photo manipulation & text by nacrowe
in the recent documentary THE KATE BUSH STORY - RUNNING UP THAT HILL (BBC, 2014) about the TRANSFORMATIVE BRITISH songwriter KATE BUSH, there is much EFFUSIVE PRAISE for such a SINGULAR artist who was seemingly fearless in her experiments to bend aspects of FORM, SONIC TEXTURE and LITERATURE to her will. this aspect of her work is reiterated time and again throughout, as the range of her discography feels as though there was LIMITLESS POTENTIAL at hand and that the rules of pop culture did not infiltrate her CREATIVE PROCESS. she seemingly transcended such considerations and focused on nurturing and expanding her craft and voice as an artist. taking in and synthesizing disparate influences ranging from BRITISH FOLKLORE to LITERATURE (J.M. BARRIE, EMILY BRONTE, JAMES JOYCE, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN) to even the 1970s GLAM ROCK she was raised on as a child. the participants alone in this film are a veritable murderer's row of recording artists and thespians that have likewise held experimentation as a core of their ARTISTIC IDENTITY, namely ELTON JOHN, PETER GABRIEL (GENESIS), TRICKY (MASSIVE ATTACK), DAVID GILMOUR (PINK FLOYD), VIV ALBERTINE (THE SLITS), BIG BOI (OUTKAST), JOHN LYDON (THE SEX PISTOLS, PUBLIC IMAGE LTD), NATASHA KHAN (BAT FOR LASHES), ST. VINCENT (THE POLYPHONIC SPREE), BRETT ANDERSON (SUEDE), TORI AMOS, GUY GARVEY (ELBOW) and comedians STEPHEN FRY, STEVE COOGAN and JO BRAND as well author NEIL GAIMAN (THE SANDMAN) and the celebrated late dance and mime artist (and teacher of both DAVID BOWIE and KATE BUSH) LINDSEY KEMP among others.
i remember the first time i heard THE HOUNDS OF LOVE (EMI, 1985) by KATE BUSH at the recommendation of a friend in graduate school and was immediately taken by the sensory overload of her UNIQUE singing style, the lyrics and the LUSH production. it was just too much to take in during one sitting and was eerily reminiscent of my initial experiences coming to terms with other SONICALLY CHALLENGING and EXPLORATORY artists like FELA KUTI, MF DOOM, APHEX TWIN, FRANK ZAPPA, BJORK, CAPTAIN BEEFHEART, PATTI SMITH, MIKE PATTON, GRIMES, JANE'S ADDICTION, DAVID BOWIE, MIKE OLDFIELD, KRAFTWERK, LOU REED, TRENT REZNOR, BRIAN ENO, MY BLOODY VALENTINE, JOHNNY MARR, FUGAZI, PETER GABRIEL, DEVO, GEORGE CLINTON, MASSIVE ATTACK and CHILDISH GAMBINO. at first listen, all of these artists sounded ALIEN to me, but over time contributed to an expanded sonic lexicon of SOUNDS, TEXTURES and IDEAS. what makes BUSH SPECIAL for me is that i feel like in some ways i am still very much in the process years later of coming to terms with her discography. its all enveloping aural density and lyrically EXPRESSIVE intensity means that i am constantly finding new aspects of her music to appreciate and inhabit. it is a SINGULAR experience that is difficult to describe.
of course BUSH is also known for her reclusiveness, especially her late career which saw her leave the entertainment industry after THE RED SHOES (COLUMBIA, 1993) to move to the countryside and have a family. there is a sense in the film that this choice to abandon her PUBLIC PERSONA was a means of preserving her sense of IDENTITY and that self-narrative of her existence. it is difficult to not respect such, especially in the modern oversharing digital attention economy (of which this blog is subject to) where there is much ado about presenting oneself rather than being oneself. her life of private quiet contemplation and the shielding of her CREATIVE PROCESS from public consumption until new material is presented strictly on her terms seems fitting for an artist of her caliber.
its a gift. it really is.