Think Olio: A Deep Listening of David Bowie’s Low with Composer, Conductor and Professor Whitney George

Composer and conductor Whitney George takes command of our hi-fi for another in-depth listening session. This time, she’ll dig into the incredible David Bowie– and Brian Eno–composed b-side of Low. Here’s what she has to say about it:

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.
– David Bowie

David Bowie (1947–2016), singer, actor, fashion icon and beyond, crossed multiple disciplines in his artistic endeavors, and his album Low* (1977) marks a significant departure in his direction of his truly unique voice. Listed as one of Rolling Stone‘s best 100 albums of all time, Bowie’s Low deserves special attention: the first in the Berlin trilogy, it reveals a change in Bowie’s musical style, and has since influenced a number of artists and musical sub-genres with its experimental approach and new techniques. Low‘s sound starts to venture into the musically avant-garde for a popular music album, taking on a much more adventurous attitude with the inclusion of electronic (synthesized) sounds, and even includes wholly instrumental numbers (a rarity for any genre of popular music). Bowie, struggling with a cocaine addiction in the mid/late 70s, moved away from California in an attempt to save himself. The lyric content in the album points to a world of pain and addiction surrounding Bowie, our narrator, at the time the album was recorded. Interestingly, Low is a more collaborative album, with Brian Eno donating a significant amount of the compositional material (especially for side two) of the album. Join us as we dissect Low into points of deeper listening (rhythm, texture, harmony, melody, instrumentation, form, etc.), discuss the creation of the album, and how Bowie’s life plays into the musical material. We’ll listen and experience the album in-full as a group — discussing what to listen to and focus on beforehand, and an analysis after the listening. For a more fulfilling experience, check out the recommended reading and listening below.

*RCA rejected Bowie’s Low. And Bowie kept that rejection letter on his wall…obviously the executives at RCA had no idea what they were listening to…

Recommended listening: Low, David Bowie
Recommended reading: Low by David Bowie, 33 1/3 Album Series

7p / $15** /  more info and tickets

**class is $15, but don’t worry, if you’re just coming to hang out, have dinner or have a drink, Nowadays is free as usual