Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kate Bush

Considered by many reviewers as her masterpiece, 1985's Hounds of Love is no less experimental from a production standpoint. Not only did she produce it herself, but for this album, stung by the huge costs she had run up hiring studio space for The Dreaming, she built a private 48 track studio near her home where she could work at her own pace.

In August of 1985, England's most popular music magazine, NME, featured Bush in a "Where Are They Now" article. Two days later, on The Wogan Show, the single "Running Up That Hill" was played for the first time. The single, and indeed the album, were showcases of a newfound mastery of production. Hounds of Love ultimately topped the charts in the UK, knocking Madonna's Like A Virgin from the number one position.

The album is split into two sides, with the first side, Hounds of Love, containing five "accessible" pop songs, including the four singles: "Running Up That Hill," "Cloudbusting," "Hounds of Love," and "The Big Sky." "Running Up That Hill" re-introduced Kate to American airwaves, and received considerable airplay at the time of its release. "The Big Sky" can be viewed as a creative manifesto issued by Kate in response to criticisms of "The Dreaming" (for which she had been criticized for being too obtuse). The second side is entitled "The Ninth Wave", whose title is taken from a poem by Tennyson. As part of a song cycle, each track helps to convey the story of a woman who is lost at sea, facing death by drowning, and the tortured night she spends in the water. Bush's technical wizardry is shown to full effect, using samples and vocals played in reverse to synthesized sounds and folk instrumentation.

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