Director's Cut Box set
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On Directors Cut, Kate revisits a selection of tracks from her albums, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, a process that presents a fascinating portrait of an artist in a constant state of evolution. She has re-recorded some elements whilst keeping the best musical performances of each song – making it something of a director’s cut but in sound, not vision. A new version of "Deeper Understanding" will be released as a single in April. Although written some twenty years ago, the song may be more relevant today than ever…
When Deeper Understanding emerged as the first evidence of Kate Bush’s new album of revisions, the instant reaction was surprise tinged with anger. How dare she play with our memories? How dare she use Auto-Tune on the chorus vocal? "Butchered" and "almost unforgivable" cried the fansites. But as Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens have already shown, Auto-Tune – a pitch-shifting tool typically used to mask defects – can also be used for beauty. It’s not as if Bush’s own vocal was altered. Instead, it’s just the song’s computer voice, which now resembles 2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 rather than a demo on a kid’s Casio. A bonus two-minute coda of Talk Talk-style folk-jazz floatiness extends the mood of blissful angst. Butchered? More like reborn.
The problem is less that Bush’s new album consists of old songs than the fact she’s only released one album of new ones in 18 years. She’s had the urge to tinker before, sprucing up Wuthering Heights for her 1986 greatest hits, The Whole Story. All the vocals and drums on Director’s Cut – totalling four tracks from 1989’s The Sensual World, seven from 1993’s The Red Shoes – are new; if such a term existed, you could say the overall execution has been to ‘de-80s-fy’ the originals. Gone are the gated drums, the keyboard presets, the Synclavier washes; in comes a softer, golden glow. Minus the choc-box orchestra (plus subtly altered lyrics), the rest of Moments of Pleasure emerges into the light, shaded by a solemn choir. Rubberband Girl, which in context sounds like a knees-up down her local boozer, comes over like the work of a totally different band (weirdly, that band is now The Rolling Stones).
The Sensual World’s title-track, now re-named Flower of the Mountain and borrowing Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from James Joyce’s novel Ulysses as Bush intended (she was originally denied permission), is another major alteration. Yet, musically, it’s rather more cosmetic. Just as Bush sounds in great voice – richer, bolder, brighter, wiser – so the re-cast Lily and The Red Shoes’ title-track follow suit, but they’re hardly re-inventions. As much as it’s fascinating to hear Bush the Elder look back at Bush the Younger, is the tinkering worth a full album? Yes, because it’s a sign Bush the Artist is still alive (she’s working on new songs too) and Director’s Cut (a less prosaic title would have been nice) is a gorgeous body of work. No, because it’s writer’s block by any other name. No, because it’s not radical enough a move. But if Deeper Understanding raised hackles, imagine if Kate had gone dubstep or collaborated with Odd Future. World wars have broken out over less.
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Top Customer Reviews
Well a few months later the excellent "Fifty Words for Snow" was released, so that's the second question answered. Regarding the first, whatever Kate's reasoning, Director's Cut gives us a set of 11 alternative versions to analyse and enjoy, so I am happy with that. All vocals and many of the instrumentals have been re-recorded or at least rearranged.
This 3-disc edition really gives the best of both worlds: obviously you get the new song versions released as Director's Cut. And if you are unhappy with them, you can still enjoy the originals as both previous records are included (The Sensual World unchanged, plus The Red Shoes remastered from an analogue source, and sounding great). This gives a clue as to Kate's motivation with the project. She had long been unhappy with the very bright digital sound typical of the 1980s, preferring the warmth of analogue, and this is one of the big changes here.
The whole thing is beautifully packaged in a hardback booklet format with lyrics, new photography and explanatory notes from Kate.
As for the music, what do you expect? It's superb. Her more mature singing voice doesn't have the extraordinary gymnastic ability it had when she emerged as a teenager all those years ago (none of the early stuff was included in her recent triumphant return to live performance).Read more ›
Anyway, here goes
1. Flower of the Mountain - Musically softer & less vital but not radically different, lyrically the original has it.
2. The Song of Solomon - An improvement over the original for me, but Wop, Bam, Boom?
3. Lily - Pretty much the same as above, without the Wop, Bam, Boom bit
4. Deeper Understanding - Erm, Er, The original has it. Auto Tune, really?
5. The Red Shoes - Again I prefer this version, a more 'played' organic feel to it.
6. This Woman's Work - This was always the one that would struggle to win me over, and it hasn't. I'm not saying this new arrangement is awful, it's perfectly fine, but it isn't the same song that can move me to tears. And I don't think it ever would have, had this been the original version. Original wins!
7. Moments of Pleasure - Benefits from the stripped back production & calmer feel compared to the original. I do like the original, but this new arrangement is beautiful.
8. Never be Mine - As others have said nothing much different here, just a softer feel again. A pleasant reworking, that's all.
9. Top of the City - Never really liked the original, this is better..just.
10. And So is Love - Great song, this version does nothing to change that fact.
11.Read more ›
'Top of the City'from 'Shoes'I never really rated as a song,but the new version which is great,makes me realise that it was the original production that put me off,it always sounded a bit too big and epic for me,but this new take is better,less cinematic and leaner with more real sounding drums and shows off the song.
This version of Rubberband Girl is a real surprise-Something like 'Street Fighting Man'with muffled,naive vocals reminding me of Canned Heat or the really young Kate on Passing Through Air.
In a nit-picking moment I notice Eric Clapton's uninspired noodlings on And So Is Love remain intact.This song is probably the most unchanged rework on the record,but sounding much warmer than before
Moments Of Pleasure is revealed as a fantastic song-again free of the massive production that buried it before.This features a male-voice choir,maybe-giving a voice to the departed...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am a vinyl head but have always felt that Red Shoes on vinyl had bad production. The CD in this set, remastered from the original analogue tapes is a must for any Kate Bush fan.Published 8 months ago by Keven L.
Kate revisits some of her older songs and gives them fascinating new treatments/interpretations.Published 9 months ago by Skylady
A truly beautiful package. Three CDs and book. Re workings of classic album tracks takes them to different level. Great to have the original albums contained too as bonus.Published 12 months ago by stephen camps
Birthday gift for my brother, he was well pleased, great value, great 3 disc album.Published 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
The Director's Cut CD is great but the other two were not different enough from the originals to justify buying the three disc version.Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
5 STAR SELLER - SUPERB service - EXCELLENT CD - FAST dispatch - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED...