Bowie Cuts New Album, Ties With Virgin Records

Rock chameleon launches his own label, called ISO.

Shape-shifter David Bowie is working on his next musical mutation, and while his reputation for changing his tune on each album will no doubt be sustained on the new disc, another alteration will also be in place.

The 54-year-old chameleon of rock has amended his résumé to include record label founder by launching his own indie imprint, ISO, which will issue his new disc in the first half of 2002, according to his publicist. Virgin Records released Bowie's last three studio LPs, including 1999's Hours.

The singer was able to sever ties with the label after Virgin overlooked an option to renew his contract, according to a statement on his Web site. And now that he's gone indie, Bowie feels there's nothing to hold back the seemingly endless artistic flow he's been enjoying for the past 32 years.

"I've had one too many years of bumping heads with corporate structure," Bowie explained in a statement. "Many times I've not been in agreement with how things are done and, as a writer of some proliferation, frustrated at how slow and lumbering it all is. I've dreamed of embarking on my own setup for such a long time, and now is the perfect opportunity."

He began work on the as-yet-untitled album this fall in his New York studio with longtime producer and collaborator Tony Visconti, who began helming Bowie albums with 1969's classic Space Oddity. The Who's Pete Townshend, the LP's only guest thus far, contributed guitar on one song, Bowie's publicist said. The collaboration stemmed from rehearsals for the Concert For New York City benefit in October (see "McCartney, Jagger, Bowie, The Who Come To NY's Aid").

Bowie is scheduled play the annual Tibet House Benefit Concert on February 22 at New York's Carnegie Hall along with Philip Glass and the Kronos Quartet. Other artists are expected to be added to the bill.