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Saturday, August 2, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #25 - Experimenting

"I was concerned that it would be like a "K-tel" record, a cheapo-compo with little thought behind it. It was the record company's decision, and I didn't mind as long as it was well put together."

Following the blockbuster success of Hounds Of Love, it was perhaps inevitable that EMI would want to capitalise on Kate Bush's success by releasing a "greatest hits" album. An early report in the UK music trade paper Music Week, suggested the album would be called Many Faces. Wisely, this was changed before release to The Whole Story.

The album would go on to sell over a million copies in the UK and is, to date, Kate's only compilation album. Although a release like this is clearly not aimed at fans, Kate was careful to provide something new for us. Those that think Director's Cut was Kate's first makeover of old songs has clearly forgotten the "new vocal" she recorded for Wuthering Heights for this project. While at the time some critics questioned the need for such a move, the new vocal is undeniably richer. It also allowed Kate to let rip on a brilliant extemporised ending over the classic guitar solo. Kate also remixed the song to make it sound less "seventies". Interestingly, she said at the time she considered doing it on a couple of other tracks... Director's Cut II anyone?

"Directing is a new experiment for me - actually, it was Experiment III - and with this track I had such strong visual ideas while I was writing the song that I wanted to give it another go."

The other treat was a brand new song. Experiment IV was like a science-fiction movie brought to life in a five-minute pop song. Kate played a scientist recounting her work on a secret project, which had the aim of creating a lethal sound. Everything about the track screams ambition, from the intricate production, to the eerie violin from Nigel Kennedy. It sounds like a lost movie soundtrack. Kate was back on Wogan to promote the single. She must have been working hard, as she clearly needed a good sit down.

The best thing about Experiment IV is the video. Kate made what amounts to a mini-movie, with amazing sets and locations, A-list guest stars Dawn French and Hugh Laurie, and impressive visual effects. It proved Kate's belief in her nascent skills as a director were justified.

The Whole Story provided a triumphant close to Kate's most commercially and critically successful period to date. Of course, the only problem with having a big success is working out how you follow it up...

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