Tuesday, March 22, 2011

David Gough inspirations-day two: The Berlin Trilog

Day two of five things that influenced me as a kid.

If memory serves, Low was the third album I bought. It’s dark timbres blew open my universe, gave me a brittle sound-scape to pin all my adolescent, depressive nihilism to, as well as elevating my dilapidated geography to the status of Art. It made me imagine I could be living in Berlin or Paris, anywhere but the grey dirge of Liverpool.

The first of his so called triptych of Low, Heroes and Lodger, has long passed into rock mythos. Bowie’s rehab, exiling to Berlin after the LA cocaine fever of storing his piss in fridges, for fear a witches coven was trying to use his fluids to sire the anti Christ. So, living over an auto parts shop in the Turkish quarter of the city, chaperoned by fellow addict Iggy Pop and former Roxy Music knob twiddler Eno, Bowie set out to make an album of ambient muzik- an album to cut your throat to, as Charles Shaar Murray sniffily stated at the time-but still a counterpoint no less to the gobbing sneer that was the height of punk.

Beset by legal battles, the dissolution of his marriage to Angie-Low and its proceeding album was borne in the shadow of armed guards at Hansa studio by the wall, regular jaunts through Die Brücke museum  and stumbling wasted through Transgender cabaret clubs with Iggy.  I’d argue that Iggy’s the Idiot and Lust for Life form the cannon, The Idiot, opening with Sister Midnight, and Lodger book-ending  with a note for note rewrite in the form of Red Money.

By which point, the man himself was ready to serve notice on the Seventies,  dragging a few Blitz clubbers along to be bulldozed for the Ashes video, before turning his back on them altogether with the polished R&B grooves of Lets Dance.

To a working class lad growing up in poverty stricken inner city, there was little hope of ones world being opened to culture of any kind, but there it was German Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Nietzsche, Ballard, Phillip K Dick, Burroughs, all filtered through the perfection of an angular pop song.
Where else could one hear about Cabaret Voltaire or Dr Caligari, where else could one find aspiration to be something other- certainly not in the stifling of a provincial class room.

Choice Cuts:
A New Career in a New Town
Joe the Lion
Fantastic Voyage
Red Money

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