Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kate Bush - Aerial

(Amazon Link)

This is fast becoming my album of the year.
And yes, I'm well aware that it was released last bloody year. But I only got hold of it this year.

Aerial is different from normal Kate Bush, because it's not the ever so nutty, wild ideas Kate. This is Kate the contented Mom, staying home and doing the washing.

But the beauty she sees in the everyday is no less beautiful for being commonplace.

Aerial is split over two cds: A Sea of Honey & A Sky of Honey
A Sea Of Honey is the more song driven, personal side. Starting with the Kate Bush does Kate Bush single King of the Mountain it quickly sweeps into stranger territory with the bizarre Pi, which really is about the mathematical expression, taking Pi to 116 places in the course of the song. Bertie is a saccharine sweet song to her son, but it does manage to express what children mean to their parents in a simple yet magical couple of lines:

You bring me so much joy
And then you bring me
More joy

Mrs Bartolozzi has the fantastic vision of a woman doing her washing complete with the chorus:

Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy
Get that dirty shirty clean

Of course Kate even manages to inject something extra into this tranquil scene of domesticity:

I watched them going round and round
My blouse wrapping itself around your trousers
Oh the waves are going out
My skirt floating up around my waist
As I wade out into the surf
Oh and the waves are coming in
Oh and the waves are going out

The second cd, A Sky of Honey is really a 9 piece suite of music, dealing with the passing of one day from one dawn to another. It's a day where nothing in particular happens, but it does so incredibly beautifully. Starting with a simple child's voice:

The day is full of birds
Sounds like they're saying words

and moving to encompass birdsong, a pavement painter, a perfectly sketched out sunset and nightfall, a moonlit swim and finally a joyous welcome to a new dawn.
Sky of Honey is a stunning piece of music.

My favourite bits? Too many to mention them all, but on the title track there's a moment where Kate weaves her voice, a blackbird's song and then her infectious laughter together to welcome the dawn and it is so full of happiness and freedom that it can make me happy whenever I hear it.

Official site here, Wiki entry here

1 comment:

  1. Is it about a contented Mom, staying home and doing the washing?

    Listen again, and again. I hear grief, loss, fear of loss and eventually as we slide into CD2 (these are not 2 distinct CDs as some have posited, there are deeply connected) we get to the explosion of inevitability of transformation.

    There is nothing saccharine about "Bertie" Loving, yes; tinged with fear, perhaps sadness, that she will one day lose him (listen to the bird chorus carefully!)

    Mrs. Bartolozzi: tranquil? I think not. Who traipsed in? Why hours and hours to clean? Why the need to clean so much? Sparkling and white and clean? Why scream IT LOOKS SO ALIVE!

    This song seems anything but a picture of contented domesticity. That piano is heartbreaking. And the shock of seeing him standing outside and being let down that it wasn't really him. The "swishy swashy" leading to everything clean and shiny leads me to believe that something happened there that was not so pretty.

    Have another listen. Notice that Bertie is in a Minor key. Notice the grief of Coral Room notice even King of the Mountain and the sadness at Elvis's emptiness and the hope that he just might be finally, enjoying himself somewhere.

    I disagree that it isn't the "normal" Kate. I think Kate has done it again, laid bare emotion at our feet: exploded grief, sadness fear at losing a precious one and then takes us right down the throat of transformations and living life and laughing life even as the rest shimmers and shadows around our ankles.

    My 2 cents.