Low by David Bowie

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Low by David Bowie
Low by David Bowie

Album Released: 1977

Low ::: Artwork

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1.Speed Of Life2:46
2.Breaking Glass1:51
3.What In The World2:23
4.Sound And Vision3:03
5.Always Crashing In The Same Car3:29
6.Be My Wife2:55
7.A New Career In A New Town2:51
8.Warszawa6:20
9.Art Decade3:43
10.Weeping Wall3:26
11.Subterraneans5:39

Reviews

The first installment of the 'Berlin Trilogy' as it has come to be called, since all three albums were recorded in Berlin with Brian Eno. Eno's one of the four or five greatest producers of all time, and an ace synthesizer whiz, as anyone who's ever heard Roxy Music's first two albums can attest.

Whilst he's an ideal collaborator for Bowie, Eno has also released a lot of Ambient albums consisting of instrumental mood pieces, and that's the problem here: he infects Bowie enough for an entire side to be composed of instrumental mood pieces.

The first side is a set of mannered synth-pop tunes, all of which are very catchy, and a few of which even have a little substance. "Sound And Vision", "What In The World", and the invertedly structured (passionate shouted verses, calm chorus) "Be My Wife" are all highlights.

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by Reviewer: Creative Noise


Firstly, this album wasn't produced by Brian Eno - a common misconception - it was produced by Tony Visconti.

Brian Eno was a key collaborator however, with his box of sonic tricks, but Visconti was responsible for the revolutionary drum sound, for example. Utilizing then-new technology, he found a way to ensure the drums infinitely lowered in pitch, thus creating the strange drum sound present throughout Low - something alien - rather than just 'stick and skin' as it were.

Eno was of course very influential on the instrumentals that take up Side Two of Low, the side that had Bowie's record executives scratching their heads. In fact, Side One had them scratching their heads as well, nothing had sounded like this before. Between them, Bowie, Eno, and Visconti had created in Berlin, Germany a sound that was entirely new, from top to bottom. Even the structure of the songs, helped by the randomness encouraged by Eno, wasn't rooted in either Bowie's, or rock's past.

Bowie by all accounts was fed up with 'being fake'. For yes, both Station to Station and Young Americans felt - even to Bowie himself circa 1977 - contrived, a sellout. He didn't believe anymore in the methods of writing he had up-to-then used. So Low wasn't about such artistic compomise, it wasn't about worrying whether it would sell - Bowie was fed up with that particular pressure too.

Ironically, Bowie's new anti-commercial sound would provide him with a big hit single in "Sound and Vision", a song with a lengthy instrumental introduction, but still catchy. It has a disctinctive sound - those drums, the synths, and other assorted odd noises, plus peculiar slightly detached vocals.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)


David Bowie teamed up with Brian Eno, formerly of Roxy Music, and together they made an album that completely stripped Station to Station of its R&B elements and just kept the robotic beats and drugged-up atmospheres. The result was Low, one of the most fascinating albums ever released in this universe of ours.

Low is split up into two separate parts. The first is a collection of dance songs, and the second a collection of ambient instrumentals. The dance songs are my favorite of course, since I like to pretend I know how to dance! Plus these are some of the strangest dance songs I've ever heard - they're drugged-up, with herky-jerky rhythms, and utilize infectious disco basslines (sounding like proto New Romantic music). Not only are these songs a lotta fun to dance to, they also have some of the catchiest melodies that Bowie had ever written.

The opening track is an instrumental, although it's still 100 percent dance music. Man, that guitar melody always manages to get stuck in my head, and the whooshy synthesizer was nothing short of a stroke of genius. “Breaking Glass” is the first actual *song* on the album, and doncha just love Bowie's ultra-cold and emotionless delivery, that emphasizes the lower range of his vocal chords. Bowie's always had trouble expressing emotion in his vocals, so now that he's not even trying he sounds cooler than ever!

“Sound and Vision” is probably the most celebrated song on Low, and for good reason - it's freaking catchy. And how did they come up with the hi-hat, sounding like someone spilling a bag of sand. “Be My Wife”, “Breaking Glass”, and “Always Crashing in the Same Car” are all terribly infectious.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)


If Station to Station was the brilliant-in-its-own-right transition album, Low stands as the pinnacle of Bowie's career, perhaps not in terms of being his most solid album, rather that his career was at this point the most far ahead of the competition.

For while Bowie had been a little behind the curve with hard rock, singer/songwriter, and Glam, on Low he's ahead of the pack, making music that informed post-punk, still several years away, and arguably making music that sounds only fractionally dated almost 30 years later. Joy Division, one of the most celebrated post-punk bands, went so far as to originally name themselves Warsaw, after the opening track on this album's second side.

While the core team of Murray, Davis, and Alomar are still in place from Station to Station, the traditional band structure is very much subverted, and it's the production team of Bowie and Tony Visconti, as well as guest keyboardist Brian Eno, who are most influential on the album's sound. But the songs of Low are only a facet of the album's appeal - its sonic innovations and haunting atmospheres are equally if not more important.

Low was recorded in Berlin, the first of Bowie and Eno's 'Berlin Trilogy', and accordingly the influence of German bands like Neu! is apparent, but it's also influenced by Eno's own work, and also pulled in a new direction by Bowie's own vision.

In terms of structure, the record is broken down into distinct halves. The first side is made up of disjointed / fragmented songs, often minimalist, while the second side consists of four extended ambient instrumentals.

Highlights from the first side include the bouncy and melodic "Sound and Vision", and the accessible "Be My Wife", although the honour of most distinctive piece probably goes to "Breaking Glass", with its brief recurring Eno keyboard motif that sets the tone, along with the memorable don't look at the carpet - I drew something awful on it.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])