Thursday, October 29, 2009

What made it special, made it dangerous

The term "genius" has been liberally applied to all sorts of musicians over the years, but in the case of teenaged prodigy-turned singer/Fairlight synthesizer goddess-dancer-composer Kate Bush, "genius" is a very appropriate description.

For many (including myself), the best example of Bush's genius, to date, was 1985's Hounds of Love.  Always known for her multi-media presentations, Bush offered several promotional videos for this exquisite album, topped by the short film for "Cloudbusting."

"Cloudbusting" was about controversial psychoanalyst/inventor Wilhelm Reich, one of the more unusual and tragic figures of the 20th century's intellectual world. Like the song, the video is an encapsulation of some of Peter Reich's thoughts of his father, published in the 1973 biography A Book of Dreams.

I can't imagine how much Cloudbusting cost to film — but remember, this was the 80s, and labels were tossing money with shovels. Donald Sutherland, in hindsight, was the only choice for the role of Reich; amazing. If this looks like a snippet of a Terry Gilliam film, it's because Gilliam collaborated with Ms. Bush in conceiving it; additionally, Cloudbusting was directed by Julian Doyle, who worked on Brazil.

Accomplishing the rare feat of  matching the beauty of the song it promotes, Cloudbusting deserves some sort of honorary Oscar for one of the most gorgeous, best-crafted music videos ever made.