Music

Let’s Dance

David Bowie’s best-selling record until the day he died was launched 35 years ago today. The move to sing for the many not the few did help his career but would cost him his hardcore fan base who would return to him only on occasion after that when the launched three of his more obscure masterpieces like “Outside”, “Heathen” and the haunting “Blackstar”.

By the time you read this it will be already April 14 in Australia, the continent he took to in order to film the video clip for the song “Let’s Dance”. It was 1983 and there were more folk dancing to David Bowie than ever before. “Let’s Dance” was the main single from the eponymous album and suddenly a considerable part of the world discovered the icon gone global after fourteen albums where he appealed mostly to a crowd that felt motivated to live up to their different music tastes, clothing, sexuality and whatever Bowie stood and stands for ever since he appeared with his new approach to music and fashion. Assisted by funkmaster Nile Rogers, better known as founding member of Chic and producer of major hits from bands like Sister Sledge the record made its way to dance floors. But despite the clear funk influence Bowie did not give up his rock influences having invited Steve Ray Vaughan to add his guitar riffs thereby launching an album with the right funky feel that suited the early 80’s but with a pint of rock here and there. The image, another distinguishing feature of David Bowie seemed to follow the popular spirit of the new Bowie. Wearing immaculate suites in pastel colours and his hair dyed blond Bowie looked rather like an northern-European holidaymaker than the alien he had impersonated in some records.

35 years after being released “Let’s Dance” is still a difficult album to digest for the hardcore Bowie fan and marked a period of some creative decline in the man’s career. The Bowie for the many not the few was not the Bowie the few waited for and he would regain his particular fanbase only after “Outside” which followed the popular “Tonight” and the not so popular “Never let me down” and “Black Tie White Noise”. After that he failed again when trying to have a go with drum’n and bass with “Earthling”, when he launched “Hours” a mild album and “Relity” equally mild, the album that preced “Heathen”, the record that hinted somehow to the path he would follow when he launched “The Next Day” and his final epos “Blackstar”, the record that proved that despite some failed attempts he was still the man he stands for for many – avant-garde, unpredictable and master of reinvention.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

 

Top Tracks of 2016

Trendenz gives you the top tracks of the year, ten songs we played relentlessly in 2016.

2016 was probably one of the saddest years on record as regards music, from the disturbing farewell record of David Bowie who seems to have started the trend of singing goodbye, a trend witnessed also with Leonard Cohen who sang goodbye in his own way or Nick Cave who released a record with a bunch of sad songs after his son passed away. Trendenz playlist of the 10 best songs in 2016 reflects this. But there is also room for hope, you just need to hold on as better days will come in 2017. Happy New Year!!

1 – David Bowie  – I can’t give everything away

2 – XX – On Hold

3 Divine Comedy – The pact

4 – Nick Cave – Skeleton Tree

5 – Lambchop – The Hustle

6 – Leonard Cohen – You want it darker

7 – Swansea + Gary Numan – Dusky

8 – Bryan Ferry + Idjut Boys – Midnight train

9 – Pumarosa – Priestess


10 – ABC – Viva Love

Carlos Tomé Sousa

Sónar and Bowie Is – the perfect Christmas gift

sonar-bowie

Should you buy these days a ticket for the upcoming Sónar festival in June you will receive an entrance for the “Bowie Is” exhibition in Barcelona.

Sónar is undoubtedly one of the best electronic music festivals in the world and a good reason to take to Barcelona every year in mid-June. Tickets for the coming 2017 edition are already on sale and come with an added bonus for a limited period: a full Sónar ticket and a free entrance to the Exhibition “Bowie Is” starting in Barcelona on May 25. The association between this festival and the exhibition makes perfect sense, considering the pioneering role of David Bowie in music and the arts and the equally pioneering role of Sónar as one of leading events of advanced music and arts. Like Sónar, “Bowie Is” offers also a major sensorial experience, a true journey through Bowie sound and vision. Justice, Moderat, Nicolas Jaar and De La Soul are among the 22 artists already confirmed for the Sónar 2017 edition. The importance of Bowie for modern music is undeniable along with his pioneering role in electronic and avant-garde music, from “Low” and “Heroes” to his final work “Blackstar” and events around Bowie will probably sprout in and around the Barcelona Design Museum, located near L’Auditori, where some Sónar events usually take place (e.g. the concert by Riuchy Sakamonto and Alva Noto at this audiorium during Sónar 2006) and in and around Sónar Day and Sónar Night. Please refer to this post as we will bring you updates on this perfect combination between Bowie and Sónar as we receive them.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

 

My life in the bush of sounds

Brian Eno and David Byrne created some 35 years ago the best record in the history of modern music.

“My Life in the bush of ghosts” tells the story of a boy entering a forest inhabited by ghosts and spirits written Nigerian author Amos Tutuola. Published in 1954, this very same book was the source of inspiration for an eponymous record by Brian Eno and David Byrne. This record follows “Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics”, an album Brian Eno recorded with Jon Hassel. By combining the extra-terrestrial trumpet of Hassel with the soundscapes of Brian Eno these two musicians opened the door to what could be the music of a fourth world, one as mysterious as the one we know as third world. The whole record invites us on a journey through a world unknown flying over green landscapes, deserts, crossing small villages and bathing in soothing lakes. It was released in 1980 and is considered by many as one the best by Brian Eno, the avant-garde master of ambient music. Vol. 2 was never released but one year after Brian Eno launched what could be its rightful successor, “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts”, a record of possible musics for the world we think we know but which still holds numerous mysteries, hidden in bushes and forests we do not dare to enter for fear of succumbing to its enchantment. Released in 1981 it is the most beautiful, disturbing, complex and intense album of all times. Eno and Byrne lead us on a voyage through enchanted bushes. The combination of the mastery of Brian Eno in designing soundscapes with David Byrne’s sense of rhythm, assisted by the natural curiosity of both musicians for world sounds and rhythm, along with their mastery of the techniques of cut, paste, mix and match of sounds and samples delivered a record that results in the perfect soundtrack for the life in hectic cities, in faraway lands or in the heart of lively jungles. In summary the perfect soundtrack for the global village.

Carlos Tomé Sousa

 

O pequeno gigante de mármore

antonio-sergio

António Sérgio foi o encarregado de educação de uma imensa minoria de gente que, graças a ele, tem o melhor gosto musical do mundo.

Estão 22 graus ainda e as escadarias de mármore da igreja vão libertando devagar o calor acumulado durante o dia de Sol intenso. Estamos em pleno Verão alentejano, em plenas férias e a noite convida a ficar ali deitado sobre a pedra quente a olhar as estrelas que lá em cima desenham constelações. Do gravador estéreo de cassetes sintonizado numa estação de rádio sai uma canção poderosíssima que se espalha pelo ar. “Love my way” de Psychedelic Furs, anuncia uma voz grave e forte. Nem tive tempo de carregar no botão de gravar. Fiquei ali minutos a digerir aquilo, era muita informação, era muito bom. Não tinha onde escrever, mas também não era preciso. O nome e a banda estavam registados graças a ele. Nessa mesma escadaria, à mesma hora tardia, no largo onde estacionava uma vez por mês a carrinha dos livros da Gulbenkian descobrira meses antes “The Book I Read” dos Talking Heads. “I’m embarassed to admit it hit the soft spot in my heart”, dizia a canção. ‘Na na na na na’, ia eu cantando pelas ruas. Aquilo era mesmo bonito! António Sérgio era o nome desse homem que há dois anos andava a mexer com as minhas emoções a formar os meus gostos, “hitting the soft spot in my heart”. Por sua causa fui a correr comprar o “Heaven up Here” dos Echo and the Bunnymen”, aguardei impaciente a saída de “Juju” de Siouxsie and the Banshees”. Graças a ele comprei em 1980 numa loja para os lados da Praça da República em Coimbra “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” de David Bowie, esse Deus supremo que me marcou a vida e os gostos e tudo. No dia em que me safei da tropa por excedente de pessoal, António Sérgio deve ter sabido e passou “Troops of tomorrow” dos Exploited. O homem parece que adivinhava os meus estados de alma e as suas músicas andavam sempre comigo no Sony walkman recentemente inventado. Estudava na altura em Coimbra e atravessava meio país desde o sul profundo com a sua voz gravada a anunciar canções que me marcavam os dias e as noites. O homem era de uma sensibilidade incrível e, sempre que viajava, lá ia para as lojas de discos com uma lista de compras que ele me ajudava a preparar. Desde os 16 anos e a cada ano que passava aparecia na loja Saturn de Colónia ou no MusicLand de Bona com mais um pedido. “’God’ dos Rip Rig and Panic? Gostas disto?”, perguntava-me o gajo do Saturn, surpreendido, enquanto procurava o disco na secção dos discos mais obscuros”.  “‘Westworld’ dos Theatre of Hate? Nem sei o que é mas acho que tenho ali. Onde é que raio vais descobrir estas bandas”, perguntava-me Günther, o freak do MusicLand. E eu lá lhe explicava que havia no meu país um locutor de rádio que passava estas músicas e que havia uma imensa minoria de gente com gostos semelhantes graças a ele. E voltava a Portugal com um molho de discos tudo por causa dele. Esse mesmo homem que, em 1980 e em 1981, me deu a conhecer dois discos que mudaram a vida: “Remain in Light” dos Talking Heads e “My Life in the Bush of Ghosts” de Brian Eno e David Byrne. Lá estava ele a brincar com os meus sentimentos. Aquilo era eu em dois discos. O homem sabia ler-me a alma, não havia outra explicação. A cada emissão a minha lista de álbuns ia crescendo, Simple Minds, Shriekback, The The, Young Marble Giants, Comsat Angels, Romeo Void, Triffids, Gary Numan, Cabaret Voltaire, This Mortal Coil, tudo com o selo António Sérgio, o homem que um dia quase me fez desmaiar quando passou “Song to the Siren” pelos This Mortal Coil. Aquilo era lindo e grandioso. Um dia conheci-o num bar chamado Ritz Club em Lisboa. Falámos já não sei de quê, de música certamente. Acho que nem me apresentei. Tinha quase a certeza que ele já me conhecia há muito. Só podia. E eis que há sete anos nos deixou de repente. O seu corpo jazia ali naquela capela da Basílica da Estrela e no ar ouviam-se temas que passara em tantos programas desde o Rotação ao Rolls Rock, Som da Frente, Grande Delta, Hora do Lobo, Viriato 21. A sensação foi indescritível. Uma sensação de arrepio correu-me a espinha, algo avassalador. E com o mais profundo sentimento de gratidão fechei os olhos e fiz, e repito, uma grande e devida vénia a esse pequeno gigante de mármore.

Carlos Tomé Sousa