Murphy mostly sidestepped this past when he eased into his solo career. His morose, luxuriant, somehow uplifting music -- epitomized by Deep in 1990 -- gained him a widespread audience when his near-hit "Cuts You Up" landed on American FM charts. But that was 12 years ago. Nothing he's done since has reaped as much attention as did the 1999 reunion tour of Bauhaus, which took him full circle to the fog and angst of his early days.
In the last century, a new record by Murphy would have been met with excitement by goths, postpunks and new wavers everywhere. Now he has to worry about his new album being perceived as a nonevent. Fortunately, instead of reflecting an underground music hero's middle-age crazies or a sober and alienated post-MTV afterlife, Murphy's new album, Dust, explores the delicate line between Eastern (especially Turkish) and Western philosophical and musical sensibilities. The songs nimbly avoid musical craters and preplotted destinations; instead, Murphy aims for a higher realm that offers a temporary respite from modern rock clichés and boring Peter Gabriel Real World records.
Years ago Murphy moved to Turkey and developed a deep-felt interest in Rumi and Sufism, and the sounds of his adopted home country echo within Dust's grooves. "I'm showcasing my 'Turkishness' in a very natural and authentic way, but it's not like a world album or world-tourists album," Murphy insists. "It's very alternative, yet we're using very incredible Turkish instruments and players alongside a very Western approach, which is very authentic and completely powerful in its own way."
Whether you fell in love with the mesmerizing turbulent beats of Bauhaus two decades ago or the savvy songwriting foundation of solo Murphy, the Dust live show should be a treat.