Thursday, 21 April 2011

Musically my heart belongs to Kate.

Kate Bush. The Hounds of Love album cover

I have loved the voice and music of Kate Bush ever since I was a teenager... listening to her music both then AND now is almost a spiritual experience.  Her voice, lyrics and music speak to my soul and it's always moving.  The music is beautiful, quirky, experimental and sometimes just downright odd  - Aerial Tal for example where inexplicably Kate has recorded her voice over the top of a singing blackbird.
I started with The Kick Inside with Wuthering Heights among other fabulous tracks. The album was a commerical success and written by a girl not yet out of her teenage years.  EMI having heard some early work when Kate was younger were quick to issue a "development contract" allowing her to hone her writing and dance skills.  It knew a good thing and fired by the success of the first album encouraged Kate to rapidly release a second album Lionheart which, while it sold well was not the commerical success of the first one. When you consider that Kate released her first album in 1978 and her second album just 10 months later it seems amazing that both should have been well received.

The third album The Dreaming  which was Kate's first sole produced album, was a commercial flop and Kate retreated for three years before returning  in 1985 with arguably the best album of the decade in The Hounds of Love which was a massive commercial success.

The Hounds Of Love also experimented for the first time with a secondary insert - The Ninth Wave which looked at the fear of someone stuck in deep water right until the last moment with The Morning Fog and the light but is the person alive and rescued or reborn in a new life beyond death. Kate doesn't explain and I don't need her to - it's lovely as it is. I also love The Jig of Life with it's Irish influences - a nod to Kate's mother who was Irish.

Kate with the Trio Bulgarka
The Sensual World with its inclusion of the the fabulous Trio Bulgarka - a Bulgarian Folk Trio who sang Bulgarian Folk music and who were heard beautifully on Rockets Tail is another favourite. Rocket's Tail ? Well it's about her cat of course.

The Red Shoes which was scarcely out of the CD player when I first got it with another track about her Mum in Moments of Pleasure.

All albums which were welcomed and loved for varying reasons. All which spoke to me in different ways and which were played a different times.

Several years ago it appeared that Kate had stopped writing music and no new work was going to be forthcoming. Over that period of time I heard rumours and snippets of gossip... Kate was now a recluse..... Kate had had a baby.... there was never going to be another album. And then suddenly in 2005 there WAS a new album - Aerial.  I had known for several months the album was on it's way and eagerly anticipated the new and long awaited music.  While this is not a review for the album  (apart from to say I LOVE IT) I have to say that there is some beautiful stuff on there. Music and lyrics which dealt with some parts of Kate's life such as "The Coral Room" which touched on Kate's memories and sadness about the death of her mother. The lyrics were both beautiful and devastating as a tribute to her Mum. It used metaphors about planes crashing down not as discussion of war but to describe the awful feelings which accompany the sudden death of a much loved relative. I think you would have to be fairly hard not to be moved by the lyrics " Mother, and her little brown jug, it held her milk and now it holds our memories".

Then back to happy times with Bertie - Kate's tribute to her son. And oh I am right there with her, really feeling and understanding the sentiments she describes... "here comes the sunshine.... here comes this son of mine.... here comes the everything". Oh yes Kate I am with you on that one. J is an utter ray of sunshine with "truly the most fantastic smile I've ever seen" and he is indeed my "everything".
His bright and shining eyes as he describes a Lego creation to me, the imaginative and creative thought processes which are manifested in whatever Lego rocket he has built are amazing. And then at bedtime when J absolutely does not wish to succumb to sleep I am with Kate again as J becomes "the most wilful" and yet "the most beautiful" child who can wrap his mother around his little finger.

And the good news - on May 3rd a new Kate offering is released. - Deeper Understanding. It's a rehash of some of her older stuff with new interpretations - it will be odd, quirky, loved and hated in equal measure - I have already pre-ordered my copy. Even better Kate is rumoured to be working on new stuff.... I can't wait.

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