Kate Bush's "Experiment IV"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason_Els, Jul 13, 2002.

  1. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    OK, this is my goofiest post yet but I thought I'd ask. Has Kate Bush ever mentioned why she wrote this? The lyrics are very different from her usual material and the conspiracy theorist in me wonders if she was part of such a thing. I know little about her except I like a lot of her songs. Maybe she has a music theory or acoustics background that would qualify her? Maybe her multi-octave voice?

    I know the Soviets and others worked on death-sound devices so I don't think it far-fetched the Brits may have done so at some point.

    It's loony I know, but why not?
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    Kate Bush is a lot better known in the UK than in the USA, and I think we've got a bit more used to her. A lot of her work derives from off-the-wall ideas, and experiment IV is one such instance (e.g. in a similar vein, there's Cloudbusting, all about being able to manipulate the weather at will). To the best of my knowledge, she has no formal scientific training. She comes from a relatively prosperous background (her father was/is a medical doctor) and she went straight into pop music as a career. A family friend is Dave Gilmour (of Pink Floyd) who heard her early songs and arranged for her to do some demos for EMI. Her first hit in the UK was 'Wuthering Heights', which was *massive* over here.
    There's a very good Kate Bush fan site called Gaffaweb: http://gaffa.org/
    I've lifted the following from the site:
    "'Experiment IV' originated in a story that Kate heard about a scientist in France who built a giant steam powered whistle to assess the effects of the sound. The effect was simple -- it killed him and a number of people in the surrounding area. That area had to be cordoned off and the public kept out until the device powering the whistle ran out of fuel.
    The next happening was a nightmare, where scientists engaged in benign research into the effects of sound had their work perverted by the military, who wanted a sound that would kill.
    This concept is, however, no fantasy. The 'sound cannon' has been chased by defense establishments across the world. A European version of the idea was indeed known as the 'Jericho Trumpet', after the Old Testament prophet's exploits with the walls of the celebrated city. There is current research both in the US and in the USSR on sonic waves and disturbance patterns to destroy property and kill people."
    A major problem with a sound weapon is of course that it's v. difficult to channel sound in one direction, so anyone firing a 'sound cannon' would be killed themselves.
    I think the essential message is that something as beautiful as music could be perverted into a weapon of destruction (having said this, Kate B wrote this song before the advent of 90s pop music).
     
  3. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    Speaking of Kate Bush, what happened to her? She hasn't released an album of new material (at least in the US) since The Red Shoes nearly ten years ago.

    -greg
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Andrew- Thanks for the info! Neat to know the story behind the awesome song that it is...
     
  5. MichaelAW

    MichaelAW Second Unit

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    greg: She's still (!) working on a new CD. I read an interview with her a year or so ago that seemed to indicate it'll come out around the same time as the next Pink Floyd album; aka: never.
    At least Peter Gabriel's new one will be out this year, and Us came out before The Red Shoes, right?
     
  6. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    I was going to make the comparison to Gabriel in fact. BTW - if this isn't driving too far off target, I'd love to see a DVD release of SECRET WORLD LIVE.

    As for Kate Bush, I'd love to see LIVE AT HAMMERSMITH ODEON released, though considering it was originally taped on 1" Type C (or possibly Quad - very likely considering it was taped in 1979), I doubt it would be the nicest looking disc. Maybe I'll just have to break down and burn both of these to DVD myself (for my own use, of course).

    -greg
     
  7. Jason_Els

    Jason_Els Screenwriter

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    Thank you Andrew! Yes she is odd but being a Pisces her I'm immediately on her wavelength. Running Up That Hill is one of the handful of songs that somehow seem very personal, very soul-touching to me.

     
  8. andrew markworthy

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    The 'new Kate Bush album due to be released in a few months' time' has taken over from the 'Kate Bush to tour in a few months' time' as the stock recurring story in the music press. She toured the UK once (I ordered tickets for a pal and myself through one of her shows through the local college, only to have them reallocated to a couple of pals of the organiser - something we didn't discover til the night of the concert [​IMG] ) and since then, barring occasional one-off songs for charity concerts, she hasn't done anything on stage. However, for years, that didn't stop the rumours. But, for a long time her output of singles and albums was reasonably frequent until after Red Shoes. This was intended as a multi-media package, with an accompanying video (there was also an incredibly limited edition package incorporating CD, VHS, and a pair of ballet shoes in KB's size). However, it was something of a commercial flop, and since then, there has been silence.
    At the very least, it would be nice if the old albums could be remastered with bonus tracks added. The one attempt at this was a remastering of The Hounds of Love (probably her best album) which contains some of the B sides which accompanied the singles from that album, plus a couple of remixes. This was done as part of the 'EMI 100' collection (basically a collection of 100 best-selling albums from the EMI catalogue to celebrate the company's 100th anniversary). It's easy to find in the UK, but I don't know if was ever released in the USA.
     
  9. Joseph Young

    Joseph Young Screenwriter

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  10. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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    Damn, a Kate Bush thread. Cool! I've been a fan since 1981 and met my husband through mutual fandom (he became a fan when he saw her on Saturday Night Live in 1979).
     
  11. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  12. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    Philip - same here but I also have "Live at Hammersmith Odeon". BTW - I believe the "Sensual World" DVD is incredibly rare - very few were pressed. Too bad - the video for "This Woman's Work" is great, just great.

    Image should really look into releasing some of her video catalog on DVD. Bjork, for example, has tons of DVDs out - both videos and concert performances.

    -greg
     
  13. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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