The compilation is featuring an array of artists such as Jeff Parker, We Are KING, Meshell Ndegeocello, Helado Negro, Khruangbin, Matthew Tavares, Nia and more. “Modern Love” seeks to champion Bowie’s lesser-known connection to soul, R&B, jazz, funk, and gospel. The prominent jazz influences throughout Bowie’s final album, Blackstar, were a key inspiration for curating this collection of reimagined Bowie songs with these artists. The resulting album is an eclectic tribute featuring a group of artists who not only fit together creatively, but who, like Bowie, straddle different worlds musically, with soul and jazz at their core.
The project was curated by music executive and DJ Drew McFadden, alongside BBE Music founder Peter Adarkwah. “I felt that the connection between Bowie and R&B, jazz, funk, gospel and all things soulful, had never really been explored before — at least not so much in covers, which tend to lean more towards rock and pop,” says McFadden. “Certainly, there’s been plenty of Bowie covers over the years, but none that have really tapped into what seems to have been a big part of his core musical style and direction.”
“Modern Love” is an interactive sonic map. Here, seventeen artists make their way into the varied regions of his sundry catalog and circle back with seventeen unique re-imaginings of both his cornerstone and lesser-known tracks. Some, in atmosphere, feel like a sly alternate take from original sessions (Khruangbin’s ethereal, funk infused version of “Right” from Young Americans); others nod at the source, then wink before diving into the deep waters of another musical stratosphere (Sessa’s sexy Tropicalia-drenched “Panic in Detroit” from Aladdin Sane). Still others take tunes down to the studs and then re-arrange the moody interiors: Meshell Ndegeocello’s pensive “Fantastic Voyage” from Lodger and Tavares’ clever take on “Heroes” which is restructured into a kinetic hardbop-esque backdrop, fronted by ice-cool, held-back vocals. The bullseye these artists aim for is Bowie’s fearlessness. “Fame was an incredible bluff that worked,” he once reflected. “Very flattering. I’ll do anything until I fail. And when I succeed I quit too.”