Searching for a connection he could nurture, Glass focused on Bowie’s words, and ultimately discovered the seed of his symphony. “The writing was remarkable,” Glass concluded. “It was someone who had created a political language for themselves.”
So Glass stripped “Lodger” of its music until only the lyrics remained. Then, Glass says, he “reset the words.”
Describing it as “a different kind of collaboration” than those for his first two Bowie symphonies, Glass added, “What I was going to do on ‘Lodger’ had nothing to do with the music that was on the record.”
The music on the record wasn’t actually recorded in Berlin but across two 1978-1979 sessions in Montreaux, Switzerland. Featuring Bowie, Eno and a half-dozen players including Carlos Alomar and Adrian Belew, for “Lodger” the team experimented with compositional styles.
They employed Eno’s famed “Oblique Strategies” cards to spark creativity, rotated instruments and drew on unlikely sources including Turkish sounds and Chinese propaganda music.
“This was an album of many experiments that for the most part worked really well,” wrote Bowie’s longtime producer Tony Visconti in the liner notes to his 2017 remix of “Lodger,” which was approved by Bowie before his death and released as part of the 2017 box set “A New Career in a New Town: 1977-1982.”