with a wafer-like delicacy like a trout pausing in the sunlit shallows of a mountain stream. Its airy Zen pastel
of color and light combines Japanese koto with a synthesizer that diffuses slow, sensual textures like an aerator diffusing perfumed aether. “NeuKoln” is just that. Just as expressionist like Ernst, Pollock, and others used Koln as a crossroads of ideas for creating new pleateus of anxiety prior to the terrible release ofThe War, so has Bowie taken these high tension elements off canvas. He translates them aurally with an Ornette Coleman-esque sax that is ugly and disparaging as it is painfully, beautifully, existential. Lastly, there is “The Secret Life of Arabia” which rings like the last scene of a tragedy set amidst The Desert in which as the song says, ” … the heroine dies .. .” Romantic, eh? Valentino meets Camus.
Heroes is Bowie’s journey into the interior. Sometimes it is sweepingly majestic, other moments are unbelievably depressing. But so is most honest-to-Godart, and Heroes is more than a kind of period piece. It is a flawed masterpiece.
With Heroes Bowie has apparently made a decision for the future. It is a future rife with possibilities for real change, the kind of trial and error any artist must make if he is to survive both as an artist and a person.
The question remains, will he take the gamble? Or will he let the less-thanphenomenal sales of Heroes deter him? It would be refreshing to the extreme to see him put it all on the line, to be a hero “just for one day,” but word has it that his set for the upcoming tour will be the same as it was for Station to Station, something which he has agreed to with a certain reluctance. If he has any cojones at all he’ll change his mind. He has it within his power, right at the moment, to change the face of music. But maybe he’s still lying to us. (Then he’d better not stay.)
He can negate himself forwards and backwards, but Heroes still makes sense. With or without him. The cry seems pure enough, the pain genuine. The suffering amidst one rose-thorn plea is absolute.
If it isn’t the truth, it ought to be.