late mother. This is the English rose of old, emotions erupting, lava-like.
Day breaks on the second disc, A Sky of Honey, which is homogenized by sprinklings of sampled and imitated birdsong as Kate guides us through a perfect summer's day in the countryside. It's impossibly poetic. Sunset opens with a running stream of a piano accompaniment, with pizzicato double bass, you're then transported to Spain with a flamenco dance of the utmost gay abandon. The effect is so exhilarating it'll have you stomping your feet and flapping the ruffles of an imaginary red dress. Or perhaps that's just me. On Somewhere in Between you're up a mountain drinking in the vista, as rhumba-esque rhythms infuse her marvelling at the dimming light. Night has fallen now with Nocturn seeing our storyteller head to the beach. "No one is here/We stand in the Atlantic/We become panoramic." A thumping beat climaxes as the sun comes up. "Rising and rising in a sea of honey/A sky of honey". Aerial, the finale, finds Kate wanting to "go up onto the roof", as a bravura electric guitar solo crackles like an aerial conducting lightning. A crash sounds, leaving the birds tweeting and fading into the distance.
Worth the wait? Every. Last. Second
(five stars out of five)
The Pull Of The Bush
by Princess Julia
November 2, 2005
Princess Julia reviews Aerial, the hugely anticipated new album from Kate Bush.
Oh, how we love Kate Bush. Who can forget the lines "There's fiver. There's a ten shilling note. Remember them...?"
Kate has always had a way of describing things in her most unique way and her latest body of work is no exception, she's always been the Queen of poignant verse.
Aerial is a concept LP; a two-part excursion. "A Sea Of Honey" being disc one and "A Sky of Honey" being disc two. All the elements are here - beautiful piano accompaniment. drums, atmospheric sound bites, "Space and acoustic music" and, of course, the wafting and mesmerizing vocal style that Kate Bush possesses.
"King of the Mountain" is the debut single to be released and sets the precedent for the Bush experience to unfold. The next song called "Pi" put me in mind of a friend, "Oh he love, he love, he love. He does love his numbers". There's something very personal, romantic and dreamlike when she sings "Bertie", a song penned for her son: "Sweet kisses, three wishes, lovely Bertie. The most willful, the most beautiful, the most truly fantastic smile I've seen". It's touching and sweet but not sickly.
In "Mrs Bartolozzi" she sings of romance and mundanity. How she manages to sing the lines "Washing machine, washing machine" with such conviction is beyond me, but it works! In track "How To Be Invisible" she weaves a spell: "Eye of Braille, Hem of Anorak, Stem of wallflower, Hair of doormat". She's a sorceress with a modern formula of ironic lyrics. In "Joanie" she sings of a heroine (Joan of Arc springs to mind, but it could easily apply to Joan Dairy Queen!) her vocal range is stunning: "Joanie, Joanie wears a golden cross. And she looks so beautiful in her armour".
"Prelude" and "Prologue" are captivating snippets that set the scene for "A Sky of Honey". By now you should be truly lost in Kate's adventure, so somehow the idea of Rolf Harris popping into the story shouldn't throw you too much. "An Architects Dream" and "Painters Link" both feature Rolf on vocals. Oh, and I'm loving this line from "Sunset": "We may live on in comets and stars". The Bush-isms just keep coming, like in "Nocturn" where she sings of leaving the city and, finally, "Aerial" is the most upbeat track on this LP. You really feel the elation in her voice as she sings of being "Up, up high on the roof". That's the thing about Kate Bush. She somehow taps into a dream-zone that is timeless and classic.
by Neil Sexton
November 7, 2005
(5 stars out of 5)
There’s something quintessentially English about Kate Bush. She’s a bit of an
enigma really – largely due to her desire and ability to stay, so successfully,
out of the limelight. As a consequence, all sorts of myths have built up around
her; myths that she herself has been quick to dispel in the few interviews she’s
given for the promotion of her new album, Aerial.
The Kate Bush story starts back in the 70’s. As a girl she’d spend time in her parents barn messing around on the organ and soon progressed to writing her own songs which, through the help of a family friend and - legend has it - Pink Floyd’s lead guitarist David Gilmour, brought her to the attention of music giant EMI records.
Aged 16, Kate signed a record deal but unlike the use ‘em up and spit ‘em out mentality of today's recording industry, she was given time to evolve as an artist.
Studying dance, mime and singing while continuing to hone her very individual song writing skills, it wasn’t until she was 17 that an unsuspecting world got to hear 'Wuthering Heights' for the first time. The source material for that first hit came from Emily Brontë's novel of the same name and it’s set the tone for all of Kate’s future work.
In the month that also sees the release of Madonna’s new album, Confessions Of A Dance Floor (out 14 November 2005), I’m struck by the similarities and differences between these two great artists who both share the same age, both seem very settled in happy marriages (a picture of domestic bliss, no less), and both of whom are mothers with young children. And yet, while Madonna is inspiring everyone to hit the dance floor right now, Kate is reflecting on her tranquil life miles away from the glossy world of pop.
Aerial is a double album with individual volumes entitled A Sea of Honey and A Sky of Honey.
A Sea of Honey features the excellent first single and ode to Elvis, 'King of the Mountain', a song connected to a mathematical equation called 'Pi', and also the song 'Mrs Bartolozzi', in which Kate can be heard singing the words “washing machine” over and over and over again.
Meanwhile A Sky of Honey is the ultimate chill out album which takes you on a journey from dawn 'til dusk through a tranquil English day, featuring birdsong, rain, a painter played by Rolf Harris, the sound of children playing somewhere far off in the distance, and Kate herself laughing hysterically in the background.
‘But is it any good?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s very ‘Kate Bush’ and yes, I love it because it’s a window into her world where you can drift off and get totally lost.
Aerial is Kate’s eighth studio album and her first release since The Red Shoes in 1993. We’ve had to wait some 12 years, but it’s definitely been worth the wait.
by Joe Heaney
December 2005 issue
Those of you who care have probably just been discharged from hospital after recovering from the shock that Kate was back with a new album. With such a long gap since her last offering – the slightly disappointing The Red Shoes 12 years ago(!) – there's the fear that anything she served up would be greedily snatched up out of sheer desperation, even if it was a double-tracked recording of her doing scales. So, what is Ariel like? And is it any good? Well, it's quite hard to make a judgment if you're only allowed to hear it in one sitting under the watchful eye of record company bosses, but the overall impression is that it's more cohesive than The Red Shoes, perhaps as inventive and challenging as The Dreaming, while also managing to be something altogether new. There are two CDs: A Sea of Honey consists of seven separate songs, and A Sky of Blue is a song cycle of nine linked tracks that carries the listener from dawn to dusk and back to sunrise again. Many of the songs have a fluid structure that eschews the traditional verse/chorus pattern, and contemporary sampling and programming techniques reminiscent of Radiohead's Kid A crop up in King of the Mountain, and How To Be Invisible, as do a Renaissance viols ensemble (Bertie). Fans might harp back to the days of Cloud Busting and The Man With The Child In His Eyes, but do you really want to travel a path already trodden?
November 12, 2005
(5 stars out of 5)
Well, that was some wait... but 12 years after The Red Shoes,
Kate Bush makes her eagerly-awaited return. Spread over two-discs, Bush's new
album is unlike most of the music you'll hear in the charts, and it's as
difficult to pigeonhole as ever.
First disc, A Sea of Honey, opens with the current single 'King Of The Mountain' (her first top 5 hit for 20 years), and boasts a range of styles and sounds. From the rhythmic flow she gives Pythagorus' theorum in ['Pi'] to the renaissance abandonment of 'Bertie' (a love song to her seven-year old son), the spell-casting poetry of 'How To Be Invisible' to the breathy French vocals on 'Joanni'. You never know where you'll end up next, but this far the journey's so refreshing, you're just happy to see where it leads. As always, Kate makes the mundane seem bizarre, highlighted perfectly by the already infamous 'Mrs Bartolozzi'. Who else could write a song about a washing machine... 'slooshy sloshy, slooshy sloshy, get that dirty shirt clean'?
The first disc draws to a close with 'A Coral Room', a captivating track about her mother's death that highlights Bush at her best, relying on just her vocals and piano.
On the second, more conceptual disc, A Sky Of Honey, we journey deeper into Bush country. Birds sing as we travel across the musical landscape, joined by Rolf Harris as 'the painter', and Bertie, as 'the sun'. The music has a filmic feel that soothes, intrigues and exhilarates at the same time, but there are enough quirks to make it pure Kate. By the time you reach the closing title track you're truly spellbound: 'I feel I gotta be up on the roof', she sings over the album's most uptempo number, and you can't help but want to join her in the celebration.
November 9, 2005
(8 stars out of 10)
For the pretentious, purchase this to boost your dinner party chitchat. For true lovers of popular music, purchase this album because you owe it to yourself. To add that epic feel, this album is a two CD set. Takes in a breadth of musical influences and combines them with her powerful and visual lyricism.
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds