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Tuesday 31 March 2020

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One problem with very occasional blog writing, as I’ve just found out, is that the world can be in a very different place at the end of the process compared with where it was at the beginning.

I started this in January/February in the midst of a song-writing frenzy (well, 7 songs completed in a month) and ended it in lockdown in March.

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Welcome to ‘the year of living miserably’!

Following the dynamic duo of Flowers At The Scene and Love You To Bits, I’ve been writing more material for what will be a consistently atmospheric new solo album. Started in August – under the working of title of Late Night Laments – seven more new pieces have been written since the start of 2020 and a couple of unreleased older songs (that are unlikely to make the final album cut) have been re-worked in the style of the new songs.

The music differs wildly from Love You To Bits and also marks a departure from FATS. The overall approach is intimate while retaining the cinematic and widescreen production aspects of my previous Inside Out label solo albums. This is an album that’s been created ‘in the wee small hours’ and designed for late night (or headphone) listening.

As on FATS, my main musical collaborator and sounding board for Laments is Bob/Brian/Bobian Hulse. What’s been wonderful is that we’ve managed to create a cohesive soundworld for the new material without forcing anything or creating songs in a self-conscious way. There’s been an inspirational back and forth between the two of us that’s naturally pushed the music into some, hopefully, fresh territories. As with all the recent album projects, it’s developed an obsessive momentum and the biggest triumph is that I still feel compelled to write and still feel that I’m not yet repeating myself. Three of the stronger new songs feature the word ‘last’ in the title and there’s an emotional urgency in the music’s relaxed style that points to this being conceived as if it’s a final statement. The air of despair hangs heavy over the songs, which means the album is unlikely to grace any party playlists alongside Clean Bandit or Smokey. More’s the pity!

For me, the new music harks back to the 1980s and 1990s when I’d often only listen to music very late at night. During this time, albums like Talk Talk’s Laughing Stock, Nick Drake’s Pink Moon, Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, John Martyn’s One World, Peter Hammill’s And Close As This, David Sylvian’s Secrets Of The Beehive, Steve Reich’s Tehilim, Billie Holiday’s Lady In Satin, It’s Immaterial’s Song, Scott 3, The Songs Of Leonard Cohen, American Music Club’s Everclear, The Blue Nile’s Hats, Miles Davis’s In A Silent Way and countless others would be repeatedly played and they firmly imprinted themselves on my brain.

While the music is delivered in an intensely personal way, the lyrics are quite diverse and more often than not revolve around political or sociological issues.

12 brand new songs have been written and two old Plenty songs have been re-recorded. Out of this, its likely that I’ll opt for an 11 track, 46 minute album focusing solely on the new material (partly because of the consistency of tone and vision that they share).

Mixed by Maestro Wilson, production is by Bowness and Bobian, and guest performances have been delivered by regulars including Colin Edwin, Tom Atherton and Alistair Murphy, and newcomers such as Evan Carson, Kavus Torabi and Melanie Woods. Also of note is that my old sparring partner Richard Barbieri has provided some wonderful (and typically unique) synth solos on some of the songs.

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The Bowness / Chilvers album Modern Ruins is finally scheduled for release after three years in limbo.

Finished in 2017, the music was written over a period of 10 years, though about half of it was created in 2016. For me, it’s odd to think that it was put together at the same time as Lost In The Ghost Light (a very different proposition indeed). It’s also odd that it’s four albums old for me as its completion came before Plenty’s It Could Be Home, Flowers At The Scene, Love You To Bits and Late Night Laments. As such, for me it’s almost like a missive from another time.

As before, I feel it takes the spirit of California, Norfolk further and contains three of the strongest songs Peter and I have written together.

Talking of Lost In The Ghost Light, Worlds Of Yesterday the Moonshot compilation that I curated is definitely worth hearing for those of you of a more Progressive musical bent. The performances are uniformly excellent and the band have done an amazing job of accurately evoking the eras that the songs ostensibly come from.

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After years of off-hand mentions in interviews, the oft-discussed No-Man ‘Disco Symphony’ Love You To Bits finally made it’s way into the world in late November 2019. As many of you know, the seeds grew out of a song written in 1994 (around the time of the release of Flowermouth) that we returned to sporadically over a twenty year period. We always knew what we wanted to achieve with it, but the song either seemed out of step with where No-Man was at or appeared beyond our abilities at the time. Being both ambitious and accessible, for me the finished album represents aspects of no-man at its very best.

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Fortunately, the sales and critical reception for both Flowers At The Scene and Love You To Bits were positive and built on where Lost In The Ghost Light left off in 2017. FATS getting recognised in both the critic’s and reader’s polls in Prog magazine was very pleasing indeed. As always, thanks for the continuing support.

Stay safe!

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2019 Favourites (belated!)

1) John Luther Adams – Become Desert
2) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Ghosteen
3) Thom Yorke – Anima
4) Cate le Bon – Reward
5) The Who – WHO
6) Leonard Cohen – Thanks For The Dance
7) Brian Eno/Roger Eno/Daniel Lanois – For All Mankind
8) Isildurs Bane & Peter Hammill – In Amazonia
9) The Specials – Encore
10) Baby Bird – Photosynthesis
11) Richard Dawson – 2020
12) Angel Olsen – All Mirrors

Lockdown Listening

John Luther Adams – Become Ocean (2014) / Become Desert (2019)
Richard Barbieri – Planets + Persona (2017)
David Bowie – Conversation Piece (2019)
The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
Nick Drake – Pink Moon (1974)
Jethro Tull – Stormwatch (40th Anniversary Edition) (1979)
David Lang – Pierced (2008)

Tim Bowness/Peter Chilvers – Modern Ruins

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18 years after the duo’s debut California, Norfolk, Tim Bowness and Peter Chilvers return with the exquisite melancholy of Modern Ruins.

Mixed by the legendary Peter Hammill, the album alternates between fragile piano-led songs and atmospheric Electronica-infused pieces which take the duo’s music to new levels of accomplishment.

CD in rigid matt-finish Japanese-style card sleeve.

All copies come with a signed postcard.

Pre-order for 10th April release via https://burningshed.com/store/timbowness

A reissue of California, Norfolk, featuring the 2013 deluxe edition mastering and extra tracks will be released on the same day.

Abandoned Dancehall Dreams Chart Performance

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10342422_723118254394147_596093167591887468_nAbandoned Dancehall Dreams in the UK rock charts!

Abandoned Dancehall Dreams has entered the official UK Rock charts at #18 in this week. The album is also #1 in Prog Magazine’s July chart.

http://www.officialcharts.com/rock-and-metal-albums-chart/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/chart/rockalbums

A 3 page feature on Tim Bowness’ new album ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ is in the new July 2014 issue of Prog Magazine, on sale now.

Vote for Tim Bowness at the 2014 Prog Awards!

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Vote Now_MPU 300 x 250Vote for Tim Bowness at the 2014 Prog Awards!

Tim Bowness’ song ‘Smiler At 50’ taken from his new album ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ has been nominated for the ‘Anthem’ award at the 2014 Progressive Music Awards. The event takes place on Thursday, September 11 at Underglobe, below Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on London’s Southbank, hosted by Gavin Esler.

You can cast your votes for the awards at http://awards.prog.teamrock.com/

Tim Bowness’ new album ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ is out now and available on 2CD and 2LP vinyl from Burning Shed.

Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is out now!

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ADD-media-book-version-300Tim’s new album, ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’, his debut for the Inside Out label, is released today in the UK / Europe (a USA release follows on July 8th). Available from Burning Shed (on double CD and double vinyl editions) and other music retailers.

You can stream the album via Spotify below or on the ‘stream’ page on this website.

The album has received widespread critical acclaim, with Classic Rock magazine saying “This is a cinematic, contemporary classic, big as a planet but all the more affecting for it’s subtlety and restraint”.

“The mature, majestic album this artist was born to make.. ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’… is arch art-progger Bowness’s masterpiece, which is saying something, and a contender as the triumph of 2014” – Prog Magazine

All About Jazz reviews ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’

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All About Jazz recently reviewed Tim Bowness’ forthcoming solo album ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams‘ (due out on 23rd June via InsideOut Music) and had this to say…

“If there’s never been any doubt about Bowness’ talents, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is, nevertheless, a revelation. His vocal style has long since grown into an instantly recognizable one, but as a writer he’s never asserted himself as he has here. Lyrically he may still continue to explore the darker, more melancholic subjects with which he’s long been associated, but with Abandoned Dancehall Dreams Bowness has stepped up his compositional acumen, drawing on sources ranging from Peter Gabriel and Japan to Talk Talk and King Crimson, but the end result sounding like nobody but Tim Bowness. It appears that live appearances to perform this material will be limited to a small handful of dates—where, in collaboration with the rest of Henry Fool, he’ll also be performing music from that group’s small but strong discography, as well as some tunes from the No-Man repertoire—but if this album achieves the critical and popular acclaim it deserves—and the advance buzz certainly suggests it will—then it will also, hopefully, be an opportunity for Bowness, like Wilson, to step out from the shadow of a group and become the leader that, based on the destined-to-be-classic Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, he’s clearly ready—and meant—to be”

You can read the full review on the All About Jazz website, here.

Track by Track Videos

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Keep an eye on Tim’s Facebook and Twitter over the next couple of weeks, for short Track by Track videos, where Tim talks about the songs on his new album, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams. The album is released by InsideOut on 23rd June 2014 in Europe and 8th July 2014 in the US.