April 24: David Bowie released Diamond Dogs in 1974

When this came out in 1974, it was roundly dismissed as Ziggy Stardust’s last strangled gasp. In hindsight, Diamond Dogs is marginally more worthwhile; its resigned nihilism inspired interesting gloom and doom from later goth and industrial acts such as Bauhaus and Nine Inch Nails.
~Mark Kemp (rollingstone.com in 2004)

All this hopelessness and annihilation would be suffocating if it weren’t for Bowie’s exuberance. He throws himself into Orwell’s draconian hell as if strutting around in Kansai Yamamoto’s Aladdin Sane-era bodysuit; it fits his skeletal contours. Determined to reaffirm his relevance in spite of his setbacks, the singer sparkled so brightly that he offset the darkness of his material. Just as Watergate was coming to a boil, singer-songwriters and prog-rockers were glutting the charts, and ’60s resistance was morphing into ’70s complacency, this sweet rebel (rebel) made revolution strangely sexy again. Glaring at you from Dogs’ cover with canine hindquarters and emaciated features like the circus sideshow Freaks he footnotes in the title cut, he served notice that rock’s outsiders remained more compelling than the softies who increasingly occupied its center, even as his ever-growing popularity chipped away at it. You can bet Patti Smith, the Ramones, and Television sat up and took notes.
-Barry Walters (pitchfork.com)

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January 23: David Bowie released Station To Station in 1976

The return of the Thin White Duke
Throwing darts in lovers’ eyes
Here are we, one magical moment, such is the stuff

Station to Station is a collection of soul, rock, funk, and disco, twisted by an influence of experimental German artists. This is David Bowie’s “plastic soul” mixed with krautrock. This is the introduction of the “Thin White Duke”.

It is Bowie’s tenth album, one of his most important and in my opinion, one of his very best!

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David Bowie came from the soul infused “Young Americans” into Nicolas Roeg’s film, “The Man who fell to Earth” (the picture on the cover is a still from the film) and then into this masterpiece of a record. If you see the film and listen to Young Americans you get a sense of what made the album. There is a switch from popular dance oriented music into a more artful approach. But, without losing the pop sensibility. It is also a start for Bowie on his journey back to a more  European approach to his music, even if it was recorded in LA.

“I know it was in LA because I’ve read it was”
– David Bowie

TVC15 (from rehearsals for the Station to Station tour 1976):

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Great Spotify Playlist by Finn Bjelke

DAVID-BOWIE-SAXOPHONE

When my favorite Norwegian music magazine – BEAT – died for the 5th time back in 1997, the journalists were asked to create a playlist (or rather a C60 tape back then) containing the best music ever.. in their opinion. The time limit was 60min (C60 tape).

Some of the lists are really great and I will share them in a series of posts.

Other posts in this serie:

Here is Finn Bjelke‘s list.

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Rest in Peace David Bowie

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
– David Bowie

David Robert Jones (born 8 January 1947, died Jan 10 2016), known by his stage name David Bowie, record producer and arranger. A major figure for over four decades in the world of popular music, Bowie is widely regarded as an innovator. He is known for his distinctive voice as well as the intellectual depth and considerable eclecticism of his work.

He will be missed

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Great Album: David Bowie – Blackstar ★

Blackstar (stylised as ★) is the twenty-sixth studio album by David Bowie. It was released on 8 January 2016, today, the date of Bowie’s 69th birthday, and features seven songs. This is the first truly great album of 2016. I don’t know what I expected, but my expectations were exceeded.

★/Blackstar is a mix of jazz/rock/cabaret/krautrock and electronica. It is beautiful, the songs are smooth and intimate, but musically complex and intriguing. It is not “difficult” music, it’s rhythmic and very recognizably David Bowie.  The jazz elements are not overwhelming, they are just …fitting.

A classic Bowie album, no less.

…and Happy Birthday, David Bowie!

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