David Bowie‘s mid-Eighties career will be explored in the new box set Loving the Alien (1983-1988), a massive collection that gathers the late icon’s albums, live LPs and more from the era.
The 11-CD or 15-LP Loving the Alien, due out October 12th, features three Bowie studio albums – 1983’s Let’s Dance, 1984’s Tonight and 1987’s Never Let Me Down – alongside a pair of first-time-on-vinyl live albums – Serious Moonlight (Live ’83) and Glass Spider (Live Montreal ’87) – and the newly assembled compilation Dance, which collects 12 contemporaneous remixes from the era.
Also exclusive to the box set is a 2018 reworking of Never Let Me Down with new production and instrumentation overseen by Bowie producer/engineer Mario McNulty. Longtime Bowie collaborators including guitarist Reeves Gabriel and drummer Sterling Campbell, Blackstar bassist Tim Lefebvre and composer Nico Muhly also contributed to the project, which was born out of Bowie’s desire to rerecord the 1987 LP that he called “a bitter disappointment.“
“The seeds of this new reimagining of the albums were first sown in 2008 when Bowie asked McNulty to remix the track ‘Time Will Crawl’ and record new drums by longtime Bowie drummer Sterling Campbell along with strings,’ Parlaphone wrote of Never Let Me Down (2018). “The track was issued on the iSelect compilation to much acclaim and, in the notes for that record, David remarked ‘Oh, to redo the rest of that album.’”
In early January, the musicians involved entered New York’s Electric Lady Studios to fulfill Bowie’s wish and remake Never Let Me Down, which now features a guest appearance by Laurie Anderson on “Shining Star (Makin’ My Love).” The 2018 reworking also boasts “newly ‘remixed’ artwork reflecting the album’s subject matter and features unseen images from the original cover photographic session from the archive of Greg Gorman.
Like previous Bowie retrospective box sets like Five Years (1969-1973), Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976) and A New Career In A New Town (1977-1982), Loving the Alien is capped off by a new compilation titled Re:Call 4 that hosts single versions, remixes and vinyl edits from the era. Bowie’s contributions to the soundtracks for Labyrinth, The Falcon And The Snowman, Absolute Beginners and When the Wind Blows also highlight Re:Call 4.
The Loving the Alien box set comes complete with an accompanying book with previously unpublished photos, historical press reviews and technical notes about the albums from producers/engineers Nile Rodgers, Hugh Padgham, McNulty and Justin Shirley-Smith.