Current listening: Bryan Ferry “Windswept (instrumental)”

 

It’s hard to believe that over twenty years have passed since Bryan Ferry released his first solo album of the nineteen eighties “Boys and Girls”. Musically it followed on from the last Roxy Music album “Avalon” which is generally thought of as a masterpiece. It is certainly one of my all time favourites. Suitable one word descriptions might be “lush” or “languid”.  It’s a bit like immersing yourself in a bath of honey whilst angels serenade you from above.  It’s also a travelogue of sorts – like a lot of music of the early and mid eighties it takes you to exotic foreign places which as a comprehensive school teenager in the grey English provinces you can never imagine visiting. 

 

There are numerous examples of this – all associations the product of my mind alone of course – David Bowie on “Low” and “Heroes” (Berlin, Russia, Japan, China and  the Far East) Grace Jones on her Compass Point albums “Warm Leatherette”,  “Nightclubbing”, and “Living My Life” (the Bahamas and New York) , Japan on “Gentlemen Take Polaroids”, “Tin Drum”, their associated singles and David Sylvian’s solo work (the Far East, China, India, Spain, the south of France), Duran Duran (who arguably borrowed from all of the abovementioned artists as well as Roxy Music) on some of their instrumentals such as “Tel Aviv” “Faith In This Colour” and “Tiger Tiger” as well as “Save A Prayer” and much of their first three albums (the Far East again, the Indian Ocean again, the Caribbean – partly down to the associated videos as well I know).  A lot of this music is important to me and is still listened to twenty years down the line and I think that this is because these associations have always provided a means of escape.  These days they also comprise nostalgia for my teenage dreams of heady foreign climes.  It is all very eighties and aspirational – sort of music to go with a luxurious lifestyle but there’s no harm in a little dreaming as far as I am concerned. Having now visited some of these real places, I realise that the locales conjured up by these pieces of music are very much figments of my imagination but are no less real to me. 

Listening to this Bryan Ferry track this morning, in my head I was watching the sun go down from a boat harboured off Martinique on a tropical July evening, a storm having passed over a few hours previously leaving the air clean and clear skies before the onset of night. 

It’s a dreamy throbbing track with some saxophone and guitar noodling over the top and it couldn’t really date from any other time or have been created by any other musician. The quality of musicianship is impeccable and it has top calibre players like David Sanborn and David Gilmour on it. Classy classy classy all the way. It’s quite refreshing to listen to without Ferry’s trademark vocals. A perfect White Island moment.

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