“Don’t you wonder sometimes...”
Ahead of the release of the David Bowie: A New Career In A New Town (1977–1982) box set (ANCIANT) next month, here’s the second instalment of our album focus on Low.
This is Tony Visconti’s introduction from his superbly informative notes (from the ANCIANT book), regarding the recording of Low. As Tony says, it’s a story you may have heard before, but it bears repeating...
I was playing around with my new signal processing ‘toys’ in my home studio in Hammersmith when I got a phone call from David Bowie. I'd had a good business year and my accountant said, “Buy things for the studio. They are tax deductible”. My favourite new toy was the Harmonizer made by a new company called Eventide. David already mixed the ‘Diamond Dogs’ album with me in my home studio and we used an earlier Eventide gizmo, The Eventide Digital Delay, to great effect, very noticeably with the “Bro-bro-bro…” repetition at the end of ‘Big Brother’.
David was calling from his home in Switzerland and Brian Eno was on an extension. They told me they’d been writing songs for a couple of weeks and had ideas, one side being conventional songs and the other an instrumental side based on Brian’s ambient music compositions. I was asked, “What can you bring to the table?” (This is the first time I heard this phrase not referring to bottles of red and white wine). I said I have a new thing called the Harmonizer (the second sold in the U.K.). “What does it do?” they asked. Hmmm. This thing was so original and difficult to explain in simple terms, so I spontaneously came up with what most people have heard of by now, “It fucks with the fabric of time.” Then I heard big ‘whoops’ from both of them.
LOW FACT FILE:
Working Title: New Music: Night And Day (Last minute name change to the visually punning Low)
Released in the UK as RCA PL 12030 on 14th January, 1977.
Peak UK chart position: #2
Peak US chart position: #11
1. SPEED OF LIFE
2. BREAKING GLASS
3. WHAT IN THE WORLD
4. SOUND AND VISION
5. ALWAYS CRASHING IN THE SAME CAR
6. BE MY WIFE
7. A NEW CAREER IN A NEW TOWN
2. ART DECADE
3. WEEPING WALL 4. SUBTERRANEANS
Bonus tracks on 1991 RykoDisc reissue:
Some Are (3:24) Previously unreleased track recorded 1976-79
All Saints (3:35) Previously unreleased track recorded 1976-79
Sound And Vision (4:43) Remixed version, 1991
Original UK Singles:
Sound And Vision/A New Career In A New Town released February 1977 - (Peak UK chart position: #3)
Be My Wife/Speed Of Life released June 1977 - (Peak UK chart position: N/A)
Did you know that both Mary Visconti (Nee Hopkin) and Brian Eno provide backing vocals on Sound And Vision, as does Iggy Pop on What In The World?
(Pictured on the right of our montage is the US advert for the Sound And Vison 45 and the UK ad for the Be My Wife single)
All songs written by DAVID BOWIE except ‘BREAKING GLASS’ written by DAVID BOWIE, GEORGE MURRAY and DENNIS DAVIS and ‘WARSZAWA’ written by DAVID BOWIE and BRIAN ENO.
All songs arranged by DAVID BOWIE except ‘WARSZAWA’ arranged by DAVID BOWIE and BRIAN ENO.
Produced by DAVID BOWIE and TONY VISCONTI.
Mixed by TONY VISCONTI at HANSA BY THE WALL, BERLIN.
Recorded at THE CHÂTEAU D’HÉROUVILLE and HANSA BY THE WALL, BERLIN between September and October, 1976.
‘SUBTERRANEANS’ originally recorded at CHEROKEE STUDIOS, LOS ANGELES, December 1975.
Don’t forget you can listen to the official David Bowie: A New Career In A New Town playlist here.
Pre-order ANCIANT here.
#ANCIANTbox #ANewCareerInANewTownBox #BowieLow