Bush in Bloom

 

CD CHOICE: Kate Bush, Director's Cut  EMI  * * * *

After 2005’s splendid Aerial,there were high hopes that Kate Bush might re-engage with music on a more regular basis (the wait for Aerialwas 12 years). We do know that La Bush is working on new material and considering touring again. In the meantime, she has released this revised and musically edited version of songs from two of her previous albums (1989’s Sensual Worldand 1993’s Red Shoes).

Bush has never been a fan of her back catalogue; she once said: “I can’t possibly think of old songs of mine because they’re past now. And quite honestly I don’t like them any more.” But on Director’s Cutshe has stripped 11 tracks of their original vocals and drums/ percussion and taken out the technological tool-box to give them a bit of va-va-voom.

Sensual Worldhas now been renamed Flower of the Mountainand, following the James Joyce estate’s decision to grant Bush permission to use Molly Bloom’s soliloquy from Ulysses, she gets to release the song as she originally intended. The new vocal, which has her wrapped all around Molly’s words in an erotic embrace, is, quite simply, a thing of beauty.

The new vocals work magnificently. She’s never sounded better than on Song of Solomon,almost finding new Liz Fraser/Lisa Gerrard nuances to her delivery. On the single, Deeper Understanding,she pulls the song into a tighter focus and gives it a more of a spooky chill than the original.

Much of the tinkering, you suspect, is in erasing the rather cluttered feel of the original songs, and the slightly sparser feel brings Bush’s voice more to the fore. This can be heard to best effect on a sharper version of one of her finest songs, This Woman’s Work. On Red Shoesshe beefs up the percussion to give the song more propulsion, and there’s a new lushness to Moments of Pleasure.

Not everything works ( Rubberband Girlsounds like a rushed out-take from Exile on Main Street) and yes, the exercise may reek of self- indulgence. But there are some truly remarkable performances here from one of the most intriguing and bountifully talented musical artists of our time. See katebush.com

Download tracksThis Woman’s Work, Song of Solomon, Flower of the Mountain, Moments of Pleasure