- Album review (English translation from original Greek)
Rock'n'Roll - "The Return Of The Witch"
Greek Vogue - "Bush is Back"
Sonik - Album review
To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents
Rock n' Roll
by Michalis Argiropoulos
(English translation from original Greek courtesy sandmangr)
Scan of original article: page 1
From the first notes of King Of The Mountain, anyone can tell that the 8th Kate Bush album finds her in best form for the last twenty years. The fans, worried after the musical ennui of The Red Shoes that it would lead to the same road leading to still waters the inspiration of legends like Peter Gabriel, could now remain calm: the two Aerial cds remind us the reason that Kate Bush is considered one of the living treasures of modern music. All the ingredients that made her irresistible are here again, from the choir vocals, the dark piano, long melodies, a sense of childhood and mystery. In the first CD, A Sea Of Honey, with the first hearing, songs like "Pi" stand out, in which Kate sings about the magical meaning of 3.14 before a musical background reminding more of the soundscapes of Air, while "Bertie", written for her son, refers to the most magnificent medieval madrigals. "How To Be Invisible" is the most pop sound of the first disc while "Mrs. Bartolozzi" the most eccentric, with Kate's dreamy vocals singing a paean for a washing machine. "Coral Room" finds Kate at the piano, singing about her lost mother in one of the most touching moments of the album. The nine songs of the second CD, A Sky Of Honey, follow the course of a day from the morning until the next down. The circle of songs starts and ends with the sound of birds, with musical epics like "Nocturn" and "Aerial". Built around piano, the songs experiment also with rhythms from bass-n-drum up to flamenco. A shocking musical journey that is worthy without reminding at all "The Ninth Wave" from Hounds Of Love. Even if Bush does not seem to have the effortless composer's vein that characterized her first releases, her maturity as a composer, singer and producer is fully revealed in Aerial, her best record since Hounds Of Love. The twelve years waiting were worth the price and so much more...
(8.5 out of 10)
The Return Of The Witch
by Mihalis Argyropoulos
November 2005 issue
(English translation from original Greek courtesy sandmangr aka Stratos)
Twelve years after her last release, the English song maker
returns with a double album already billed as the best in her career. But where
was she all this time and why did it take her so long to find the way back?
Red lips, the keys of a piano, face covered by a veil, mystery and eroticism, the automatic associations for Kate Bush. If today some would think that she's a distant relative of Dubya (note from Stratos-means President Bush), there was once a time that he name equaled the key to a sensual world, made of notes, full of girls falling in love with the saxophone player of a bar in Berlin, computer programs talking with the voice of God, frozen lakes breaking when ice skates traverse across them, secret loves with men appearing from nowhere just before going to sleep and women testing their husbands by sending them love letters under the pseudonym Babooshka. For anyone proselytized to her worship, Kate was always the witch that was waiting hidden in the speakers to capture you. And now, 12 years after her last release, when she had seemingly disappeared forever from the limelight, Garbo of the music scene returns, with a majestic double album that finds her in her best form, with the first single, the epic King Of The Mountain, uniting in a dark symphony Elvis and Citizen Kane, the wind and Kate's voice.
The transformations of a faerie
From 1978, when she had made her appearance as a haunted nymph, with the lyrical Wuthering Heights shine like a diamond in the dust of pogo and the Pistols, until 1993, she released seven albums, that simply confirmed the title of the mysterious queen of weird pop, the same moment that her apparent disappearance in-between her record releases simply increased the intensity of the mystery that always surrounds her. Erotic in a mystical way, she created an enigmatic public image. In her first video clips she appeared as a faerie, dressed in Laura Ashley, voluptuously sexy in a golden leotard, captured in a huge bubble, punk Valkyria or Victorian coquette. Every time different, but always Kate Bush, she followed the same path in music. Her journey starts with the piano keyboard, to pass through experimentation with electronic sounds, rhythm boxes, marrying pure-blooded rock with the vocal acrobatics of a Balkan choir, the return to her Irish tradition roots and now, the game with the song of birds. In her issues are included almost everything: from Vietcong, Harry Houdini and pedophilia to Peter Pan, Joyce's Ulysses and reincarnation.
Even though in first years of her career, music critics confronted her harshly, laughing at her operatic voice, grimaces, costumes, today they bow to her unbelievable return, at the same time when her archetype still is present through her acolytes, from Bjork to Alison Goldfrapp. But where was she all this time?
The dark years
The release of her last album The Red Shoes, in 1993, coincided with two personal misfortunes, the death of her mother and the end of her longtime relationship with Del Palmer, her bass player. The immediate following years are covered in a dark cloud. "All I did was sleep all day and watch bad television, stupid tv-games and soap operas", she said to Q magazine in 2002. Reading between the lines, a big period of personal crisis seems to have taken place. At the same time, her efforts to write music remained incomplete and she was unsatisfied with the results. But as the end of the 90s approached, in her various fan sites on the internet, like Katebushnews.com, the rumor circulated that Kate had started recording. The progress of the recordings looked particularly slow though and the cause was revealed in 2002, when Kate made public that she had given birth to a son, Bertie, the previous year, the fruit of her relationship with the guitar player Danny McIntosh. In the new album, her son's name becomes a song that explains exactly the changes this coming brought. "Where is that son of mine? Here comes that son of mine" , she sings, more mature than ever."I make an album, but it takes a little more time than I thought" she had said when she received the award for her songwriting at the Q magazine awards in 2002. Just in December of 2005, she was able to announce that "the album is almost ready and I am particularly happy with the result and the contributing musicians. It will be released in 2005-we will let you know exactly when".
Aerials (note from Stratos- here the writer uses the Greek word Aerika =Aerials or fairies, hence the plural)
On the first of September 2005, the public learned that the new Bush album would be called Aerial, is double and will be released on November 7th. Twelve years of absence had to be amended in a way and a double album as they used to do, was the best thing. The first cd, A Sea of Honey, is composed from seven songs, finding her in a new inspired period: From «đ», a musical arithmology, "How To Be Invisible" up to the impressionistic "The Coral Room", while the second, A Sky Of Honey is a concept album of nine songs, describing a day from the dawn until next day's sunrise, inspired from the song of birds. Aerial is the newest, most exciting chapter in Kate Bush's history. A course with an exciting start and, as the enchanting musical roads of the new album proves, worthy following.
The Whole Story
Born in England the same summer as Madonna, in July 1958, Kate had a magical childhood, with her two older brothers, John Carder and Paddy, initiating her to the philosophies of Gurdjieff, the sounds of Donovan and the love to musical instruments from the whole wide world. When her father showed her some notes on the piano, she found her mission. At age 13, she had already composed around 60 songs. A family friend gave a tape of them to Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and very soon Kate was signing a contract with EMI: Instead of pressuring her to release immediately something, the company gave teenage Kate three years and 5 thousand pounds to practice her music, and study dance and kinesiology with Lindsey Kemp. One night, on the summer of 1976, having just seen on TV the classic film with Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon, she will write Wuthering Heights, that one and a half years later will bring her to the no. 1 of British charts. Full of hair, lips and sex appeal, she took over England's TV screens, with a song that was unlike anything else from those that filled the radio at the time. Piano and ethereal vocals were reminiscent of the acid folk scene muses, her sound head some relation to Joni Mitchell's experiments, bringing at the same time something uniquely hers. Her first album, The Kick Inside, reached no. 3 and soon became platinum. Before 1978 was over, she released her second one, Lionheart, with Hammer Horror, another musical thriller from Kate, as a first single. In the beginning of the next year, she makes her first and only until today tour in the UK and Europe. Her concerts were an avant guard, theatrical ambition show, with impressive sets, costumes and choreography, which made history, at the same time exhausting its star. At that time, she realized that creating is what concerns her most, than promoting her work. She will not appear live again but in few select appearances, and usually only for charity causes.
In her next album, she will share the producer credit. Never For
Ever, with an artwork that referenced the concept progressive rock albums and
Fairlight taking over, transforming sounds like breaking glass, into musical
notes, she will hit no. 1 in the UK charts in September 1980, including the
successful singles Babooshka, Army Dreamers and Breathing. At the same period,
she will work with Peter Gabriel. The childish voice that sings jeux sans
frontiers on Games Without Frontiers from his third album is Kate's. The
collaboration will influence her artistically and thus her next album will not
be built so much around the piano as around the rhythm box. From that record
until today, she takes full producer credit. But The Dreaming will not have the
commercial success of her previous work and Kate will disappear for the next
here years, to return triumphantly with the hypnotic rhythm of Running Up That
Hill and the album Hounds Of Love, that will bring her to the zenith. The first
side of the record was five pop (songs)- according to Kate-full of dreamy and
rhythmic sounds, while the second, The Ninth Wave, was Kate's masterpiece, a
series of songs telling the story of a castaway in the ocean waters. With
influences from traditional Irish music, playing with synthesizers and classical
forms, dark and light sounds, the album is one of the creator's best. Next year
she would collaborate again with Gabriel, singing with him in the classic duet
Don't Give Up. 1989 found her singing lost in an enchanted forest for the
delights of The Sensual World. The song was written in direct reference to the
sensual Molly Bloom monologue in Joyce's Ulysses, with repeated, sensual "mm,
yes". In the same record, she would be inspired from the Balkan tradition and
collaborate with Trio Bulgarka. The collaboration would be repeated for The Red
Shoes, where Kate also worked with Prince for Why Should I Love You?, where the
two separate styles of these artists married in a unique way, although both the
collaboration and the song went unnoticed at the time, marking the beginning of
Kate's stone years (Stratos' note: in Greek stone years means unproductive
years). The comeback road, even though long, finally reached an end. A living
legend now, Kate, with the new album underlining the uniqueness of her musical
mark, simply says: "I feel so honestly thrilled, realizing the impatience of the
public for the new record. It is a real honor that people were waiting for me".
But most importantly, they did not wait in vain.
(Sidebar) I wanna be Kate
She wrote recently in the ID issue dedicated to Kate (Stratos' note: must be a mistake) that her teenage years were absolutely marked by Kate's music, but not today. Kate Bush's influence is apparent in Bjork's work, but always on second level and never as plagiarism. Her experimentations followed different and maybe more radical and avant guard roads.
For many she is the absolute pretender. Even though she said that she had not even heard of Bush until the 90s, both her image and sound reminded of her strongly, but never reaching up to her. Tori never managed to have Bush's durability or cult status, but nevertheless she has her own fans and a few of Kate's that could not stand the 12 year fast.
Critics described Forever from the Black Cherry album like cryogenically preserved Kate Bush. Obvious references to Kate have also some of the tracks of Supernature. The truth is that Goldfrapp, despite their strong talent for electro, would give everything to create something so hypnotically rhythmic, sensual and mysterious as Running Up That Hill.
Bush is Back
by Nikos Agouros
Scan of original article: Page 1
British people consider her a “national treasure” much like the Beatles. There are indeed many reasons to interpret the – almost religiously awaited- return of Kate bush to the musical scene: for her fans it equals a vindication of their twelve year dedication to the idea of a new album. For the majority of the critics and the avant garde musicians gives birth to optimism that after the dead-end of today’s electronica and rock music scenes – both in ideas as well as production – a new wave of inspiration and originality will be activated. For the EMI executives it equals the end of a multi year deadline and the expectation of commercial triumph. For women in general it probably means something unexpectedly important: the return of female sensitivity in fashion and pop culture.
Let me explain: In recent years the expression of female sensitivity is taboo. Women – from Sex and The City and Desperate Housewives up to Madonna and Paris Hilton – think like newly minted yuppies: shallow, ergonomically, speculatively. The image of a woman making her introspection and keeping alive the child element in her along with maturity, without looking like Lolita or a neurotic veteran of plastic surgery, is extremely rare within celebrities. Kate Bush’s public profile has been an exception to the rule and her comeback, aside from the obvious worthiness of her, also includes a breath of a personal woman style with collective influence. Today Kate is 47 years old, has won the career and fame game on her own rules, is a mother and sits comfortably in her armchair in her estate on the top of a hill in South Devon of Great Britain. But no one knows what is happening in her private life. Kate was always one of the most secluded and enigmatic personalities, a fact that, combined with the particularity of her music, formed the profile of a mystery genius.
Born in Bexleyheath of Kent, she started studying piano and violin at a very young age. Discovered by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, who funded her first demos. At sixteen, she signed a 5000 British pounds contract with EMI, but had her first LP out two years later (The Kick Inside, 1978), after completing school and a series if dance, music and mime lessons. This LP included her first worldwide success, Wuthering Heights, inspired by a television adaptation of the Emily Bronte book. For the first time in chart history, a woman that composed AND performed a song was at no 1. That same year she got out her 2nd LP, Lionheart, for which she made her only tour in her career. Then she found out she was so introverted that exposure and the lifestyle of a pop star was incompatible to her character. She preferred to stay in the studio and busy herself with her favourite priority, composition. In the years that followed, Kate Bush became autonomous in the production of her music too, recording some of the most emblematic and experimental pop albums of the 80s – Never For Ever, The Dreaming, Hounds Of Love, The Sensual World. Their sound is a peculiar amalgam of classical, rock, electronic pop and folk music, with rich literary and naturalistic references, melodramatic expression, dark atmosphere, but – above all – with a surreal mood. After the release of her album The Red Shoes, in 1993, Kate withdrew from publicity and no one knew anything about her doings. Reporters were informed much later of the birth of her son Bertie, while the last five years there were constant rumours for secret recording sessions for a new album. Surprisingly, a frugal press release announced the big comeback: a double album titled Aerial (out on 7/11) and the exceptional single King Of The Mountain (24/10) with which Bush winks an eye to everyone influenced by her (Bjork, Tori Amos, Goldfrapp), claiming again the stage for a lyrical manifestation of Anglo-Saxon eccentricity and spontaneous female sensitivity.
by Thanasis Voutsinos
(English translation from original Greek courtesy madhattergr)
Behind the simplest things, like the bird chirping, lies
And Genius as well...
8th, double and exquisite album from the high priestess of irresistible British eccentricity.
You can't trust modern pop and rock euphemisms nowadays. Terms like ''genius'' and ''grower'' have become so tricky, after such unreasonable overuse and alteration in their real meaning. We have come to slap the 'genius' tag to any mentally disturbed "artist" who shamelessly stir-fries the listener's braincells or even worse to some smart-ass charlatan who puts you in a position that you have to invent virtues in their music, that actually never existed. On the other hand, 'grower' usually stands for an album that initially keeps you hanging between boredom and desperation before it gets you fed up... By this sense, Aerial is not a grower. It does not 'grow' on you because of some willing addiction. Its magic and ostensibly thin-built world is already there. It's just that on the first listening it only allows you a limited but stimulating view from the keyhole, which slowly unfolds in a dreamy cinemascope.
As for the undeniable genius of Kate Bush, here it goes hand in hand with a deservingly earned wisdom. Every little thing in here has its place after some absolutely well-thought reason and flows effortlessly, without the anxiety for a 4-minute hit single and the easy and catchy crescendos, without the symphonic arrogance of progressive rock and without the hunt for the smudgy avant garde pseudo-modernism. Almost classic as a listening, Aerial is woven with ethereal and effortless melodies of undeniable substance, mainly on the piano. It also comes to introduce Kate's new singing style: more mature and fascinating than ever before, with a warm voice without theatrical hysterias, even when she unfolds her weird book of roles, even when she imitates Elvis' 'mumbling'...
On the first cd, titled 'A Sea Of Honey', after the sneaky, reggae-like stride of the atmospheric 'King Of The Mountain' comes the spiral motion of 'Pi', which is expected to send many French-bred (or Scandinavian) vague "post-lounge"-sters back to school. Singing many digits of the endless number 'Pi' one after the other in perfect harmony, Kate gives her own explanation about the relation of mathematics and the circles of life. As a renaissance maid of the manor, she weaves a simple and disarmingly honest, small sonata about her beloved son (''Bertie''), then she sits at the piano and narrates an erotic urban fairytale about muddy floors, mops, washing machines and laundry baskets ("Mrs Bartolozzi"). She storms the dark american highways, like a David Lynch heroine ("How To Be Invisible"), just before she paints the voyeuristic portrait of Joan of Arc ("Joanni"). The epilogue finds her back at the piano, dealing with the loss of her mother ("A Coral Room"), diving in emotional depths that not even she, or any others have ever dared to reach before.
In the second cd (A Sky Of Honey) unfolds a moving suite about the passing of day to night. Its leading elements are the piano, the relaxed rhythm bases, the skillfully crafted vocal harmonies, Michael Kamen's strings, the voice of the Creator puzzled about the artistic validity of his work ("An Architect's Dream", "The Painter's Link") and birds singing. The artist herself willfully chats with one of them for an entire minute ("Aerial-Tal"). For anyone else, silliness would lurk just around the corner, but not for Kate. The sunset explodes into a breezy flamenco ("Sunset"), a midtempo sensual breath intervenes ("Somewhere In Between") and we conclude to the song of the night ("Nocturn"), a groovy ritual that astonishingly climaxes for nine minutes.
"What kind of language is this?" wonders Kate between loud laughter and more birds singing, in the eight-minute, lyrical disco-rock swirl of the finale ("Aerial"), just before the new sunrise. However she has already answered all by herself within the previous eighty-something minutes: a language so strictly personal, distinctive, undoubtedly eccentric but unexpectedly infectious at the same time. Aerial works fairly well when isolating single pieces, but elevates as a whole work of art - leave the pompous parameter out. It is a product of absolute bliss on the verge of nirvana, but comes as the extract of mental and emontional tides that lasted for twelve years - therefore it can endure an equal number of years in listening pleasure. Hoping, of course that we won't have to wait that long for the next time.
SONIK-PICK: Nocturn, Sunset, A Coral Room
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds