by David Bowie
5.0 2

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Outside bears the subtitle "The Diary of Nathan Adler or The Art-Ritual Murder of Baby Grace Blue. A Non-Linear Gothic Drama Hyper-Cycle." Alright, so it reeks of pretension. One belabors the point because Bowie at his best has always been pretentious, risque, creatively (if sometimes contrivedly) over the top. Outside marks the first in a planned series of collaborations with multi-instrumentalist, producer, and conceptualist Brian Eno based on a Bowie short story. In this end-of-millennium setting, "art-crimes" and "concept muggings" merit their own police division funded by the "Arts Protectorate of London." Echoes of the Berlin "outsider" Bowie/Eno '70s trilogy of Low, Heroes, and Lodger reverberate throughout, including a return to the "cut-and-paste" lyric-assembly method then employed, only this time fed through a Mac rather than more labor-intensive paper-and-scissors tools. The thusly fragmented "narrative" follows the investigations of Detective Professor Adler into the murder and subsequent dismembered body parts exhibition of 14-year-old runaway Baby Grace Blue. In this cut-up, composite world, each character, including Adler, Baby Grace, mixed-race youth Leon Blank, septuagenarian Algeria Touchshriek, and art-terrorist Ramona A. Stone, reflects a different aspect of Bowie himself and is therefore a component of all the previous personas Bowie has enacted over the years. The music also randomly dices and displays many of the previous album settings such personas have populated. To complete the cube, Bowie then draws on musicians that form a kind of anagram band from his past. The closest "Ziggy" link comes courtesy of pianist Mike Garson, whose icy, tinkling jazz runs evoke many a spine-tingly moment from Aladdin Sane and Diamond Dogs. Besides Garson and Eno, other names familiar to those who follow the Bowie canon include guitarists Carlos Alomar (Station to Station through Scary Monsters) and Reeves Grabels (Tin Machine), and '90s collaborators such as drummer Sterling Campbell (Black Tie White Noise) and multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kizilcay (Buddha). Diamond Dogs, inspired by George Orwell's 1984, is another obvious precursor to Outside's dissection of a post-apocalyptic, technological society in the name of Art. Bowie inflicts "in-character" spoken word segments as between-song segues, several of which evoke the Cockney campiness of such '60s period pieces as "Please Mr. Gravedigger" and "The Laughing Gnome" -- humor (intentional or not) that softens an otherwise bleak landscape. So, should you actually care about this dense, dark, difficult story and its generally unsympathetic characters? The effort required to adequately "process" Outside pays off in a richly voyeuristic experience where Bowie once again reflects fringe culture onto the mainstream and forces us to consider that the differences are not so great.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/01/2008
Label: Sbme Special Mkts.
UPC: 0886972432229
catalogNumber: 724322

Album Credits

Performance Credits

David Bowie   Primary Artist,Guitar,Keyboards,Saxophone,Vocals
Mike Garson   Piano (Grand)
Kevin Armstrong   Guitar
Rupie Edwards   Background Vocals
Joey Baron   Drums
Carlos Alomar   Rhythm Guitar
Sterling Campbell   Drums
Brian Eno   Synthesizer
Reeves Gabrels   Guitar
Yossi Fine   Bass
Erdal Kizilcay   Bass,Keyboards
Tom Frish   Guitar

Technical Credits

David Bowie   Composer,Producer,Cover Painting
Mike Garson   Composer
Kevin Armstrong   Composer
Sterling Campbell   Composer
Brian Eno   Composer,Producer
Reeves Gabrels   Composer
Mort Garson   Composer
Erdal Kizilcay   Composer
David Richards   Producer,Engineer
DeNovo   Image Manipulation

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Outside 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago