(Art by Sarah Beetson)
Amanda Palmer assembled a troupe of musicians, artists, photographers, technicians, family, friends and supporters to feverishly within two weeks produce this tribute to David Bowie. Titled – “Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute” it features integral contributions from Anna Calvi, John Cameron Mitchell, Neil Gaiman, and her music partner in this enterprise Jherek Bischoff.
“We’re really, really, really proud of what we made, even though we cranked it out in a short time.
Music is the binding agent of our mundane lives. It cements the moments in which we wash the dishes, type the resumes, go to the funerals, have the babies. The stronger the agent, the tougher the memory, and Bowie was NASA-grade epoxy to a sprawling span of freaked-out kids over three generations. He bonded us to our weird selves. We can be us. He said. Just for one day.
It didn’t hit me until a week later, in the studio, why this was such a fitting project. We were immersing ourselves in Bowieland, living in the songs, super-glueing up some fresh wounds. Not just “knowing” the songs, but feeling the physical chords under our sad fingers, excavating the deeper architecture of the songwriting (especially with a tune as bizarre as “Blackstar” (which we realized was constructed like a sonic Russian nesting doll).
Bowie worked on music up to the end to give us a parting gift. So this is how we, as musicians, mourn: keeping Bowie constantly in our ears and brains.
The man, the artist, exits. But the music, the glue; it stays. It never stops binding us together.”
Listen below to all six songs preferably with headphones!
In an interview with Maria Popova, Palmer explains why the timing of this project was so crucial,
“When David Bowie died, I wanted to immerse myself in David Bowie and give myself a work project, because I had been so immersed in motherhood and was struggling with reconciling that with my identity as an artist. I wanted desperately to work, but had cleared my plate of projects because I didn’t know what my life as a mother would be like and I needed to make room for that. So I had this semi-vacuum of time where I was coming to terms with mother-schedule, but I looked at the Bowie tribute and realized I could do most of the project from home, on my computer, in collaboration with Jherek, and I could spend two days at the studio and find a babysitter. I looked at the entire project and thought it was manageable, I could do it right now, which is the way I like to work — fast and furious and surprising and very chaotic and manic.
Jherek was on board to go with the pace, and I knew that if we waited seven months to put out our David Bowie tribute, it just wouldn’t feel the same. It is of the moment, and it was of the moment to sit on the couch and listen to Bowie songs with Neil [Gaiman] and read my patrons’ favorite Bowie songs and go on hunts for obscure tracks and sit there with the baby between me and Neil, immersing ourselves in this artist’s world — because all that felt like part of the project, it felt like part of the patronage.
That was our way of mourning, and that became our ritualistic David Bowie funeral.”
Palmer is asking for a $1.00 donation for the price of streaming the music. As she explains,
“Since it costs me/us about $.54 ($.09 per song x 6 songs) in licensing fees to the bowie estate every time you stream for free, please consider donating that $1 on bandcamp. Any leftover money from the $1 will go to the cancer research wing of Tufts Medical Center (https://giving.tuftsmedicalcenter.org/give) in memory of David Bowie. listen on bandcamp: https://amandapalmer.bandcamp.com/album/strung-out-in-heaven-a-bowie-string-quartet-tribute “
Check out the website http://amandapalmer.net/strungoutinheaven to see more artist, musician and technical credit for all who made this happen so quickly and in such fine fashion.
Photo by Lindsey Byrnes
“One thing I’ve learned for sure, even though it’s something I’ve been told all my life by my mentors: All beings seek liberation. Even if they don’t know it, they do. They’re like sunflowers aching to the sky. When you start looking at the street and the marketplace and all human beings that way, everything starts to make more sense.”
– Amanda Palmer
(h/t Dave Pollard)
Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame shows how she courageously sidesteps the patterned behavior of how to make it in this world. As structures collapse and implode and become obsolete, how do people interact and engage with each other in new and vibrant ways. Palmer has created avenues of trust and interchange with people around the globe who are fans of her music. How can each of us encourage and create our own gift economies? How will will that translate into a new language for us to navigate with as we try to map our way into an unknown future?
In this interview with Richard Bartlett, she elaborates a little more on the ups and downs of what she presents in this TED talk.