David Bowie is putting the finishing touches on a new full-length titled ★ (Blackstar). According to Tony Visconti, who first worked with Bowie all the way back in 1969, a certain MC played a large role in their creative process. “We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar,” the producer told Rolling Stone. “We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock and roll.”
To aid in his efforts to escape rock, Bowie also recruited several jazz musicians. Visconti described their versatility enthusiastically. “They can play something at the drop of a dime. [Keyboardist] Jason [Lindner] was a godsend. We gave him some pretty far-out chords, but he brought a jazz sensibility to re-voice them.”
David Bowie is famous for shifting his sound. Young Americans, his 1975 album, was an exploration of Philadelphia soul; a young Luther Vandross co-wrote a track and served as a backing vocalist. During the late '70s, Bowie dabbled in ambient compositions with Brian Eno. Then in 1983, the singer pivoted towards the club with Let’s Dance, collaborating with the disco king Nile Rodgers.
Look for ★ January 8, which also happens to be Bowie’s birthday.