Columbia Records Press
Entertainment Weekly - "The 20 Albums We're Most Looking Forward To This Fall"
The New York Blade - "Haunted Houses"
The New York Times - "Kate Bush Doesn't Tour, Hates Attention, And Likes Home"
The Los Angeles Times - "Kate Bush, reclusive? Actually, she prefers the term 'normal'"
The New York Daily News - "Nature's Girl"
The Chicago Tribune - "Kate Bush returns, purr and muse intact"
Billboard - album review
Billboard - "Kate Bush reemerges -- sort of -- with 'Aerial'"
New York Newsday - "'Aerial' maneuvers lift Kate Bush out of hiatus"
Associated Press - "Kate Bush Remains Reliable on New CD"
The Boston Globe - "On 'Aerial,' Kate Bush is as eclectic, unique, and erratic as ever
Philadelphia Daily News - "Kate Bush soars on 'Aerial'"
USA Today - album review
To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents
Columbia Records Press Release
October 10, 2005 (estimated)
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. 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’. 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. 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’.”
AERIAL by KATE BUSH is released on November 8, 2005.
The 20 Albums We're Most Looking Forward To This Fall
September 30, 2005
(Number 3 on list of 20)
The bewitching British chanteuse returns from the world's longest maternity leave with her first album in 12 years. A leadoff single---the beautifully whooshy "King of the Mountain"---debuts online Sept. 27, but the main event will be a two-CD concept album that promises to be her most ambitious yet. Move over, Tori Amos---the real fairy queen is back to reclaim her throne. (Nov. 8)
October 15, 2005
It is turning out to be a banner year for '80s fans, with new projects from Depeche Mode, INXS (sort of), Erasure, Madness and now, least expectedly, Kate Bush. Her first work in 12 years is predictably ethereal, mosaic and nonconformist. That is to say that it takes several listens to fathom what is going on, and even then, it is a best guess. But there is that voice: angelic, fragile and ever bewitching. It is all about atmosphere here. Bush's double-CD "Aerial" arrives Nov. 8. In the meantime, this track is available at your favorite digital download site.
New York Blade
By Tony Phillips
October 28, 2005
In the run up to Halloween, we hit the scene for some scary shit.
“There’s a ghost in our home, just watching you without me.”
It’s been 20 years since Kate Bush sang those lyrics from her spellbinding disc “Hounds of Love,” and more than a decade since we heard a peep from the lovely British lass. But Columbia Records’ Benny Tarantini fixed all that with a listening party atop the Sony building to preview Kate’s latest double disc, “Aerial,” which he calls a “concept album.”
Between sushi, paeans to her 8-year-old son Bertie and songs immortalizing her washing machine (with lyrics like “Slooshy, sloshy, slooshy, sloshy, get that dirty shirty clean,”) the record was hard to resist.
Even though “Aerial” may be Kate’s Calgon moment, it’s no less visual and lush than the back catalog of a woman who burst onto London’s punk scene in her teens, stepping over mohawked masses in her pink ballet slippers. Here’s hoping she decides to get out of the house and pirouette on tour with “Aerial.”
After a 12-year absence, French actress Isabelle Huppert seems to be a permanent fixture on the town these days. While American audiences may recognize her as the sexy nihilist from
“I Heart Huckabees,” French audiences have awarded her more Cesars (their version of the Oscar) than even their national treasure, Catherine Deneuve.
This month, she’s the subject of a 25-film retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art that includes her recent New York Film Festival headliner “Gabrielle” and her unforgettable, Cannes-winning performance as a masochistic piano teacher in Michael Haneke’s 2001 film “Le Pianiste.”
For Huppert in the flesh, she’s finishing up her astonishing run in Sarah Kane’s final play “4.48 Psychose” at BAM through this weekend and then appearing at CUNY with renowned director Robert Wilson on Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, everyone’s other favorite frontier madame unveiled her new album “Confessions on a Dancefloor” last week in a slew of events that had her horseback riding in Midtown and introducing the follow-up to “Truth or Dare” at the Ziegfeld on Tuesday.
Saturday night found her spinning records (mostly her own) for an in-the-know crowd at MisShapes before hightailing it over to Roxy for a “Dance Party USA”-styled sock hop in which she didn’t even bother holding a microphone while lip-synching her new single, “Hung Up.”
You’re all probably sick to death of her by now, but there were some brill moments: mothering the MisShapes crowd by cutting off the music to tell them how excited she was to be there, but they needed to back up — now! And snatching a black cowboy hat from an adoring fan at Roxy, only to inspect it with a look on her face that said, “This is so two albums ago, please try and keep up.”
She put the hat on anyway, but took it off pretty quickly.
Brooklyn hottie Frankie G takes nothing off in “Saw II,” and though the movie is scarier than even Madonna, what’s with him not taking off his shirt?
“Saw II” traps a bunch of kids in a video-wired house, like the Real World with a slowly leaking nerve gas that will kill them in two hours (if only).
When five plausible reasons to doff his shirt are enumerated for Frankie, he says, “I never really thought about taking off my shirt in the movie, but if they told me to, I might have said no. I don’t think it’s necessary. It’s not a love story, you know. It’s a horror film.” We love him anyway.
Kate Bush Doesn't Tour, Hates Attention, And Likes Home
The New York Times
By Will Hermes
October 30, 2005
Pop music has seen a lot of '80s musicians angling for a second act lately-- the Pixies, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, among others. Partly this represents a natural cycle: artists rise, peak, burn out, fade away, until the need returns for money and/or limelight, when back they strut. But the phenomenon has been fueled lately by a revival of '80s styles. With so many new bands sounding like Gang of Four or Talking Heads, for example, it's understandable that the originals would regroup to claim what's theirs (as the former did), or at least release a fancy box set (as the latter did).
The adventurous singer-songwriter Kate Bush is another '80s comeback. Her new double CD, "Aerial," will be released on Nov. 8. But she doesn't quite fit the paradigm, since she never quite fit the era. She wasn't "new wave" or "postpunk," and the movement she might logically be identified with, British progressive rock -- a near-exclusively male bastion even by rock standards -- was well on the wane by the time of her 1978 debut.
While her idiosyncratic music never spawned a cottage industry of clones, it has influenced a remarkably diverse group of musicians. Antwan (Big Boi) Patton of the polyglot hip-hop group Outkast cites the singer as a huge inspiration ("She's my No.1 musical influence next to Bob Marley," he said); so has the ethereal piano balladeer Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons. The innovative rhythm-and-blues singer Maxwell had a surprising 2001 hit covering "This Woman's Work," Bush's cryptic paean to childbirth.
She has also been covered by male-fronted British rock acts like Placebo and the Futureheads, who had a hit last year in Britain with their new-wave version of her "Hounds of Love." And she has been reflected to varying degrees by female artists like Bjork, Sarah McLachlan, Dido, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos interested in exotic vocalizing, intimate piano songs, sexually frank lyrics, electronic composition, world music or studio experimentation.
If not a recluse, as she is often described, then certainly a homebody, Bush, 47, has been below the radar for more than a dozen years. During a rare recent telephone interview from her home near Reading, England, her son Bertie, 6, could occasionally be heard howling in the background. The singer was upbeat and gracious, despite a late night finishing final production work on the video for her new album's first single, the floaty, reggae-tinged "King of the Mountain" (viewable at katebush.com). She spoke on topics ranging from how Agatha Christie might have fared in the Internet era ( "everyone would know who'd done it before they even started the book" ), to her love for Elton John's "Madman Across the Water" album, to what she has been up to since releasing "The Red Shoes" in 1993. "Trying to do stuff other than putting records out all the time," she said of the last topic. "After 'The Red Shoes' I was exhausted, so I figured I'd take a year out, which turned into two. And here we are."
The "stuff" included spending time with friends, seeing movies and raising her son. "It's been important to spend time with him. And I'm pretty slow making records anyway," she said, laughing, adding that she worked on "Aerial" "for the past five or six years."
The hiatus was overdue for a piano prodigy who entered the pop business at 16. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd -- a friend of a friend -- hired a 30-piece orchestra to help her produce demos for her debut album, "The Kick Inside," a head-rush of precocious artistry and sexuality that, with songs conjuring masturbation, incest-triggered suicide and Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights," still sounds fresh and strange 25-some years later. The record never quite registered in the United States but was a hit in England, prompting a promotional whirlwind that included a rushed second album ( "Lionheart" ) and Bush's only tour, a 29-date theatrical spectacle in 1979, with choreography by Antony Van Last of the London Contemporary Dance Company.
Exhausted, Bush slowed her pace during the 1980s, abandoned touring -- in part due to a fear of flying -- built her own studio and released a series of increasingly ambitious and sporadic records. She also kept to herself, acquiring a reputation as a something of a hermitic oddball; the English music magazine Mojo, for example, ran a cover story without her participation in 2003 -- "Kate Bush: The Mysterious Life of a Reclusive Superstar" -- as part of a package titled "English Eccentric Weirdfest!"
So might one read her cryptic first single in over a decade, "King of the Mountain," with its references to Elvis Presley and "Rosebud" ( the symbolic sleigh from "Citizen Kane" ) as a wry comment on her own retreat to Xanadu? One might, but Bush doesn't recommend it. "It's fascinating that people have this fascination with what I do," she said. "The way I see it, you go away, create something, talk about it a bit so people know it's there, and get on with things. I don't live my life in the public eye. Maybe because people are all over television happily promoting themselves all the time, I'm seen as weird."
Bush, who has no plans to tour, likes the idea of making records as puzzles that listeners complete by interpretation. "So much is so accessible, so disposable, so many experiences are so shallow. I think what's so exciting about life are the great mysteries and questions," she said, stopping to laugh at herself. "And without wanting to sound horribly pretentious, that's something I like to play with."
Like 1985's "Hounds of Love," perhaps her best record, her latest is split between a group of individual songs ( the first CD, subtitled "A Sea of Honey" ) and a suite ( the 42-minute "A Sky of Honey" ). But where "Hounds" is dense and agitated, busy with sounds created on the Fairlight synthesizer -- an early sampling keyboard that Bush was among the first to master -- "Aerial" is expansive and relatively relaxed. Recorded with longtime associates, including Del Palmer on bass, many of the album's songs are arranged simply for voice and piano, like the exquisite "A Coral Room," composed, she said, "the way I used to do, just sitting at the piano writing."
Sometimes "Aerial" is so relaxed, it drifts into smooth jazz territory. But Bush's voluptuous, slightly alien voice usually corrects by contrast: purring, trilling, cackling, jumping octaves and echoing itself, witchlike, in multitracked choruses. "Aerial" also shows a more overtly classical English influence than her recent records. "Bertie," a love song for her son, features Renaissance period instruments, while "Sky of Honey" invokes Vaughn Williams' "Lark Ascending." "The record has a lot to do with England," said Bush, who has given Bulgarian choirs and Australian didgeridoos prominent roles in earlier songs. "I wanted to do something more colloquial."
That fits the record's spirit of finding infinite possibility in your own creative backyard -- a spirit, it's worth noting, that's surfaced in a new generation of parlor-room musical eccentrics like Joanna Newsom, Antony and Ariel Pink ( who has a recent tribute song called "For Kate I Wait" ). On "Pi," a song literally about infinity, Bush tries "to sing numerals with as much emotion as possible," and in the process gives new meaning to that cliche about singing the phone book. "Mrs. Bartolozzi" is a rhapsody to a washing machine that turns cosmic. Also arranged for voice and piano, it's the record's oddest song, but in its wistful, muted eroticism and quiet wonder, maybe the most emblematic. "I suppose there's an element of me in it," Bush said. "I spend quite a lot of time doing housework, and it's very important to me -- I don't want to be a person unconnected to the basic things of life. And I like the idea of taking something that's very small and quiet and allowing it to just connect, you know?"
Kate Bush, reclusive? Actually, she prefers the term 'normal'
The Los Angeles Times
By Richard Cromelin
October 30, 2005
Why the 12-year hiatus? 'I like to just get on with my life, really,' says the publicity-weary singer.
Like a mysterious heroine emerging from the mists of the moors, Kate Bush has returned from self-imposed exile. When her album "Aerial" comes out Nov. 8, the English singer will end a silence of 12 years, an interval that's only burnished her mystique and her reputation as pop's ultimate recluse.
But according to Bush, there was nothing mysterious about it.
"After the last record I thought I would take a year out, and the year became a bit longer than a year," Bush, 48, said last week. "More or less since I was 17 I'd just gone straight from making records into promotion and back into making records again, and I think I just got to a point where I didn't want to do that for a while.
"It was really great, and I think it was really good for me on so many levels…. I kind of hung out with some friends and had time to do things that I hadn't for a long time. I moved a couple of times, moved my studio, had a child," referring to her 7-year-old son with her partner, guitarist Danny MacIntosh.
And she made her eighth album, a two-CD set brimming with Bush signifiers: plush production, a sweeping musical mix of symphonic, electronic, exotic and Renaissance, and always that tremulous, dramatic, soaring voice.
The songs on the first disc include a pulsating ode to Elvis called "King of the Mountain" and an enigmatic meditation on a washing machine. Disc two is a unified song cycle, inspired by the songbirds Bush treasures, that traces a day from afternoon to dawn.
That return to the concept-album ideal is typical of Bush's proudly anachronistic worldview.
"I think there's very much a short attention span that's happening with a lot of people now," the singer said. "With the whole iTunes and fast-forward buttons, it's almost like the art form of an album is starting to become less important.
"Albums were always very important to me. Even when they weren't running as conceptual pieces, you kind of got a certain shape out of listening to an album that I don't think you do get if you just go and select the single tracks that you like and make a compilation. It's a very different thing."
Bush's independent spirit has made her an influential artist ever since she made her mark as a teenage prodigy in the late '70s. A genre unto herself, she's regarded as a primary source for most distinctive female singer-songwriters, and she's also picked up accolades from less likely artists, including R&B singer Maxwell and ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon.
But Bush keeps her distance. She's toured just once — in 1979 — and doesn't hobnob in pop music circles, leaving herself subject to myth-weaving and speculation that she's an agoraphobic given to nervous breakdowns.
"A lot of people refer to me as a recluse, which I'm not," she said. "But I do like to try and live as normal a life as possible. I just find that much more interesting than spending my life living in publicity…. I like to just get on with my life, really.
"Sometimes it's very frustrating that I'm portrayed in such a strange way, when people who go on television and eat live insects and spend three weeks up a tree with a camera stuck up their nose are considered normal. I'm sorry, but from where I sit, I'm the normal person."
The New York Daily News
by Jim Farber
November 6, 2005
Kate Bush's music could serve as the soundtrack to a cherished children's fable. On "Aerial," the eccentric singer's first album in 12 years, her glowing melodies and breathless vocals set a graceful backdrop for lyrics that address magical washing machines, enchanted forests, witchy incantations, and that most mythic of heroines, Joan of Arc.
All this may sound too precious, infantile or just plain daft for words. But the sophistication of Bush's music, the inventiveness of her arrangements and the credibility of her pop persona more than carry her through.
What a loon this woman remains.
Twenty-seven years ago, Kate Bush emerged as pop's most left-field diva - a kind of proto-Bjork, one whose sound Tori Amos ripped off (and dumbed down).
From the start, Bush's semi-classical music, storybook lyrics and ghostly voice made her a compelling character as well as an elusive one.
More than a decade ago, Bush quit music to raise a child. Now she has returned with a work that feels quintessential. It's a tale told in two disks, the first housing seven songs that mine memory and childhood perception. The second luxuriates in the power of nature.
On both, Bush's music evolves slowly, creating mood pieces that draw from classical music and folk. At times, her sound suggests Peter Gabriel mixed with Pink Floyd.
On the first CD's standout cut, "Bertie," Bush melds chamber music with her most blatant foray into traditional British folk to date. "Pi" - a salute to the spiritual possibility of numbers - is driven by a haunting pulse of a beat, while "Coral Room" relies on Bush's solo piano playing.
Bush finds a lyrical highlight in "Mrs. Bartolozzi," a recollection from her childhood in which nothing more momentous happened than an encounter with mud that necessitated extra use of the washing machine. Yet Bush's telling of the story nails the way children can become entirely enveloped by the most mundane of experiences. Bush raises this simple tale to the level of opera.
The second CD presents a pastoral tone poem that chronicles a day spent in nature from late afternoon to dawn. Bush's interpretation shows the careful composition and beauty of a well-realized still life.
On the surface, Bush's vision of the world may seem terribly idealized. But, buried below the surface, there's a tension in her yearning to capture the vitality and reach of consciousness.
As with any Bush disk, it will take time for listeners to work their way into her world. But once you're in, you may be reluctant to break the spell.
Kate Bush returns, purr and muse intact
by Greg Kot
November 6, 2005
Renaissance maiden, feminist homemaker, cosmic sensualist, idiosyncratic recluse, piano prodigy -- Kate Bush was an oddball even during her heyday in the '80s.
Only two years ago, when her once luminous career had lapsed into a decade of silence, the British magazine Mojo commissioned a cover story on her titled "English Eccentric Weirdfest."
Now she's back with her first album since 1993, the double-CD "Aerial" (Columbia).
Once again producing herself, writing all the music, and working with a trusted core of musicians, she has made no attempt to update her sound or reinvent her persona. "Aerial" sounds like it could have been made in 1985 as easily as '05. And why shouldn't it? Masterworks such as "Hounds of Love" (1985) and "The Sensual World" (1989) have aged far better than many albums of their time. "Aerial" affirms that the power of her strange muse has not dimmed.
That said, it's overblown by half. Excess has been part of Bush's charm, and the cause of her more egregious lapses. "Aerial" is satisfied in its insularity; it doesn't shout, it purrs. But sometimes the music drifts, as if catching a snooze while Bush meditates on an idea.
She's most focused on the first half, which amplifies themes that started to emerge in the albums that immediately preceded her 12-year hiatus.
Somewhere in the mid-'80s, she graduated from storybook flights of Romantic drama to her own peculiar brand of feminism (as depicted in titles such as "This Woman's Work"). These stories of women turning their everyday world into an extraordinary place dominate "A Sea of Honey," the first disc on "Aerial"; instead of the demons and sorcerers she depicted in her early work, her latest songs are populated with images of housework and childbearing. These praise songs to domesticity are massaged until they glow by Bush's piano playing and multi-octave voice. The singer's gallery of intonations, which suggest everything from a bird to a siren, make the ordinary sound exotic.
On "Mrs. Bartolozzi" she listens to the whirring of a washing machine and loses herself in a reverie staring at a man's shirt blowing on a clothesline. On "Pi," her voice coaxed along by an undulating organ and the strum of an acoustic guitar, she meditates on infinity and turns a series of numbers into an incantation. "How to be Invisible" transforms the notion of her own reclusive nature into an eerie, addictive nocturne. Her heroines, from Joan of Arc ("Joanni") to her mother (celebrated in "A Coral Room"), are elusive, mysterious, their worlds defined by cryptic details ("she never wears a ring on her finger"; " . . . her little brown jug/It held her milk").
The charged quirkiness becomes wearisome on "A Sky of Honey," the second half of "Aerial." It's a 42-minute, nine-song suite that cycles through a single day. All chirping birds, painterly imagery and pastoral swoon, this is an extended mood piece that nods toward Bush's British art-rock roots but then nods off into a New Age bubblebath. Things perk up near the end, and she nearly salvages the exercise with the ecstatic choral finale of the 8 1/2-minute "Nocturn" and the agitated "Aerial."
"I feel I want to be up on the roof," Bush cries, and the title song spirals into a delirious dance of tribal percussion and agitated electric guitar. The singer laughs like a merry loon while birds chirp.
"What kind of language is this?" she asks. As usual, it's the only one she knows: Her own.
[Note: This review appeared on the same page as a reprint of the Richard Cromelin article]
by Paul Verna
November 6, 2005
Fans who have waited 12 years for the return of Kate Bush have reason to celebrate the arrival of this two-CD concept album. On disc one, the angelic songstress jumps from multilayered pop symphonies like "King of the Mountain," an enthralling meditation on the pathos of celebrity, to haunting voice-and-piano soliloquies like "A Coral Room." On disc two, she traces the arc of a day through bird song, morphing her voice and lush instrumentations with field recordings of winged creatures. Such is the scope of Bush's artistry that she finds poetry in the numerical sequence for pi ("(pi)"), sensuality in the spin cycle of a washing machine ("Mrs. Bartolozzi") and beauty in the wave forms used to represent audio in software programs (the cover art). Despite her prolonged absence, Bush sounds as vital as ever.
In case you weren't yet born when Kate Bush released her last album twelve years ago, here's the lowdown: This British art-rock siren created the template for ethereal female rockers such as Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan, doing almost everything they do -- years earlier and with more flair -- everything, that is, except sell a lot of records in America. Given Bush's protracted absence, the subtlety of her eighth studio offering seems particularly ballsy. Designed as an old-fashioned double album, Aerial offers the singer's uncharacteristically restrained vocals over acoustic chamber music, low-key electronics and the late Michael Kamen's final orchestrations. Featuring songs about Elvis, mathematics, her son and a washing machine, the first disc rarely rises above a musical whisper. The second, a conceptual work that follows nature's course from afternoon to sunrise, slowly builds via fantastically gorgeous strings, a brief smattering of Spanish guitar, one slinky protracted groove built for "Nocturne," and a duet of laughter and birdcalls on the throbbing title track. Akin to recent Antony and the Johnsons and latter-day Talk Talk, Aerial doesn't deliver anything resembling a conventional pop tune. And this suits Bush just fine.
Kate Bush reemerges -- sort of -- with 'Aerial'
By Paul Sexton, Emmanuel Legrand and Melinda Newman
November 6, 2005
How does a label market the first release in a dozen years from a revered artist when her promotional participation is at an absolute minimum?
That is the question before EMI and Columbia as they eye "Aerial," a double album from British singer/songwriter Kate Bush. The set comes out worldwide November 7 on EMI except for North America, where it will come out a day later on Columbia.
The challenge before the two labels is not only to push an album by an artist absent for more years than many active music consumers have been alive but to do so without many traditional tools, since Bush does not tour, is rarely seen in public and is involved with little promotion.
"It's a simple plan," jokes Will Botwin, Columbia Records Group chairman. "It's not like I have to keep a calendar in my pocket to keep track of her activities."
Seriously, he admits, "It's incredibly challenging as a record label, in this day and age when most artists will do most things to get their records across."
"Part one of our task," says Mike Allen, senior VP of international marketing at EMI Music U.K. & Ireland," is to make sure the Kate Bush constituency that is so passionate and loyal is well aware that this record's there. And you don't take that for granted, you have to apply yourself to that.
"Beyond that," Allen continues, is "telling the tale to an audience that isn't already a Kate Bush fan, about where she is in terms of being an influence, that's a big part of making this a compelling story for 'newcomers' to check out."
Indeed, Botwin believes that fans of artists like Fiona Apple and Tori Amos "may gravitate to the kind of music Kate is doing." But, he admits, "we have no test tube for this. It's been 12 years, it's sort of a blank canvas." Indeed, Bill Clinton was in his first year of his first term as president when Bush's "The Red Shoes" came out. That title has sold 298,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
To reach younger fans, Columbia is actively promoting the $21.98 double album via such influential Internet sites as purevolume.com and myspace.com, as well as targeting online blogs. "It's not your normal shot of your artist looking to get on 'TRL,"' Botwin says.
Bush agreed to a handful of print interviews, as well as a chat with National Public Radio in the United States, but Botwin says there are no plans for her to step foot in America for this project. Continued ...
Bush is "one of those artists that can get away with" not promoting her projects, says Jerry Suarez, divisional merchandise manager for music for Virgin Entertainment Group in the United States. "Her fan base is still a record-buying one. It's not a first-day record."
The album is introduced by the atmospheric "King of the Mountain," issued as a commercial single October 24 after online release September 26 on iTunes. On the Official U.K. Charts Co.'s singles sales chart for October 30, the song debuted at No. 4.
Bush is one of EMI's most enduring signings, having first entered discussions with the company and its publishing division in 1975, while still attending St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School.
Her first album, "The Kick Inside," appeared in March 1978, soon after Bush's debut single "Wuthering Heights" had become a U.K. sensation, topping the chart for a month.
Her sophomore set, "Lionheart," was released a mere eight months later, before Bush's third release, 1980's "Never for Ever," became her first British No. 1 album. "The Dreaming" followed in 1982.
But since Bush completed work on a studio in her house, effectively becoming a self-contained production unit, only three more studio albums emerged before EMI's confirmation a mere few weeks ago that "Aerial" was ready for release.
While moderately known in the United States, Bush is a bona fide star in the United Kingdom: "King of the Mountain" gathered next-day reviews in the news pages of many British national newspapers, indicating a high level of interest.
"The press that's been created without her talking to anybody is a measure of the reverence in which she's held in the U.K.," Allen says.
In the end, Allen and Botwin agree that Bush has to remain true to her code. "I sort of think the mystery can work in our favor," Botwin says. "You got to respect an artist who's really an artist, who's not prepared to just hawk her wares."
'Aerial' maneuvers lift Kate Bush out of hiatus
New York Newsday
November 8, 2005
Singing the phone book would be too cliche.
On her new double album, "Aerial" (Columbia), Kate Bush sings the value of pi carried out to 116 decimal places. And she does it with the same mix of beauty and eccentricity that made "Wuthering Heights" and "Running Up That Hill" so memorable.
In "Pi," Bush sings, "Eight two threeeeeeee, zeroooo, six six zero four seven zero nine," in a way that not only sounds lovely, but also enhances the song's meditation on trying to categorize something infinite.
Yes, it's been 11 years since Bush released her last album "The Red Shoes," but not much has changed in her music, which is all still built around the piano and her extraordinary voice, or her writing, which is still, well, uniquely Kate.
"Aerial" is divided into two albums - a collection of disparate songs called "A Sea of Honey" and a suite of songs designed to represent one day called "A Sky of Honey."
"A Sea of Honey" is an odd mix of styles and ideas. It opens with the first single, "King of the Mountain," a reggae-tinged dream about Elvis Presley still being alive, followed by "Pi." There's also "Bertie," a Renaissance-styled tribute to her 6-year-old son, and "Joanni," a synthesized, Genesis-ish tribute to Joan of Arc, while "How To Be Invisible" sounds like a mellowed version of Talking Heads.
It is "Mrs. Bartolozzi" that stands out the most, though, as Bush sings about cleaning over piano riffs that are reminiscent of Phil Collins' "Against All Odds." The imagery gets a bit sexual before she starts singing, "Washing machine!" as if it has suddenly made her very happy.
"A Sky of Honey" is far more laid back, with pretty, calming sounds filling "An Architect's Dream" and "A Painter's Link." By the time Bush's fictitious day ends, things start getting more exciting, with the sweeping dance rhythms of "Nocturn" and the birdcalls and laughs of the title track.
Outside of the classic "Hounds of Love," "Aerial" is Bush's most ambitious and best executed album, a shining example of how experimentation and memorable melodies work well together.
("Aerial," in stores today; Grade: A-.)
Kate Bush Remains Reliable on New CD
Associated Press Wire Service
by Kim Curtis
November 7, 2005
Kate Bush hasn't released an album since 1993's "The Red Shoes," and at 47, she's now more soccer mom than chanteuse. But she's still masterful at making spooky, sexy music tinged with strangeness. And this double-CD set should satisfy long-neglected fans. Both discs, "A Sea of Honey" and "A Sky of Honey," are filled with Bush's lush piano-playing, strings, moody electronica, nature sounds and her poetic, if not slightly wacky words.
The first single, "King of the Mountain," sounds like the onset of winter itself with synthesized wind blowing and icy computerized blips. The lyrics are about Elvis, the king himself, frolicking "in the snow with Rosebud," a presumed allusion to the sled in "Citizen Kane."
In "Pi," she sings the mathematical equation. And it sounds good. Really — if you're the kind of fan who loves her operatic voice and wouldn't mind hearing her sing a grocery list or the alphabet.
On the second disc, "Prologue" sounds like soaring movie music with lyrics about "the light in Italy."
If "King of the Mountain" is winter, "Sunset" is summer. Stripped down, the song is about the words. "This is a song of color," Bush sings. "Where sands sing in crimson, red and rust/Then climb into bed and turn to dust."
It hits a crescendo with Spanish-style guitar and a peppy chorus, "Oh, sing of summer and a sunset."
Both CDs are classic Kate — meant to be played in the dark when you're up too late. Amazingly, her voice hasn't changed dramatically over the years. If anything, the squeakiness of "Wuthering Heights" and "Running Up that Hill," has simply mellowed, leaving behind a more mature, seasoned voice, but no less haunting.
On 'Aerial,' Kate Bush is as eclectic, unique, and erratic as ever
The Boston Globe
by James Reed
November 8, 2005
The first thing to remember about Kate Bush is that she's never been concerned with staying ahead of the curve. In fact, she's rarely been anywhere on the curve. Her approach to music, starting in the late 1970s, has been a cosmic vision uniquely her own, where synthesizers compete with Hammond organs and calypso arrangements. If her early music sounds dated now, it's because it was never in vogue to begin with.
''Aerial," her new double album out today on Columbia, is her first in 12 years, but it could easily have come out any time in Bush's career arc. Which is to say that it's as eclectic and erratic as anything the British singer-songwriter has ever done, from ''Wuthering Heights" up to ''This Woman's Work."
With the exception of ''King of the Mountain," the album's first single and its most radio-friendly song, ''Aerial" is a sprawling project divided into two themes. ''A Sea of Honey," the first disc, finds Bush extolling the virtues (and banality) of domestic life. ''They traipsed mud all over the house/ It took hours and hours to scrub it out," she sings on ''Mrs. Bartolozzi."
''A Sky of Honey," the second disc, was conceived as a suite, and it follows a languid, sometimes tangential path that unfurls with chirping birds, cackles, and full-throttle electric guitar solos. There are some serious missteps along the way, such as ''Sunset," which starts as smooth jazz and segues to a flamenco guitar backdrop that belongs on a Gipsy Kings album.
Instrumentation, it turns out, is perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of ''Aerial." It's still diverse, from the R&B-lite of ''Nocturn" to the Renaissance arrangements for harpsichord on ''Bertie." But there's something vaguely processed and shopworn about the sounds.
While the accompaniment is not as ambitious or histrionic as on, say, ''Sat in Your Lap" (from 1982's ''The Dreaming"), lyrically, this is clearly a Kate Bush album. She can still insert ''Eye of Braille/ Hem of anorak/ Stem of wallflower/ Hair of doormat" in the middle of a song and make it sound natural, even the right thing to say at the right time.
When the album comes to a climactic close on the title track, it's clear that, more than two decades on, Bush is still making music on her own terms, as uncompromising and sporadic as they are.
Kate Bush soars on 'Aerial'
Philadelphia Daily News
November 8, 2006
Kate Bush soars on 'Aerial'
I don't know if it's mere coincidence, or artist judgment, but the very best of Sony-BMG's three megastar releases this week is the one that's free of copy protection.
I'm speaking of Kate Bush's "Aerial" (Columbia). The British art-pop songstress spent 12 years on this double-disc project, and it's finessed to fine creative and sonic ends, with no digital rights management allowed. (Some argue that DRM software can affect the sound of a disc, but the truth is, I don't hear it.)
Almost ambient in tone, Bush's dream-state, world-flavored music rolls over you like gentle waves lapping against the shore. (Think Peter Gabriel, lite.) But dig in and you'll invariably hear Bush ruminating on intriguing subject matter, from Elvis ("King of the Mountain") to a washer woman ("Mrs. Bartolozzi") to the fortuitousness of artistic accident ("An Architect's Dream").
NOTE: The article continues with other summaries of new releases)
November 8, 2005
(3 stars out of 4)
Her first album since 1993's The Red Shoes is clearly outside the boundaries of current trends, not that Kate Bush has ever marched with her peers. A piercing, tremulous voice, childhood-obsessed themes and art-pop pretensions don't earn heartland acceptance, and Aerial moves her ZIP code somewhere near Saturn. The first half of the double album is A Sea of Honey, a seven-song diary with odes to her son, Elvis and washing machines, plus a painful account of her mother's death. The second disc, A Sky of Honey, is a weirdly gorgeous nine-track song cycle tracing birds singing from afternoon to dawn. Folk, jazz, rock, symphonic pop and electronica coexist on Bush's elaborate eighth album, which is mesmerizing and pretty but also indulgent and largely inscrutable
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds