142. big sky [meteorological mix]

“I think of remixes as mostly a 1980s thing. Certainly, that’s when I first started noticing them. And the meteorological remix of Kate Bush‘s Big Sky has to rate as one of the very best, from any decade. A perfectly fine track from a perfectly excellent album, expanded, explored, ultimately rendered into a true force of nature by the time the big drums come thundering in toward the end. I don’t know if I ever heard this in a club, but I sure as hell drove my car to it a lot – real open highway stuff, early morning, no traffic, just the speed of life, with big clouds in the distance, threatening.” (Philip Random)

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182. Pandora

“The Cocteau Twins are like the new wave Kate Bush. I can still see the idiot who said this to me, one of those music biz types who was still doing the feathered hair thing well into the 1980s. Not that there was anything at all wrong with Kate Bush. It was the timing of it, 1984. So-called New Wave had peaked at least five years earlier, and it was never a proper genre anyway, just a way of marketing fresh sounding stuff that was easier to listen to than punk and whatever. Which gets us back to the Cocteau Twins who were exquisitely easy to listen to, a million miles from punk, a welcome shade of beauty and mystery at a time when everything just seemed to be getting more and more obvious, strident, aggressive. Even the good stuff. Pandora and the album it came from (the aptly named Treasure) gave us something to listen to when we got home from various gigs and warehouse situations. Smoke a little dope, sip a little wine, get luxuriantly lost. Part of me still is. Lost, that is, like Pandora.” (Philip Random)

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516. the jig of life

Kate Bush pretty much had the world in her hands by 1985’s Hounds Of Love, and she made excellent use of it. Side One was the pop side (more or less) the songs we’ve all heard. Side Two (aka The Ninth Wave) was deeper, richer, stranger, with The Jig Of Life kicking in toward the end all pagan and wild.

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595. the dreaming

Kate Bush‘s fourth album, The Dreaming, is one of those artefacts that continues to force jaws to drop from beginning to end, every strange and delicious second. But if you’ve only got time for one song, go with the title track wherein a groove is stolen from a Rolf Harris song, then merged rather hilariously with the sound a kangaroo makes when it gets hammered by a van. And then it all just keeps deranging from there, as dreams will do.

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991. brimstone in a barren land

Danielle Dax (pre-teen opera star turned pop experimentalist) was supposed to be the next Kate Bush, but for whatever reason, her textured approach to all things rhythmic, melodic, strange never quite caught on. Dark Adapted Eye, a compilation of some of her earlier releases, is well worth a listen with Brimstone in a Barren Land a standout for its overall feeling of impending doom crossed with cool, possibly hopeful light. 1987 in a nutshell.

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