Kate's Bush

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snowman
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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby snowman » Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:37

She was the Lady Gaga of her time in the sense that her genuinely interesting and innovative music and singing overshadowed any visual gimmickry in evidence - not the other way round - so, er, I don't think that holds really. (Water.)

Ah. Her stuff used to be fantastic; now it isn't, really. Shall I go and gaze in awe at her and reawaken my crush, given that musically I won't exactly be thrilled? Hmmm.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby eadric » Tue Mar 25, 2014 13:22

I guess I meant Lady Gaga in the sense of it's not really just a song, there's dancing and costume changes and all that malarkey - it's a package. I'd suggest LG is as least as good a musician technically, although I'd rather listen to the old Kate albums too. Ok, maybe it was a stupid comparison :)

I dunno, can her voice handle much of the old stuff these days? Babooshka will have some choir singing the chorus or something. Mind, I imagine tickets will be both near impossible to get and expensive. All the gaffa hardcore are probably camping out somewhere already, everyone is doomed.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Mar 25, 2014 13:44

Yeah, I'd have to pretty strongly agree with snowman contra eadric and reject the GaGa comparison at the molecular level -- even in pure terms of popularity in her heyday.

When Kate bumped Madonna off the top of the charts and reigned for that glorious moment as Britain's Queen of Pop, even then she had nothing like Madonna's following. She was an art rocker who "made good" in the material world of the 80s and "redeemed herself" from the supposed "excesses" of her "crazy woman in the attic" album (her own description), The Dreaming. It was a fluke that no one expected would continue and The Sensual World didn't reprise it. Madonna and GaGa both made careers based on that kind of ongoing chart success.

Snowman's also spot-on that Kate made a career with precious few of the externals Madonna and GaGa have in abundance to rope in an audience. First, Kate had only one, traumatic and nearly abortive, regional tour; M & G are artists of the spectacle whose major money is made on continent-spanning, Michael Jackson-grade blockbuster stage shows. Secondly, Kate was never really about her image (and, in fact, her perplexity at the maws of the machine needing to feed on a grotesquely overinflated persona is a large part of what put her off touring) and so had little to offer adolescents with identity issues. Madonna and GaGa have endless buckets of (depersonalized) "transgression" for their fans to latch onto and strenuously identify with.

Finally, regarding the comparison to GaGa in particular. In the Supporting Art in the Digital Age thread in The Seaside (heh, remember that?), I left a link for Worms where Camille Paglia (an academic Madonna fetisher if ever there was one) takes apart GaGa brick-by-brick. She's not quite totally talentless, but the next best thing -- a go-go dancer "made good."

Mentioning either of these two harridans in the same breath with La Bush is execrable.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby snowman » Tue Mar 25, 2014 14:00

1. I still swoon at the sight of her (and at the sound of her speaking voice).

2. No, I don't think she'd be able to do all the vocal gymnastics inherent in some of her earlier material these days either (imagine 'Violin'!) - which leads on to:

3. Oooh, is she doing a retrospective material tour and not just plugging new stuff?

4. Do your research before you post, snowman, tut tut.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Mar 25, 2014 14:17

snowman wrote:1. I still swoon at the sight of her (and at the sound of her speaking voice).

2. No, I don't think she'd be able to do all the vocal gymnastics inherent in some of her earlier material these days either (imagine 'Violin'!) - which leads on to:

3. Oooh, is she doing a retrospective material tour and not just plugging new stuff?

4. Do your research before you post, snowman, tut tut.

My dream is to see her as the keyboardist/vocalist for a new edition of Koenji Hyakkei.

:eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek: :eeeek:

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby snowman » Tue Mar 25, 2014 15:51

Aye - she'd tone down that operatic vibrato nicely...

[K. D. Lang does a nice line in not-wobbling-about-all-over-the-place or melisma-ing-the-phuq-out-of-the-choon also...]

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Mar 25, 2014 23:57

snowman wrote:Aye - she'd tone down that operatic vibrato nicely...

I was, I hope pretty obviously, being dead-facetious. It's difficult to imagine two aesthetics more radically opposed to each other than those of Tatsuya Yoshida and Kate Bush. And the last thing you'd want to do is to "tone down" any aspect of Tatsuya's patented brand of insanity.

A more genuine (and even remotely possible) dream would be to imagine her pulling a PJ Harvey -- recognizing her limitations as a vocalist (in Kate's case with age) and coming out with new material that might be somewhat less vocally expressive, but more driven by notes and rhythms. My cherished little fantasy is that Before The Dawn is also the name of a new album, but one that Kate worked out with the core of the band that will be on the tour instead of being conceived on the piano and orchestrated on digital keys. I'd like to see her give an apology before the concert, saying that her voice has shifted so much with age (and it has), it wouldn't do justice to her older tunes, and she hopes they'll like this instead.

That would be really eggsy and cause the fickle British music press to raise an eyebrow, with some grousing about "value for money" given the doubtless astronomical ticket price. But far better overall than transposing old tunes into radically lower keys and generating endless commentary on how the "young Kate" is different from the one they just saw in the flesh.

The last public sighting of Kate, at a 2012 pop award for 50 Different Names For Snow, left an impression that this is not someone we'd be seeing much of in the public eye. She was touchingly humble, thanking everyone in creation, and seemed to be clearly enjoying her life as a mom and a private person. This tour is a bolt from the blue, and really courageous considering how her reputation is sealed and she doesn't remotely (financially) need to do it.

Another vast difference from the MaGaGa's is that Kate never had a blinding need to reinvent herself because she was always quite comfortable being who she is. Their perverse kind of public psychotherapy -- purging their trashy inner demons -- is what makes it easy to imagine both Madonna and GaGa touring into their 70s. And we celebrate just this sort of "drive."

Kate, OTOH, has lived a charmed existence. Solidly upper-middle-class, dad a doctor, surrounded by a loving family, finished school (and did well) after EMI signed her as a teen, graced with a physical presence that needed precious few enhancements, Kate's "demons" are the stuff of literary imagination, not traumatic regression-fests to be worked out in public in grotesquely sexualized costumery. But it's harder to identify with someone like that (easier, in fact, to feel resentful) -- no doubt this drives her need to be humble -- than some pushy trash queen who, with gleeful intent, demonstrates the truth of all our cynicism about celebrity.

The perverse ironies of fame ...
[K. D. Lang does a nice line in not-wobbling-about-all-over-the-place or melisma-ing-the-phuq-out-of-the-choon also...]

Hey, I'm a huge fan of Charlie Looker and Esra Dalfidan, so I certainly can't knock melisma (whether the stairstep kind derived from Gregorian chant or the free melisma of Eastern music), but it's a fact that the most melisma-centric forms of music derived from the black church -- blues, gospel and R&B -- don't do very much for me. Whitney *yawn* Houston.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Fiery Gun Lad » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:51

Just managed to secure some Kate Bush tickets for me and my lady!!!


...never thought I'd ever get the opportunity to see her live.


YEAH BOI!!!!!
...there's a man with a mullet going mad with a mallet in Millets...

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Postby Made Of Worms » Fri Mar 28, 2014 13:52

Lucky boi. We shall expect full and frank disclosure.


I've learned a new word: melisma. I've been calling it yodeling.

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Re:

Postby Snardbafulator » Fri Mar 28, 2014 14:31

Made Of Worms wrote:Lucky boi. We shall expect full and frank disclosure.

Looking forward to your report from the front. May she break a leg (but not bust a lung).
I've learned a new word: melisma. I've been calling it yodeling.

Oh goodness. I'm frankly not interested enough in the sounds that Swiss people make to communicate to each other across mountains to bother to wiki this, but I would guess that yodeling seems to be a kind of rapid shifting in and out of falsetto. I do know for a fact that it seems to take quite a bit of lung power. One doesn't yodel sotto voce. One would hope.

Melisma, OTHO, is just the extension of a vocal syllable through a melodic phrase. You can either do it on the official notes of the scale like Gregorian chant, or to make vocal bends and slurs around and between the notes as in jazz, blues, R&B and various forms of folk music.

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Alternate BC » Fri Mar 28, 2014 22:01

Frostbyte and myself will be going the weekend of September 6th to see the wonderful Kate Bush. I was lucky to receive a message that i could participate in the fan pre-sale a few days ago and didn't have to go through the madness this morning.

So if anyone fancies a drink that weekend, give us a shout :)

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby snowman » Fri Mar 28, 2014 23:37

...I hear that the regular punters ultimately had just 15 minutes in which to snag their tickets for *any* of *all* of the gigs, scooped up as they were so feverishly. I hope this makes Kate feel warm 'n' fuzzy (if not a little nervous!) after all this time 8)

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Bubby » Sat Mar 29, 2014 13:23

I worked out that it would cost me in the region of 350-400 smackers to get tickets, travel, accommodation etc sorted... ::(

I wonder if she'll play one of our lovely northern venues?
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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Bubby » Mon Aug 25, 2014 15:18

Fairly good documentary for those that missed it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPWkI8ewTXU

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Re: Kate's Bush

Postby Snardbafulator » Tue Aug 26, 2014 22:18

Bubby wrote:Fairly good documentary for those that missed it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPWkI8ewTXU

Thanks, man. I saw that at exactly the right moment. After Wormsie's Egg cover band I spun the original and then began checking out Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin (she of Spirogyra and the Northettes) which I've tried to like many times before but find them a little too poppy for my tastes. But it's highly sophisticated pop (Dave's not only been a prog genius, he's also a master craftsman in the studio) and I've always really liked Barbara's gauzy, quintessentially English voice. I began to say to myself "this is an awful lot like Kate Bush, isn't it ... "

The doc was a typically high-quality Beeb production and told her story quite well. But it also raised some larger issues that can't help annoying somebody with my perspective. First ... Kate's not dead. Given her leisurely pace of working and not having wrecked herself with tour abuse, she probably has a few more albums in her. Why the hagiography? And the irony of this began to dawn on me. A main theme of the doc is how Kate steadfastly refused to allow herself to be turned into a commodity -- the MTV-friendly 80s female pop singer -- and here's the doc attempting to make her into another type of commodity: the British national treasure.

Nothing against British national treasures, of course. But to do this, you have to subtly twist the history of the era and insert blatant hype into the tones of Serious Reflective Criticism. Look ... if Kate Bush is avant garde, then what's Dagmar Krause -- let alone Diamanda Galas? (Avant garde inflation is a critical pet peeve of mine.) And some dweeb (who fortunately I've never heard of) boldly claims Kate for prog -- while dissing prog's muso essence out of the other side of his mouth. Which is a little like saying I really love fusion, I just hate all those self-indulgent solos. This says more about the unstated assumptions of innovation-phobia in the British music establishment than it does about Kate Bush. Commenter upon commenter appeared totally gobsmacked by how Kate refused to conform to the conventions of her time (true) without recognizing for a moment how limited those conventions were to begin with. Nor did anyone allude to the fact that only by assimilating some of those conventions (like the 80s drum machines on the first side of Hounds of Love) would Kate have transcended being a one-hit wonder and avoided the fate of ... Dagmar Krause (who may as well be non-existent).

Sure, Kate shares some lineage with prog, the Genesis influence particularly (inhabiting characters, singing about literature), as she does with Bowie and Roxy Music. She says she loves Beefheart and a few moments of Never For Ever make you imagine she absorbed Yes and Hatfield. She's played with a stellar crop of prog and fusion refugees and more than any other songwriter remotely near her genre, she showcased the pulsing, liquid tones of the post-Jaco Pastorius fretless bass (electric and acoustic). It's hard to claim Kate for prog while sneering at musos. But the British music establishment has been getting sentimental about prog lately, mining it for British National Treasuredom and in the process calcifying it into an identifiable genre rather than celebrating the progressive ethos, which can crop up in any genre. You don't need to make Kate Bush into something she isn't. A far better comparison, I think, involving extended song structures, top-flight backing musicians, penetrating, almost uncomfortably intimate lyrics, is with mid-70s Joni Mitchell. (Incidentally, Dave & Barbara covered Amelia).

Some of the commenters -- Neil Gaiman, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, St. Vincent -- were entirely sympathetic and had perceptive and genuine things to say. But a couple of them annoyed the piss out of me and fortunately I can't remember their names. There was some extraordinarily polite sneering at Kate's early Munchkin-voiced period from folks who only "got" Kate on the first side of Hounds of Love or The Sensual World and a particularly nauseating attempt to claim Kate as a "women's artist" -- something I don't think Kate herself would necessarily credit. There was a "mommy mommy make it stop!" vibe from these sorts in reaction to The Dreaming and The Ninth Wave which I guess the documentary thought would bolster Kate's "avant garde" cred but really only makes those particular commenters look musically shallow.

It was nice to learn that my old nemesis John Lydon and I agree on something important -- that The Dreaming is a truly extraordinary disc, and I credit him especially for liking that when it first came out. But overall the doc slighted the disc, implying it was somehow significant that There Goes a Tenner was the only single Kate released that didn't chart. They focused on the exotica from it and gave the impression that it was only a way-station, a necessary learning process in self-production, before Kate's first true "masterpiece" Hounds of Love.

Well to quote Moon Unit, gag me with a spoon ...

The best quote in the whole doc came from St. Vincent who dared to garble BBC populism with a little theoretical insight. In describing the unusually through-composed nature of the verse of Wuthering Heights for a pop song, she said something like "Where would you hear a song on the radio with so many key changes? And I don't just mean modulations, I mean going from the key of A to the key of Q." As a proghead, I don't think WH is all that extraordinary and it doesn't defeat key expectations quite like Fullhouse, but I thought that was a nice quote.

Bob
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