Following the release of the title single last week, more details of David Bowie‘s upcoming album ★ (pronounced Blackstar) have emerged via Rolling Stone. Though Bowie himself has not given an interview in at least a decade, the article pieces together comments from the collaborators called upon for this, Bowie’s 28th album. Set to be released on the icon’s 69th birthday, ★ has technically been in the works for over a year with Bowie, longtime producer Tony Visconti and drummer Zack Alford cut a few demos at Magic Shop mid-last year.
Magic Shop being the same small studio in New York where he had worked with the jazz quartet lead by Donny McCaslin earlier the same year for Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime), which appeared on his compilation album Nothing Has Changed. Though they were initially only enlisted for that one track, the quartet have since been called upon to work with Bowie on ★.
★ will be Bowie’s first album in two years, and after the somewhat traditional rock and roll of The Next Day, he is said to have been utterly determined to make something completely different. Which is where the Kendrick Lamar influence comes in. According to Visconti, during the time of recording, “We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar.” Though he stresses the finished product is nothing like that, what they took from the hip-hop artist was his open-mindedness “he didn’t do a straight-up hip-hop record. He threw everything on there, and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. The goal, in many, many ways, was to avoid rock & roll.”
David Bowie’s 28th studio album, ★, will be released 8 January 2016.