11th September

September 11, 2006

Crack open the egg creme and dish out the Hershey Kisses!

Against all odds, I’ve managed to survive the inhuman intensity of a Summer in New York with some semblance of my pasty-faced Brit heritage intact.

An achievement so rare, a letter of commendation from Mayor Bloomberg is believed forthcoming.

Clearly, you can take the man out of the North, but you can never take the North out of the man.

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Nosound’s Giancarlo Erra travelled to America and my first recordings in New York proved inspired and enjoyable.

The two new songs we wrote also provided an ideal opportunity to reunite with former Samuel Smiles cellist, Marianne DeChastelaine (officially the finest name in the history of pop and one potentially posh enough to be worthy of a marriage to the Caviar King Of The Keyboard, Lord Chilvers).

The rough mixes of the recordings sound very promising, with Beautiful Songs You Should Know being one of the most tender and melodic songs I’ve been involved in writing outside of my work with no-man. Ms De Chastellaine’s wonderful cello playing is an essential part of its appeal for me and suggests that she should play a prominent role in future songs and recordings with Giancarlo.

The far bleaker At The Centre Of It All (coming on like a Samuel Beckett suicide note recited over a Prozac-starved Gorecki backing track!) is less loveable, but has a certain compelling intensity.

Again, the piece features a strong cello contribution that lifts the mood in just the right places.

With 30 minutes of diverse co-compositions, the Bowness/Nosound project gathers pace and is scheduled to continue in England in October.

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Elsewhere, I’ve recently recorded a session in the well-known Sear Sound Studio for New York Post-Rock duo, Mohawk Hitchhiker.

An excellent fusion of a lot of things I like (from Steve Reich to Jim O’Rourke and ECM Jazz to bliss-out guitar noise), all went well.

Ultimately though, it’s difficult to know how much of what I did will be deemed suitable for use in the otherwise wholly instrumental context of the band’s work.

Sear Sound is known for its collection of top quality vintage microphones and after hours of trial and error, I eventually found myself singing through something that resembled a U-Boat periscope with a bad case of piles.

Surprising look. Luckily, surprisingly good sound.

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With interesting new collaborations, a compilation of my favourite unreleased work (the appropriately named, Hidden Histories) and at least four almost completed albums in the offing, the future is beginning to look as cluttered as the ever-busy Pete Namlook’s and Bill Nelson’s release schedules combined.

A good thing, I hope.