BY Brian Dillon in Frieze | 04 OCT 22

Frieze DJ in Residence: Brian Dillon

The writer presents a playlist which captures Kate Bush's digital psychedelia

BY Brian Dillon in Frieze | 04 OCT 22

For your listening (and dancing) pleasure: a playlist curated for issue 230 of frieze magazine by writer Brian Dillon, featuring a selection of songs that capture Kate Bush's experimentalist style in the 1980's, including her personal inspirations and contemporary music influenced by her lesser-known album The Dreaming (1982). 

In a thematic essay, included in the latest issue of frieze magazine, Dillon dissects the emerging Kate Bush renaissance brought about by the nostalgic sci-fi/horror television show Stranger Things (2016–ongoing). The playlist personifies the artistic hedonism of the 80's and its wildly emotional experiments with cold technology, recasting mainstream pop as a pure aural adventure. What distinguishes The Dreaming as one of Bush's most memorable albums is its success in dispelling the artist's sweet (if ‘kooky’) aesthetic and cementing her reputation as a pioneer of a modern, studio-bound version of female independence. Her ferocious legacy has influenced numerous artists including Björk, Fever Ray, FKA Twigs, Lorde, Joanna Newsom, Caroline Polachek, SOPHIE and Tricky. (Many of whom are included below.) 

‘Nestling right at the core, at the beating heart of that record, is something wholly illusive, intangible, fugitive that I am still completely unable to tie any kind of defining label on. I just knew it was right. I knew I was right.’ –⁠ Kate Bush 

Main image: LP cover of The Dreaming, 1982. Courtesy: Alamy Stock Photo; photograph: David Lichtneker, 2021 

Brian Dillon is a writer. His latest book Affinities: On Art and Fascination will be published in spring 2023 by the New York Review of Books and Fitzcarraldo Editions, London. He is working on a book about Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love.