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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:21 pm 
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...it's, uh...

interesting.

First things first: is it a "The Dreaming" or 'Hounds of Love?" Not really. It feels like it continues trends begun by "Sensual World" and "The Red Shoes." Not production trends, thankfully (Kate FINALLY escapes the 1980s production curse, although she embraces something a bit uncomfortably new-agey in its absense), but in the sense that she continues to write slightly unconventional, formless "feeling songs" in many cases.

Thus far, I'm much more fond of CD1 than CD2. "Pi" feels like "Sensual World" filtered slightly through "Kid A," with lyrics that include a fair chunk of the early digits of the number in question. Oddly enough, "Bertie"--it of the much-maligned "ode to mother/fatherhood" genre--is probably one of the most traditional songs on either disc, and the personal nature of the lyrics aside, I quite enjoy it, from the baroque/folk instrumentation to the nice vocal hook in the chorus.

Mrs. Bartolozzi, the "Washing Machine" song, is mostly just Kate and a piano, and is formless but enjoyable. "How To Be Invisible" is a return to band territory, and is a nice, moody piece. "Joanni" doesn't do much for me yet, and it sounds a bit too much like one of the more disposable tracks on "Sensual World" (albeit filtered through the "Metroid Prime" instrument bank). "Coral Room" also hasn't quite grown on me yet.

I need to emphasize, BTW, that thus far, all tracks have been above 4 minutes long, with most approaching five or six minutes in length.


CD2 is made up of a large "suite," much like side 2 of "Hounds of Love." It's atmospheric, and not made up of "songs" as much as I'd like. It might end up growing on me, but at the moment I'm a bit unsure of how I feel about it. It's nice, but...twelve years??

Ahh, maturity.

Anybody else?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:08 pm 
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Is this out in the states yet? I thought it was next week.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 8:13 pm 
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Xenu is not constrained by the release dates on your puny thetan-infested mortal coil.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 10:34 pm 
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Exactly. All hail binary newsgroups.

(in all seriousness, though, I've been waiting for this one to hit the internet for quite some time. Needless to say, I do have the actual thing pre-ordered)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2005 11:48 pm 
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Thanks to a fellow FLO member, I was able to track this one down.

Overall, I'm opposite Xenu's choice on the set, I really like the 2nd disc and found the 1st disc, to be just OK for the most part. It had a great start but kind of meanders a bit until the last track which pulled my interest back into it. I must say though, I did find the Ode to a Washing Machine rather interesting. :D

The 2nd disc does remind a bit of the 2nd side of "Hounds" and which isn't a bad thing at all. It seemed to flow a bit more smoothly than the first disc (for me anyway). Couldn't identify the male voice on the 2nd disc, but I could've done without him. I would have preferred Peter Gabriel as a male voice since I always thought those two sounded great together.

There were rumors abound that David Gilmour was initially part of this, but I don't think he is.

And while I was listening at 320kbps, this doesn't sound balls to wall slammed like most current stuff so that was quite refreshing as well. It actually appears to have some dynamics on it.

I think it is a welcome return for her and sure hope that it's not another twelve years before her next disc.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2005 9:17 pm 
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Location: Another red state :(
FWIW, some of the early reviews are coming in sh.tv and the sound is being praised over there as well. It appears James Guthrie did the mastering on the set.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 12:37 am 
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I've been meaning to familiarize myself with her work. Here's two articles in the Trib published today:

Kate Bush breaks her 12-year silence
Chicago Tribune (IL)
November 6, 2005
Author: Richard Cromelin, Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Estimated printed pages: 2

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 Tuesday, the English singer will end a public silence of 12 years, an interval that has only burnished her mystique and her reputation as pop music'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 recently. "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," she said, referring to her 7-year-old son with her partner, guitarist Danny MacIntosh.

And she made her eighth album, a two-compact disc 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 an ode to Elvis called "King of the Mountain" and a 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 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 1970s. A genre unto herself, she's regarded as a primary source for most distinctive female singer-songwriters, and she also has picked up accolades from less likely artists, including R&B singer Maxwell and ex-Sex Pistol John Lydon.

But Bush keeps her distance. She has toured only once -- in 1979 -- and doesn't hobnob in pop music circles.

"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."

Kate Bush returns, purr and muse intact
Chicago Tribune (IL)
November 6, 2005
Author: Greg Kot, Tribune music critic
Estimated printed pages: 2

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.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 6:07 pm 
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I'm warming up on disc II slightly...thus far, though, with the exception of the Trib review, most are taking the opposite position.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 6:11 pm 
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DIGIPAK.

Any chance this'll see a jewel case release, you think?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 7:09 pm 
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Yeah, I saw that.

The only possible way I could think of a jewel case release would be through a record club pressing (possibly).

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