Monday, 1 September 2014

The Song - David Bowie's "Sound + Vision"

Blue, blue. Pale blinds drawn all day, Nothing to do. Nothing to say,

Some funky - and rather dark - shit here, from Mr. Jones!

"Sound and Vision" was the lead single for the classic 1977 album "Low".

It's a song where a real uplifting guitar and synthesizer-led instrumental track starkly counterpoints Bowie's minimalistic, dark, brooding, troubled lyrics (blue, blue, electric blue, that's the colour of my room where I will live).

The themes of depression and loneliness herein were drawn from the cocaine-fueled paranoia the singer had lived in while residing in Los Angeles ( waiting for the gift of sound and vision drifting into my solitude over my head.)

Bowie spoke to journo Charles Shaar Murray at the time about the abum's genesis, saying ....
“Low” was a reaction to having gone through that peculiar… that dull greenie-grey limelight of America and its repercussions; pulling myself out of it and getting to Europe and saying, "For God’s sake re-evaluate why you wanted to get into this in the first place? Did you really do it just to clown around in LA? Retire? What you need is to look at yourself a bit more accurately. Find some people you don’t understand and a place you don’t want to be and just put yourself into it. Force yourself to buy your own groceries."

(NME, 12 November 1977)

In keeping with the minimalist approach of Low, co-producer Visconti and Bowie originally recorded the track as an instrumental, bar the beautiful backing vocals (performed by Visconti's wife, Mary Hopkin). Bowie then recorded his vocal after the rest of the band had left the studio, before trimming verses off the lyric, and leaving a relatively lengthy instrumental intro on the finished song.

"Sound and Vision" was also used as the title to a wonderful David Bowie box set anthology originally released in 1989 but re-released in a expanded 4-CD version this month.

I'm not sure of the origin of the video below ... but, for some strange reason, I kinda like it!


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