Kate Bush – “Cloudbusting”

In 1985 British singer-song writer Kate Bush released the album Hounds of Love, most known for the single “Running Up That Hill.” The second single to be released from the album was this song, “Cloudbusing” that reached number 20 in the British top 40 that year.

The song is inspired by A Book of Dreams, the 1973 memoir of Peter Reich. Both tell the story of the very close relationship between Peter and his father, psychologist and philosopher Wilhelm Reich. It describes the boy’s memories of his life with Reich on their family farm, called Orgonon where the two spent time “cloudbusting”, a rain-making process which involved pointing at the sky a machine designed and built by Reich, called a cloudbuster. The lyrics further describes Wilhelm Reich’s abrupt arrest and imprisonment, the pain of loss the young Peter felt, and his helplessness at being unable to protect his father.


The prominent use of string instruments do a lot to transform the mid-1980’s tune into something more out of time, an echo of the past. Despite the 1930’s appearance and fashions, the “cloudbuster” of the video is about as Steampunk as it gets, a wonderful machine of brass and cogs, tubes and dreams, and it literally is designed to produce clouds from steam. Donald Sutherland delivers a fine performance as Wilhelm Reich that amplifies the video’s cinematic quality. Despite being almost 30 years old, this song and video remain timeless.

I Can't Believe It's Not SteampunkAlso, the video was made two years before the term “Steampunk” was even coined, so The Pandora Society have awarded it with the label “I Can’t Believe That It’s Not Steampunk!” for being so fantastically Steampunk without necessarily trying to be so 🙂


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