Living To Music – Kate Bush ‘Hounds Of Love’




YEAR: 1985

This Sunday (Nov 7th), at 9pm, you’re invited to share a listening session with some likeminded souls, wherever you might be. This can be experienced either alone or communally, and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your own home to participate. Full lowdown here:

Kate Bush made one of the most memorable entrances in British Pop history when she stormed the chart with her marvellously bizarre debut single, ‘Wuthering Heights’ in 1978, but despite her seemingly overnight success there was far more to this elfin banshee than the one-hit wonder many people initially dismissed her as.

Like many others, I found myself captivated by her subsequent hits, like ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’ and ‘Wow’, not to mention her stunning natural beauty – I had a poster of her on my wall at one point, dressed in simple jeans and a checked shirt, it was one of those where the eyes used to follow you around the room. I felt I’d meet her one day, but I never have, nor am I likely to as she’s a fiercely private person who very much keeps her own counsel. Kate Bush admirably sidestepped the pop star game, playing instead by her own rules, and whilst lesser mortals clamoured after the celebrity carrot, she generally kept a dignified quiet, keeping things very surface in the surface world, but giving you real depth and intimacy via her music.

It wasn’t until I stopped deejaying that I took the time to properly check out her albums, it was well timed as her next release was her most celebrated. ‘Hounds Of Love’ is her greatest achievement – retaining control of her own production at a time when her record company had thought she’d totally lost the plot, she delivered in true style, cementing her stature as one of the greats of British music, and silencing her doubters in the most emphatic manner.

Your own memories are always welcomed, and, should you join us for Sunday’s session,  it’d be great if you could leave a comment here after you’ve listened to the album sharing your impressions – how the music affected you, who you listened to it with, where you were, plus anything else relevant to your own individual / collective experience.

Hounds Of Love Wikipedia:

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28 Responses to Living To Music – Kate Bush ‘Hounds Of Love’

  1. Lou Lou November 7, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Settled back lying down for this one. I love kate’s voice. I’d call it sweet but i’m not sure that’s the right word. At time’s i find i’m holding my breath. The album made me feel like I was reading a book of fairy tales. I need to go research this now.

  2. Alexis November 7, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her voice, really don’t like some tracks on this album BUT bloody hell, I LOVE her voice, (did i perhaps just mention that?).
    She is/was of course completely out there, mad as a box of frogs, but I do love that in a musician.
    Just love what she does.
    cheers G xxxx

  3. cerri November 7, 2010 at 11:35 pm #

    The sound of this album brought back faint memories, not exact memories but certainly a knowing that id had this album at some point in my teenage years. Great creativity and fantasy that took me on a nice journey at times, yet also like Alexis there was elements that just didn’t fit with me. A really good unique choice for this month I think, I doubt I would ever have sat and listened to that album if it had not been listed for LTM. Good to hear Kate’s work and it will stay with me as I now close my eyes and turn easily to my pillow.

  4. greg wilson November 8, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    ‘Wake Up’

  5. cerri November 8, 2010 at 8:15 am #

    Now that I loved!!

  6. TC November 8, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    Opening track is as awesome now as ever. Great tune, Great lyrics. I love the drum work on this track and in fact right through the album, lots of bodhrans and powerful rhythms. The big highlight of the entire album for me is, without question, “Big Sky”. This song just makes me incredibly happy. Kate Bush’s vocals on this are just OUT THERE. Most original bit of ad libbing I’ve ever heard on a pop tune. It’s just so much fun! The lyrics are so playful. The imagery evokes childhood memories. In fact something I still do with my son is look skyward and see images in the clouds. Just beautiful.
    Whilst I wouldn’t go as far to favour it, the ninth wave side is an artistic masterpiece. It’s dark and mysterious. The thing that dates this album, however, is the use of the Fairlight synth which was cutting edge technology when the album was made but the presets don’t really stand the test of time.
    Kate’s voice is just so incredible and quintessentially English (with a hint of her Irish roots sparkling through). I love it! It has the ability to sound scary, witch-like, crazy and siren-like, fragile and gentle, sensual and powerful. But she’s more than a vocalist. She’s a true artist. Wish we had a few more like her. But thats the magic…there is no-one like her.

  7. Dan Soulsmith November 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm #

    I was looking forward to this L2M session, having never listened to Kate Bush with any real conviction before. Although recent edits and versions of Running Up That Hill have made me want to explore her work further, so L2M has provided the perfect opportunity.
    Oddly, my earliest memory of Kate Bush is of my mother and grandmother discussing her weirdness. So I was intrigued by Kate from an early age. I think it’s taken 25 years to arrive at this point partly because I was never really exposed to much of her music. Alan Partridge’s Kate Bush medley was my only other experience of her. So sadly I’ve never taken her too seriously.
    Having just listened to the album; what strikes me is how of its time it sounds. Reminding me of my childhood, of bands like Tears For Fears and Eurythmics etc. The intro of ‘Waking the Witch’ reminds me of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
    Kate Bush & Hounds is totally original. To me, it runs parallel to the work of many artists of the 80s like The Cure, and Roxy Music. Is this a direct reflection of that period in time? Whether accidental or not? I think it’s down to the studio technology (as TC mentions above).
    I think Kate’s vocals and vocal context is what makes her sound so compelling, very fanciful, less about social commentary, more of an escape from such realities. Maybe this is why she was/is so popular?
    I’d have liked to have experienced this album first hand, back in 1986 – aged 33. I still don’t know who your typical Kate Bush fan is. She reminds me of Bjork, maybe she has a similar appeal? Going from Greg’s post above; I’d also have liked to have observed the press and public opinions of her then too.
    I’m also always fascinated by the differences in opinion shared between artists and their labels. I reckon this kind of conflict doesn’t happen as much today. I bet this situation brings the best out of the real mavericks, like Kate.
    At the end of the day… This album is what it is. And Kate is not trying to be different, she just is.
    Personally, I found the album really unique. What I get while listening are different feelings that are quite hard to explain. The album’s journey is a bit up and down, which I like. Most parts are cold, minimal, moody and distant, then occasionally warm and uplifting. Utah Saints aside, I love Cloudbusting!

  8. Meeko November 9, 2010 at 12:00 pm #

    This is an interesting album this and is going to take me a few goes to really appreciate it. really remember the 2 mainstream songs from this album…Running up that Hill, and remember loving the Cloudbusting video as a kid it really fascinated me.

    I’m not really going to talk about the album here, i’m juts going to talk about Kate Bush. After the session on Sunday, i ended up staying up until 1am watching various documentarys/interviews/and other tracks, and it was fascinating….SHE is Fascinating….i think i’m in love.

    It is quite obvious that she is highly intelligent, creative, and tapping in to a higher consciousness, and as a consequence really misunderstood. People say she is mad but that is purely because they don’t understand what she is about, and it is those that are ignorant. This really comes across in her interviews, but she gracefully takes it all in her stride and plays along with it.

    It’s funny about Cloudbusting and the fact that it really stood out for me when i was younger, because when i’ve referenced it again, and listened to the lyrics was curious. Upon further digging it came to light that the song was based on a book by Peter Reich called A book of Dreams. This was a story of a sons time with his father Wilhelm Reich who created a machine that could create clouds and rain. I know Wilhelm Reich loosely through the study of the I Ching, but you really need to check this out on Wiki to give you a good appreciation of the man himself……very interesting reading.


    This just re-enforces the fact that Kate was interested in more interesting subjects, and understood a deeper meaning of life. She was private and not really in the public eye(even though she had sold millions of albums)but the real her came out in her music, and you get little clues when you listen to various tracks.

    This woman has is stunningly beautiful and literally has an aura around her, a stunning voice and a complete one off. As a last comment from me please check the following link for the video of Babooshka!! Great Lyric, and the video speaks for itself. Check the main comment on the video at the top….sort of along the lines of what i was thinking…..”Quote – ‘the cello should sue for sexual harrassment…lucky fiddle”


    Enjoy……i’m off to put a Kate Bush poster on my wall

  9. marc w November 9, 2010 at 11:38 pm #

    missed this, but defo up for the next one (thanks Lou!) – a great idea, and love the first few choices – one of my earliest musical memories was asking my dad to turn ‘wuthering heights’ up on the car radio when i was about 7 – have loved kate ever since – can’t believe she wrote all those early tunes when she was 16

    and im yet to hear an album better than whats going on

    also, sorry to be nostalgic again, but sunday 9pm used to my ‘teenage – close the door, dim the lights, and listen to annie nightingales show after the charts ‘ night !

    lookin forward to doing it again this sunday 🙂

  10. greg wilson November 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Such a powerful album – a real aural assault in parts, but also with lots of tender moments. Very interesting to listen to it in the context of Living To Music, and following on from classics like ‘What’s Going On’, ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’ and ‘Abbey Road’.

    I concur with TC with regards to the Fairlight dating the production in places. When ‘Hounds Of Love’ was released its usage was seen as cutting edge – this was state of the art technology in the 80’s. However, 25 years on it’s this very technology that dates the album more so than the three albums mentioned above, which are between 11-16 years older. Hindsight is all good and well though – at the time we were wowed with these new sounds, and the Fairlight was obviously a big part of the creative process when it came to recording this album, so who’s to say that it would have turned out as strong if more traditional recording methods had been employed.

    Kate Bush has always produced original music, forging her own directions, devoid of trends – ‘out there’ is certainly a term you’d connect with her. Nowadays it’s a case of style over substance with the majority of popular music and, more to the point, those who make it. ‘Hounds Of Love’ is an album of substance and Kate Bush an artist, not a celebrity hungry pop star. Here, a quarter of a century on, with our once rich popular culture increasingly diluted in favour of quick fix fame, Kate Bush, and her work, stands strong – providing a timely reminder of what contemporary recording artists should be striving towards if they truly believe in the music they create.

  11. dancing james November 10, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    How great to discover this. I knew the singles, which I have loved for years.

    Kate Bush was always a sort of guilty secret, as others mentioned she was always just referred to as an oddball, slighty kooky with an incredible voice. I used to have a DJing partner for a series of messy house parties, we’d always take control from about 2am until the party finished – typically after sunrise. I’ll never forget him throwing a strop when my first tune after him playing an incredible set of off key jazz and David Axelrod type records was “Running Up that Hill”. He was furious that I had disturbed the studied cool with a weird pop record!

    The videos for “Running Up that Hill” and “Cloudbusting” are real MTV favourites and ones that have been watched by me many times on youtube. It was only years later I discovered that she had been so responsible and taken such control over her output. However I had never listened to the whole album.

    Sitting down to this was quite exciting, I knew the singles and find them all beguiling. The combination of traditional instruments, electronics, drum machines and that voice was utterly thrilling.

    So the first side was great, some utter favourite songs and then some novel things. For me the amazing thing was how contemporary it all felt, compared to other albums I have listened to as part of this series it seemed be the one least sonically rooted to a certain era. Yes there are production techniques that are clearly from the 80’s but the way she makes experimental, synthetic and emotive pop seems not so different from the work of say Timbaland with Nelly Furtado. There is also a huge echo of Kate Bush in the work of Bjork as others have commented.

    “Mother Stands for Comfort” sounds like could have come from a nineties techno album, but for the vocal, the synths and drums could have been on one of Warps AI releases, though with Kates voice it actually sounds even more contemporary.

    Side two was an utter revelation, the dark, emotional stream of music. I was shocked to discover that the Fields “Over the Ice” was a techno remix/edit of “Under the Ice” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcCR8zwUdOY
    (it was also amusing to note that Kate had sampled the helicopter from Pink Floyd)

    I have a feeling this whole album is going to become a fixture on my ipod as it just took me on such a wonderful journey, its amazing the textures and techniques she manages to deploy on what is in some ways a pop album. The flipside is its clearly quite experimental but never becomes difficult or a chore.

    Thanks Greg for introducing this as a complete piece of music to me. This idea of listening to whole albums is so odd these days, we tend to focus on just plundering albums for the singles. I would never have been aware that there was so much on offer here.


  12. Steve November 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    An incredibly beautiful and evocative album, full of emotional triggers, and spiritual overtones.
    Powerful medicine !
    If Kate Bush is a witch , She is a damn good one !!
    And I would gladly through myself into her cauldron ,

  13. Steve KIW November 11, 2010 at 11:10 am #

    My love of Kate dates back to when I was 11 or 12, just around the time Hounds Of Love came out, however, at that time my exposure was through the pop charts, and went back to Wow or Babooshka I imagine – the video of Kate and Donald Sutherland for Cloud Busting is still vivid in my mind, The albums didn’t really feature with me for a few more years though. My dad loved, and still loves, her work but he stuck with ‘The Whole Story’ LP rather than dig up the separate albums.

    ‘Hounds’, for me, is a total two-parter; much like Aerial has become. The first side, with the familiar singles and superb ‘Mother stands for comfort’ in particular, feels much like an extension (or part of) ‘The Whole Story’ compilation.

    The first thing I noticed this time around was that I need a new copy! That 2010 reissue has just been added to my Christmas List although I’ll keep an eye out for the 1997 one with ‘Be kind to my mistakes’ too.

    On listening to the first side again my familiarity with it led to a lack of focus. I was singing along but easily distracted. I’ve been playing some of those records for 25 years now – and long before the re-edit craze was dropping KB stuff at gigs and on mixes. Always have, always will. They remain awesome jaw-dropping pop music but their impact is slightly less than it had been for me.

    As for the B-side…Well, the real reason I hold ‘Hounds’ in such high esteem is ‘The Ninth Wave’, the mini-concept LP on the flip. Concepts are always, for me, dodgy ground and always carry the whiff of ‘prog’ with them but in this case, maybe through the variety of styles – the (then) newer sampling and drum machines to the Irish jiggery (the one element of Kate’s music I tend to skip through normally) – it all comes together. I couldn’t isolate one track and play it on its own any more and that, surely, represents a triumph for any album.

    Love Kate to bits… a real treasure, just wish that (a)she’d make another album and (b)tour, just the once more.

  14. Dave Green November 12, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    How mad that i get to hear this, one of my favourite 80’s albums, as the very first music played in my beautiful new home. I literally moved in Saturday and had to seek out and unpack all the audio stuff (not easy) so i could join in with you all at the allotted time. Consequently i’m sorry for the late post but we have a multitude of tasks to do here as a new floor is going down and there are workmen all over the place and a million jobs to do etc. This is a record i have never really stopped playing on a fairly regular basis, so it came as no surprise to me that it ranks easily with the other albums we have covered so far. As always i find it a wonderful listen even if at times it does sound just a tad dated on a few of the Side 1 tracks. “Hounds Of Love” however is a monster 80’s record, containing all the trademark 80’s studio sounds & techniques, and then has all of them turned up to absolute max power so its hardly surprising. From start to finish the album runs beautifully and for me the contrast of both sides is peerless. Everything just works and after the (critical acclaim, but) commercial failure of her previous solo production “The Dreaming” to have an album that struck such a commercial & artistic punch is astounding. I still love all her hits to this day and both “Running Up That Hill” & the beautiful “Cloudbusting” on this LP still sound as good as they always have. However when you turn sides and suddenly hear all the effects and 80’s noise turned down, your suddenly slapped round the chops with the astounding beauty of this amazing artistes voice accompanied by just her own piano and the effect for me is jaw dropping. “And Dream Of Sheep” is such an incredible opener to “The Ninth Wave” and the way it leads you in to a side of music as special as this is truly inspired. Although she claimed at the time that the whole concept was based around a woman adrift alone at sea lapsing in & out of consciousness, the lyrics are so deep they could be about a myriad of different things. “The Ninth Wave” also seems to have the “Production Lever” turned up to 12 as the whole audio sound stage seems to widen in scope to accommodate the artistic stamp she wanted to make with this album. As good as Side 1 is with the commercial/chart accessibility of its content “The Ninth Wave” just trumps it hands down with its sheer scope and mind-blowing sound. “Watching You Without Me” still sends shivers through me as it did on my first ever listen in my old attic room, and is for me one of her very best tracks. As you can probably tell by now i love this album, but “Never Forever” is just as good in my book. The woman is a creative genius, and the way she has handled her career & fame issues will make her in time one of the most revered artistes Britain has ever produced. But when you hear that voice alone with Piano it makes you realise what a terrible shame it is that she has so rarely ventured onto a live stage.
    Just go to you-tube and see her sing possibly my favourite song of hers “Breathing” live for Comic Relief in 86.

  15. Ben Murphy November 16, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    This was an incredibly moving experience. As a borderline Kate Bush obsessive, the prospect of Classic Album Sundays on this occasion was simply too good to miss.
    At the Hanbury Arms, we all settled in upstairs and opened our ears and minds.
    Listening to the album again, in this environment, with no external distraction or temptation to “flick” or “shuffle” between tracks, felt devotional, emotional, communal and personal at once.

    Running Up That Hill and Cloudbusting, of course, hit very hard; but I was struck by the beauty of the lyrics more so than ever.
    “Take my shoes off and throw them in the lake” on the title track.
    The sound of liberation, letting go of worries and embracing love rather than resisting, opening up rather than being a closed book.

    Also, And Dream of Sheep. The directness and lyrical content of this song is haunting me again now two days later. Seemingly about giving in to death, tragic and beautiful at once.
    And that’s without mentioning the clarity, and futuristic electronic focus of the production. A perfect album to listen to in this context. And who knew side two was so intense and deep?

  16. Amanda Caza November 16, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    As I’ve long been a fan of Kate Bush, I didn’t expect Hounds of Love to hold many surprises; however, the Living to Music experience put me into a semi-mystical state in which several surprising things happened.

    First of all, I completely forgot which track came next; all memory of the album disappeared, and it was if I was hearing each song for the first time, which was a remarkable and touching experience. Secondly, the space between songs seemed to elongate into an infinite stretch of time, before being harshly broken by the opening of the next track – some of which were so abrupt and jarring that they made me jump out of my skin. And thirdly, although my memory of the track order was gone, my mind somehow ran a private show of each of the accompanying videos within the first two seconds of each song, another surprise which was encouraged by the candle light and closed eyes. (And no, no extra additions of the psychedelic kind; I just have that kind of mind.)

    By far the most rewarding part of the whole experience, though, was finally hearing the lyrics sung (and written) by John Carder Bush in ‘Jig of Life’ which have evaded my ears for a decade and which are not included in the Hounds of Love sleevenotes; and which bring a clear mystical flavour to the narrative of The Ninth Wave which I had previously missed. Like others who have commented here, I came home and immediately looked the lyrics up, thinking ‘Did I really hear a reference to reincarnation there?’ and when added to the lyrics of ‘Under Ice’, ‘Waking The Witch’ and ‘The Morning Fog’, it’s certainly a possibility. (I’ll reproduce the lyrics I found on gaffaweb.org later on and leave you to reach your own conclusions.)

    In an interview I sourced, Kate says The Ninth Wave represents her worst nightmares….Certainly, from alone at sea, to being trapped under ice, to being tried as a witch (who will drown if innocent and be drowned if guilty – and she is judged guilty) to being out of her body and visting her lover who can’t see her, these are nightmare scenarios backed up by intense and menacing music…..But knowing as I do now that Kate was also a fan of the mystic Gurdjieff, as well as being an immensely private and complex person who was deeply immersed in mythology, folk songs and the classics by her older brothers, I don’t think, if you’ll pardon the pun, that this explanation is the whole story.

    She says she also wanted to end The Ninth Wave on a happy note, which she achieves with ‘Hello Earth’ (which although searing, I find an upbeat song) and ‘The Morning Fog’, which contains the phrase ‘and the light/begins to bleed/begins to breathe/begins to speak/being born again/into the sweet morning fog…’ meaning, perhaps, a literal rebirth? Like so many of her songs, there are multiple ambiguities and potentialities, with multiple interpretations – and that complexity and openness to interpretation is something I love the most about her work. In an age of pornographic self-exposure of the mundane minutae of daily life, Kate Bush and her writing remain enigmatic, dignified, almost occult – casting a spell of light and shadow upon us, causing us to stop, think, and above all, feel – on many levels simultaneously – just what it means to be a human being. And this experience has reminded me that just when I thought I knew, I just begin.

    Jig Of Life Lyrics by John Carder Bush

    I put this moment……here
    I put this moment…..here

    Over here! Over here!
    Can’t you see where memories are kept bright?
    Tripping on the water like a laughing girl
    Time in her eyes is spawning past lives
    One with the ocean and the woman unfurled
    Holding all the love that waits for you here.

    Catch us now for I am your future
    A kiss on the wind and we’ll make the land.
    Come over here to where When lingers
    Waiting in this empty world
    Waiting for Then, when the lifespray cools.
    For Now does ride in on the curl of the wave
    And you will dance with me in the sunlit pools.

    We are the going water and the gone.
    We are of water in the holy land of water
    And all that’s to come runs in
    With the thrust on the sand.

  17. Amanda Caza November 16, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    For any fellow Kate fans who have yet to see it…Here is a link to an online version of the out of print book published in 1986 by John Carder Bush of photographs he took of his little sister when she was just Cathy. The beginnings of Babooshka can clearly be seen! Enjoy.


  18. david November 17, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    We very much enjoyed the event at the Hanbury Arms, thanks to our Cosmic hostess and everybody who helped to transport the soundsystem and decorate the room!

    It is strange that the simple act of putting on a record and listening to it, right through, with a bunch of friends can be so powerful, and stranger still that is today such a rare event. Sunday reminded me of how exciting music was before I could put my entire music collection on shuffle.

    The album itself was an excellent choice. Its familiar tracks were given new life by the incredible audiophile rig, and there was much to discover in the less familiar material too. The structure of the album – a side of songs, and a concept piece filling the second side – finally made sense. In its quiet aftermath I was left grinning, and my girlfriend simply declared, “I *love* Kate Bush”.

    This combination of ceremony, a great album and a wonderful sound system was inevitably going to be pretty special. But Cosmo went the extra mile with a wonderful selection of music to set the scene. We heard English pop of ’84-’86 from the perspective of a transatlantic admirer, reproduced jaw-dropping clarity. A spatial, white-knuckle Smiths, every beautiful microscopic rasp The Jesus and Mary Chain’s guitars – the whole evening was a series of revelations and conversions. Thankyou!

    So where next? 3 Feet High and Rising should be an absolute treat, and I’m excited already about the many other classics we’ll be able to appreciate in this manner. I believe it’s essential, a timely post-digital experience, academic, tangible and emotional. Thanks Greg!

  19. gina November 17, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    I listened to this at The Hanbury, Islington with Cosmo and about 15 others. From the very first drum thump to the end of the album (with the possible exception of The Morning Fog), it was amazing : her voice, the variety of the tracks and the trippy B side. It was as if I was dreaming. At one point she tells me to wake up, but I am about to go under again. I must confess I didn’t listen to the B side with any conviction before now, yet it seems to be where she bears her soul with all kinds of instruments from African tribal drumming to Irish folk and messages that still matter in middle age. Where does she take me? I start off in a warm, welcoming womb of a bar and Kate throws me out, barefoot, with the wolves on the moors, in space, anywhere but the here and now. She, literally, moves me.

    Weirdly, having listened to it “in order”, I think next time I’m going to start with the B side first, finishing with the climactic Running Up That Hill and see where that journey takes me.

    Certainly no disrespect to the album Hounds of Love, but what I owe most to Kate Bush is the way she released for me, as a teenager, the sensuality of the book Wuthering Heights. Thank you Kate!

    Next month I’m listening to Aerial with a small group of like-minded music lovers, so my journey continues …

  20. greg wilson November 17, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    Just found a copy of ‘Cathy’ on Amazon. It’s only £375 – perhaps you could get me it for Christmas Amanda 😉

    Currently reading Graeme Thomson’s KB biog ‘ Under The Ivy’. Available for a more affordable £12.46 in hardback:

  21. Cosmo November 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm #

    “Hounds of Love” was such an amazing choice for Classic Album Sundays not only because Kate is great, but also because it was re-mastered and re-issued this year on Audio Fidelity 180 gram vinyl. It sounded breathtaking on the sound system on Sunday. We heard layers and experienced emotions we had never heard or felt on previous listens to this record.

    Interestingly, when Steve Hoffman re-mastered it for this re-issue, he did not use equalization and noise reduction as his purist approach directed him to pursue the sound of the original master tape. This is the same approach we use for our sound system for the Classic Album Sundays listening session and also for our Lucky Cloud parties with David Mancuso. There is no equalization, compression or bass reinforcements. The Mark Levinson ML-1 preamp is used because it has a very direct and pure signal (there isn’t even a headphone jack so all records are cued by eye). We also use a Koetsu moving coil cartridge as they are superior to magnetic cartridges and pick up so much more. The remit of the system is to reproduce what the artist originally intended as best as possible.

    Well, enough about the technicalities of the system and pressing. The reason we were all there was to experience the album as a brilliant piece of music. I worked in a record store after school and on weekends when the album came out in the U.S.A. in 1985. “Hounds of Love” was on our in-store playlist so I heard it several times a week in it’s entirety. I never got sick of it and loved it so much that I bought the original US pressing on marble vinyl. At the time I didn’t know it was going to be a classic album as Kate Bush was not hugely popular in The States (although her single “Running Up That Hill” did become her first U.S. Top Forty hit).I had been introduced to her via my aunt who had some esoteric selections in her record collection including “Lionheart”. Looking back, I was a bit of an Anglophile and Kate Bush’s music conjured up visions of pastoral English countryside, the moors and Bronte novels The fact that we are still re-discovering her own self-produced album “Hounds of Love” 25 years later is the proof that this album is indeed timeless. Ditto to all of the comments above!

    For those of you in or around London, you are welcome to join us when we trip back to the D.A.I.S.Y. age next month:


  22. Adrian Luvdup November 19, 2010 at 9:17 am #

    Never really understood the passion that some people feel for Kate Bush – and it really is a zealous passion, akin to the way I felt about Bowie as a teenager – but Hounds of Love is possibly the greatest 80’s Prog album ever!
    You can’t really fault an album which not only starts with two of the greatest tracks of her oeuvre, “Running Up That Hill” (in all its full length glory) and “Hounds of Love”, but also includes the magnificent “Cloudbusting” to boot. Admittedly these are the stand out tracks for me (I did use the middle section of “Jig For Life” as the backing music for a Riverdance send-up I used to perform with a friend at a comedy club a few years back, so unfortunately I can never take it seriously again), but I feel it catches Kate Bush at the top of her game, and what I love about her and the album is the downright quirkiness and individuality of Miss Bush (in a 21st century world of Pussycat Dolls and Cheryl Coles, the closest we get to that is Florence and The Machine – nowt but a pale imitation of Kate I have to say).I love her for being a woman who has never needed to sell her music through being “sexy”, although there’s plenty who think she’s the sexiest thing to walk the earth, and I love the fact that right up to her most recent album “Ariel”, she has remained as idiosyncratic, bizarre and unique as she was on this album.

    …And anyone who samples “Night of The Demon”, one of my favourite horror films, is alright by me.

    Thanks for this choice Greg, the first couple were no-brainers for me as I loved the albums – this one was more of an experiment as I had never listened to it in it’s entirety before. I don’t think it’s a prefect album, and the 80’s production really dates it in parts, but there are enough flashes of genius on there to make it a worthy candidate for your Living to Music series…

  23. Pablo Contraband November 21, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    Bloody great album, love the A-Side but had completely forgotten how trippy the B-Side goes. Enjoyed listening to it again after all these years. I liked the fact that I remembered the last time I had heard Hounds of Love was at a Futureheads gig in Brighton.

    Stirring album, some classic singles released that still stand up today. Enjoyable indeed.

  24. Brian E November 23, 2010 at 11:54 pm #

    “It’s in the trees! It’s coming!” These lines are taken from a seance scene from the 1957 British horror film Night of the Demon apparently and yes It’s quite a spooky album in keeping with the Kate Bush personna.

    Quire a few interesting musicans on this album: Eberhart Weber on ‘Mother Stands for Comfort’ and ‘Hello Earth’ He’s an awesome bass player with an International reputation! The Medici quartet on Cloudbusting! Who’s that saying saying ‘Wake Up Love’ in a scouse accent? The helicopter sampled from ‘The Wall’ makes a guest appearance at the end of the same track!

    The drumming almost sounds like sequenced drumming, very precise and machine like. No suprise because of the abundance of drum machine sequences in the 80’s. The sounds of the drums are awesome (track 1 for instance) and very reminiscent of the famous ‘In The Air Tonight’ (1979) and I’m guessing the same production techniques (gated reverb & compression) were used. Charlie Morgan is on most of the album……… Charlie who? He’s a session drummer who’s worked with Macca, Tina Turner, Judie Tzuke, Elton John. He co-wrote the music for the tv series ‘The Bill’.

    There is so much to this album that wouldn’t be apparent on first listen (samples etc) and that’s why I had to listen again before commiting pen to paper or qwerty to screen. I hadn’t heard it before and so couldn’t take everything in on one listen. I’m gping to have to listen a few more times I think!

    That weird voice sound at the end of ‘Watching You Without Me’ reminds me of a sketch by comedien Norman Collier when he pretends the mic is broken but I’m not going to say the track was influenced by him!

    Favouite track is ‘Mother Stands for Comfort’ because of Mr Weber’s beautiful bass sounds.

    An interesting experience. Probably wouldn’t have heard this album if it wasn’t for ‘Living to Music’ So thanks to Greg for the experience.

  25. Gavin Kendrick December 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Before this session, I knew very little about Kate Bush and her music. I was aware that she’d taken an interest in the work of the Greek-Armenian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff, as some years ago, a friend lent me a book about his teachings by the Russian philosopher P.D. Ouspensky. I was nineteen, hungry for knowledge, and devoured every page.

    In 2007, I picked up Ashley Beedle’s edit of ‘Running Up That Hill’ which became an end of night favourite at my DJ residency at Mosquito. Nick Vernon, the club manager at the time, was a great fan of Kate Bush and delighted in Beedle’s well-crafted extension.

    Beyond this I was clueless, and I chose not to learn any more about the life or music of Kate Bush so as not to taint the relative purity of the listening experience.

    I was surprised to hear ‘Running Up That Hill’ was the opening track – its power, beauty and expansiveness eclipsed everything that followed. Bush’s vocal is captivating throughout, but despite her crystalline timbre, the album didn’t envelop me like I hoped it would. Most of my favourite LPs took many plays to fully unfold; the very best still reveal undiscovered nuances with every listen. Unfortunately, and despite its opening moment of brilliance, this first listen of ‘Hounds Of Love’ didn’t draw me in enough to inspire a return visit.

  26. Paul Wright December 21, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    I knew very little of Kate Bush, wuthering heights features in a 70s compilation that I have and normally came out in house parties…we’d end up leaping around the place 🙂

    I knew Kate had produced the album independently and the use of some of the sampling was quite innovative at the time. That’s about as much as I knew of her and her music (apart from the first track).

    It was surprising that it was actually quite difficult to get hold of the album even using the internet, unless I’m not looking in the right places?

    I found the album really full of emotion and it uses some fantastic imagery. There’s a certain innocent feel to it and also real earthy…possibly accentuated by today’s Winter Solstice and selenehelion!

    The first track I know quite well, I’ve heard numerous edits from Joe Malenda and C.S. G, also Ashley Beedle’s remix. I recently heard that the original intention was for the lyric to say make a deal with satan, don’t know how reliable this is?

    I’m definitely going to have to listen to this a few times to get a better appreciation for the music and the lyrics, here’s a bit of what I took from listening for the very first time:

    Track 1 starts with gentle 80s sounding synths, the drums rattle off and Kate’s striking vocal sound kicks in full of feeling, it hits quite hard into a choral line and fades off. Some of the descriptive language is powerful and really conveys emotion (this continues for the rest of the album). The track had some nice stocatta guitar work and very atmospheric layered vocals. I feel the track is about working hard at life and love, not always getting there and a desperation to change places so that through understanding things could be better.

    The second track is really catchy I recognise the steppy vocal riff but I’m not sure whether it’s from this track or something that was influenced by it or possibly a cover? It has great imagery and some lovely string effects.

    Track three feels a little bit quirky to start with, the piano work is great..is it about being open minded? There’s some really nice piano work with tribal sounding backing vocal…punctuated by a jet sample! The main vocal joins the backing for greater effect, uplifting feel to it…gospel sounding. Also some later 80s/90s dance/pop echo this sound. Nice aircraft sample.

    Track 4 has great piano work, quite a strange muted backing vocal; has pop synth sound to it.

    Track 5- had a bit of a moment listening to this, I’m 34 and certain I’ve never heard it before! The Utah Saints tune was one of used to bounce around to a lot when I was younger, also recent recollections of the high contrast release. The original is so much richer and deeper in its musical and lyrical expression…absolutely love it! A very powerful song.

    Track 6 begins on a stark contrast to the previous, it is very calm, sweet and atmospheric. A lovely track which again I can hear echos in more modern music.

    Track 7 has interesting switches between electronic and what would have been the more traditional instruments. The meaning I get is that you can be hurtling along on the ice oblivious to the cracks you are creating and then actually fall through them yourself. Nice didgery doo sound and what sounds like a bit of Mongolian throat singing!

    Track 8- great piano work, the intro is quite calm..the track then switches through a series of vocal samples to a more twitchy fairly dark/other worldly feel. When I heard the plane sample and at other distinct parts of this album I felt I could almost be listening to the orb.

    Track 9- quite an oriental feel to this from the synth/synth percussion, really nice double bass and bass guitar work. What do the lyrics say forwards?

    Track 10- great traditional Irish feel to this, makes me want to get up and have jig! Lovely strings and drums instrumental. Quite a positive feel to it. Then the sample I first heard in Greg’s Hazy Cosmic Jive mix! 🙂

    Track 11- interesting track, the vocal harmonies have a religious/somber feel to them, this is complemented by the lyrics and sea/whale samples. To me it feels like a calling to protect the planet.

    Track12- Nice blend of bass guitar, piano, acoustic guitar and strings, again I’m hearing other music from this.

    Overall very surprised by this album, it was much more modern sounding than I had anticipated and it’s clear that it has been influential on a number of fronts. Another fantastic album that I shall be re-visiting a lot, thanks Greg!

    All The Best

  27. John October 1, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

    Hey Greg Wilson,

    Well put together blog. I will post a link on my tumblr page.

  28. Russel September 28, 2014 at 6:41 pm #

    Living 2 Music sessions were always largely based on people experiencing the music, (perhaps whilst absorbing some visual accompaniment that came in the form of the album artwork and liner notes, which the artist intended to sit alongside the audio). In the case of Kate Bush, I doubt anyone would have expected that, three years on, Kate would have returned to the stage and performed most of this album, having spent over a year in planning its theatrical presentation. Thankfully (and typical of Kate’s work), for anyone fortunate enough to get a ticket (or more) to see her live shows, the sound was superb; importantly, her visual interpretation was both stunning and thought-provoking, still allowing the ‘listener’ room to think about the songs and their ideas rather than impose Kate’s definitive interpretation with no space for audience imagination. Two of the shows have been filmed, and therefore a DVD might be forthcoming.

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