Belgian DJs Soulwax (aka 2ManyDJs) have been blending rock and dance since 1995. You may have heard some of their mashups or remixes over the years. But in 2012 they created Radio Soulwax, a combination app and live experience, and went big with a series of 24 hour-long mixes, all with accompanying music videos. The most relevant to our current interests, and very much worthy of an hour of your time, is their re-mixtape of David Bowie’s career, called Dave.
In the above video, model Hannelore Knuts plays a very faithful looking 1976-era Bowie, navigating a mysterious hotel in which every room contains some recreation of a classic (or rare!) Bowie record cover, and is laced throughout with symbolism and nods to the artist's life and career. It’s a conceit that builds throughout this phantasmagoric tale into a spectacular, heartbreaking, and roundly satisfying payoff, all the while bolstered by Radio Soulwax’s clever blends of Bowie’s back catalog, including rare cuts and covers. (I especially love the mix of “Heroes” of “Absolute Beginners,” one of his most famous songs alongside his most underrated one, which now seem to be flipsides of the same story).
A labor of love according to director Wim Reygaert, the film contains other doppelgangers that interact with Bowie: William S. Burroughs, Iggy Pop, Freddie Mercury, Lulu, Tony Visconti, John Lennon, and rock photographer Andy Kent all make an appearance, along with numerous Bowie incarnations. Of all the tributes to the Thin White Duke out there in the last week, this is one of the few that will fully assuage the soul. Check it out.
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the FunkZone Podcast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, read his other arts writing at tedmills.com and/or watch his films here.