First played on Radio 2, 21 September 2005, 10:07 a.m.
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It's the first time we've heard so much as a high-pitched squeak from Kate Bush in over a decade, and that's got to be a momentous occasion. Ken Bruce tries to announce the song without too much build-up, but even he can't keep the excitement out of his voice. You can feel the tension building as we all wait for something whose shape we don't yet know. It's in the trees! It's coming!
And when it comes... it's pure Kate. With a voice that shines through the rough, tangled texture of the music like sunlight reflected on steel, she slips effortlessly back into the place that's been reserved for her. "King of the Mountain" isn't a big comeback number; it's just as if the intervening 12 years never happened. The sense of yearning and striving that characterised 1992's The Red Shoes is as strong as ever:
Could you climb higher and higher?and the simple lyricism is set like a jewel in a rich mythical landscape, a fairytale land with dark shadows amidst its snows.
Could you climb right over the top?
It would be extravagant to suggest that the figure of the "King of the Mountain", the slumbering hero waiting to reawaken and redeem the land, is a suitable symbol for Kate's return to recording; but the mood of the song is one of awakening. It's a restless, windswept swell of rising energy that can't help but stir something into life that lay buried there, that lay buried deep.
The wind is whistlingIt's a perfect song for the turning seasons; an autumnal song, with the cold wind catching at its coat-sleeves, bringing a promise of winter. It's too early to say exactly what that wind will carry on its currents; but we're watching from the windows, and we can hear the storm rising outside.
The wind is whistling through the house