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Tag: David Bowie

David Bowie – Shadow Man (Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix) (Single) (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

David Bowie – Shadow Man (Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix) (Single) (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 08:06 minutes | 157 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone Records

A fair few of you around the globe already basking in the light of the 7th of January are no doubt enjoying the latest streaming single release on ISO Records via Parlophone. It takes the form of the beautiful Shadow Man (Unplugged & Somewhat Slightly Electric Mix). This 2000 recording is coupled with Shadow Man (Early Version) recorded thirty years earlier in 1970, which is exclusive to this streaming single.

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David Bowie – Toy (Toy:Box) (2022) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

David Bowie – Toy (Toy:Box) (2022)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/96 kHz | Time – 02:38:59 minutes | 3,47 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

Published in November 2021, Brilliant Adventure zooms in on David Bowie’s 1992-2001 period. At the heart of this copious box set of more than 130 tracks is Toy, an unreleased opus recorded in New York between July and October 2000, on which the Thin White Duke revisits his songs from his mod beginnings, in the sixties (when he was acting as Davy Jones and the Lower Third and Davie Jones with the King Bees), and that he dresses with the sound of his time. Rereadings of pre-fame compositions that Bowie designed mainly with Earl Slick on guitar, Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, Mike Garson on keyboards and Sterling Campbell on drums. In addition to the original album, this Toy Box offers two additional discs of the same repertoire with alternative versions and acoustic versions. Hardcore fans of the star who would have turned 75 the day after the release of this box set will appreciate this umpteenth sleight of hand of their idol in the form of time travel

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David Bowie – Welcome To The Blackout (Live London ’78) (2018) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – Welcome To The Blackout (Live London ’78) (2018)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 01:47:28 minutes | 4,08 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Rhino

After completing Low and Heroes, the first two albums of his Berlin trilogy, David Bowie spent most of 1978 touring the world. During this huge tour, baptised as Isolar II, he sang in front of a million people across 70 concerts in 12 countries! The star was free from his addiction problems which up until then had seen him go on stage only after having ingested astronomical quantities of cocaine… Recorded in April and May 1978 and released in September the same year, the live Stage album showed a Bowie in full transition, struggling with his glam beginnings, his soul music future and his present new wave. First published for the occasion of the Record Store Days in April 2018, Welcome To The Blackout (Live London’78) also captures this period. Recorded at Earls Court in London on June 30th and July 1st 1979 by Tony Visconti, this is a previously unreleased double live album offering more energetic versions than those on stage. The fascinating tracks from Low and Heroes lose some of their eccentricity on stage. And the “old hits” like Rebel Rebel and Ziggy Stardust gain in luxury what they lose in violence, even if on Suffragette City the singer does seem totally possessed. Finally, the lead guitarist Adrian Belew and rhythmic guitarist Carlos Alomar knit together stunning interventions to accompany the Thin White Duke. An unmissable document for Bowie fans. – Marc Zisman

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David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:49 minutes | 1,48 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

Hunky Dory is the fourth studio album by English musician David Bowie, released on 17 December 1971 by RCA Records. Following the release of his 1970 album, The Man Who Sold the World, Bowie took time off from recording and touring. He settled down to write new songs, composing on piano rather than guitar as on earlier tracks. Following a tour of the United States, Bowie assembled a new backing band consisting of guitarist Mick Ronson, bassist Trevor Bolder and drummer Mick Woodmansey, and began to record a new album in mid-1971 at Trident Studios in London. Future Yes member Rick Wakeman contributed on piano. Bowie co-produced the album with Ken Scott, who had engineered Bowie’s previous two records.

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David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – Hunky Dory (1971/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 41:49 minutes | 1,48 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

After the freakish hard rock of The Man Who Sold the World, David Bowie returned to singer/songwriter territory on Hunky Dory. Not only did the album boast more folky songs (“Song for Bob Dylan,” “The Bewlay Brothers”), but he again flirted with Anthony Newley-esque dancehall music (“Kooks,” “Fill Your Heart”), seemingly leaving heavy metal behind. As a result, Hunky Dory is a kaleidoscopic array of pop styles, tied together only by Bowie’s sense of vision: a sweeping, cinematic mélange of high and low art, ambiguous sexuality, kitsch, and class. Mick Ronson’s guitar is pushed to the back, leaving Rick Wakeman’s cabaret piano to dominate the sound of the album. The subdued support accentuates the depth of Bowie’s material, whether it’s the revamped Tin Pan Alley of “Changes,” the Neil Young homage “Quicksand,” the soaring “Life on Mars?,” the rolling, vaguely homosexual anthem “Oh! You Pretty Things,” or the dark acoustic rocker “Andy Warhol.” On the surface, such a wide range of styles and sounds would make an album incoherent, but Bowie’s improved songwriting and determined sense of style instead made Hunky Dory a touchstone for reinterpreting pop’s traditions into fresh, postmodern pop music. – Stephen Thomas Erlewine

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David Bowie – David Bowie narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf & The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (2013) [Official Digital Download 24bit/88,2kHz]

David Bowie – David Bowie narrates Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf & The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra (2013)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/88,2 kHz | Time – 01:07:43 minutes | 1,14 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © RCA Red Seal

In 1982, David Bowie released In Bertolt Brecht’s “Baal”; four years earlier, the prestigious RCA Red Seal classical label had Bowie narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and with his stint on Broadway as The Elephant Man, the artist stretched himself brilliantly. There is not enough spoken word by popular recording artists in today’s world. Steven Tyler may show up on a Kerouac tribute performing one track; Grace Slick, Lou Reed, Peter Frampton, Marty Balin, and so many others have cut promotional interview discs for insiders, but it is surprising how the record industry has, for the most part, ignored this inexpensive and wonderful format to further endear artists to their fans. Jim Morrison’s poetry, after all, was all that was left when Elektra published An American Prayer — and that fans purchase low-quality bootlegs of many artists should have been a signal in the past to deliver this type of product to the marketplace. The scarcity of such projects makes Bowie’s close to 30 minutes of narration that much more delightful. The Peter and the Wolf album is divided into two sides. The narration by David Bowie of public domain material originally written by Prokofiev takes up 27 minutes and eight seconds, while the second side of this green-colored vinyl LP has 17 minutes and ten seconds of Eugene Ormandy conducting Benjamin Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ormandy and the aforementioned musicians from Philly also back up Bowie on side one. This RCA Red Seal release includes detailed liners and the project, according to Mary Campbell’s notes, is specifically geared to “introduce children to the sounds of the individual instruments in the symphony orchestra.” Both Prokofiev and Britten wrote their respective pieces with this aim in mind. That makes this record all the more charming — imagine what it could do if teachers would actually use it on a large scale to educate? As for Bowie’s performance, it is splendid. He tells the well-known fable with his usual eloquence and style, and gives instructions at the beginning for kids to understand how the music corresponds to characters in the story. The accompaniment from the Philadelphia Orchestra is first rate, the lush sounds more exciting on the Bowie side than on Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, which makes up side B. Interesting how this project, if promoted today, could bring the name David Bowie to a huge audience of young people. A remarkable and well-crafted project. – Joe Viglione

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David Bowie – Black Tie White Noise (2021 Remaster) (1993/2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – Black Tie White Noise (2021 Remaster) (1993/2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/192 kHz | Time – 56:40 minutes | 2,15 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

Black Tie White Noise was the beginning of David Bowie’s return from the wilderness of post-Let’s Dance, the first indication that he was regaining his creative spark. To say as much suggests that it’s a bit of a lost classic, when it’s rather a sporadically intriguing transitional album, finding Bowie balancing the commercial dance-rock of Let’s Dance with artier inclinations from his Berlin period, all the while trying to draw on the past by working with former Spider from Mars guitarist Mick Ronson, collaborating with Let’s Dance producer Nile Rodgers, and even covering inspiration Scott Walker’s “Nite Flights.” On top of that, the record was inspired by his recent marriage to supermodel Iman – the record is bookended with “The Wedding” and “The Wedding Song” – and then tied up and presented as a sophisticated modern urban soul record, one that draws from uptown soul (including, rather bafflingly, a duet with Al B. Sure!) and state-of-the-art dance-club techno, while adding splashy touches like solos from avant jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie and a nod to modern alt-rock via a nifty cover of Morrissey’s “I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday.” That’s a lot of stuff for one record to handle, so it shouldn’t come as a great surprise that the album doesn’t always work, but its stylish restlessness comes as a great relief, particularly when compared to the hermetically sealed previous solo Bowie record, 1987’s Never Let Me Down. Black Tie White Noise displays greater musical ambition than any record he’d made since Scary Monsters, and while much of the record feels like unrealized ideas, there are songs where it all gels, like on the paranoid jumble of “Jump They Say,” the aforementioned covers, the impassioned “You’ve Been Around,” and the self-consciously smooth title track. Moments like these are the first in a long time to feel classically Bowie, and they point ahead toward the more interesting records he made in the second half of the ’90s, but they are encased in a production that not only sounds dated years later, but sounded dated upon its release in the spring of 1993, two years into the thick of alternative rock. At that point, the club-centric, mainstream-courting Black Tie White Noise seemed as an anachronism during the guitar-heavy grunge-n-industrial glory days – something Bowie tacitly acknowledged with its 1995 successor, Outside, which was every bit as gloomy as a Nine Inch Nails record – but separated from the vagaries of fashion, it’s an interesting first step in Bowie’s creative revival.

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David Bowie – Stage (2017) (Live) (1978/2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/96kHz]

David Bowie – Stage (2017) (Live) (1978/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 01:36:58 minutes | 3,74 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

The second of two inessential double live albums David Bowie released in the ’70s, 1978’s Stage is a different beast than its 1974 predecessor, David Live. That album captured Bowie in a transitional phase, sliding from glam to stylized soul, while Stage was recorded in the thick of his Berlin phase with producer/collaborator Brian Eno, and Stage is an attempt to translate that sleek, angular, arty studio-bound sound to the live arena. This means not only are Low and Heroes given live treatments, but about half of both Ziggy Stardust and Station to Station are given new arrangements here. On these older tunes, the new flair – the synthesizers and Adrian Belew’s tangled, mathematical guitar – doesn’t sound sleek, it sounds chintzy and cheap, not quite fully formed. The newer songs suffer from this, too, and that’s because the performances are too direct and the recording is too crisp and clear, removing the dark, foreboding mystery and assuredness that made Low and Heroes thrilling, compelling listens. Consequently, Stage winds up as a curiosity, and not a very interesting one at that.

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David Bowie – David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) (1969/2015) [Official Digital Download 24bit/192kHz]

David Bowie – David Bowie (aka Space Oddity) (1969/2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/192kHz | Time – 46:15 minutes | 1,88 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

When David Bowie’s second album appeared in late 1969, he was riding high. His first ever hit single, the super-topical “Space Oddity,” had scored on the back of the moon landing that summer, and so distinctive an air did it possess that, for a moment, its maker really did seem capable of soaring as high as Major Tom. Sadly, it was not to be. “Space Oddity” aside, Bowie possessed very little in the way of commercial songs, and the ensuing album (his second) emerged as a dense, even rambling, excursion through the folky strains that were the last glimmering of British psychedelia. Indeed, the album’s most crucial cut, the lengthy “Cygnet Committee,” was nothing less than a discourse on the death of hippiness, shot through with such bitterness and bile that it remains one of Bowie’s all-time most important numbers – not to mention his most prescient. The verse that unknowingly name-checks both the Sex Pistols (“the guns of love”) and the Damned is nothing if not a distillation of everything that brought punk to its knees a full nine years later. The remainder of the album struggles to match the sheer vivacity of “Cygnet Committee,” although “Unwashed and Slightly Dazed” comes close to packing a disheveled rock punch, all the more so as it bleeds into a half minute or so of Bowie wailing “Don’t Sit Down” – an element that, mystifyingly, was hacked from the 1972 reissue of the album. “Janine” and “An Occasional Dream” are pure ’60s balladry, and “God Knows I’m Good” takes a well-meant but somewhat clumsy stab at social comment. Two final tracks, however, can be said to pinpoint elements of Bowie’s own future. The folk epic “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud” (substantially reworked from the B-side of the hit) would remain in Bowie’s live set until as late as 1973, while a re-recorded version of the mantric “Memory of a Free Festival” would become a single the following year, and marked Bowie’s first studio collaboration with guitarist Mick Ronson. The album itself however, proved another dead end in a career that was gradually piling up an awful lot of such things.

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David Bowie – Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) (2021) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

David Bowie – Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/44,1kHz | Time – 10:02:08 minutes | 7,32 GB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Parlophone UK

The fifth in a series of box sets that break down David Bowie’s discography into cohesively thematic eras, Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) covers the most years of any of the sets to date: nearly a full decade, almost twice as long as the period chronicled on 2018’s Loving the Alien (1983-1988). Eagle-eyed observers will note that there’s a gap of four years separating the material on Loving the Alien and Brilliant Adventure: that would be when Bowie led Tin Machine, the noisy guitar outfit whose discography operates under a different contract than his solo work. That means Brilliant Adventure picks up with Black Tie White Noise, an artful blue-eyed soul excursion from 1993, then runs through The Buddha of Suburbia – an excellent, adventurous album that flew under the radar in 1993 – the 1995 Brian Eno reunion 1. Outside, 1997’s Earthling, and 1999’s Hours, adding an expanded version of the BBC concert from 2000 originally released as part of 2000’s Bowie at the Beeb, a three-disc collection of remixes, edits, and B-sides called ReCall 5 and Toy, an unreleased album from 2001. Heavily bootlegged over the years, Toy features Bowie revisiting a bunch of songs he wrote in the ’60s, most written and recorded prior to “Space Oddity.” Hearing Bowie apply Hours aesthetics to swinging, mod-ish material is odd but mildly appealing; it’s a slight record but it’s nice to have it as part of the official discography. The rest of the box follows a familiar and comforting pattern, confirming that the ’90s were a bit of a creative resurgence for Bowie. The pair of 1993 albums are complementary in their strengths, the period affectations of 1. Outside wind up giving the album complexity that Bowie further explores on Earthling. Given that stretch, it’s little wonder that he sounds a bit spent on Hours, but the BBC Live show is quite good and it’s fun to sort through the grab-bag of ReCall.

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