TONY VISCONTI REMIX
FROM A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN (1977 – 1982)
By the late 1970's, the David Bowie that had caused such a stir only a few years beforehand was nowhere to be seen. In '77 'Low' had perplexed critics, a year later the single "Heroes" only scraped into the mid-twenties in the charts and, finally, in '79, 'Lodger', with it's peculiar and uglified sleeve, was seen as disappointingly disjointed, odd in it's very ordinariness and regarded as the weak third act of the so-called Berlin trilogy. It's not a fan favourite.
At this point I have to stress that 'Lodger' is one of favourite Bowie albums. I've always been moved by the apocalyptic sadness of 'Fantastic Voyage', the breathless delivery and jittery Eno rhythms of 'African Night Flight', not to mention the hilarious swagger of the single 'Boys Keep Swinging'.
Bowie wasn't too impressed by the final mix of the album and endorsed the Tony Visconti remix of 'Lodger' that now forms part of new 'A New Career in a New Town' (1977-1982). Not surprisingly, I'm apprehensive at the prospect of the past being tampered with. Again.
From the start though this is a remarkably faithful remix. On the aforementioned 'Fantastic Voyage' the vocals are a lot clearer and the passionate croon of 'we'll never say anything nice again, will we' is devastatingly powerful.
The retouching of the Turkish flavoured 'Yassassin' is a triumph too, the swirling strings and drums are more prominent, as is the chanted chorus. The haunting 'Repetition' is more disturbing, the emphasis on the disorienting bass and drums suit the chilling tale of self pity and domestic abuse horrifyingly well.
Best of all is the single 'D.J' (which, at the time, briefly struggled into the top thirty), now sounds so much bolder, driven by crisper, vibrant drums.
I'm certain that the placing of this version of 'Lodger' into an excellent (though expensive), box set, will not result in a major reassessment of the work. Like the unearthing of the album that could have been 'Young Americans' in the last box set (so much better!) this is for the committed community only. Despite my reservations, it's a wonderful addition to the box set, completing the story of Bowie's most experimental and intriguing period.
Born in Kavala in Greece to English parents, Katherine moved to London in the early nineties to study Sculpture at St. Martin's College.
about Katherine Pargeter »»
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]