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David Bowie - Low CD (album) cover

LOW

David Bowie

 

Prog Related

3.98 | 207 ratings

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el böthy
Prog Reviewer
5 stars From Ziggy Stardust to the Great White Duke, from folk to industrial electronica, from ugly british teeth to a white smile if there is something David Bowie can do is change, adapt and suceed at it. And maybe, just maybe, might this be the artistic pinnacle of his ever changing persona.

Low is an album marked by everything that surrounds it. Bowie´s high dependecy on drugs and bi-polar state of mind led him to explore the more vanguard sounds of contemporany Germany´s Krautrock bands, such as Can and Neu! and found asylum in electronic experimentation with the help of Brian Eno, who would be his left hand in this and the future Berlin albums. Also the fact that, although not recorded, but mixed just a few steps of the wall in Berlin gave the music a more depressing mood to it. Just listen to Weeping wall to hear what I mean. This is pretty much Bowie´s darkest album and, if this review be so bold, his best.

Armed with a handful of excellent musicians who had already worked with him in the excellent Station to station (which was a subtle indication of where Bowie wanted to go) and some new blood, plus the sounds of Brian Eno, Bowie creates an album that is not glam, nor electronic, nor Kraut but all of the above, played with some funk in the rythm section and sharp melodies in the guitars and synths with Bowie´s calm and expressive vocals on top of it all. All songs are among his most inventive, even though some of them are quite short, mostly instrumental and synth experimentations. For the album is basically divided in two: in Side A we have the shorter, mostly sung more melodic "pop" numbers, from which the beautiful Sounds and visions, the depressing Always crashing in the same car and desperate Be my wife stand out, while on Side B we have the instrumental synth songs which, personally, make the album stand out from the rest of Bowie´s already impressive catalog. And even though Bowie "sings" sounds, more than words, in a personal language and we don´t understand a word of it, we never fail short of feeling and getting everything Bowie wants us to feel and get. Side B is among the most minimalistic and powerful music I have ever heard. And yet, with this clear division "Low" does never lose is´t unity, the whole album, every song after the other are part of a single entity.

This is the first of Bowie´s Berlin trilogy, which would also give us the more succesful "Heroes" (on which Fripp would lay down his famous guitar work) and "Lodger", and although both of them are interesting, and "Heroes" has some clear moments of greatness, they don´t come close to the initial "Low" which I would not only call out as Bowie´s best, but also as album of 1977.

Low is to Bowie what Kid A is to Radiohead. An album like there is no other.

el böthy | 5/5 |

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