The Buddha Of Suburbia album coverWritten by: David Bowie
Recorded: 1993
Producers: David Bowie, David Richards

Released: 8 November 1993

Available on:
The Buddha Of Suburbia
All Saints


David Bowie: saxophone, synthesizer
Erdal Kızılçay: keyboards, synthesizer, bass guitar, trumpet, drums
Mike Garson: piano
David Richards: drum programming

‘South Horizon’ is an instrumental on David Bowie’s album The Buddha Of Suburbia.

On my favourite piece, ‘South Horizon’, all elements, from lead instrumentation to texture, were played both forwards and backwards. The resulting extracts were then intercut arbitrarily giving Mike Garson a splendidly eccentric backdrop upon which to improvise. I personally think Mike gives one of his best-ever performances on this piece and it thrills on every listening, confirming to me at least, that he is still one of the most extraordinary pianists playing today.
David Bowie, 15 September 1993
The Buddha Of Suburbia sleeve notes

Although not often evident in his earlier recordings, Bowie had loved jazz from a young age. His 1990s work often showcased his love for the form, from Black Tie White Noise’s ‘Looking For Lester’ to 1.Outside’s ‘A Small Plot Of Land’.

‘South Horizon became very interesting jazz. It starts with the drums. David sampled my trumpet phrase and I played the inverted double bass line. Mike Garson later added piano.
Erdal Kızılçay, May 2020
Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001) book

‘South Horizon’ is the most jazz-indebted cut on The Buddha Of Suburbia. A two-part instrumental, it is primarily a showcase for Mike Garson, the pianist whose most celebrated work remains the astonishing extended solo on ‘Aladdin Sane’.

Garson improvised piano parts on two Buddha Of Suburbia songs, ‘Bleed Like A Craze, Dad’ and ‘South Horizon’. The three-hour overdub session took place in O’Henry Sound Studios in Burbank, California.

David did the whole thing, then he came out to LA and he brought the tapes and in three hours I did the piano work and I just listened to the music on earphones. Again he directed where to play but I just played on top of it. Right after the Young Americans tour he said, ‘You’re going to be working with me for the next twenty years.’ Then I didn’t see him for twenty years! Then he called me and he said, ‘Let’s go.’ It was as if ten minutes had passed, it was that bizarre. I thought some of the music on Buddha was fantastic.
Mike Garson
Strange Fascination, David Buckley

Garson and Bowie had reunited in 1992 during the recording of Black Tie White Noise, on which the pianist performed on ‘Looking For Lester’. Garson appeared on the subsequent studio albums 1.Outside, Earthling, Heathen, and Reality, and remained a part of Bowie’s live band until the singer’s final shows.

I do remember The Buddha Of Suburbia quite well. It’s a really good record. I’m on a couple of the tracks – ‘Bleed Like A Craze, Dad’ and ‘South Horizon’. David had already done a lot of the work, and brought the tapes to California (we still used tape at that time). He asked me to meet him in a very good recording studio, so we went in and… I just improvised. I played lots of piano and a lot of it ended up on the record. I remember ‘South Horizon’ very well. He just let me go wild on that. He loved what I did, and then he thanked me and then he left. All in three hours. My contribution to that, all of it, was done in three hours.
Mike Garson
The Mouth magazine

A four-track CD single was released in November 1993 in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. It contained the songs ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’, ‘South Horizon’, ‘Dead Against It’, and ‘Buddha Of Suburbia’ (Rock Mix).

‘South Horizon’ was included on Bowie’s 1993 privately-pressed compilation All Saints. When the album went on general release in 2001 as All Saints: Collected Instrumentals 1977–1999, it omitted the track, along with ‘Pallas Athena’, ‘The Wedding’, and ‘Looking For Lester’.

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Next song: ‘The Mysteries’
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