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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New Music - Night And Day
The first of a trio of albums that David Bowie co-produced with Tony Visconti at Conny Plank's Hansa Studios by the Wall in Berlin, Low (originally titled New Music - Night And Day) represented probably the most radical change of colour that the chameleon that was Bowie had so far affected. Their relatively poor sales at the time of release were instrumental in Bowie...
Published on 17 Mar 2006 by Lozarithm

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars David Bowie Low
I have this as an LP and it was nice hearing it again but there are too many instrumentals on the album.
Published 19 months ago by MR R W HARRISON


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High, 15 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
David Bowie defined the future of pop music with this album. Low has it all. It isn't the most listenable or instantly likeable album Bowie's ever made, but it is certainly his most important. The contrast between the A and B side is unlike any other record.
It's a stunning album and the instrumentals are just as compelling as the "proper songs", in fact Subterraneans must be one of David's finest moments. "Sound and Vision" will be familiar to most and although it's strangely catchy it must be Bowie's least commercial single offering.
Very few albums have seriously affected the future of music and have been truly influential - this is one such album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feeling Low, 5 Mar 2006
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
Low is not for everyone's taste. It has rightfully been seen as a classic hugely influential album. The genious of Bowie has always been his ability to assimulate different influences adding his own unique nuances e.g. Diamond Dogs via Young Americans. Low is brilliant pop/dance/ transient eclectronica. It just amazes me to still play this album and be thrilled. When i was teenager I remember playing this album in my bedroom in the dark. My mother was worried.
But that's why I love Bowie so much and I connected with him. Low was a very brave alum to release. He knew it was not going to be a commercial success. But what you get is an artist decontrsucted, layer by layer, and hugely personal lyrics that just endear you even more. What artist today could write 'Be my Wife'..sometiimes you get so lonely..sometimes you go nowhere. Haven't we all felt like this at tiimes?
Alot of people are not impressewd with side '2' of Low but for me they were Ziggy had definitely landed on Mars or as the NME reviewer said Sinatra through Martian eyes! Despite being electronic, this is a hugely emotional album especially the instrumentals. Subterraneans is still chilling and haunting even now.
If you like any electronic music then Low is a must. It has some brillaint pop songs as well as some of the strangest music your ever likely to hear. Fort a mainstream rock star to release an album like this was braver than brave. Defintely part of Bowie's Brave New World
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Musical landmark...., 20 July 2005
By 
Milt Ingarfield "milt_fm" (Arbroath, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
In the autumn of 1976 Bowie air freighted his band of Carlos Alomar and Ricky Gardener (guitars) George Murray (bass) Dennis Davis (drums) Roy Young (piano) along with Eno and his producer Tony Visconti, they also brought with them to first to Château d'Herouville in France and an arsenal of electronic and conceptual toys they then made their way to Hansa studios in Berlin also tagging along was Tony Visconti's then wife Mary Visconti (Hopkin) also Bowie had with him Iggy Pop and a cellist called Eduard Meyer.
An unusual feature of this recording is the use of musical tarot cards, these where created by Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975 and where called "Oblique Strategies", these cards contained 100 musical dilemmas.
Another element in the recording of this album that makes it unique is the use of a gadget by Visconti on the snare drum called a harmoniser this creates a drop in pitch and gave the first 7 tracks on this album a very distinctive snare sound.
The album opens with the instrumental "Speed of Life" (2.46) this sets the tone for the first part of the album, the piece starts with synthesiser that comes into earshot along with Alomar's rhythm guitar and vamping piano of Roy Young and the reoccurring sound of synthetic strings that plays the main theme of track along with the sound of the bass guitar by Murray and snare drum of Davis in fact all the instruments are playing the same tune but at different pitches and time signatures.
The sound of snare drum and a lock of the hi-hat the first track with lyrics starts "Breaking Glass"(1.51) is the shortest song on the album rather than ask Bowie to flesh out the song with an extra verse, Eno opted for the if it's not broken don't try and fix it approach and the result is a track that is perfectly half formed the words don't matter what makes the song work is the delivery by Bowie the catchy guitar line and the clever 3 note synth swoop that goes from speaker to speaker set against the guitar playing of Alomar and at the end of the guitar note the crash of snare is heard and the pumping bass rumbling away.
"What in the World" (2.23) is the track that sounds closest to a traditional rock song and suffers for it and is the weakest on the album, the song is neither sufficiently weird enough and it doesn't have a strong melody line, but what it does do is continue the themes of the album of alienation and introspection which dominate the album, this track describes psychotic withdrawal where someone's world shrinks to the size of 1 room, for example the line "So deep in your room, You never leave your room".
"Sound and Vision" (3.03) starts with a instrumental section led by the sound of cymbals and rhythm guitars and the signature snare sound of the album that builds to the sound of saxophone that together with Mary Visconti's backing vocals herald the beginning of one of Bowies greatest singles, this track you can dance to you can also marvel at the croon of Bowie that enshrouds you in it's grandeur "Blue, blue electric blue, that's the colour of my room, where I will live" this is a piece of perfect pop confection at just over 3 minutes long.
"Always crashing in the same Car" (3.29) starts with guitar licks by Gardener and Alomar and synthesiser sounds and guitar treatments go from speakers as Bowie speaks the intro "Every chance, Every chance that I take, Take it on the road, Those kilometres and the red light, I was always looking left and right ", and on the line "Always crashing in the same car" the snare drum starts and the rhythm guitars begin to play the main theme of the song along with the bass pumping.
"Be my Wife" (2.55) begins with honky tonk sounding piano intro with a guitar riff from Gardener; the track is a plea for love and affection that is made al the more poignant by it's hopelessness the opening lines says it all "Sometimes you get so lonely, Sometimes you get nowhere, I've lived all over the world, I've left every place" and the chorus of "Please be mine, Share my life, Stay with me, Be my wife" all the lines are punched out by the piano and crashing snare and pumping bass that is under pinned by the guitar sounds that go off into the distance as the keyboards sound.
To close off the first part is another instrumental "A New Career in a New Town" (2.51), it is a mix of the synthesiser that is overlaid on top of Bowie's harmonica playing that creates a battle between the European tradition of calculated synth music and American style blues a real juxtaposition of styles.
The second part begins with "Warszawa" (6.20), which was co-written by Eno, this bleak instrumental has Eno playing all the instruments, and is halfway over before Bowie delivers vocals.
On "Art Decade" (3.43) the sound of Eduard Mayer's cello is played against the keyboards of Eno and Bowie creating a deep wall of bass that vibrates the speakers.
"Weeping Wall" (3.26) takes again for it's inspiration the gone Berlin Wall, Bowie plays all the instruments which hums all the way through he even adds some vocals, this piece is based on a 8 note motif from the opening section of Scarborough Fair.
"Subterraneans" (5.39) is the final part of the trilogy of instrumentals about Berlin this time the subject is the Eastern part of the city and the people caught off when the wall went up, this is again a slow but majestic sounding with hints of jazz sounding saxophones.
Low is an experimental album in the true sense of the term Bowie only discovered what he had done after he had done it, a real musical landmark.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably his finest album..., 29 Aug 2003
By 
L. Davidson (Belfast, N.Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
I don't think Bowie has released a better album than this dazzling collection of beautiful and highly innovative music , still sounding fresh and vital 25 years on. Many of the tracks are melodic , electronic instrumentals such as the excellent opening track "Speed of Life" which gives way to the brief and quirky "Breaking Glass". "Sound and Vision" is simply one of my favourite songs by any artist. Catchy well constructed pop songs like "Be my Wife" and "Always Crashing" follow, before the "melodic" aspect of "Low" concludes with the uplifting " A New Career in a New Town". The last four tracks are less accessible and immediate , but on repeated listening are very rewarding. The pioneering and brooding solemnity of "Warszawa" is a highlight and there is great depth in the arrangements on the other tracks with "Subterraneans" my favourite. When listening to "Low" , I simply wondered at the genius of Bowie, who can go from "Can You Hear Me" to "Warszawa" via "Wild is the Wind" in the space of barely two years. "Low" may have produced only one hit single for Bowie ("Sound and Vision")and may not have been a great commercial success but in terms of quality , creativity and originality it is probably his best album.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of its time, 15 Feb 2007
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Low Jewel Box (Audio CD)
Some tracks on this groundbreaking album are surprisingly accessible whilst other pieces belong in the realm of classical rather than popular music. Tracks 1 to 7 are short, melodic tracks like Speed Of Life, Breaking Glass, What In The World and Sound & Vision whilst the long, dark pieces (8 to 11) include Warszawa, Art Decade, Weeping Wall and Subterraneans.

My favourites include the catchy Sound & Vision with its poetic lyrics and brilliant guitar hook and of course the atmospheric Breaking Glass which inspired Nick Lowe's I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass on his Pure Pop For Now People album.

These short pop pieces are strangely addictive in their robotic minimalism, while the long instrumentals are quite evocative, albeit extremely lugubrious. They would probably appeal more to lovers of classical music than your average Bowie fan. (Those who like Gorecki's Three Sorrowful Songs would love them).

Low was a brave experiment for its time and remains a remarkable listening experience although I definitely prefer the shorter, more accesible songs.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low - Bowie's career High, 19 Nov 2003
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
Bowie's utterly magnificent 1977 masterpiece "Low" is an album that is as rich, desolate and beautiful as it was underrated on its initial release.
It is the sonic equivalent of a condensed 40 minute trip from Moscow to Vladivostok on the trans-Siberian Express. Completely overwhelming.
The first side's sharp, harsh and explosive avant-pop masterpieces share the record with the flip-side's broodingly epic instrumentals. Nothing is unecessary.
The transition, I suppose, between the two different types of music on the album is the proto-trance anthem "A New Career in a New Town." Synth meets piano meets driving drumbeat to create a completely moving piece of crazy dance music. It's intospective and sad, but also completely joyous. Almost a purge, as Bowie washes his hands of the pop and brings on the academic stuff.
To cite any standout tracks seems a bit silly, as it's all brilliant really. "Sound and Vision" is driven by a seminal riff and a stunningly affecting vocal performance by Bowie. "Breaking Glass" is a terrifying but funky and exhilerating trip through some really disturbing parts of the guy's psyche. And "Warszawa" is perhaps the best pop-instrumental ever. Devestatingly cold and foreboding spattered with the occasional false glint of sonic hope.
A work of genius.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Electronic Moodfest, 15 Feb 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
This marvelous album consists of short, melodic songs like Speed Of Life, Breaking Glass, What In The World, Sound & Vision and long, dark pieces like Warszawa, Art Decade, Weeping Wall and Subterraneans. My favourites include the catchy Sound & Vision with its poetic lyrics and brilliant guitar hook and of course the atmospheric Breaking Glass which inspired Nick Lowe's "I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass" on his Pure Pop For Now People album. The short pop pieces are strangely addictive in their robotic minimalism, while the long instrumentals are quite evocative but they would probably appeal more to lovers of classical music than your average Bowie fan. (Those who like Gorecki's "Three Sorrowful Songs" would love them). Low was a groundbreaking album for its time and remains a remarkable listening experience although I definitely prefer the first part.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new approach, 10 Dec 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
Don't listen to all this nonsense about Low being a carefully crafted record, or even this twaddle about Eno producing it. The record was lightly produced by Tony Visconti and recorded in a very short period of time. Most of the basic tracks (featuring the blinding Alomar/Murry/Davies rythum section) are first takes or even demos that were just layered up with other musicians. Bowie came into the studio with prehaps a few words or chords written and just threw them onto the tape along with whatever entered his mind at the time. Then Tony and Dave mixed it.
None of the pouting or image change.
Hence, this record is pure Bowieness.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Album of Two Halves, 3 Jan 2005
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
Low - is there anything more that could describe the way Bowie was feeling at the time. Everything was going wrong for him, well in his personal life anyway and so he decided to move to Berlin to escape it all - if you asked me going to Berlin would have made him more depressed. Still he went and what came out of it wasn't some dull, droopy album with no vigour but instead a mere classic, which has propelled itself into Bowie folklore.
Low is a classic and offers us a new creative side to Bowie. The album though on the first listen is very strange and for me wasn't to my liking, but I strived on and finally found the pure brilliance and beauty of it.
I say that it is an album of two halves simply because it is. Even if the two halves don't equal up to the right number of songs each, but still two halves none the less.
The first half are seven songs of electronic hipped up songs of aching and deranged Bowie vocals and lyrics which can haunt you but also get you tapping your foot and bouncing up and down to it's addictive beats.
The second half is the last four songs on the album, where there are mostly no words instead Bowie and Eno playing with different types of sounds and seeing what comes out. And what does come out is something beautiful and also very tragic. These second half of songs can be quite hard to listen to and you may get bored and annoyed very easily, especially on the six minute long Warszawa. This song seems to longer and longer but when listened to quite a few times you can experience the true pleasure and appreciate it's more mellow mood more every time you listen to, eventually turning out to be not that bad.
These four aren't just the only music tracks with brief words that don't seem to make sense there are two others. These being Speed of Life and A New Career in a New Town. Out of all the six music tracks these two have to be the best simply because they aren't as dark as the others and are a lot easier to listen to.
In all the music tracks and the normal vocal/music tracks compliment each other and wouldn't be right without each other. The antithesis is perfect.
The best songs on this album though have to Breaking Glass and Sound and Vision. These are the most hipped up tracks on the album and will get you dancing away. At the end though you start to wonder what it was that Bowie had done on that carpet.
In all this is a great album and from Bowie's depression came a new hope.
Buy this album, give it few listens and you'll fully enjoy the brilliance of Bowie's creativeness. Enjoy!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues from Berlin, 8 Mar 2007
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Low (Audio CD)
I've always been deeply fascinated by David Bowie's so-called 'Berlin Trilogy', more so than anything else he's done. The early 1970s may have made him, but this era sees him going so much deeper. On 'Low', he pulls off the improbable: music that straddles commercial appeal and experimentation. The first side of the original LP contained the first seven, shorter tracks. 'Speed Of Life' draws you in immediately, an instrumental featuring a striking combination of bleating sax and deranged electronics. Such simple little quirks and twists crop up all over these tracks, like 'Breaking Glass' with its sudden shifts and the half-song that is 'Sound And Vision'. Throughout this, there is a beefy rhythm section that provides a great groove.

The four lengthier pieces that follow are sombre to say the least, disturbing, and not the sort of music to a depressive should listen to. Yet there's much beauty amid this sadness, the evocation of underclass, genocide and crumbling humanity. 'Low' is one of my favourite Bowie albums. I'm not a huge fan of his, but when he gets it right, he touches all the raw nerves.
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