Tim Bowness celebrates 40 years of making music with new solo album ‘Butterfly Mind’; first single ‘Always The Stranger’ out now 

Coming 40 years after he first started performing in bands in his native North West of England, Tim Bowness returns in 2022 with his seventh solo album ‘Butterfly Mind’, due for release on the 17th June 2022. Produced in conjunction with long-time collaborator Brian Hulse, and mixed & mastered by Steven Wilson, this new album is his most surprising release yet. 

Watch the video for the album’s first single ‘Always The Stranger’, created by Crystal Spotlight here:

This track features the brilliant rhythm section of Richard Jupp (in his first major session since leaving Elbow) & Nick Beggs, as well as featuring haunting backing vocals from Martha Goddard of The Hushtones. Tim comments: “The title of the song derives from the name of my first ever 1980s solo project. Despite being pretty experimental – I was a very intense teenager! – and only existing on home-produced demo cassettes, ATS got a lot of very welcome support from local media (BBC GMR, Piccadilly Radio, Manchester Evening News and Warrington Guardian, in particular). In some ways, the lyric is something of a ‘what might have been’ or even ‘what may be’ scenario. It’s about what can happen when you don’t embrace change or challenge and creative restlessness gives way to cynical stasis.”

Butterfly Mind will be available as a Limited 2CD Edition (incl. alternative mixes and outtakes), as well as a Limited Edition 180g LP+CD featuring a striking die-cut artwork by Carl Glover. Burning Shed have an exclusive green vinyl edition, and you can pre-order now here: https://timbowness.lnk.to/ButterflyMind

To celebrate the release of the new album, Tim will play some select UK live dates, including an instore + Q&A at Rough Trade East in London. 

10.06.2022 – Prohibition, Liverpool, UK 

11.06.2022 – The Musical Museum, Brentford, London, UK

18.06.2022 – Rough Trade East, London, UK

Tim’s seventh solo album – his sixth for InsideOutMusic / Sony – features the rhythm section of Richard Jupp (ex-Elbow) and Nick Beggs alongside a spectacular guest list including Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Dave Formula (Magazine), Peter Hammill (Van Der Graaf Generator), Martha Goddard (The Hushtones), Gregory Spawton (Big Big Train), Mark Tranmer (The Montgolfier Brothers / GNAC), Saro Cosentino (Franco Battiato), Italian Jazz musician Nicola Alesini, US singer Devon Dunaway (Ganga), Stephen W Tayler (Kate Bush) and, marking his first studio work with Tim for nearly three decades, former No-Man violinist Ben Coleman

THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY EXPANDED EDITION OF TIM BOWNESS AND GIANCARLO ERRA’S 2011 ALBUM WARM WINTER TO BE RELEASED AS MEMORIES OF MACHINES

An expanded and remixed, 10th Anniversary version of Tim Bowness and Giancarlo Erra’s 2011 album Warm Winter (now issued as Memories Of Machines, the original project name) will be released on 25th February through Kscope. 

Featuring contributions from Robert FrippPeter HammillJulianne ReganJim MatheosColin EdwinHuxflux NettermalmPeter ChilversAleksei Saks and members of Nosound and Tim Bowness’s live bands, the album contains 10 sweeping and majestic songs (culminating in the epic At The Centre Of It All). 

Available on CD/DVD-A/V – with hi-res stereo and 5.1 Surround mixes – and double vinyl, the reissue contains two 2020 recordings – an album outtake and a new version of the 2006 Nosound piece “Someone Starts To Fade Away” – created especially for this release. 

Featuring a 2021 remix from the original tapes by Giancarlo Erra, this new edition emphasises the textural nature of the music and restores the pieces to their original arrangements and track lengths (resulting in a very different listening experience). 

The artwork has also been enhanced and overhauled for the release by Giancarlo Erra and Caroline Traitler.

Memories Of Machines – 2 disc (CD/DVD), 2LP and digital album are all available to 

PRE-ORDER HERE (https://TBGE.lnk.to/MemoriesOfMachines )

1. New Memories Of Machines [01:25]

2. Before We Fall [05:10]

3. Beautiful Songs You Should Know [05:37]

4. Warm Winter [06:00]

5. Lucky You Lucky Me [04:26]

6. Change Me Once Again [05:46]

7. Something In Our Lives [04:08]

8. Lost And Found In The Digital World [05:25]

9. Schoolyard Ghosts [04:53]

10. At The Centre Of It All [09:49]

11. Dreamless Days (outtake) [04:31]

12. Someone Starts To Fade Away (2020 TBGE) (04:51)

Photography by Katherine Mager

Review – Tim Bowness – Late Night Laments

There’s nothing else that sounds like a Tim Bowness album, they have such a unique palette of sound and a feeling that the music is washing over you with Tim’s soothing vocal deep at the core.

Tim is primarily known as the vocalist and co- writer with the band no-man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson. Tim’s recent quartet of solo releases on InsideOutMusic/Sony have entered the official UK Top 5 Rock, Progressive, and Vinyl charts, as well as the official Scottish charts. Along with Steven Wilson, he is also the co-host of “The Album Years”, which has reached the Top 5 Music Podcast charts in over 25 countries (#1 in 10).

I’ve been a fan of Tim’s solo work since his first release with InsideOut/Sony – ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ about which I said… Tim Bowness is not a slave to his art, he has added soul to the creativity and invention and has delivered an album that engages the listener on all levels.”

Each release since has shown how Tim’s stock, as not only a songwriter but as an artist who paints pictures with music, has risen exponentially. He is a musician who sees what he does as art and each album is a carefully crafted masterpiece which, to this listener at least, deserves to be listened to on vinyl with no distractions and preferably in a darkened room with a glass of full bodied red wine to hand.

To me, progressive music, be it neo-prog, art rock or similar, has all the attributes of what constitutes art. The intricate and sometimes complex music that weaves convoluted soundscapes around our conscience that we are left to decipher and then revel in has often left me speechless and held in a thrall as my mind leisurely decrypts it for me to savour and appreciate.

To listen to the first few notes of a Tim Bowness solo album is to enter a world of beautiful creativity where every note has its place and every word is carefully selected and then curated into perfection by his warm and soulful vocal.

‘Late Night Laments’ is another collection of superbly created musical gems where, contrasting with the sensuous beauty of the music, the frequently dark lyrical themes include meditations on generational divides, ideologically motivated violence, social exclusion, and a much-loved children’s author’s descent into madness.

This is a complex and ever evolving musical journey that, once drawn into, you remain, hypnotised by the elegance and grace of songs such as Northern Rain, We Caught The Light and Never A Place.

Delivering complex, sophisticated music without leaving the listener somewhat bewildered is an art in itself. This emotionally rich album combines a plethora of musical styles to create an intense, poignant and impassioned entry into Tim Bowness’ increasingly impressive solo catalogue.

Released 28th August 2020

Order the album from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/store/timbowness

Tim Bowness releases video and single, ‘I’m Better Now’ from forthcoming album “Late Night Laments”

On August 28th, 2020, Tim Bowness will release his sixth solo album, “Late Night Laments”, on InsideOutMusic. The album offers a collection of lush, atmospheric songs with a wide lyrical scope marking the most intimate yet universal of Bowness’s solo releases. As a first track, Tim Bowness decided to release the unsettling yet accessible ‘I’m Better Now’ (which presents an intriguing stylistic departure for Bowness). 

Bowness comments:

 ‘In some ways ‘I’m Better Now’ represents the flipside of the title song from my previous album, “Flowers At The Scene”.

‘Flowers At The Scene’ focused on the repercussions of a violent crime (the impact on the victim’s family and friends), while ‘I’m Better Now’ is written from the perspective of a perpetrator of a hate crime.

 For a variety of reasons, society has seemingly become increasingly polarised over the last half-decade and along with an rise in intolerance, there’s been a real sense of more and more people becoming disaffected and feeling ‘left behind’ or invisible. Sometimes, the consequences of that can be ugly.’

Peter Chilvers – who’s previously created visuals for Brian Eno – is responsible for the abstract video that superbly evokes the ominous and chilly mood of the lyric. The clip can be viewed here:

Musically, the track includes contributions from Knifeworld’s Kavus Torabi and Melanie Woods. Bowness says, ‘Kavus’s biting and twisting solo is a particular highlight of the song for me.’

Mixed by his longtime partner in no-man, Steven Wilson, and mastered by Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout), the album – co-produced by Bowness and Brian Hulse – combines electronic soundscapes, acoustic instrumentation and unexpected rhythms in a tightly focused and emotionally charged opus. The artwork is once again by Jarrod Gosling. 

“Late Night Laments” will be released as Limited Edition 2CD digipak including five additional studio recordings, as Gatefold LP plus CD, and digital album. 

Pre-orders are available now:

https://timbowness.lnk.to/LateNightLamentsID

An exclusive transparent blue edition (600 copies) plus signed art print is available only at BurningShed.com.

https://burningshed.com/store/timbowness

About Tim Bowness:

Tim Bowness is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with the band no-man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson.  

In addition to releasing seven studio albums and a documentary DVD with no-man, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist Alice (on her Italian Top 20 album “Viaggio In Italia”), Mercury Prize nominated Banco De Gaia, Robert Fripp, Peter Hammill, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera and many others. 

Tim recorded the album “Flame” (1994) with Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree/ex-Japan), co-produced/co-wrote the acclaimed “Talking With Strangers” (2009) for Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport Convention), and has had a long-term collaborative partnership with Peter Chilvers (Brian Eno/Karl Hyde). 

Tim’s recent quartet of solo releases on InsideOutMusic/Sony have entered the official UK Top 5 Rock, Progressive, and Vinyl charts, as well as the official Scottish charts. Along with Steven Wilson, he is also the co-host of “The Album Years”, which has reached the Top 5 Music Podcast charts in over 25 countries (#1 in 10).

Tim Bowness announces August release date and reveals cover for new studio album “Late Night Laments”

On August 28th, 2020, Tim Bowness will release his sixth solo recording, “Late Night Laments”, on InsideOutMusic. The emotionally charged and tightly focused album offers a collection of lush, atmospheric songs with a wide lyrical scope making it the most intimate yet universal of Bowness’s solo releases. 

Mixed by his longtime partner in no-man, Steven Wilson, and mastered by Calum Malcolm (The Blue Nile, Prefab Sprout), the album – co-produced by Bowness and Brian Hulse – combines electronic soundscapes, acoustic instrumentation and unexpected rhythms. Richard Barbieri, Colin Edwin, Kavus Torabi and Evan Carson are amongst the guest musicians. The artwork is once again by the award-winning Jarrod Gosling. 

The track-listing of the album can be viewed below and a first track will be released on July 3rd, 2020 along with physical and digital pre-orders.

TIM BOWNESS – Late Night Laments (38:50)

1) Northern Rain (4.49)

2) I’m Better Now (3.52)

3) Darkline (3.57)

4) We Caught The Light (3.56)

5) The Hitman Who Missed (3.21)

6) Never A Place (4.41)

7) The Last Getaway (4.55)

8) Hidden Life (5.05)

9) One Last Call (4.15)

“Late Night Laments” will be released as Limited Edition 2CD digipak including five additional studio recordings, as Gatefold LP plus CD, and digital album.

About Tim Bowness:

Tim Bowness is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with the band no-man, a long-running collaboration with Steven Wilson.

In addition to releasing seven studio albums and a documentary DVD with no-man, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist Alice (on her Italian Top 20 album “Viaggio In Italia”), Mercury Prize nominated Banco De Gaia, Robert Fripp, Peter Hammill, Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera and many others.

Tim recorded the album “Flame” (1994) with Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree/ex-Japan), co-produced/co-wrote the acclaimed “Talking With Strangers” (2009) for Judy Dyble (ex-Fairport Convention), and has had a long-term collaborative partnership with Peter Chilvers (Brian Eno/Karl Hyde).

Tim’s recent quartet of solo releases on InsideOutMusic/Sony have entered the official UK Top 5 Rock, Progressive, and Vinyl charts, as well as the official Scottish charts. Along with Steven Wilson, he is also the co-host of “The Album Years”, which has reached the Top 5 Music Podcast charts in over 25 countries (#1 in 10). 

Review – Moonshot – Worlds of Yesterday – A Moonshot Retrospective

Though Moonshot may not have reached the commercial and creative peaks of celebrated Progressive peers such as GenesisPink FloydYes and King Crimson, they were arguably one of the best of the chasing pack and fully deserve to be named alongside the likes of Gentle GiantCamelGreensladeThe Yorkshire Parkin ExperimentBJHGryphon, PFMPrawnAnge and others ‘Worlds Of Yesterday‘ is a fine testament to a fine band.

From the Crimson-esque grandeur of The Sweetest Bitter Pill to the straightforward beauty of Before That Before, via the warped creativity of Lost In The Ghost Light and the engaging Pop of Stupid Things That Mean The World, this new compilation contains the band’s strongest work from 1971-1992.

I’ll let Tim Bowness give you his personal perspective on legendary Warrington Proggers Moonshot:

“My 2017 release Lost In The Ghost Light was a homage to the classic Rock album era. The album revolved around my interpretation of the contemporary musings of Moonshot leader Jeff Harrison, though the events in the songs took place between 1967 and 2017. During this period, Rock music had gone from a revolutionary force that defined the zeitgeist to the exact opposite (a safe and nostalgic reminder of a better time). Jeff’s career was of interest to me because he came from my home town and was born on the same date as me in exactly the same place (Victoria Park Maternity Home in Warrington as I’m sure you’re eager to know). It was 16 years earlier, but how could I not be curious?

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were no local musicians of note from the area, so (in both a good and a bad way) Jeff became something of a home town legend regularly played by DJs such as The Longford Lover.

On a personal level, I was interested in how Jeff and Moonshot had been passionately principled for its first 10 years, but seemed a little exhausted and compromised from that point on. Where did the inspiration / drive go? How was all relevance and credibility lost? Why did Jeff make the career choices he did?

Although some critics still rate the band’s early albums (as do I), it’s fair to say that Moonshot’s reputation was sullied by years of playing ‘golden oldies’ to diminishing audiences. Jeff’s 1980s penchant for wearing leopard skin outfits (a la Rod) and his dismissive remarks about contemporary music (post Punk) also had an impact on his critical standing.

In recent years, Jeff’s vocal aversion to downloading and streaming came across as bitter rather than insightful (he sometimes made a good point, but there was no moderation in the way he expressed his views). His latter-day obsessions with President Putin t-shirts and the falling standards of rice pudding production were a little (endearingly?) odd by any standards.”

I confess to having never heard of Moonshot until bass player David K. Jones got in touch about me reviewing this second compilation of material and I’m glad he did, their idiosyncratic music really piqued my interest and I confess to now becoming something of a fan.

The brilliant album opener Moonshot Manchild with it’s edgy, almost reggae rhythm and swirling keyboards is a wonderful piece of music, the vocals driving the storytelling along at a fair lick. The modern and up-to-date feel continues with Stupid Things That Mean The World with a powerful and stripped back bass line giving strong impetus and more of the excellent keyboards acting like the conductor to the vocals that have more than a hint of a certain Phil Collins to them and, let’s face it, that’s not a bad thing is it?.

This band may have their roots in the late 1960’s but the music is definitely of this century. The dreamlike and dramatic wonder of Worlds of Yesterday is an absolute delight to behold with it’s cultured vocal and intricate keyboards, an absolutely wonderful piece of music that shimmers and glows giving joy to the heart and soul. Lost in the Ghostlight is all mystery and cloak and dagger, an edgy and dark song that leaves you on edge as it befuddles your senses in an arbitrary manner.

This contorted originality continues with the slow burning brilliance of Nowhere Good to Go as it builds the tension to almost unbearable levels, the brooding keyboards intensifying in the background adding a hard edge to the vocals, a really clever piece of music. Moonshot show their storytelling originality once again on the utterly mesmerising The Great Electric Teenage Dream, eight minutes of spellbinding musical excellence. A hushed opening and atmospheric vocals play over lush keyboards. There’s a wonderful sparsity that proves beyond doubt that less is very often more. the wistful tone to the voice and the elegant piano add a nostalgic, melancholy tone and the delicately strummed guitar adds contemplation to create something sublime.

A thoughtful and beautiful addition to this compilation, Before That Before is a delight that touches you with its simple grace and heartbreaking mournfulness that leads up to the classic splendour and unashamed pomp of The Sweetest Bitter Pill. Complex and grandiose in scope, this is intelligently crafted music that accompanies the listener on this fascinatingly baroque journey, transfixed and transformed as it comes to a close.

The final track on the album is the towering and imposing Distant Summers, a wall of dynamic sound that washes over you with its unrelenting and almost primeval urge, a towering close to a great compilation of fantastic songs…

…did I say final? If you get the CD then you, lucky listener, get two bonus tracks. The first bonus Track is an enchanting Moonshot version of the Tim Bowness track You’ll Be The Silence and the second, Shadows, is a staggeringly good instrumental that includes themes from the songs on the album along with a new piano theme. To quote David K. Jones:

“We were thinking of Los Endos by Genesis!!!”

So, how to sum up this rather stunning compilation? ‘Worlds of Yesterday’ is, to me, like one of those great lost albums that resurfaces after decades in someone’s attic. I’d never heard of Moonshot before this but, boy, do I wish I had! Brilliantly crafted and delivered songs that feel bang up-to-date and resonate on every level. Believe me, this album should be on everybody’s wish list, it really is that good!

Released 17th January 2020 on Plane Groovy Records.

Order both the vinyl and CD version from Burning Shed here:

https://burningshed.com/index.php?route=product/search&filter_name=Moonshot&filter_sub_category=true

If you order the vinyl then you will receive a download that includes the 2 bonus tracks.

New Moonshot Compilation to Be Released 17th January 2020 Through Plane Groovy Records.

Curated by Tim Bowness, Worlds Of Yesterday is Moonshot‘s first official compilation since Shot Hits in 1979.

From the Crimson-esque grandeur of The Sweetest Bitter Pill to the straightforward beauty of Before That Before, via the warped creativity of Lost In The Ghost Light and the engaging Pop of Stupid Things That Mean The World, WOY contains the band’s strongest work from 1971-1992.

Though Moonshot may not have reached the commercial and creative peaks of celebrated Progressive peers such as Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes and King Crimson, they were arguably one of the best of the chasing pack and fully deserve to be named alongside the likes of Gentle Giant, Camel, Greenslade, The Yorkshire Parkin Experiment, BJH, Gryphon, PFM, Prawn, Ange and others.Worlds Of Yesterday is a fine testament to a fine band.

The album is available from Plane Groovy Records and includes the bands’ hit singles Before That Before and Stupid Things That Mean The World.

My 2017 release Lost In The Ghost Light was a homage to the classic Rock album era. The album revolved around my interpretation of the contemporary musings of Moonshot leader Jeff Harrison, though the events in the songs took place between 1967 and 2017. During this period, Rock music had gone from a revolutionary force that defined the zeitgeist to the exact opposite (a safe and nostalgic reminder of a better time). Jeff’s career was of interest to me because he came from my home town and was born on the same date as me in exactly the same place (Victoria Park Maternity Home in Warrington as I’m sure you’re eager to know). It was 16 years earlier, but how could I not be curious?“, says Tim Bowness.

In the 1970s and 1980s, there were no local musicians of note from the area, so (in both a good and a bad way) Jeff became something of a home town legend regularly played by DJs such as The Longford Lover.” Tim carries on to say.

“On a personal level, I was interested in how Jeff and Moonshot had been passionately principled for its first 10 years, but seemed a little exhausted and compromised from that point on. Where did the inspiration / drive go? How was all relevance and credibility lost? Why did Jeff make the career choices he did?”

The Moonshot album will be available via Burning Shed and will come with a free download of the album plus extra tracks.  Details of the extras will be confirmed closer to the release date, pre-order at the link below.

https://burningshed.com/moonshot_worlds-of-yesterday_vinyl?filter_name=Moonshot&filter_sub_category=true

Here is the title track from the album:

Moonshot are

John Comish – keyboards

James Cooper – drums and percussion

Darren Dean – guitars

David K. Jones – bass guitar, bass pedals, 12 string guitar and backing vocals

John Wilkinson – vocals

with

Sian Doyle, Janet McKinney and Selina Wexler – vocals and Colin McKay – additional programming.

Review – no-man – Love You To Bits

It’s not often that I am gobsmacked by a new release but the new album from no-man, the Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness project, left me quite a bit dumb-founded on first listen.

Like some strange symbiosis of 80’s pop, 90’s dance music and noughties prog, Love You To Bits wasn’t what I was expecting from prog’s standard bearer – Wilson – and the master of cool – Bowness…

The new album, the first studio release in eleven years consists of two connected five-part pieces (Love You To Bits and Love You To Pieces), was twenty-five years in the making and lyrically chronicles the aftermath of a relationship from different perspectives.

Adam Holzman, David Kollar, Ash Soan, Pete Morgan and the Dave Desmond Brass Quintet guest. Produced by no-man, the album was mixed by Bruno Ellingham and mastered by Matt Colton.

Steven Wilson has been very successful at re-inventing progressive rock over recent years and, with his long-term partner in crime Mr Bowness, it appears that they have decided to re-invent what would be considered ‘pop’ music to most ears.

And, to my utmost astonishment, it actually bloody works (I make no apologies for the expletive, I was that surprised!). Using the velvety, comforting tones of Tim’s excellent vocals over an EDM/electronica inspired back-beat is just genius. There’s a vibrancy that is absent from a lot of today’s music, be it pop, progressive or whatever, it just leaves a huge grin on my face.

This inventive and entertaining album never fails to surprise at every turn with elements of pulsating fusion and a wistful and poignant ambience interspersed with crashing guitars and edgy drumbeats.

I have no idea what Steven and Tim were on when they came up with the idea for this pulsating masterpiece but, by golly, can they please give some to the rest of what is becoming a very moribund music scene.

Love You To Bits is a utterly fascinating and overwhelmingly entertaining musical adventure with superb dynamism and a diversity rarely seen in the strictures of conventional music.

Just do yourselves a favour and go and buy it, you will not regret it!

Released 22nd November 2019.

Pre-order from the link below:

https://no-man.lnk.to/LoveYouToBitsSo

Review – Plenty – It Could Be Home – By James R. Turner

I think Mabel Greer’s Toyshop probably have the record for the longest space between being formed and releasing their debut album, however Plenty are running them a close second, originally being formed back in 1986, and with this, their old material rediscovered, reworked and released here for the first time, it’s an album that’s only been 32 years in the making. Hell, I work with people younger than that (which makes me feel old). Anyhow why should a band who didn’t record anything in the 80’s and reappear here matter?

It matters because Plenty were Tim Bowness pre No-Man band. Made of Tim, Brian Hulse (keys/synths/guitars, drum programming) and David K Jones (bass/bass pedals) who got back together to record and finally put down their music for posterity. All this complete with the Carl Glover cover (he truly is the Hipgnosis of modern music).

So, what we get here is the songs of their youth revisited and reworked with the wisdom of years and experience weighing on them.

Now Tim has one of the finest voices in contemporary music, that is a given, and he can add poignancy and emotion to so many things, hell he could even turn my shopping list into an emotional rollercoaster. As he (as we all have) gets older his voice, like a fine wine, is maturing and it’s fascinating to hear the words of his youth on tracks like As Tears Go By or Foolish Waking, and the title track, filtered through the years of experience.

Sitting firmly on the more atmospheric song writing side of the 80’s that threw up bands like The Blue Nile, How We Live and Miracle Mile, Plenty are almost the proving ground for ideas and sounds that would come to fruition in No-Man (and, indeed, Tim’s later solo career).

That doesn’t mean that this album is a historical curio, to be filed away under listen once out of completists interest, oh no, ‘It Could Be Home’ is a gem of a record with a plethora of special guests that help enhance the already strong tracks on here. When you get Michael Bearpark adding his guitar work to Foolish Waking and Every Stranger’s Voice and Pete Chilvers on those and Never Needing, you know you’re listening to an album that oozes class and quality from every musical moment.

In fact, as these 10 tracks breathe and grow, you are drawn into their world as Bowness’ vocals take you on their journey. However this isn’t all about Tim, this is a true group album and it’s wonderful to hear him part of the group where he cut his teeth.

It’s an interesting hybrid of 1980’s musical ideas with 2018’s production techniques and that makes it harder to categorize. Is it a reissue? Is it a new album? Or is it a curious amalgam of the two? Either way, there’s lots here for any fan of ambient song writing and, of course, fans of Tim’s voice to love.

It’s quite ironic to think that had this been released in the late 1980’s it probably would have got lost in the whole Madchester phase that was sweeping the nation and become a cult classic to maybe a dozen students in a bedsit somewhere, with the vinyl commanding huge prices on eBay.

Here, on release it’s now likely to hit a far wider audience, who will appreciate the delicacy and beauty in these songs, as well as the song writing skills here.

This is one of those albums that slowly insinuates itself into your soul until you find yourself humming sections of it to yourself as you’re filling up the kettle and is one of those albums that Tim perfected with No-Man, where the space in between the music is just as important.

As an exercise in minimalist pop/rock it works to perfection and reveals itself to be far more than just a nostalgia ride, this is living breathing music for the heart, mind and soul, and as such is a fantastic piece of music.

The best things in life come to those who wait, and this was well worth waiting for, maybe best not leave it so long next time chaps.

Released 27th April 2018

Order ‘It Could Be Home’ from Burning Shed here

Review – no-man – Returning Jesus re-issue – by James R. Turner

A long awaited welcome re-issue from the 4th album by the No-Man pairing of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson, ‘Returning Jesus’ was the follow up to 1996’s ‘Wild Opera’, and was originally released in 2001, which was quite a big gap for the group, due to Steven Wilson’s profile raised somewhat by the success of Porcupine Tree no doubt.

Fully remastered and expanded to a double disc set, including a new remaster by Steven Wilson of the album, and plenty of b-sides, EP material and unreleased tracks, this is the definitive edition you might say.

As a connoisseur of remastered products, particularly those where Steven Wilson has been given a free hand, it’s a little disappointing that there isn’t a 5.1 mix, as No-Man records are perfect for 5.1 (the mix on ‘Together We’re Stronger’ for instance is sublime) still, that’s my only quibble with the reissuing, and as ever it should always be about the music and not the medium.

It’s hard to talk about ‘Returning Jesus’, as I tried it once but didn’t have the receipt, so Jesus is now living in my cupboard, still it’s nearly his birthday so I might get him out then…

I digress, the music maketh the album, and this is an excellent example of the collaborative skills of Bowness & Wilson, I have long stated the opinion that Tim Bowness is one of the finest vocalists around today, and having seen him perform with Henry Fool and his own solo shows, I can without a doubt keep repeating that opinion without fear of contradiction. Here, the beautifully haunting low key, almost minimalism of the opener Only Rain (which features performances from guests like Ben Christopher (guitar) the late Ian Carr (on plaintive trumpet) and David Kosten (synths) is the perfect symbiosis of Bowness’ vocals and Wilson’s music, the slow build and the evocative imagery is sublime.

The hauntingly wistful No Defence is one of those song stories that Tim specialises in lyrically and with some wonderful trumpet from Ian Dixon, it is another one of those wonderful No-Man songs that could be from a soundtrack.

In fact No-Man specialise in making movies using music, and these albums with their evocative lyrics and sublime widescreen performances transcend the normal, and take music into a different stratosphere.

(Both pictures of Steven and Tim by Carl Glover)

I adore the work of No-Man, and love the trilogy of albums that Tim has done recently, however I understand that this kind of music is very much mood music, you have to be in the right space mentally and emotionally to listen to No-Man, and bittersuite slow burners that grow like Close Your Eyes (8 minutes long on the main event, 7 minutes on the EP version from 1998 included here in the bonus tracks) is one of those heartwrenching songs that will either have you sobbing with the melancholy, or fill you with some kind of uplifting joy, and the guitar solo in there is an absolute belter by the way.

Music like this from No-Man seems to grow organically, and the length of the tracks show this, the shortest Slow it All Down being cut from the 5 minute demo on the 2nd disc to a 3:43 song on the actual album. I know some people think bonus tracks that weren’t originally released , were unreleased for a reason, but as an anorak I do like hearing demos and seeing how the final piece ended, it gives an interesting insight into the songwriting process, and whilst for some it’s the equivalent of breaking the 4th wall, for others it’s a part of the process we don’t always see, and I don’t see it as breaking the spell, for that reason the 5 demos on disc 2 are an interesting place to visit.

The fact that only 2 songs clock in at under 5 minutes shows how the music on this album grows into itself, there’s plenty of soft sounds and spaces that give the music room to live and breathe, and is very much a fantastic example of where less is more.

The star of the record is undoubtedly Tim Bowness’ vocals, and Steven Wilson sensibly allows the music to build around these, and on this album (and their others) the lyrics are as important as the music, and lets face it, when you are making an album with Tim Bowness singing, you don’t want to drown his voice out in a sea of instrumentation do you?

Carolina Skeletons, with its wonderfully evocative title, it’s laid back groove and it’s reprise (Carolina Reprise on disc 2) is one of the standout songs on the album, and showcases all that is good about No-Man.

Returning Jesus, the title track is full of low fi percussion, bubbling electronica and metronomic beats that skitter and pulse, whilst Tim’s voice again pulls the song together, one of the more experimental tracks on the album, it seems to fit the flow, despite it jarring slightly in parts.

The fantastic Lighthouse, features guests like Theo Travis and Colin Edwin, whilst Steve Jansen (who drums throughout) out does himself here. The track builds and grows into an absolute treat throughout, foreshadowing Tim’s later solo work, and work with Henry Fool.

This album ebbs and flows throughout with sublime musical work, and Tim’s fantastic vocals, and I have always found that people either love No-Man or have never heard of them, this re-issue is an excellent place to dip your toe in if your new to the band, and as a long time fan, is a fantastic addition to the catalogue.

Released 3rd November 2017

Order ‘Returning Jesus’ from Burning Shed here