January 1977 saw the release of the first installment of what came to be known as David Bowie's Berlin trilogy. That album was the Bowie/Tony Visconti produced Low and it was followed later the same year by Heroes with the trilogy completed in 1979 by the arrival of Lodger. Most of the music across the three albums wasn't even recorded in Berlin, the unifying factor actually being Bowie, Visconti and Brian Eno.
Much has been written about the brilliance and braveness of the music on Low, and rightly so. It's probably hard to imagine with the ears of today how absolutely unique the record sounded back in 1977. Apart from the obvious slicing of the album into two distinct sides, Visconti gifted Low that distinctive drum sound, among other things. Though Low was a record purportedly informed by the likes of Kraftwerk and other German musicians of the time, it actually sounded far more organic and not at all mechanized. This was in no small measure due to the nucleus of the band Bowie had favored during this whole period (starting with Station To Station), ofCarlos Alomar (guitar), Dennis Davis (drums) and George Murray (bass).
The album was a commercial success, peaking at No. 2 on the UK Albums Chart and No. 11 on the US Billboard Pop Albums chart. "Sound and Vision" and "Be My Wife" were released as singles; the former reaching No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart. Low sounds as fresh today as it ever did...thirty nine minutes of untouchable genius. Prepare to be transported by its gloriously uplifting melancholia and majestic musical language from a time and place that has yet to arrive.