A new paperback by Thomas Jerome Seabrook chronicles David Bowieâ€™s three year sojourn in Berlin and the resulting albums, Low, Heroes and Lodger. Bowie In Berlin also documents his relationship with Brian Eno, Robert Fripp and Tony Visconti, discussing many of their recording techniques including Enoâ€™s Oblique Strategies and Visconiâ€™s love affair with the Eventide.
The book deconstructs each track on Low and Heroes with musicians and gear listed in some detail. It highlights the extensive use of the Chamberlin, Mini Moog and ARP 2600 as well as Enoâ€™s EMS processing of Frippâ€™s guitar.
Bowieâ€™s vocal inspirations,Syd Barrett and Anthony Newley come in for examination as do the influence of Kraftwerk and Can. The book also finds time to detail Bowieâ€™s relationship with Iggy Pop and his reinvention as The Idiot and provides a track by track analysis of Lust For Life.
But the overriding message is Bowieâ€™s desire to shake off the spectre of Ziggy Stardust while forging this New Career In A New Town.
Itâ€™s worth pointing out that much of Low was recorded in France and Lodger was ostensibly a New York album, but Seabrook appears to be offering â€˜Berlinâ€™ as â€˜a state of mindâ€™ rather than a physical place.
Although some of the content may be common knowledge to ardent fans, the book works as an overview of an intensely creative period set as a paradox to the excesses of Bowieâ€™s drug fuelled L.A. psychosis.
For a cattle prod reminder of the Thin White Duke's interstellar X factor check out this clip from cult 80â€™s film Christian F below and Heroes from his 2006 Glastonbury set above.
Jawbone Press also publish a wide range of muso friendly books including The Sound Reinforcement Handbook, Make Money With Your Studio, Music For New Media and The Musicianâ€™s Ultimate Joke Book. Check out their summer catalogue through their site or from Jawbone Press, 2a Union Court, 20-22 Union Road, London SW4 6JP.