1.Outside

  1. Leon Takes Us Outside [1.24] (Vinyl: 0.24)

  2. Outside [4.04]

  3. The Hearts Filthy Lesson [4.56]

  4. A Small Plot Of Land [6.33]

  5. Segue-Baby Grace (A Horrid Cassette) [1.40]

  6. Hallo Spaceboy [5.13]

  7. The Motel [6.49] (Vinyl: 5.03)

  8. I Have Not Been To Oxford Town [3.48]

  9. No Control [4.32]

  10. Segue-Algeria Touchshriek [2.02]

  11. The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty) [4.20]

  12. Segue-Ramona A. Stone / I Am With Name [4.01]

  13. Wishful Beginnings [5.08]

  14. We Prick You [4.34]

  15. Segue-Nathan Adler [1.00]

  16. I'm Deranged [4.29]

  17. Thru' These Architects Eyes [4.20]

  18. Segue-Nathan Adler [0.28]

  19. Strangers When We Meet [5.06]

Bonus tracks on 2004 reissue:

  • The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Trent Reznor Alternative Mix) [5.20]

  • The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Rubber Mix) [7.41]

  • The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Simple Text Mix) [6.38]

  • The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Filthy Mix) [5.51]

  • The Hearts Filthy Lesson (Good Karma Mix by Tim Simenon [5.01]

  • A Small Plot Of Land (Basquiat) [2.48]

  • Hallo Spaceboy (12" Remix) [6.45]

  • Hallo Spaceboy (Double Click Mix) [7.47]

  • Hallo Spaceboy (Instrumental) [7.41]

  • Hallo Spaceboy (Lost In Space Mix) [6.29]

  • I Am With Name (Album Version) [4.07]

  • I'm Deranged (Jungle Mix) [7.00]

  • Get Real [2.49]

  • Nothing To Be Desired [2.15]

1.Outside

Released:

  • RCA 74321 310662 - September 1995 (CD: Card Sleeve)

  • RCA 74321 307022 - September 1995 (CD: Jewel Case)

  • RCA 74321 307021 - September 1995 (LP: Excerpts from 1.Outside)

  • BMG 74321 369002 - March 1996 (CD: 1.Outside Version 2)

  • Columbia 511934 2 - September 2003

  • Columbia 511934 9 - September 2004 2CD Limited Edition)

  • Friday Music FRM-40711 - November 2015 (LP)

Personnel:

  • David Bowie: Vocals, Saxophone, Guitar, Keyboards

  • Brian Eno: Synthesizers, Treatments & Strategies

  • Reeves Gabrels: Guitar

  • Erdal Kizilcay: Bass, Keyboards

  • Mike Garson: Piano

  • Sterling Campbell: Drums

  • Carlos Alomar: Rhythm Guitar

  • Joey Barron: Drums

  • Yossi Fine: Bass

  • Tom Frish: Guitar on "Strangers When We Meet"

  • Kevin Armstrong: Guitar on "Thru' These Architects Eyes"

  • Bryony, Lola, Josey & Ruby Edwards: Backing Vocals on "Hearts Filthy Lesson" and "I Am With Name"

Recorded:

  • Mountain Studios, Montreux/The Hit Factory, New York

Producers:

  • David Bowie, Brian Eno, David Richards

On the evidence of Bowie's 1993 albums, a studio reunion with Brian Eno was now only a matter of time. In fact, the two had already discussed the possibility at Bowie's wedding reception the previous year, while David was still in the early stages of recording Black Tie White Noise. In March 1994, after Eno had heard and "got really excited about" The Buddha Of Suburbia, the pair convened at Mountain Studios. Although fifteen years had passed since the Lodger sessions, Bowie recalled that it was "almost as though no time had been wedged in, like we were carrying on from the third album together." There was still a crucial disparity between their approaches, however: "I'm actually very nineteenth-century - a born Romantic, unlike Brian, who's terminally end-of-twentieth century...Brian is someone who will take things from low art and elevate them to high art, whereas I do precisely the opposite: I'll take things from high art and demean them down to the street level." From this creative collision was to emerge the most fully imagined, beautifully crafted Bowie album in many a long year, and arguably his 1990s masterpiece.

 

Bowie assembled a core band of names from various stages of his career. Reeves Gabrels returned on lead guitar, marking his arrival as a permanent member of the Bowie ensemble. Erdal Kizilcay returned on bass, and having guested on David's last two albums Mike Garson resumed a central role on piano. The principal drummer, Soul Asylum's Sterling Campbell, had previously played on Black Tie White Noise and was described by David as "spontaneous and extremely inventive. Sterling plays a song differently every time; there are definite shades of his teacher, Dennis Davis."

 

Emboldened by Eno's unorthodox approach to studio work, Bowie kept "paints, charcoal, scissors, paper and canvas" on hand throughout the sessions, "to give us something to fly on when not playing." Eno had devised a complex series of role-playing games which are explained in his 1995 diary, A Year With Swollen Appendices - essential reading for the Bowie enthusiast. Having observed his family the previous Christmas, Eno explained that "It occurred to me that the great thing about games is that they in some sense free you from being yourself: you are 'allowed' forms of behaviour that otherwise would be gratuitous, embarrassing or completely irrational. Accordingly, I came up with these role-playing games for musicians." Detailed character studies were issued to each player so that "individuals were in different cultural universes", while Eno's lengthy Notes On The Vernacular Music Of The Acrux Region was a kind of sci-fi fantasy designed "to imagine a new musical culture, and to invent roles for musicians within it." This bizarre tract, reproduced in full in Eno's book, casts the 1.Outside band as eccentric characters with anagram names like "Elvas Ge'beer", "G. Noisemark", "Azile Clark-Idy" and "P. Maclert Singbell", who "carries around an enormous library of recordings of fatal gunshot wounds for use as percussion elements."

 

Mike Garson later told David Buckley that "It was one of the most creative environments I have ever been in. We would just start playing. There was no key given, no tonal centre, no form, no nothing." On Radio 2's Golden Years he recalled another experiment: "In our earphones, we would listen to some Motown music, some Marvin Gaye or different artists...and we'd be playing over the top of that, but that would never land on the tape." Eno later revealed that Bowie "almost sat out the first few days of that record. He set up an easel in the studio and was just painting. We were creating musical situations and occasionally he would join in if it became interesting."

 

When rehearsals began in earnest, the "Oblique Strategies" employed for the Berlin albums were again in evidence. Individual musicians were handed cards with instructions like "You are the last survivor of a catastrophic event and you will endeavour to play in such a way as to prevent feelings of loneliness developing within yourself," or "You are a disgruntled ex-member of a South African rock band. Play the notes you were not allowed to play." As Eno later explained, "There are certain immediate dangers to improvisation, and one of them is that everybody coalesces immediately. Everyone starts playing the blues, basically, because it's the one place where everyone can agree and knows the rules. So in part, they were strategies to stop the thing becoming over-coherent. The interesting place is not chaos, and it's not total coherence. It's somewhere on the cusp of those two."

 

Thematically Bowie was eager to address his interest in contemporary art, which by 1994 had led him to join the editorial board of Modern Painters magazine. He was becoming particularly fascinated by the more macabre end of the performance art spectrum, notably Rudolf Schwartzkogler, leading light of the 'Viennese Castrationists' who had cut off his own penis, and Ron Athey, an HIV-positive New Yorker whose "Four Scenes In A Harsh Life" involved impaling himself with knitting needles and carving patterns into a fellow performer's back before hanging blotting-paper prints of the blood over his audience's heads. Bowie was also drawn to the neo-brutalism of young British artists like Damien Hirst, who had recently made waves with his famous series of dead animal exhibits.

 

From such lurid origins grew the germ of a concept about death as art. "Apart from this unhealthy, almost obsessive interest in ritualistic artists," Bowie told Vox, "the album also has some sort of a feeling of this new paganism that seems to be springing up with the advent of scarifications, piercings, tribalisms, tattoos and whatever. It's like a replacement for a spiritual starvation that's going on. It's like a tribe with dim memories of what their rituals used to be. They're sort of being dragged back again in this new, mutated, deviant way, with so-called gratuitous sex and violence in popular culture and people cutting bits off themselves. For me, it seems like a natural kind of thing." David himself had recently submitted to the tattooist's needle (a dolphin on his calf as a love token for Iman), and the Outside tour would see him dripping with earrings for the first time in twenty years. The "new paganism" he had identified was closely connected with the pre-millennial tension that every philosopher and chat-show host had begun discussing in the mid-1990s; the idea that an imagined milestone in time creates dangerous ripples through society was a beguiling subject for Bowie, whose lyrics have always been preoccupied with time as a pitiless constant in human existence. 1.Outside would reopen such territory, expressing anxiety about "now, not tomorrow" as the "twentieth century dies".

 

Bowie was also keen to explore a growing preoccupation with one of the monsters of classical antiquity: "I had a thing about the Minotaur for the last couple of years," he explained in 1995. "I'd been drawing and painting it a lot and didn't really know why until about four or five weeks ago in the New York Times there was an article on the new cave paintings in the South of France - the most sophisticated cave paintings that have ever been found...The most remarkable thing of all is one composite of a human being with a bull's head - 26,000 years before the Greeks came up with it." The Minotaur is a motif not only in 1.Outside, but also in several of Bowie's painterly pursuits of the period: he contributed to 1994's Minotaur Myths And Legends show, and the character dominated his 1995 solo exhibition.

 

Another kind of art was informing Bowie's muse: in early 1994 he and Eno visited the Guggin psychiatric hospital near Vienna, where the painters' wing was, he explained, "an Austrian experiment to see what happens when you allow people with mental disabilities to give free rein to their artistic impetuses...It's quite obvious that these outsider artists don't have the parameters that are placed on most artists...Their motivation for painting and sculpting comes from a different place than that of the average artist who's sane on society's terms." As "Jump They Say" had intimated a year earlier, and as the new album's title would reiterate, Bowie was ready to position himself as an "outsider artist" once again.

 

Another influential ingredient was Bowie's fascination with computers and in particular the Internet, which he had embraced with the same missionary zeal that had accompanied his conversion to the cutting-edge technologies of earlier eras. A new AppleMac program designed by a friend enabled David to shuffle and randomise his lyrics in a high-tech variant of the cut-up technique he had used as long ago as Diamond Dogs. "I used bits of poems and articles out of magazines and newspapers, and I re-typed them out and put them into the computer," he explained. "And it spews it all back out again, and I make of it what I will." It's a misapprehension, incidentally, that the aim of Bowie's randomising and cutting-up sprees is to produce gibberish; in fact, he uses the results merely as starting points for the actual writing process. Relating his methods to the structural practices of James Joyce and William Burroughs, he told Time Out, "I come from almost a traditional school now, of deconstructing phrases and constructing them again in what is considered a random way. But in that randomness, there's something we perceive as a reality - that in fact, our lives aren't tidy, that we don't have tidy beginnings and endings."

 

Further to this was Bowie's interest in the breakdown of society's hierarchy of significant information. Mentioning to Ikon's Chris Roberts the equal weight given by current press reports to the O J Simpson trial and the Middle East crisis, he suggested, "When you get that lack of stress upon what's important and what isn't, the moral high ground seems to disappear as well. You're left with this incredibly complex network of fragments that is our existence...There's no point in pretending, well, if we wait long enough everything will return to what it used to be and it'll all be saner again and we'll understand everything and it'll be obvious what's wrong and what's right. It's not gonna be like that. So the album deals with all that to an extent. That kind of...surfing on chaos."

 

A year earlier, while promoting Black Tie White Noise, he had admitted that he was becoming tempted by "the idea of one more time developing a character. I do love the theatrical side of the thing - not only do I enjoy it, I also think I'm quite good at it." Now Bowie was immersing himself in the most complex fictional world he had yet created, fashioning not one but seven protagonists in what he labelled the "non-linear Gothic Drama Hyper-cycle" of 1.Outside. "One of the days that we worked," he later recalled, " - it was March 12th 1994, I'll never forget - we had a blindingly orgiastic session where it just didn't stop. Almost the entire genesis for this album is contained in those three and a half hours, but it's nearly all dialogue and narrative description and wandering off into characters. I play out a character for maybe five minutes at a time: I mean, I developed an entire interior life for him whilst I was on mike..."

 

Thus emerged the fictional setting of Oxford Town, New Jersey, and its outlandish, Twin Peaks-style inhabitants: Detective Professor Nathan Adler (born 1947, we are told), a gumshoe from the Bureau of Art-Crime Inc, a police department based in the studio that had once belonged to the painter and suicide Rothko; Baby Grace Blue, a 14-year-old girl whose dismembered body is discovered draped across the doorway of the Oxford Town Museum of Modern Parts; Ramona A Stone, a 'no-future priestess of the Caucasian Suicide Temple' who deals in body-parts jewellery and 'interest-drugs'; Algeria Touchshriek,a 78-year-old loner who deals in 'art-drugs and DNA prints'; Leon Blank, a mixed-race 'Outsider' with convictions for 'plagiarism without licence'; Paddy, one of Nathan Adler's informants; and The Artist/Minotaur, a shadowy figure lurking behind 'the art-ritual murder' at the centre of the impenetrable narrative. "With 1.Outside, placing the eerie environment of a Diamond Dogs city now in the nineties gives it an entirely different spin," explained Bowie. "It was important for this town, this locale, to have a populace, a number of characters. I tried to diversify these really eccentric types as much as possible...The narrative and the stories are not the content - the content is the spaces in between the linear bits. The queasy, strange textures."

 

The backing tracks for 1.Outside were completed at Mountain Studios in ten days, but embellishments continued on and off until November 1994. Among the vast amount of recorded material were "Get Real" and "Nothing To Be Desired", released as single B-sides in some territories.

 

The first public intimation of the new project came in December 1994 when Q magazine published an Internet conversation between Bowie and Eno, in which they discussed the latest mixes and David confided that "I really feel we are in an extremely exciting and uninvestigated area. Same goosebumps as 1976..." The same edition featured an extraordinary three-page article by Bowie, entitled The Diary Of Nathan Adler, or The Art-Ritual Murder Of Baby Grace Belew: An occasionally on-going short story. This, give or take a couple of differently spelt names (note 'Belew', the name of one of David's ex-guitarists), was the same darkly comic piece of fiction that would later appear in 1.Outside's inlay booklet. As fragmented and non-linear a narrative as might be expected from Bowie in full flow, the story opens on December 31st 1999 with the gruesome dismemberment and cybernetic rebuilding of Baby Grace's corpse by "a dark spirited pluralist". There is gallows humour aplenty and a strong recollection of 1987's 'Glass Spider': "The limbs and their components were then hung up on the splayed web, slug-like prey of some unimaginable creature...It was definitely murder - but was it art?" The Sam Spade-style narrator Nathan Adler reminisces about Damien Hirst, Ron Athey and Chris Burden (the "nail-me-to-my-car" performance artist formerly commemorated in "Joe The Lion"). There are dissertations on a fabled Korean artist whose audience watched him undergo voluntary amputations ("By the dawning of the '80s, rumour had it that he was down to a torso and one arm...I suppose you can never tell what an artist will do once he's peaked"), and even a passing thought about "Bowie the singer" in his Berlin days. The linking thread is an obsession with pain, death and blood: "We're mystified by blood. It's our enemy now. We don't understand it. Can't live with it. Can't, well... ya know?"

 

Although the Montreux sessions were completed by November 1994 and the results mixed at London's Westside Studios, the release of the album was delayed by more of the contractual wrangling that had hamstrung Bowie's releases in recent times. He later explained that he was unable to interest any record label in releasing the original version, envisaged as a double or even triple CD which, at this stage, went under the working title of Leon. Reeves Gabrels would later indicate that in its original form, the album would have been over three hours in length: "We hoped that it would have come out intact and uncompromised by financial/commercial pressures," Gabrels recounted on his website in 2003. "It would have been a very serious musical statement, and maybe pissed more people off than Tin Machine."

 

Faced with record company hostility towards the uncompromising nature of the Leon album, Bowie elected to remove much of the original material and record some more conventional additions. Sessions took place at New York's Hit Factory in January and February 1995, when several of the more linear numbers were recorded, including the title track itself; thus Leon gave way to 1.Outside. Other new cuts included "Thru' These Architects Eyes", "We Prick You", "I Have Not Been To Oxford Town", "No Control" and "Strangers When We Meet", while "Hallo Spaceboy" and "I'm Deranged" were re-fashioned from the previous year's raw material. For the New York sessions, the band was joined by veteran rhythm guitarist Carlos Alomar, now entering the twentieth year of his relationship with Bowie. Another old face was Kevin Armstrong, last heard on Tin Machine II, while drummer Joey Barron was a newcomer for the New York sessions - "Metronomes shake in fear, he's so steady," said David.

 

Brian Eno's diary reveals that he spent early January at his Brondesbury Villas studio in Kilburn, working alone on "vocal support structures for David's voice samples", which included "a sad Touchshriek piece" and "Ramona Was So Cold" (the second 'Nathan Adler' segue). On January 11th he joined Bowie in New York, where they spent the next three days working on "Dummy" (the prototype version of "I'm Afraid Of Americans" destined for the soundtrack of Showgirls), before moving on to the other New York recordings.

 

In June 1995 Bowie signed a new deal with Virgin America, who also purchased the rights to his back catalogue from Let's Dance to Tin Machine; these albums would be reissued with bonus tracks during 1995. In Britain, he entered into a new agreement with BMG, who had released his last two albums in the UK but were now affiliated to RCA, the label with whom he had parted company back in 1982.

 

1.Outside - The Nathan Adler Diaries: a hyper cycle was finally released on September 25th 1995. In Britain the CD arrived in a cardboard digipak (replaced in later pressings by a standard plastic jewel case) adorned with the Diary Of Nathan Adler text and a series of astonishing computer-enhanced images in which, alongside gruesome shots of offal, severed fingers and dismembered hands, Bowie's face morphed into the features of each of the album's characters: the mixed-race Leon Blank, the septuagenarian Algeria Touchshriek, even The Minotaur and 14-year-old Baby Grace. The cover image was Head of DB, an acrylic painting on canvas made by David in 1995.

 

The album was promoted almost exclusively on CD, the only vinyl version being a single LP called Excerpts From 1.Outside from which "No Control", "Wishful Beginnings", "Thru' These Architects Eyes", "Strangers When We Meet" and a couple of the segues were missing altogether, while "Leon Takes Us Outside" and "The Motel" were shortened edits by Kevin Metcalfe. The Japanese CD included the out-take "Get Real". Six months later came the European CD 1.Outside Version 2, which has "Hallo Spaceboy (Pet Shop Boys Remix)" instead of "Wishful Beginnings". Double-CD reissues in Australia and Japan included various remixes and B-sides, while Columbia's 2003 UK reissue restored the original track-listing, and Sony's 2004 US version (LEGACY 092100) included "Get Real". In September 2004 came Columbia's definitive reissue with a bonus disc featuring no fewer than 14 remixes and B-sides.

 

Following a muted reaction to the lead-off single "The Hearts Filthy Lesson", the press gave the album almost unqualified approval. "Bowie's scalpel is certainly closer to the pulse than for years," said the NME, while Melody Maker thrilled to "the brilliant speeding electronic funk of "The Voyeur Of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)" and announced that Bowie "is poised to be a healthy influence once more on a fifth generation of glamorous chameleons." In the Daily Telegraph, Charles Shaar Murray welcomed "an excellent David Bowie album, a genuine creative rebirth. Threatening and murky...His gift for the charismatically disturbing seems to have reasserted itself." The Guardian hailed 1.Outside as "a very fine thing, containing Bowie's best music of the past 15 years," a sentiment echoed by Time Out, for whom the "edifice of sounds, cultures, rhythms, samples and textures, with randomised lyrics that don't so much tell a story as create word-moods, rewards the open-minded listener with Bowie's best album for 15 years." Q recommended it as "a bold and fascinating trip...undoubtedly Bowie's most dense and uncompromising work since Scary Monsters...it's clear that he is once again imaginatively sparking with life." There were, of course, dissenting voices, including Ikon's Taylor Parkes who complained that "Bowie's desperate desire to be considered 'highbrow' has snuffed out any potential of accidental alchemy" and peremptorily dismissed the album as a "sorry sack of shit...facile, confused and immature...quite simply, rubbish." Across the Atlantic, Billboard described it as "a dark concept album that is alternately tedious and inspired, but always musically challenging." In Britain the album peaked at number 8; in America, where Bowie's profile had been significantly raised by recent citations from bands like Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails, it reached number 21 - his best US album performance since Tonight and no mean achievement for such a wilfully uncommercial work.

 

After the round of broadly favourable reviews a backlash was inevitable, and by the time the Outside tour arrived in Britain in November, members of the music press were falling over one another to rubbish an album hitherto praised by their colleagues. The NME's Simon Williams found the English language a sadly inadequate medium in which to launch his assault: "El Bowza's latest lurch away from reality is entitled Outside [sic], which is kind of about 'outsiders' and involves all these strange neo-futuristic characters running around El Bowza's head and it's sort of a concept album blah blah bollocks blah blah ARSE!!!!!!!" A perceptive analysis. Certainly, 1.Outside presents a soft target for anyone who seriously believes Bowie hadn't noticed that impersonating a 78-year-old man called Algeria Touchshriek was going to be rather silly, but it seems more likely that he was in on the joke.

 

What counts is that the music is Bowie's finest in years, combining viscerally exciting Nine Inch Nails-flavoured rock ("Hallo Spaceboy", "The Hearts Filthy Lesson") with Scott Walker-esque freefall jazz madness ("A Small Plot Of Land"), frightening, multi-textural soundscapes that could only be the work of the Bowie/Eno partnership ("Wishful Beginnings", "The Motel"), and prototype drum 'n' bass stylings (I'm Deranged", "We Prick You") which point the way forward. With each song ascribed to a particular character the album shifts through subtly different moods: the lyrics are by turns poetic, violent and comical, creating impressionistic tone-pictures rather than a coherent narrative. Indeed, 1.Outside's linking concept has been over-stated. The five spoken 'segues', in which Bowie's heavily treated voice delivers monologues by the various characters, are both brilliant and ridiculous, but the album functions perfectly well with or without them. "You can take it as you want," David insisted. "It's not necessary to follow the narrative. I've sort of left that way behind."

 

A particular triumph of 1.Outside is the way it enmeshed itself in the cultural fabric of its time. Veteran artists like Paul Weller and Adam Ant were surfing the Britpop wave in 1995 with successful comeback albums, but 1.Outside places Bowie elsewhere, aligning him with the industrial art-rock of Nine Inch Nails and the fringes of the trip-hop/techno schools of Tricky, Goldie and The Chemical Brothers. But the album's affinity with the cultural landscape of 1995 went far beyond the confines of pop music. It arrived in a world still squirming at the fate of John Wayne Bobbitt and the glamorous cruelty of Pulp Fiction. It inhabited the trashy cyberpunk milieu of movies like Judge Dredd, Tank Girl and Twelve Monkeys, and tapped into the popular diet of extraterrestrial conspiracy theories exemplified by the so-called Roswell Incident and American TV's latest sensation The X-Files. It was one of the first great albums of the Internet age and danced to the same pre-millennial angst as Pulp's Christmas 1995 hit "Disco 2000". It provided an ideal soundtrack to Damien Hirst's bisected cows and became the literal soundtrack to David Fincher's black-hearted film thriller Seven, an orgy of razor blades, drip-tubes and mutilation that hit British cinemas in December 1995 and played "The Hearts Filthy Lesson" over its closing credits. The following year "A Small Plot Of Land" became the theme music of BBC2's A History Of British Art. For the first time since Scary Monsters, Bowie had released an album that accessed the zeitgeist at all levels.

 

Noticeably, 1.Outside was also the first album since Scary Monsters on which Bowie decisively threw off the shackles of his middle-aged 'just say no' persona and revelled once again in the artful unwholesomeness that was the stock-in-trade of his 1970s work. This is a triumphantly queasy, deliciously unpleasant album, and by the time of its release, Bowie had dropped the black-and-white attitude that had brought forth the likes of "Crack City", and was once again prepared to explore areas of moral complexity. "I'm not suggesting for one small minute that you rush out and get your junkie kit together," he told one interviewer in 1996, "Not at all. It's just interesting that people who make those explorations, if they go through the cusp of those experiences, they do tend to come out the other side a way better people for it, you know? That's a dangerous thing to say, but it's true in my case. I'm glad I did everything I did, I really am." He would never had said anything like that in the 1980s.

 

At an epic 75 minutes 1.Outside is far and away Bowie's longest studio album; he has since remarked that he "never should have made it as long as it is", a view echoed by Eno in his diary. It will appeal to fans of Low, Lodger and Diamond Dogs, the three albums it most closely resembles, more readily than to lovers of Let's Dance: "Accessibility is not its keynote!" David laughed at the time. But critics who complained that the album was pretentious were rather missing the point because the first person to describe it as such was Bowie himself. "Brian and I decided in the late seventies that we had developed a new school of pretension," he said in 1996. "We gave it the title. Other people may bandy it around, but we knew...We saw nothing wrong with that. We rather saw pretension or the idea of pretending - the playfulness that has any kind of evocative feeling in art - actually something to go for." A year later he told journalists in Buenos Aires that "When I made the Low album with Brian Eno, I got a telegram from the managing director of the record company, giving the advice that I really shouldn't waste my money and that I should go back to Philadelphia and make Young Americans II. So when I heard similar comments about 1.Outside, I knew that I'd done a good album.

 

The Diary Of Nathan Adler ends on a cliffhanger and the promise "To be continued..." At the time Bowie intimated that he saw 1.Outside as the first episode in a five-album sequence that would carry him up to the millennium. There was even talk of the project culminating in an opera devised with Eno and director Robert Wilson for the 1999 Salzburg Festival (some years later, in October 2000, David admitted that "I know there was talk of it being presented at Salzburg, Austria, but I didn't get on with the artistic director there at all. It was rather gratifying to hear that he was removed from the festival this year!). Bowie later revealed that a staggering 27 hours of extra material existed from the Montreux sessions: "Some of it I'd like to put out as a companion piece to 1.Outside, a sort of archival, limited-edition album," he said, and in 2000 he confirmed that he was continuing post-production on the material, to be called 2.Contamination. Meanwhile, in March 2003  a series of previously unheard extracts from the final mix of the original Leon album were leaked onto the bootleg circuit, offering a fascinating glimpse of what might have been. Intriguing stuff indeed; but we'd be unwise to expect any official release of the Montreux material to maintain continuity or resolve the plot of 1.Outside. In Q's Internet chat in1994, Bowie had said: "Our expectations of an ending or conclusion...learned from repeated story-film-narrative culture, gives us a completely unjustified set of expectations for life," to which Brian Eno replied that "the big breakthrough is accepting that fade-outs happen at both ends of whatever you are doing. I always liked records that faded up as well as down, so you felt that what you were hearing was part of a bigger and unknowable thing that existed somewhere out in the ether, but to which you couldn't have access."

 

As we know, the immediate follow-up never materialised. Bowie slipped sideways, just as he's always done, and 1.Outside remains as brilliant and intriguingly inconclusive as it was surely always supposed to be.