The Buddha of Suburbia (soundtrack)

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The Buddha of Suburbia
Soundtrack album by David Bowie
Released 8 November 1993
24 October 1995 (US)
Recorded Mountain Studios, Montreux, Switzerland
Genre Art rock, experimental rock, ambient, electronic
Length 55:26
Label BMG International
Virgin/EMI Records
Producer David Bowie and David Richards
David Bowie chronology
Black Tie White Noise
(1993)
The Buddha of Suburbia
(1993)
Outside
(1995)
Alternative cover
Cover of the 2007 re-release
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau (dud)[2]

The Buddha of Suburbia is a 1993 soundtrack album by David Bowie which accompanied the 4-part television serial The Buddha of Suburbia on BBC2 (itself adapted from the book The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi).

The album is David Bowie's nineteenth full-length studio recording, sitting between Black Tie White Noise (1993) and Outside (1995). It was produced and mixed at Mountain Studios (Montreux) in Switzerland and according to Bowie it took only six days to write and record, but fifteen days to mix due to some "technical breakdowns".[3]

The album has been classified as a soundtrack although the title track was the only song to be featured in the television programme (see below).

Two of the tracks are ambient instrumentals and quite similar to Bowie's work with Brian Eno in the late 1970s. Other tracks on the album make strong use of saxophone, electronic keyboards and piano.

Soundtrack[edit]

Although classified in the album cover as a soundtrack, this album is not the soundtrack Bowie wrote for the BBC dramatisation of Hanif Kureishi's book with the same name (which remains unreleased). Rather, after writing the actual soundtrack Bowie decided to work further on the same motifs, creating the radically different pieces that are heard on the album. Only the title track remained unaltered from the original soundtrack.[3]

Deletion[edit]

Despite Bowie once hailing it as his favourite album[4] the American and European versions were deleted for many years, or as Bowie put it: "The album itself only got one review, a good one as it happens, and is virtually non-existent as far as my catalogue goes – it was designated a soundtrack and got zilch in the way of marketing money. A real shame."[4]

To confuse matters even more a "Buddha of Suburbia" single was also released in various guises, including a CD with holographic print. Consequently the album itself is sometimes overlooked, despite the fact it is a full length studio recording and featured nine tracks previously unreleased by the artist.

The album was re-issued on 17 September 2007,[5] in the UK and on 2 October 2007[6] in the US The official press release showed that the cover of the re-issue would be similar to the 1995 US cover, but in colour and Bowie holding a slightly different pose, however the actual cover is just a colorised version of the original US cover art. The re-issue contains both Bowie's former liner notes from the original UK issue and the inner artwork of the original US issue.

Inspirations[edit]

On the European version of the album Bowie provides comprehensive liner notes on the themes and production techniques involved, and reveals a list of 'residue from the 1970s' as his inspiration for the songs. The list includes the following references:

Free association lyrics, Pink Floyd, Harry Partch, Costume, Blues Clubs, Unter den Linden, Brucke Museum, Pet Sounds, Friends of the Krays, Roxy Music, T-Rex, The Casserole, Neu, Kraftwerk, Bromley, Croydon, Eno, Prostitutes & Soho, Ronnie Scott's Club, Travels through Russia, Loneliness, O'Jays, Philip Glass in New York clubs, Die Mauer, Drugs.[3]

Releases[edit]

  • The album was first released in the UK and included extensive liner notes by Bowie that were not included with the later US release.
  • The album was packaged with an alternative cover in the US and was not released until 1995 (possibly due to a dispute between Bowie and the music industry).
  • Arista/BMG released a special edition of the soundtrack in a translucent plastic box, packaged with the Hanif Kureishi book. The catalogue number is Arista/BMG 74321-17822.
  • Virgin/EMI rereleased the album in 2007. Its catalogue number is 50999 5 00463 2 4/V2-00463.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by David Bowie.

  1. "Buddha of Suburbia" – 4:28
  2. "Sex and the Church" – 6:25
  3. "South Horizon" – 5:26
  4. "The Mysteries" – 7:12
  5. "Bleed Like a Craze, Dad" – 5:22
  6. "Strangers When We Meet" – 4:58
  7. "Dead Against It" – 5:48
  8. "Untitled No. 1" – 5:01
  9. "Ian Fish, U.K. Heir" – 6:27
  10. "Buddha of Suburbia" (featuring Lenny Kravitz on guitar) – 4:19

Production credits[edit]

  • Musicians:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "The Buddha of Suburbia". Allmusic. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  2. ^ "CG: david bowie". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 10 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c Bowie, David. The Buddha of Suburbia liner notes (BMG International, 1994) (available at Bassman's David Bowie page)
  4. ^ a b Bowie quote from Contact Music Web Article
  5. ^ BowieNet news 19. June 2007, retrieved 4. 7. 2007.
  6. ^ Amazon.com: Buddha of Suburbia, retrieved 5. 9. 2007

External links[edit]