Kate Bush "50 Words for Snow"

Kate Bush

50 Words for Snow is all new, her first such venture since 2005's Aerial. The are only seven songs here, but the album clocks in at an hour. Despite the length of the songs, and perhaps because of them, it is easily the most spacious, sparsely recorded offering in her catalogue. Its most prominent sounds are Bush's voice, her acoustic piano, and Steve Gadd's gorgeous drumming -- though other instruments appear (as do some minimal classical orchestrations).

With songs centred on winter, 50 Words for Snow engages the natural world and myth -- both Eastern and Western -- and fantasy. It is abstract, without being the least bit difficult to embrace. It commences with "Snowflake" (featured here), with lead vocals handled by her son Bertie. Bush's piano, crystalline and shimmering in the lower middle register, establishes a harmonic pattern to carry the narrative: the journey of a snowflake from the heavens to a single human being's hand, and in its refrain (sung by Bush), the equal anticipation of the receiver.

50 Words for Snow is such a strange pop record, it's all but impossible to find peers. While it shares sheer ambition with Scott Walker's "The Drift" and PJ Harvey's "Let England Shake", it sounds like neither; Bush's album is equally startling because its will toward the mysterious and elliptical is balanced by its beguiling accessibility.

Sarah McLachlan - Mirrorball

Sarah McLachlan - Mirrorball

What a voice. I can't believe anyone could possibly sound this good in a live performance. Seriously, it's absolutely flawless. I've never listened to her stuff before so I have no idea how it compares to the studio work but it's probably worth a listen.

For the most part the music sits quite happily with it's little safe hat on. It's nice enough but there's nothing original/inspirational happening (aside from the vocals). It's girl music really - the crowd is full of screeching 15 year old girls soaking up their idol.

Stand out track would have to be Fear. It's one of the more downbeat ones but her voice really shines.

If I were a 15 year old girl I'm sure I'd worship this.

Mi and L'au - Mi and L'au

Mi and L'au - Mi and L'au

I'm not sure why/where/when/how this album came to my attention. The male singers voice is really familiar, maybe that's the association and I just can't pick it. Beautiful orchestration - I bet it's a BigBang/National Bank affiliated project (one of those Norwegian groups).

Not exactly melancholy, warmer than that - certainly very sparse. It almost feels like sitting in a conservatory. It's not raining - but everything's too wet to go outside - not that you mind though... 'cos the fire's on and it's cozy in here.

Ha! I just had a look on t'internet. Turns out that it's a couple who have locked themselves away in a cabin in the woods in Finland. It's probably fair to say they've managed to portray the atmosphere of their existence nicely then!

'Tis a lovely bit of work.

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