(Video link here.) We were so very sad to learn that David Bowie passed away yesterday. He was a serious pioneer in many forms of expression: pop, fashion gender, electronica, to name a few. Reading tributes and listening to his music, we found two videos in which he talked about a technique he used in the seventies called “cut-up“: a text was cut up and rearranged to make a new text. (It was used by the Dadaists of the 1920s and William S. Burroughs in the 50’s and 60’s, among other artists). Although Bowie used the method to write a couple of songs he found it had a greater purpose:
…what I’ve used it for more than anything else is igniting my imagination…It’s a very interesting attitude to look into…I tried doing it with diaries and things and would find out amazing things about what I had done and where I was going. ….It seemed like it would predict things about the future or tell me a lot about the past…It’s really a quite exciting thing. I suppose it’s a very Western Tarot.
In a recent interview with the BBC, Bowie describes how the technique evolved in his life. (Video link here.)
We’re going to miss that guy…Here are 24 of his greatest songs…