Here’s a song from their new album, Space Elevator II:
Here’s a song from their new album, Space Elevator II:
Kate Bush has just released the video for “Rocket Man,” unreleased for years.
NME has an interview: “Years later, in 1989, Elton and Bernie Taupin were putting together an album called ‘Two Rooms’, which was a collection of cover versions of their songs, each featuring a different singer. To my delight they asked me to be involved and I chose ‘Rocket Man’. They gave me complete creative control and although it was a bit daunting to be let loose on one of my favourite tracks ever, it was really exciting. I wanted to make it different from the original and thought it could be fun to turn it into a reggae version.”
Delain is back! Released today is a new disc of their epic brand of symphonic metal.
Hunter’s Moon includes four new studio tracks, plus a selection of live recordings, as well as a Blu-Ray disc of the live tracks.
Delain is working on their next studio album, due in 2019, but the four new tracks here on Hunter’s Moon give an idea of their musical direction.
The band’s guitarists each compose a new track here: “This Silence Is Mine” (Timo Somers) and “Art Kills” (Merel Bechtold).
The live tracks (tracks 5 to 14) follow the Danse Macabre Tour in Utrecht’s Tivoli Vredenburg, and most of the live tracks (tracks 8, 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14) feature Nightwish’s Marco Hietala.
1. Masters Of Destiny
2. Hunter’s Moon
3. This Silence Is Mine
4. Art Kills
5. Hands Of Gold (Live) — studio version was on Moonbathers
6. Danse Macabre (Live) — studio version was on Moonbathers
7. Scarlet (Live) — studio version was on The Human Contradiction
8. Your Body Is A Battleground (Live) — studio version was on The Human Contradiction
9. Nothing Left (Live) — studio version was on April Rain
10. Control The Storm (Live) — studio version was on April Rain
11. Scandal (Live) — studio version was on Moonbathers
12. Not Enough (Live) — studio version was on We Are the Others
13. Sing To Me (Live) — studio version was on The Human Contradiction
14. The Gathering (Live) — studio version was on Lucidity
In Part 1 of Tim Bowness’ latest Progarchy interview, Tim discussed his previous solo albums, working again with his first band Plenty, reuniting with Steven Wilson for fresh No-Man music, and how it all feeds into his new album Flowers At The Scene (released March 1 on Inside Out Music). Part 2 was an in-depth look at the new album’s music and players. To finish up, the conversation branches off into the process of writing, the genesis of Tim’s label/online shop Burning Shed, the state of the music business and more! Note that [brackets] below indicate editorial insertions.
I’ve always found your lyrics very, again, distinctive and appealing. The words for your songs, if you read them on the page, they look very sparse; they’re epigrammatic, or they’re almost like a hymn text. But they convey a lot of emotion and meaning when you sing them – It’s like you hear what’s behind them, kind of like a minimalist take on lyrics. Was there anyone who particularly influenced how you write lyrics – or melodies, for that matter? Where do the words come from for you?
I think the words in some ways came before the singing, because I used to like poetry, before I ever really was in a band. So I’d always loved reading, and still am a fairly avid reader of novels and poetry. There were a lot of lyricists I adore, so, I think … Joni Mitchell is an absolutely fantastic lyricist. But I can’t say there’s any lyricists I’ve been particularly influenced by.
I think that, in terms of that pared down style, I guess I always quite liked people like Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter and Raymond Carver. Certain writers like that. And, although I don’t think I’m anything like them, that might be the core influence. And there’s also, there’s an English poet called Ian Hamilton, who has a very sparse approach, and I always used to like his work.
And so in some ways, it’s kind of closer to that; it’s closer to the poetry that I grew up reading, without being particularly like it. And as I said, I’m a fan of many singers, many lyricists. Again, Roger Waters, fantastic lyricist, fantastic concepts, but I can’t say it’s particularly influenced me. So maybe it comes from outside of music, the lyrical element of what I do.
Plus, I also think it comes, of course, from my own experiences, my own obsessions, my own emotions. So that’s thrown into the mix.
Would Philip Larkin be in the mix? It just occurred to me that was another person that kind of worked in that epigrammatic, lyric style?
Yeah, very much so, yes indeed! The Collected Works of Philip Larkin are on my shelf.
Well, it’s amazing how busy you are, because along with all of what you do – your solo work, No-Man — you also co-direct one of my very favorite online shops! And it’s certainly a favorite of all of us at Progarchy. Burning Shed is just a wonderful place to buy music from, even across the pond. You’re listed as a co-director; what does your role there involve?
Well, I still – the newsletters you receive, I write them.
The text that goes on the site, I write it. So I suppose, in a sense, Burning Shed was my idea of a company. So I started burningshed.com as an idea of doing cost-effective, experimental solo albums. And so initially, we released three CD-Rs. So the idea was originally in 2001, online, on demand, cost-effective solo albums that labels wouldn’t be interested in. So Steven [Wilson] gave us a Bass Communion album; I gave a Samuel Smiles live album; Roger Eno gave an ambient album. And almost from the off, it did better than we thought it would do.
In Part 1 of Tim Bowness’ latest Progarchy interview, Tim discussed his previous solo albums, working again with his first band Plenty, reuniting with Steven Wilson for new No-Man music, and how all this feeds into his new album Flowers At The Scene (released March 1 on Inside Out Music). We dig into the new album in depth below! Note that [brackets] below indicate editorial insertions.
Pulling it back to Flowers At The Scene, it’s interesting what you said about how really, there are some [pieces] that you’re producing, there’s some that you and Brian [Hulse] are working on, there’s some that you and Brian and Steven [Wilson] are working on. It all feels like a unity when I listen to it. Despite the variety of colors, it’s, as you say, it feeds on what you’ve done before, but it goes in really interesting, different directions. Are there any particular songs that you feel are at the core of the album?
I would say you’re right, it does feel like an album. One thing that’s important to me is, I know in this age of streaming and Spotify it’s not particularly fashionable, but I love the album. I’ve always loved the album as a statement. And in some ways, although this album is different from the other albums – I mean, the previous three albums had themes to a degree. Lost In The Ghost Light was a narrative concept album. Stupid Things That Mean The World and Abandoned Dancehall Dreams had linking lyrical themes in a way. This is different in the sense that it’s eleven very separate moods, very separate lyrics, very separate songs. And yet it fits together, I think, in a kind of classic 43-minute album format. And in some ways, I think it’s the album that flows best of all four. There’s something about it that it kind of moves from one mood to another. And yet it holds together.
I suppose the key songs would have been when “Flowers At The Scene” and “Not Married Anymore” were written. And I just felt that Brian and I had been coming up with material that had its own distinct identity. And I also had a certain idea of how I wanted them to sound – and suddenly that was it! And I guess that there’s this [Robert] Fripp line, he would always say that a new direction presented itself. And I think that it’s true, because I’d continued writing material on my own, and I’d continued writing material with Stephen Bennett while I was recording the Plenty album. And although the material was good, it felt like it was gonna be a continuation of Lost In The Ghost Light or Stupid Things That Mean The World.
And I think that it was when I’d written the fifth song with no purpose really – Brian and I just kept on writing together because we were excited by what we were doing. And I think it would have been “Flowers At The Scene”, the title track itself, and I thought, “this is the new direction; it’s presented itself.” And from that moment on, it became a very exciting and immersive project and I said to Brian, “I think this is the basis of a new solo album. And it feels like a fresh direction after the other albums.” And you’re right that, what’s kind of interesting for me is it’s fresh, it’s a reset, but perhaps because of the mood of some of the music and because of my voice, there’s also a sense of continuation.
And certainly one of the things that contributes to it being fresh is this cast of musicians that you gathered, which is really genuinely impressive. So many great names with great work that have fed into this. I was wondering if I could just toss out names and, in a few words, you could try to describe what each of these guys have brought to the music for the album. Starting with Jim Matheos.
Well, Jim’s somebody I’ve known for a few years. He asked me to guest on an OSI album [Blood], probably about nine years ago now. And I really enjoyed it. So the track, which is called “No Celebrations”, felt very different for me; it was very much in that OSI art-metal style, but it accommodated my singing as well. And after that, we carried on communicating together. So occasionally he’s asked me for advice about things, and also we had co-written a couple of tracks that had never been released.
And when I was doing this album, I thought I’d love to get him involved. Because one of the tracks I’d been developing had him on anyway, and he’s an incredibly versatile guitarist. Very, very nice guy, but what people I don’t think are aware of is how versatile his talent is. So his own music can be anything from sort of ambient experimental to metal to classical acoustic guitar. And I knew how good he was as a soloist, and so I got him – really, he was my stunt guitarist on the album on a few tracks. And he did some fantastic work on it.
Peter Hammill. What a legend!
Yeah! Well, Peter’s somebody who when I was growing up, when I was in my teens, he was one of my favorite singers. And as I’ve said to people, what’s interesting with this album is that, probably my five favorite singers when I was 13 would have been David Bowie, Peter Hammill, Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush and Kevin Godley. And I’ve two of them on the album, and it’s an incredible thrill to have that!
Over the years, Peter’s become a friend. We ended up playing on lots of the same albums in Italy, and we got to know one another. And over the years, he’s guested on my work; and we even live in the same small town in England! And so he’s probably my sort of coffee and chat companion, where we’ve put the political and the musical world to rights once a month. And as I always say about Peter, he’s as nice, generous and decent as his music is frightening!
[Laughs] Oh, that’s a great summary!
[Laughs] Absolutely! Cause, you know, you wouldn’t want him to be as frightening as [Van der Graaf Generator’s] Pawn Hearts really, would you?
[Laughs] No, not in the slightest!
It is true; you’d be coughing your coffee up. It’s not good! [Both laugh] So yeah, lovely guy, and we’ve worked on a few things. And the thing about Peter is he is very honest about his opinion. So interestingly enough, I’d asked him to work on Lost in the Ghost Light, but he wasn’t as much a fan of that material. So basically, he works on what he likes. And he’d worked on the Stupid Things That Mean the World album, and I’d played him this album in progress. He’d mixed an album for me as well. There’s a Bowness/[Peter] Chilvers album that’s been unreleased that Peter’s mixed, which is quite an interesting project in itself.
And while I was making the new album I said, “ah, you know, a couple of Hammill-shaped holes here!” And he heard it, and he heard exactly what I wanted, and he really liked the material. One of the tracks he put a great deal into it, there’s a track on it called “It’s The World”. I’d played it to him, and initially I wanted his bite – there’s a real sort of bite in his voice, I wanted this in the chorus. And he said, “Yep, I know exactly what you want; I’ll get it to you. But I tell you what else I’ll give you; I’ll give you guitars, because the guitars on this aren’t working!” And so he completely re-recorded the chorus guitars, and almost went into sort of Rikki Nadir [from Hammill’s proto-punk solo album Nadir’s Big Chance] mode, and did a fantastic job.
So on the track “It’s The World” he’s on kind of backing and lead vocals, and also adds some really ferocious guitar parts. And he made the piece work. So that was an interesting case, where the piece I think was pretty good as it was, but he gave it an extra edge and an extra looseness.
Got it! One of the newer singers on the album is David Longdon. I know you collaborated with Big Big Train on a b-side [“Seen Better Days (the brass band’s last piece)”]. What did David bring?
Well, I suppose I asked him to be on the piece [“Borderline”] and I’d suggested a particular approach to backing vocal which he used. I almost wanted this kind of rich, Michael McDonald/Steely Dan approach. That’s something I wanted: a comfortable bed of David Longdon voice, really, and he gave that. And then he added some flute as a means of contrasting with the trumpet. And he did a beautiful job in both cases, really. So I suppose what he gave was himself, so he kind of knew the places where I wanted him to play, and where I wanted him to be, and with the backing vocal he was effectively re-singing the melody that I’d already sung on the demo.
But with the flute, he performed a really beautiful solo, and it was great! Because although the trumpet was recorded in the outback in Australia – I used a jazz musician, a guy called Ian Dixon, who’s worked with No-Man, he was on Returning Jesus, several tracks on that, and he’s a wonderful sort of jazz trumpet player. And his studio is a tin shack in the outback in Australia! And he said when he recorded it, it was in the middle of the rainy season. So he’s recording that with crashing rain on the tin roof – which I thought was very romantic! And David really beautifully worked with Ian’s trumpet. And to me, it sounds as if the two could be in the room together playing! So they worked very nicely together, and I suppose in that case, I knew what I wanted, and I got what I wanted. But it was still different, the playing, the expression that the two of them had given was entirely their own.
Progarchy wishes a huge happy birthday to the world’s greatest guitarist – Mr. Steve Hackett! Thanks for all the music over the years, and we hope you continue your current creative explosion for years to come.
Be sure to pick up Steve’s latest album, At the Edge of Light: https://store.hackettsongs.com
DJ Brass Camel is a prog-loving collective of amazing musicians. They performed the concert of the year in 2018, as I wrote in my review earlier on Progarchy. Enjoy their entire debut album, embedded above. Prog on!