David Bowie – Low

bowielowI was not around when this was originally released, so any conjecture on how ‘startling’ or ‘revolutionary’ it was would be pretentious. What I do know is that reviewers at the time (no matter how revised their opinions) seemed to reject out of hand the instrumental second side. (The lack of lyrics must have been confusing.) However, I approach the record with no perspective, just appreciation. It’s a mood machine, built on complex emotional shards rather than comprehensible ideas. It’s not gloomy, but it is hurt; side A is a fractured life, side B the pieces mended. The soundscapes are inquisitive, rhythmic, and moody, never dull and never cold. “A New Career In A New Town” is the sound of guarded optimism. “Warszawa” is something unexplored – not the ruins of a dead city, but a quasi-religious experience. With “Subterraneans,” don’t think of underground urbania, be less tangible. Aim for awe, and you will find it here, the most meditative of Bowie’s albums – the first post-rock, and the first to really seek peace and find it.

Rating: A

About Kent Conrad

To contact Kent Conrad, email kentc@explodedgoat.com