5th August

August 5, 2003

A month and a half of diary silence.

Probably a good thing, of course.

July found me in Milan recording a couple of croon-centric duets with well-known Italian singer Alice. With temperatures in the nineties, we were well advised to stay in the glorious and gloriously air-conditioned studio.

A city of dynamic aesthetic contrasts, Milan was simultaneously ostentatiously beautiful and crudely commercialised. Accordingly, I played both idiotic tourist and urban warrior to perfection. Throwing up adventures including an impromptu midnight massage (strictly legal!) and me being the lifeline for several distraught American couples in search of someone (anyone) to talk to, hopefully this visit won’t be my last.

Both by accident and design, I spent time re-establishing many old contacts (professional and personal). As a consequence, an interesting offer relating to the reissue of No-Man’s early albums has arisen. This will hopefully mean a thorough reissue programme of the band’s early albums, containing extra tracks, sleeve notes and additional artwork.

Affording me an opportunity to reassess the work, I was pleased at both how much of it I still liked and how much the band has changed in the last decade and a half.

The fanbase response to Together We’re Stranger has been extremely mixed, with half believing it to be our most artistically successful and emotive album and half wishing for us to return to a more accessible beat-driven music. From my perspective, No-Man’s music is continually in the process of changing and it’s still something that means a great deal to me. As long as that remains the case, I’m happy with wherever we end up and whatever we end up doing.

One thing is certain, however, and that’s the fact that I currently feel a need to create a slightly more confrontational type of music in opposition to most of what I’ve been writing and recording in the last four years. The last time I felt this way was just after the recording of the Flowermouth and Flame albums in 1994. This is known as my Miles-influenced ‘I love the ballads, so I can’t play the ballads’ phase. Of course, I may have completely changed my mind by tomorrow and decided to form a Carpenters tribute band instead.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be in Dublin and Galway (in tourist and jaded lover-man guise) and in Germany, recording and gigging with Centrozoon.

Diary silence will descend again.

Currently reading:

Virginia Woolf’s Modernist marvels The Waves and Mrs Dalloway.

Currently listening to:

Cliff Martinez – Solaris (Soundtrack)
David Sylvian – Blemish
Martina Topley Bird – Quixotic
Cocteau Twins – Victorialand (remaster)