22nd December

adminDiary

As Christmas shoppers fall over one another in the hope of finding that elusive bargain or a limited edition ‘Hannah Montana sings Magma’ doll, I guess now is as good a time as any to provide an update on my various nefarious activities:

No-Man:

The live DVD, both in terms of audio soundtrack and visuals, has now been completed (and approved by myself and the man Wilson). A lovely looking document of a special performance, it successfully captures the soulful fragility and gritty dynamics of a performance that, for me at least, suggested new sonic possibilities for future No-Man music.

More interviews have been conducted for the documentary. Despite Richard Smith’s professionalism and encouraging presence, yet again I think I realised how much I’d rather have silence as my soundtrack to what I’m sure will be an interesting chronicle of No-Man’s career. Hopefully, Richard will agree to present me as a wildly gesticulating mute, or just write me out of my own history altogether!

Words often seem inadequate to express intensely emotional experiences, and in conveying hopes and ideas I always feel embarrassed by how pretentious and repetitious they can sound spoken out loud. Overall, I’m left feeling that interviews (especially on camera) only seem to express a small aspect of a personality. On a personal level, I always feel as if I’ve let both myself and the music down by being so woefully inarticulate. 2009 resolution number one – never speak again!

The two new No-Man studio pieces are coming together nicely and ‘Maestro’ Steve Bingham has added some mighty fine violin to the No-Man version of The Place Where You’d Hide. The pieces, which aren’t scheduled for a new album, are likely to appear as extras on the forthcoming DVD, or as downloads.

At the moment, we’re hoping that both DVDs will still be ready for a Spring 2009 release.

Judy Dyble – Talking With Strangers:

Almost finished, this has produced some wonderful songs (and some wonderful performances from its extensive cast of guests). In my role of co-producer, I’ve been acquainted with Folk Rock royalty (including Fairport’s Simon Nicol, Pentangle’s Jaqui McShee and All About Eve’s Julianne Regan) and heard some of Ian McDonald’s finest playing since his work on 1969’s In The Court Of The Crimson King. The 20 minute epic, Harpsong, is perhaps the piece King Crimson fans will be most interested in, as it not only features Pat Mastelotto, Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald, it also possesses a ripping Henry Fool-esque riff in 14 time somewhere in the middle (an atypical moment on an otherwise blissed-out, ambitious singer-songwriter album)

Again, a Spring 2009 release is looking likely for this. I’ve extensively sung backing vocals throughout the album and played the occasional instrument, but the first single is likely to be a full-blown duet called, Grey October Day. The ‘Rene and Renato’ crown is now officially under threat!

Giancarlo Erra:

We’ll be doing more work on our collaboration album in early 2009. All the songs have been written, and we’re just waiting on final performances and mixes. As stated previously, the resulting album is something of an unofficial (and potentially more upbeat) follow-up to Schoolyard Ghosts. As my idea of an upbeat experience is listening to David Bowie’s Low while reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I may be wrong.

Elsewhere:

I’ll be appearing on a couple of tracks on Norwegian band The Opium Cartel’s new album. An interesting Folk/Electronica hybrid from White Willow’s Jacob Holm-Lupo, my main contribution will be on a cover of Brian Eno’s classic, By This River.

Bowness/Chilvers, Bowness/Murphy, Bowness/Bowness and Henry Fool have recorded albums worth of material over the last few years, but so far, no proposed release or finish dates are on the agenda. The same goes for the Fjieri Group and Stefano Panunzi albums. In the case of the Fjieri Group, two very well produced songs featuring my lead vocals, alongside superb contributions from Gavin Harrision, Mick Karn and Richard Barbieri, still appear to be sleeping on a computer somewhere in Rome and awaiting an awakening kiss.

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With the release of Schoolyard Ghosts (something I still rate amongst the best of what I’ve done) and the return of No-Man to the live stage, 2008 has been a good year.

Thanks to those of you who have read my very sporadic diary ramblings, bought and enjoyed SG and made the No-Man live experience such an enjoyable one.

Good luck in finding the Hannah Montana doll.

Listening:

Lambchop – Oh Ohio (2008)
Momus (back catalogue)
Roy Harper (back catalogue)
Scott Walker – Tilt (1995)
Scott Walker – The Drift (2006)

Watching:

Burn After Reading (2008)
The Caretaker (1963)
Disco Pigs (2001)
Made (1972)
The Mist (2008)

Reading:

Cormac McCarthy – The Road (2006)