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David Bowie - Space Oddity [Aka: David Bowie, Man Of Words/Man Of Music] CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.34 | 332 ratings

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3 stars SPACE ODDITY is, of course, not a prog album, but I must admit it almost felt like one when I first discovered it in the 1970s. Not that it featured a plethora of sudden tempo changes or screaming synthesizer solos. It was the EXUBERANT CLIMAXES wot did it! As a sentimental teenager I felt that to prog's greatest triumphs lay in dramatic climaxes to extended compositions like "Ritual" and "Supper's Ready". And on SPACE ODDITY the young Bowie seemed to provide the same sort of thing in "Cygnet Committee". This track is nearly ten minutes long, so surely you could call it Bowie's very own epic? I mean, most of the excitement is provided by Bowie's voice (backed by acoustic guitar, bass and drums) which goes from slow, cabaret-like singing to rapid, anguished shouting: surely that's excitement enough already? But then, to top it all, you also get Mr Rick Wakeman accompanying our hero, going berserk on electric harpsichord. Surely all this is much proggier than "Cans and Brahms"!

The remainder of the album cannot lay claim to prog credentials, even though mellotron freaks will be familiar with the title track. It is filled with sensitive (and occasionally sentimental) acoustic and theatrical ballads, and there's at least one song ("Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed") which clearly foreshadows Bowie's glam rock phase, although it goes on too long. I'm also fond of the starry-eyed "Memory of A Free Festival", which almost sounds like a Jon Anderson solo song. Ah, Youth...

fuxi | 3/5 |


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