Friday, November 20, 2015

David Bowie's Epic "Alejandro Jodorowsky meets Guillermo del Toro" Mini- Movie "Blackstar" has come to save the day.

During several days bereft of any truly creative media of any sort (the much anticipated "Into the Badlands" sadly was more like "Into the Blahlands") David Bowie has come to save the day. The mini movie / music video / upcoming album tease entitled "Blackstar" is an epic piece of cinema. Not only is each frame beautiful, it is thoroughly immersive in it's abstract narrative. Directed with a seductively artful hand by Johan Renck it feels a bit like Alejandro Jodorowsky meets Guillermo del Toro meets Jean Pierre Jeunet. It feels a bit outer spacey, a bit "end of world"-ish horror and pop up book whimsical at the same time. Bowie, always in such utter control as a performance artist, once again uses his entire body to engage us. This imaginative sounds meets images is best watched un-spoiled so I would rather not review it per-say. I will say that as incredible as it is to watch, it is the song itself that will stay with you, creatively creep under your skin and make you remember what you saw.

Blackstar is the title track of Bowie's 26th studio album which is set to drop on the master's 69th birthday, January 8th. The song with it's tender strains and dramatic touches pulls you in immediately. It is bathed in Andalusian /Arabic tones propelled by drums that rush and slow down within their own beat become unhinged at times and then tightening back up. I thought of Phil Selway (is that you?). Bowie seems to harmonize with himself in a haunting almost chanting way while, horns, strings, keys and guitars take you to other places. The song deconstructs and shifts into an almost fable-esque sound in that kind of "Neverending Story" kind of way but not for very long. The low horn section and refrain "I'm a Blackstar" has that sweet Bowie funk laden 90's meets 50's sway. There are so much dense musical cues here. The music metamorphosis is so absolutely interesting, shifting your creative / emotional point of reference as the track shifts back to the Andalusian tones. I thought of artists like Bjork, Radiohead, Woodkid, Passenger Peru, (early) ELO and Thomas Azier not to mention a dozen film scores and, of course, I thought of Bowie himself. Embedded in Blackstar are the tender, passionate, poetically dense vocal performances honed over so many years. There are hints of Ziggy Stardust, The Thin White Duke, The Next Day and every musical incarnation that David Bowie has so artfully possessed forever.

Robb Donker

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