In 2013 James Murphy, the LCD Soundsystem man I posted about last week, got his hands on one of the songs from Bowie's comeback album The Next Day. He cut and looped some clapping from a Steve Reich track, sampled the synth from Ashes To Ashes and created a monumental remix, minimal, sleek and modern. Bowie sounds superb too, back in touch and vital, 'your country's new... but your fear is as old as the world'. The full ten minute version is the one you want obviously, a long remix that you don't really want to come to an end.
The Next Day was trailed by Where Are We Now?, Bowie's nostalgic tribute to the years he spent in Berlin in the mid 1970s. He recorded it (and the whole album) in secret in autumn 2011 and released the single onto the internet without fanfare on his 66th birthday. 'Had to get the train from Potsdamer Platz/ You never knew that I could do that', he croons, a man looking back at his youth, 'just walking the dead'. Time passes, everyone ages, nothing stays the same. The Berlin of 1975 and the Berlin of 2011 are as different as a city could be. David Bowie of 2011 was not the same man he was in 1975. And though he and we didn't know it then, he had just five years left, almost exactly to the day.