Don't look at the Carpet, I've drawn something awful on it. See?

David Bowie Part 2 Track Listing Side One "Speed of Life" – 2:46 "Breaking Glass" (Bowie, Dennis Davis, George Murray) – 1:52 "What in the World" – 2:23 "Sound and Vision" – 3:05 "Always Crashing in the Same Car" – 3:33 "Be My Wife" – 2:58 "A New Career in a New Town" – 2:53 Side Two "Warszawa" (Bowie, Brian Eno) – 6:23 "''Art Decade''" – 3:46 "Weeping Wall" – 3:28 "'Subterraneans'" – 5:39

'Warzsawa', introduces the listener to the soundscapes of side two. A series of songs, where Bowie transforms again, this time from alternative rocker to an avant-garde artist. An artist, who through this series of instrumentals, leads the listener through a futuristic metropolis. An alien utopia with ominous sky scrappers, and busy highways. All this is invoked through layers of synthesiser, pillars of electronic bliss. The sides opener, is in my opinion, the best on the album. But not only that, it is the best instrumental track that David Bowie, or indeed Brian Eno, have recorded. Cold, dark pulses of piano start the track, continuing throughout. Providing a steely heartbeat, which gives life to the walls of electronic sound to follow. The main body of the piece is made so unique by its feel, it's glacial timbre and grandeur. It is often said 'Warzsawa' has an almost religious feel to it, and I would agree. The listener is sent on a heady and isolated six minute journey. Transgressing the realms of the pop music of Side One and being sent in to the artistic, alien world of Side Two. Stood on the mountainside you have just been introduced to the metropolis you are about to explore, you look down on majestic palaces and ominous sky scrappers. The creation of 'Warzsawa' is equally as interesting as the track itself. Nicholas Pegg, in his Bowie-

Bible, The Complete David Bowie, gives an account of the tracks creation. We are told that Bowie told Eno he wanted to create an instrumental with an “emotive, almost religious feel”. Eno, in his typical mad-scientist-meets-eccentric-professor way, suggests they record a track of finger clicks, to signify chord changes (I've written music in bands myself, attempting to use this method, the results, lets just say, were not 'Warzsawa'). Bowie and Tony Visconti then left to attend a court date, leaving Eno to babysit Visconti's son, Delany. The kid gets a bit restless and starts playing around on a piano, repeatedly playing the notes A, B and C. Eno then sat down next to him and joined in, completing the melody. Later Bowie and Visconti returned, added further melodies, including a treated vocal section. For this treated vocal 'chant', Bowie combined layers of vocals on top of each other, in order to achieve a chorus effect. This was also enhanced by panning each layer in a different manner, to add texture. Then, he added a layer of vocals sped up, changing the octave of his voice, almost making him sound like a child. The chant itself is in a made-up language, done to enhancing the alien feel of the track, giving it a foreign context. Inspiration for this track came from a train journey through Warsaw Bowie took. This could explain the initial idea of a foreign setting and the tracks very particular, unique geography. While there is a shared writers credit on the track, Eno's influence is often played up to a greater extent than Bowie's. For me, this is due to the tracks similarity with Eno's shorter instrumental pieces. Tracks such as 'Becalmed' (Another Green World) and 'Sparrow Fall' Parts 1, 2 and 3, (Music for Films), have similar feels, though neither are as effective. However, as demonstrated, Bowie and Tony Visconti made large contributions to the piece, that should not be overlooked. The legacy of 'Warzsawa' is a long lasting one, as mentioned, the track signals the birth of a truly experimental Bowie. A truly avant-garde track, on what was thought to be a rock 'n' roll album. The appearance of tracks like these in such a context would go on to influence other alternative artists, expanding the scope of their ambitions. The influence of this track and the general school of thought is felt most intensely on Japan’s Gentlemen Take Polariods. A fantastic mixture of instrumentals and experimental pop-rock. The instrumental 'Burning Bridges' instantly brings 'Warzsawa' to mind. Another band influenced by this track were Joy Division, Ian Curtis initially named the band Warsaw, in homage to the track. Simply fantastic.

Art Decade
From the grandeur of 'Warzsawa', we now encounter a calm utopia. All works like clockwork as you look on. The jangle of bells leads you through a doorway and continue to form the basis of the track. A synthesised motif marks the moment you see the city, at ground level, in all its grandeur. In all it's cold, electronic, synthetic glory. The timbres used are futuristic and calm in a sterile way, a calmness, which is only interrupted by a jarring sample of an elephant's horn. This odd sample is treated in a manner which makes it sound like some form of car buzzing passed. Serving to give the track motion and progression. Musically, this clearly minimalist influenced piece continues the experimentation. The main motif comes in at unusual times, which are intentionally jarring to the listener. It is encountered without expecting it, serving to give the track a wandering feel. A feeling of exploration. Eno's favourite track on the album, is for me a compelling, effective piece of work. It serves to further establish side twos experimental nature and its imagined narrative. While 'Warzsawa' could

be imagined in the ancient past, there is no doubt for me that 'Art Decade' is a piece about the future. An imagined utopia, an alien city. Fritz Langs Metropolis, set on Mars. Bowie describes the track as being about west Berlin. “A city cut off from it's world, art and culture, dying with no hope of retribution”. The name being a play on the words 'Art Decayed'.

Weeping Wall
If 'Art Decade' introduces us to a utopian city, 'Weeping Wall' is the mercury waterfall at its centre. Cascading hits of xylophone and rasping vibraphone combine, to give this unique piece a frantic feel. A low, buzzing, synthetic pulses for a platform, from which the xylophone hits rain. The meandering vibraphone lead almost gives the impression of speech, a vocal refrain not sang, but communicated via humming robotic noise. 'Weeping Wall' track was written in its entirety by Bowie alone. However, clearly Eno's influence can be heard. It would fit nicely on Another Green World, which its mixture of synthetic sounds and traditional instruments. The timbre of the track gives it a clear geography and a manic feel. It is both light and frantic, an audio depiction of mania, of a desperate searching maybe. Much like 'Art Decade', the tracks original inspiration comes from Berlin. Bowie intending its frantic desperation, its wailing, to depict anxieties concerning the Berlin wall, the forced separation of cultures, the forced implementation of conflicting ideologies. A theme that would be continued on Low's follow up, “Heroes”.

Low closes on the brooding, moody 'Subterraneans'. The final picture drawn. The last sound-scape presented to the listener. Again, a depiction of a city, in my opinion. One at dawn, still covered with dew and shrouded in the morning mist. A city with an eerie stillness, awaiting the days activities. Roads and buildings standing silent and proud. A synthesised string section and Bowie humming provide the basis of the track, all set in a bed of reversed sound. This is interrupted by a surprising saxophone solo, which re-enforces the melancholic nature of the track. Then another chant by Bowie, ending the side as it started. However this one has lyrics, simply 'Share Bride Failing Star' in a Burroughs-like, cut-up style, narrative. A confused communication with the listener. A failed one. The chant goes to create a religious feel, similar to that of 'Warzsawa'. We are presented with a cyclical feel to the second half of the album, serving to create the the feel of an 'experience'. You have just been through something. You have made some sort of progress. Witnessed some kind of event. This was another piece about Berlin. In particular about the people that got caught in east Berlin after the separation. It is also speculated that this track was brought over from the aborted Man Who Fell To Earth soundtrack. A point of interest is to look at Bowie's instrumentation and themes regarding the last tracks on Low. I am of the opinion that Bowie was already introducing “Heroes” with Low's last three tracks. A technique he would repeat on “Heroes” to introduce Lodger. Low's last three songs, conceptually, concern Berlin, in particular the anxieties surrounding the Berlin wall. This would go on to be the main theme of both the lyrical and instrumental pieces on “Heroes”. The use of saxophone on the

last two instruments also foreshadows the following albums instrumental, 'Neuköln'. A track which again, was influenced by anxieties concerning the wall. Saxophone on both albums is used, in the instrumental pieces at least, to signify desperateness. Wails of frustration, born out of the frustration and futility, the people of Berlin at the time found themselves in. 'Subterraneans' provides a fantastic end to this masterpiece album. Finishing on a desperate, melancholic note. There is no dramatic ending sequence, like for instance, 'Rock and Roll Suicide' on Ziggy. Rather the album just ends. You come out of the listening state, like you would a dream. Low is a fantastic album, which demonstrates just how diverse David Bowie is. Not just as a musician, but as an experimental artist. This is a brilliant blend of alternative rock music and the avant-garde, which expanded the scope of rock musicians that were to follow. A true masterpiece.

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