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'Heroes' / 'Helden' / 'Héros' E.P.
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Newly reissued classic album (originally released in 1977); enhanced CD contains a link to Bowie internet site.
One of Bowie's more stellar moments working with Brian Eno, Heroes again sees the artist moving into barely chartered waters (at that point, 1977), creating moving, emotive rock and putting it right up against some very detached and futuristic synthesized sounds. The collection opens with a ferocious rocker, courtesy of Robert Fripp's taut, snarling guitars ("Beauty and the Beast"), and then slides into the roar of "Joe the Lion" without missing a beat. Bowie's vocals have rarely sounded as desperate as they are on "Heroes," the anguished "Blackout" rages on a peculiarly up beat, and suddenly the listener finds they've slipped into a parallel world of icy soundscapes. The next four tracks present glassy synthesizers, stark piano, the ping of Asian-styled guitars, and other styles presumably left over or influenced by the Low recordings. The delicate "Moss Garden" is particularly beautiful, and "Sense of Doubt" is brooding and ominous. The closer, "The Secret Life of Arabia," moves with the rhythm of a snake charmer, and Bowie's vocals are irrepressibly intoxicating. Challenging, and worth the effort. --Lorry Fleming
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Fans of Bowie are probably pretty familiar with the story by now. Coming off the heels of his album STATION TO STATION, Bowie found himself pushed to his limits by his crippling cocaine addiction. In an effort to change his life and escape his drug use, he fled to Berlin with Iggy Pop and producer Brian Eno. In Berlin, Bowie's creative process would become revitalized; the way that he envision music was fundamentally changed. From late 1976 to 1979, he would create a trio of albums that would stand as some of his most memorable and enduring work: LOW, "HEROES", and LODGER.
As one may expect of Bowie, "HEROES" sounds nothing like HUNKY DORY, ZIGGY STARDUST, or YOUNG AMERICANS. It doesn't even sound like the same songwriter is at work either. Many of these songs reject traditional songwriting conventions, and find Bowie in a writing music unlike anything he ever did (or would ever do again). The first half of the album is stacked with the more conventional songs on the album. While the eponymous "Heroes" is the most accessible, it is surrounded by other gems that may be less immediate to those unfamiliar with Bowie. The latter half of the album is occupied with a trilogy of instrumental tracks: the secretly sinister "Sense of Doubt," the ambient "Moss Garden," and the smokey/chilling "Neukoln." The final track "The Secret Life of Arabia" snaps the album back into focus, like waking out of a dream. It's a head-bopping, uptempo song that borders on experimental disco. The difference between this track and the preceding instrumentals is jarring, but the song works well to repeat right back to the first track "Beauty and the Beast."
"HEROES" contains guitar work from Robert Fripp (of the legendary progressive rock band King Crimson). Much like Stevie Ray Vaughan's turn in LET'S DANCE, the guitar work here is tastefully done. It doesn't stand out or demand attention, but Fripp's work does well to layer and texture these songs. Similiarly, Bowie's saxophone does great to blend in (like in the title track), and adds a chilling echo in "Neukoln."
This album is wonderful, but LOW still stands as my favorite of the trilogy. Often overlooked, "HEROES" it is a tour-de-force of creativity. For listeners unfamiliar with Bowie, I would recommend starting with his earlier work and working forward. Otherwise, LOW might be another good starting point (as it essentially rebooted Bowie's career), and its music is a little less alienating than some of the tracks here. Standout tracks to sample/download: "Heroes," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Secret Life of Arabia." Fantastic album -- give it a listen!
As part if the Berlin Trilogy ... Low, Heroes, Lodger ... its a must have part of this set of works.
Listen closely and hear the brilliance !!!