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David Bowie - 1. Outside CD (album) cover


David Bowie


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3.62 | 162 ratings

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The guys who created the great Low (a masterpiece) are back together. Brian Eno joined forces with David again and expectations were high.

Fans got a preview of the album under the release of the single "The Hearts Filthy Lesson". An apocalyptical story promoted by a weird (but artistically excessively well crafted and original) video. So weird that several scenes were edited to fit into the MTV canons.

The video is highly recommended for its strong images but the song as such is not a memorable one. It failed to chart (within David's standards) and clearly indicated that the man was going to surprise its fan database with the upcoming album.

And so did he.

David said: "Nobody would take Outside when we first recorded it. It was held back for a year until we could find somebody to distribute it in America and by that time my enthusiasm was pretty thin on the ground". No comment.

"Outside" which subtitle is "The Diary of Nathan Adler or The Art-Ritual Murder of Baby Grace Blue. A non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-cycle" (ouch!) is David's most hermetic and experimental album so far.

Electronic, house, techno: you name it. The concept of the album doesn't help to like it either. David wrote a storyboard featuring not one, but several characters. Professor Adler (a detective and main character), Baby Grace Blue (the dissected young girl), Leon Blank (a twenty two years old delinquent), Algeria Touchshriek (a seventy eight years old man) and Ramona Stone (the art terrorist). Each one being the main character of one or more songs.

The tracks I can live with are not many: "Outside", a traditional Bowie song, "I'm Deranged", "Motel" (the second part of the song only), "No Control" and "Strangers When We Met". The last one being my fave. It was actually written during the "Buddha" sessions. It was released as a single but also failed to chart reasonably.

Another characteristics of this album, is that during several tracks one has the impression to revive some old experience. If you feel that way too, don't look further. It's due to Mike Garson and his fantastic piano play on "Aladin Sane" back to .1973.

If this project is called "1. Ouside" it is because there were supposedly another two (or even more) albums to be released from these "Outside" sessions, which comprise in total about twenty-five hours of music. At different times, David mentioned that they would see the light, at others that both Eno and himself didn't have the time to go through the existing material.

There is a lot of hype about a follow-up (2. Contamination). In February 2000, to the question: "What is the one thing your most looking forward to this year? David answered:

"1. Going back into the studio with Tony Visconti (which he will do a little later with Heaten) , 2. Would like to start some rerecording of lots of the songs I wrote in the 60's (which he partially did) and 3. Trying to piece together '2. Contamination' the follow up to Outside".

There was also a plan to produce a rock opera from the "Outside" project. But it never saw the light either. Gérard Mortier, a Belgian who is Director of the Salzburg Festival wanted to produce this but after several discussions he came to the conclusion: "Even my good friend Bianca Jagger tried to negotiate but it seemed to be impossible to get Bowie to work for me for three weeks, even for half a million dollars. End of the story.

There was even once mentioned that the third leg would be called "3. Afrikaan". At the current pace of things, I guess that it will be released in 2412 or so. As far as I'm concerned I'm not too in a hurry to see this happening. I have never been able to enter into this new David adventure.

It is also the start of a frenetic remix disease almost doubling each individual album David was releasing form "Outside" onwards. All these remixes, together with the original albums are comprised in a ten CD set simply called "Bowie Box Set".

Two stars for "Outside". Just outside my reach.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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