David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ Features James Murphy, Inspired By Kendrick Lamar
David Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti spoke to Rolling Stone about the iconic English artist’s upcoming album, ★ (pronounced Blackstar), revealing it was in part inspired by Kendrick Lamar and features LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy on two tracks.
Bowie and Visconti were listening to Lamar at the time of recording, which dates back to about a year ago. “We wound up with nothing like [Lamar], but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record,” Visconti said. “He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll.”
Bowie originally intended to bring James Murphy on as one of the album’s producers, but the erstwhile LCD Soundsystem leader’s other commitments prevented him from that level of involvement. He does, however, contribute percussion and synths on two tracks.
“At one point we were talking about three producers for the album: David, James and myself,” Visconti said. “[Murphy] was there for a brief time, but he had his own projects to go off to.”
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his jazz quartet also make significant contributions to Blackstar. Bowie saw the outfit perform at New York City’s 55 Bar upon a friend’s suggestion and later invited them into the studio. The result was “Sue (Or in the a Season of Crime),” a song that appeared on his Nothing Has Changed compilation. McCaslin and company returned for the recording of Blackstar, playing everything from Krautrock and hip-hop to pop and jazz.
Blackstar is due out Jan. 8.