Kate Bush Discovers Autotune

New album, Director’s Cut revamps songs from two of Kate Bush’s Albums

Kate Bush joins the conga-line of musicians covering their own work, a new tradition that includes Peter Gabriel, Ray Davies and Suzanne Vega.  Bush is releasing an album called Director’s Cut which draws songs from her beautiful 1989 album, The Sensual World, and disappointing 1993 album, The Red Shoes.

The first release from the disc is “Deeper Understanding,” a poignant and pleading song about getting lost in the computer screen.  In 1989 it was a powerful, and subtle work, and despite its subject, was mostly devoid of gimics, computer voices and beeping noises except for one.  Well, they are all here on the 2011 version of  “Deeper Understanding .”   Bush completely revamps the song, creating electronic backings, lots of sound effects and autotuning her voice.  Sadly, not only is autotuning a “so yesterday” concept, even for that, it’s badly employed.  Kate takes a song of subtlety to create a dialog with a “computer” voice,  the kind of obvious ploy you wouldn’t expect from the singer.  And Cher did the autotuning thing better in 1998 with her hit single “Believe.” And although I do have Cher’s first solo album in my collection, you don’t know how much it pains me to say she does anything artistically better than Kate Bush.  Although the song goes into a pretty cool vamp in the second half, it still reminds me of Tangerine Dream’s Edgar Froese re-recording classic Dream tracks from the 70s, but using digital synthesizers.  Using modern instruments instead the original analog synths, he made his music sound dated. He just didn’t get what made that music so powerful back then, and so timeless now.

One good thing is there is a new version of “The Sensual World” that might be closer to Bush’s original intent.   She originally wrote the song with lyrics drawn from James Joyce’s Ulysses, but couldn’t get permission to use them on the actual recording. So instead, she cut her own, Joyce-inspired lyrics.  Now she’s gotten permission and a new version appears on Director’s Cut, retitled “Flower of The Mountain.”  Hopefully, the remainder of Director’s Cut won’t be music that should perhaps remain on the cutting room floor.

Director’s Cut Tracklist:
01. Flower of the Mountain
02. Song of Solomon
03. Deeper Understanding
04. Lily
05. Red Shoes
06. This Woman’s Work
07. Moments of Pleasure
08. Never be Mine
09. Top of the City
10. And so is Love
11. Rubberband Girl

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

  9 comments for “Kate Bush Discovers Autotune

  1. Another bad review that makes me want to run out and purchase the disc. The same thing happened with the first Portishead album. That’s right, I said album.

  2. The effect you are referring to as “autotune” which is probably some other effect, is only used on the chorus, which is the distorted voice of Kate’s son Albert. No such effect is used on the main and re-recorded vocal.

      • You seem to be missing the point. You say “Bush completely revamps the song … and autotuning her voice.” Kate hasn’t autotuned her voice at all. The new lead vocal is entirely natural. In the chorus the voice of her son Albert is subject to a number of deliberate vocoder-like effects not with the point of correcting pitch.

      • Okay, it’s not Kate’s voice being autotuned, but the “vocoder-like” effects are a voice run through autotune, a process that was originally designed to correct pitch and is now used as a special effect on every other pop and rap song, the first notable one being Cher’s “Believe”.

  3. There’s a difference between using autotune the way people use it (to create a now corny want-to-be-funky effect) and the way Kate uses it here (to completely trash a vocal recording). It’s so annoying to see everybody missing the point like this, saying “oh Kate uses Autotune like everyone else while she precisely DON’T use it like everyone else…”. Besides, the way she uses it makes the computer sound so pathetic, and possibly even sadder than the character it aims to comfort. I wouldn’t say that about all the songs on the album, but I happen to like this one better than the original ^^

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