Sunday, April 29, 2012

David Bowie Low 33 1/3

I’ve been listening to my old copy of Low in the garage this morning (fourth spin, can't stop now). This book-length essay from the 33 1/3 series taught me alot about this great weird record, and its creative (and chemical/psychiatric) context.  Some of the artists in the dialogue: Iggy Pop, Phillip Glass, Can, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Eno, Tony Visconti, Steve Reich.  Not to mention the killer musicians playing real funky and wild on it.  

I went backpacking once with Rob Smith and Snider, and Rob clued me in to  Harmonia, a spin off of Neu! and I never checked that out.  This book reminds me to do that.  Major geek out.  Guys who talk about kraut rock while backpacking are prone to the geek out. 

One of the real remarkable things about this record is the half and half feel of it--for a commercial artist, especially.  It reminds me of Black Flag's My War record.  Side II of that ol' paint-peeler is a collection of sludgy dirges that permanently put to rest their L.A. hardcore groove, alienated half their fans, reinvented Henry Rollins as psychotic front man, and basically pre-invented stoner metal.  It made alot of thuggish punky types want to beat up Henry. Who knew what to do with side II of Low

It makes me want to paint, draw, do yoga, make feedback loops with my bass guitar, and move to Amsterdam--but if you were a Bowie fan in 1977, what did you hear?  The end of something, and the beginning of something else.

Rob Smith preparing kraut rock sautee at Opal Creek.

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