David Bowie and Brian Eno's "Leon Suites" from the Outside sessions

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Recently, for my ongoing series on the history of cyberpunk on Adafruit, I wrote about David Bowie and Brian Eno’s cyberpunk-adjacent 1995 record, 1. Outside (The Nathan Adler Diaries: A Hyper Cycle).

In the piece, I talk about the various experimental processes Bowie and Eno employed in creating the record, such as using Burroughsian cut-up and dialog from mental patients, and having the musicians play their instruments while roleplaying a character Eno would hand them on a 3×5 card each morning (e.g. “You are the disgruntled member of a South African rock band. Play the notes that were suppressed”).

The results of this effort was a series of improvised jam sessions that were edited and submitted to the record label. When the album was rejected for being too non-commercial, Bowie and Eno created Outside, which incorporated some of the material from this initial project, now known as The Leon Suites (mischaracterized in the above video as “Outside outtakes”).

If you are familiar with 1. Outside, but unfamiliar with The Leon Suites, you are in for a revelation. There are some truly gorgeous, haunting, and deeply strange moments here. And some of these tracks definitely deepen the storyline of The Nathan Adler Diaries that ended up on the commercial album.

Bonus track: Bowie talking about the Verbasizer, the Mac app that he developed in the 90s for helping him do Burroughsian cut-up.

Image: YouTube




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