Known for her love of literature and eclectic musical style, Kate Bush is also believed to have sampled her own flatulence and played it back on a Fairlight sampler, says a former collaborator.
Irish musician Dónal Lunny worked with Bush on Night Of The Swallow, which featured on 1980 album The Dreaming. He recently told Uncut: “She was a funny, mischievous woman. Somebody told me she sampled a fart on the Fairlight and she would happily play tunes on it!”
It’s gratifying to know that, even in the early days of sampling, an artist as sophisticated as Bush may have been using the technology for puerile ends.
The star was introduced to the Fairlight by Peter Gabriel, who’s said to have taken delivery of the very first Fairlight Series I in the UK, and used it extensively on both The Dreaming and the all-conquering Hounds of Love album, from 1985.
It seems that Bush was still using the Fairlight some years later, too. The Kate Bush Encyclopedia reports that, speaking to International Musician in 1989, the star confirmed: “As we have a Fairlight, it tends to negate us getting in other sampling gear. We're pretty well covered with the Fairlight and the DX7 for keyboard and the quality of the Fairlight is much better, though so difficult to use. Everyone says that. I used to program it myself, but since the new software... I can't keep up. They keep changing it as soon as I learn to program it.”
Designed by Peter Vogel and Kim Ryrie, the original Fairlight CMI was released in 1979, with systems starting at $25,000 and rising to $175,000. It’s since been re-released as an iPhone app and emulated various times as a plugin.