Bowie's Greatest: Nico Muhly on 'Magic Dance'

Bowie's Greatest: Nico Muhly on 'Magic Dance'

(Labyrinth, 1986)

My first exposure to David Bowie’s music was similar, I imagine, to that of a lot of children of the ’80s: through that unbelievable movie Labyrinth.

In it, Bowie is a sort of feline sexual predator, but also a sort of surrogate parent to our heroine. At a certain point, he sings a long, exuberant, and joyful song wearing jodhpurs and tossing Muppets around his castle. The song is at once impish, beautiful, synthesized, organic, dangerous, and organized. The whole spectacle is outrageous and I’ve been an enormous fan ever since.

Nico Muhly is the composer of Two Boys, an opera, and he scored the soundtrack to Kill Your Darlings.