Kate Bush, who turned 60 in July, is one of the most innovative, experimental and influential artists in pop history. Her career is marked by unorthodox decisions, the urge for artistic freedom and at the same time the need to close oneself off to the public. The English artist is cranky, she has shifted and blown the boundaries of pop music while still preserving a sense of the sellability of her music. On the occasion of the re-release of her complete work we look at the experimental moment of Catherine Bush, CBE.
"Nick, can we make the drums sound like distant cannons heard on the other side of the valley?" Kate Bush had taken full control of the recording process for her fourth album "The Dreaming" in 1981 and confronted her sound engineer Nick Launay with increasingly unusual demands. He did his best to meet the wishes of his client: "We then set up three and a half meter wide corrugated steel tubes at various distances from each other and installed microphones in them," he recalls. On the Donovan track "Lord Of The Reedy River" (B-side of the first single "Sat In Your Lap") Bush wanted to sound as if she was drifting in a river, "so she went into the basement, there was an old swimming pool where there was still some water and recorded the vocals there".
The result of months of recording was one of the strangest, most experimental albums in pop history. To this day, fans and critics struggle for the artistic value of "The Dreaming" - is it a masterpiece or has it completely lost its thread on the way? But they agree on one thing: the album represents the artistic vision of Kate Bush; it is unorthodox, fearless, meticulous, innovative. "A lot of people will hear it," Bush said shortly before the release, "and a certain percentage of them will take the time and effort to understand it."
Born in 1958, Catherine Bush comes from an art-loving family. Her brother John Carder Bush has published several volumes of poetry, her brother Paddy Bush is a musician and collects rare instruments that he has used on his sister's records time and again. From childhood Kate played the piano and sang to it. One of John Carders friends was a certain David Gilmour. He was deeply impressed by the talent of the seventeen-year-old and recorded a few pieces with her. But Gilmour and the family agreed that Kate would mature first - both as a person and as a musician. So she graduated from school and worked on her songs and performance. As an admirer of David Bowie and Roxy Music, Kate Bush realized early on that performance would be a central element of her art. For example, she took dance lessons with the famous choreographer and pantomime artist Lindsay Kemp, who had already taught Bowie. "She was small and shy," Kemp said about the Elevin. "I only noticed her after over a dozen hours - the classes were huge - but then I clearly noticed her. She gave everything and loved drama."
Even in these early years, Kate Bush's meticulous career planning showed that she had allowed her art to thrive cautiously and apart from the public - an important characteristic of her unorthodox career.