Wednesday, March 18, 2009

David Bowie - iSelect

Forgive me, but I was never the hugest Bowie fan. The Thin White Duke occupied the ever-growing (but then nascent) category of 'artist/band that I liked the girls that liked', but as a dyed-in-the-wool music dork, I was always a much bigger fan of the Bowie band members than I was the guy in front. From the early days with Mick Ronson and Iggy, there have always been a gang of heavy hitters in his band. Gail Dorsey and Carlos Alomar are pretty untouchable, not to mention Robert Fripp or Reeves Gabrels. It still boggles the mind that Stevie Ray Vaughn tenured in his band for a spell.

Bowie is above all things an artist, and arguably a Pop one (as in Art not popular music). He can be forward thinking to a fault from where I'm sitting, but our David seems to be always under the spell of a different muse. Over the past decades, mercurial leanings and label politics saw some tracks fall by the wayside. Cue iSelect, a compilation of tracks that Bowie enjoys but aren't necessarily his biggest hits.

The tracks on iSelect date from as early as Hunky Dory (1971) and as late as Never Let Me Down (1987). I haven't heard any of the recorded songs before, but they sound modern despite their being compiled decades after their original release. There are selections from an assortment of Grammy award winning producers and engineers like Tony Visconti, Hugh Padgham and Mario McNulty and exceedingly well-done liner notes for each song by Bowie himself.

Save for the live version of Hang On To Yourself that closes iSelect, the MM remix of Time Will Crawl is the high point for me, adding some killer live drum tracks from Sterling Campbell to a new vocal and string parts and spawning a track that would be equally ass-shaking at home or in the club. The track with the Carlos Alomar and Robert Fripp trading guitar lines appeals to the shredder in me, too, so my artistic and autistic leanings are both well-sated. I can't see iSelect appealing to the average passing Bowie fan, but for the Bowie obsessive in your midst, the rarities here are worth investigating.


1 comment:

Rut-a-tat-tat said...

Mario McNulty is a brilliant genius superior fantastic record producer. His work will be known to all as the man who changed the face of music and rebirthed the art of recording.

Either that or he's one of my favorite people in the biz.

Great article, RB.