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David Bowie - Low (1977) - Lp

Low is the eleventh studio album by British musician David Bowie, co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti. Widely regarded as one of Bowie's most influential releases, Low was the first of the "Berlin Trilogy", a series of collaborations with Brian Eno (though the album was mainly recorded in France and only mixed in West Berlin). The experimental, avant-garde style would be further explored on "Heroes" and Lodger.
The genesis of Low lies in both the foundations laid by Bowie's previous album Station to Station, and music he intended for the soundtrack to The Man Who Fell to Earth. When Bowie presented his material for the film to Nicolas Roeg, the director decided that it would not be suitable. Roeg preferred a more folksy sound, although John Phillips (the chosen composer for the soundtrack) described Bowie's contributions as "haunting and beautiful".
Elements from these pieces were incorporated into Low instead. The album's cover, like Station to Station, is a still from the movie: the photographic image, under the album's title, formed a deliberate pun on the phrase "low profile".
The album was co-produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, with contributions from Brian Eno. As a recovering cocaine addict, Bowie's songwriting on Low dealt with difficult issues: "There's oodles of pain in the Low album. That was my first attempt to kick cocaine, so that was an awful lot of pain. And I moved to Berlin to do it. I moved out of the coke centre of the world [i.e., Los Angeles, where Station to Station was recorded] into the smack centre of the world. Thankfully, I didn't have a feeling for smack, so it wasn't a threat". Visconti contended that the title was partly a reference to Bowie's "low" moods during the album's writing and recording.
Side one of the album contained short, direct song-fragments; side two comprised longer, mostly instrumental tracks. On these tracks help was lent by ex-Roxy Music keyboardist and conceptualist Brian Eno, who brought along his EMS 'suitcase' AKS synthesiser (Bowie was later given this particular synthesiser as a birthday present after a friend obtained it in an auction).
Often incorrectly given credit as Lows producer, Eno was responsible for a good deal of the direction and composition of the second side of the album and wrote the theme and instrumentation for "Warszawa" while Bowie was in Paris attending court hearings against his former manager. Eno in turn was helped by producer Tony Visconti's four-year-old son who sat next to Eno playing A, B, C in a constant loop at the studio piano. This phrase became the "Warszawa" theme. On Bowie's return Eno played him the work which impressed Bowie who then composed the vaguely Eastern European-sounding lyrics.
Although the music was influenced by German bands such as Kraftwerk and Neu!, Low has been acclaimed for its originality and is considered ahead of its time, not least for its cavernous treated drum sound created by producer Visconti using an Eventide Harmonizer.

Side A
A1.  Speed of Life  (2:46)
A2.  Breaking Glass  (1:52)
A3.  What in the World  (2:23)
A4.  Sound and Vision  (3:05)
A5.  Always Crashing in the Same Car  (3:33)
A6.  Be My Wife  (2:58)
A7.  A New Career in a New Town  (2:53)

Side B
B1.  Warszawa  (6:23)
B2.  Art Decade  (3:46)
B3.  Weeping Wall  (3:28)
B4.  Subterraneans  (5:39)

Release: 14 January 1977
Label:  RCA Records
Genre:  Art Rock, Kraut Rock
Format:  LP
Catalog#  PL 12030

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