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David Bowie's 'Blackstar:' Inspired by Kendrick Lamar, Features LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy

by William Hoffman   Nov 24, 2015 23:03 PM EST

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>David Bowie is looking to defy all traditional rock conventions with his new record ★ (pronounced Blackstar), and he's taking in influences from both Kendrick Lamar and former LCD Soundsystem frontman, James Murphy.

Bowie's creative process throughout the creation of this album has been kept secret, even to members of his own production crew. Producer Tony Visconti, who worked on Bowie's first album in a decade -- 2013's The Next Day -- said the singer went recluse following their first session and didn't pop up until months later when the "Ziggy Stardust" artist said he was ready to record again.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Visconti said Bowie was determined to do something different.

"We were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar," Visconti said. "We wound up with nothing like that, but we loved the fact Kendrick was so open-minded and 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."

Based on the music video for ★'s title track, it's clear that his music is going to places it's never gone before. Just watch the short film below for a taste of the album's unconventional nature complete with astronaut skulls and religious rituals.

Murphy was set to play a big part in that weirdness but wound up simply playing percussion on two of the tracks. Viconti said they had planned to include him as a producer but he just had other projects to attend to and his role was never really defined.

"He brought in some synths and some percussion and had a ton of ideas," Visconti said.

Read the full feature over at Rolling Stone for more details about the album and Bowie's jazz influences. ★ is set to for release on Jan. 8, Bowie's 69th birthday.

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