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David Bowie's "★" single/film images feel inspired by "Twin Peaks" and "True Detective"

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Watching the new David Bowie short film for "★" (pronounced “Blackstar”), the first single from the album of the same name and a follow-up to 2013’s The Next Day, I had a mix of reactions. It was bizarre, unsettling, mind-blowing and ... vaguely jazzy. All in all, I loved it. 

And I loved it because it felt like Bowie was channeling ideas and themes from Twin Peaks (including Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, which he appears in) but also the strange, cult mythology of Carcosa and The Yellow King as featured in the first season of True Detective

In fact, in Robert W. Chambers horror tale The King in Yellow,  which is referenced during True Detective's investigations into ritual murders in Louisiana, Carcosa is noted in "Cassilda's Song," as are "black stars," something pointed out to me by the sync blogger at The Libyan Sibyl

There is a Lovecraftian Cthulhu-type entity in the video (Lovecraft loved The King in Yellow), and Bowie is blindfolded but can see through two small holes in the material. Very eerie stuff. But with Bowie, not surprising. He's long been linked with the esoteric.

And yet, True Detective and the mysteries of Carcosa are allegedly not reference points for Bowie or the director of the "★" short film. As for Twin Peaks, I could easily have seen David Lynch involved in this film somewhere behind the scenes. 

As noted this past week by Lauretta Charlton at the culture website Vulture.com: “The short was directed by music video vet Johan Renck, who is also behind The Last Panthers, the Sky TV show that uses "★" for its theme.

At today's premiere at Nitehawk Cinema in Brooklyn — one of several free screenings — Renck told me he and Bowie definitely did not have carcosa or True Detective in mind when putting this epic 10-minute video together.

They did, however, discuss the long uninterrupted shots in Tarkovsky films, Jodorowsky's Holy Mountain, and vintage stop-motion animation in Popeye cartoons, which helped inspire some of the manic shaking.

Is the astronaut Major Tom, though? Maybe, he says. Watch for yourself and decide.”

The Blackstar album will be released on January 8, 2016, which will be Bowie's 69th birthday. Red Dirt Report is very much looking forward to hearing/reviewing this one.

In the meantime, watch the "★" video here.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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