Blame James Joyce for Kate Bush’s new album “Director’s Cut.”
When she planned “The Sensual World,” the title track of a 1989 LP, Bush had wanted to cite Molly Bloom’s orgasmic monologue from the end of Joyce’s novel “Ulysses.” The Irish writer’s estate refused, and the singer wrote her own lyric.
Bush, 52, now has been given permission to use Molly’s passionate thoughts and reworked the song, retitled “Flower of the Mountain.” It’s a breathtaking start to a CD that revises songs off her 1989 album and 1993’s “The Red Shoes.”
“This Woman’s Work” also gets a radical makeover and is a revelation, stripped down to ambient keyboards.
Still, other tracks are only gently tweaked, making the result more of a fans-only remix rather than Bush’s ninth proper album. The notorious perfectionist’s last release was the impressive “Aerial” in 2005, her first in 12 years.
It would have made more sense for Bush to revisit her first records, where she had less control of production and struggled to capture her teenage vision. The squeaks and whoops of her 1978 debut single “Wuthering Heights” would be fascinating to hear in a 2011 form.
Danger Mouse, the producer with the silly name who’s taken seriously in rock circles, continues his creative spurt with “Rome.” Between his work for Broken Bells, Gnarls Barkley and producing U2, he has been working for five years on a project, inspired by music from spaghetti westerns, with the Italian composer Daniele Luppi.
Mouse, or Brian Burton as he’s known to friends, conjures an Ennio Morricone-style soundtrack for a Clint Eastwood movie. There’s plenty of good, and little bad or ugly.
Listeners can only imagine the characters that could roam across the screen in sync with music such as “The Gambling Priest” and “The Matador Has Fallen.”
“Rome” avoids pastiche and is helped by strong vocals from Jack White and Norah Jones.
Moby has built a career out of blending blues, gospel and folk into a techno-dance stew. He reached an early high point with 1999’s “Play.”
Since then, he has gone around in artistic circles, often with diminishing creative returns. His new “Destroyed” is on a par with the lackluster predecessor “Wait for Me.” Its downbeat sound is dull, rather than entrancing.
Download only the closing “When You Are Old,” a meditation that’s as hypnotic as anything Moby has done.
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Kate Bush is on EMI/Fish People. Her CD is out in the U.S. on May 23 as a single disc at $13 or on May 31 as a $33 box, including remastered versions of “The Sensual World” and “The Red Shoes.” It’s out in the U.K. now, priced about 9 pounds for a single disc or 18 pounds for the set.
Danger Mouse is on Capitol/Parlophone and Moby on Little Idiot/Mute. Both new CDs are priced about $10 or 8 pounds. The Moby title also has a deluxe edition with a hardcover book and expanded artwork. Download fees vary across services. Information: http://www.katebush.com, http://romealbum.com/, or http://www.moby.com/.
(Mark Beech writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)
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