Over the last couple of months, I’ve been acting the tourist and have taken trips to Turin, Wales, Manchester and that notorious beauty spot, Warrington (second only to Hemel Hempstead in terms of cosmopolitan grandeur and international significance).
In between meeting up with old friends, family and Krimson diarist, Andrew Keeling, I’ve also been doing plenty of recording for potential future releases.
Along with the suave swan guzzler, Lord C, I’ve recorded 20 pieces (with many more to follow) drawn from our extensive catalogue and intended for an intimate acoustic album which will be mainly based around the simple ingredients of piano and voice, but depending on budget and inclination, may also feature trumpet, brass and string quartet contributions. Or perhaps as realistically, kazoo, rubber band and mouth harp.
In an entirely more electronic and beat-driven musical field, I’ve also contributed vocals and lyrics for a track that may appear on the forthcoming debut album by Tuner (Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter’s intriguing new project).
Dutch label Tonefloat have released a truly magnificent vinyl version of No-Man’s ‘Together We’re Stranger’ that is so lavish it renders the conventional CD version toy-like by comparison and almost makes me nostalgic for the golden age of the gatefold sleeve. Next stop, the 8-track cartridge edition of ‘Returning Jesus’!
Preparations for a career-spanning No-Man compilation and a deluxe re-release of ‘Flowermouth’ are also underway.
Recent live work has included myself and Herr Reuter joining in on a fairly free and frequently bizarre Hugh Hopper, Elton Dean and Mark Hewins set, and the My Hotel Band supporting The Bays (featuring Richard Barbieri) in Norwich.
The latter proved to be one of the most enjoyable and impressive performances by the band, and perhaps our best received to date.
Despite the sound cutting out completely on two occasions during the first number, the boys in the band made light of the situation and subsequently threw themselves into the material, with Unprotected, Make Me Forget and Together We’re Stranger providing both the musical and emotional highlights for me.
Saturday night will see the band playing in an unusual bill that also includes Canterbury legend Richard Sinclair and former Curved Air singer, Sonja Kristina.