The Progarchy Interview: Tim Bowness, Part 1

Tim Bowness first made waves in the art-rock world in the 1990s via No-Man, his longtime collaboration with Steven Wilson; albums like Flowermouth and Wild Opera led to Bowness’ working with Robert Fripp, Phil Manzanera, Nosound’s Giancarlo Erra (on Memories of Machines’ Warm Winter) and many others.  Since 2014, Bowness has also pursued a solo career, with a trio of critically acclaimed albums released on Inside Out Music.

Bowness’ latest album, Flowers At The Scene, is out on March 1.  Having previously interviewed Tim in 2015 and 2017,  it’s been exciting for us at Progarchy both to hear the new album in advance — and to talk about it with Tim in depth.   In the first part of a 3-part interview,  Tim lays out what’s led up to Flowers At The Scene, and how it’s different from his previous solo albums — and also teases No-Man’s first new music in more than a decade!

So first of all, congratulations on the new album; I’ve really enjoyed listening to it.    What a prolific run in the last five years! 

Thank you!  Yep!

Could you unpack for us how the albums you’ve made for Inside Out, starting with Abandoned Dancehall Dreams – how have they led up to Flowers at the Scene?

Well, I think that Flowers At The Scene is kind of a statement in itself, really; it feels like a reset of the solo career.  And I think that the other three Inside Out solo albums really were leading up to Lost In The Ghost Light.  I think that was the conclusion of a particular way of working.

It started off really with – when I’d written Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, that was an album that  I presented to Steven Wilson as a possible No-Man album, and it was pretty much how we’d done No-Man’s Schoolyard Ghosts – that I’d written songs and I’d co-written songs, and I’d brought what I thought was the best of that to Steven and had an idea for an album.  And with Schoolyard Ghosts, we then worked on the material together, produced the material together, Steven added to what I’d written and so on.  But with Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, he was in the middle of working on his Raven album, and just said, “Look, I’ll mix it; this is your album.  Release a solo work!”

So that’s how the recent run of solo albums started; it was something I’d assembled with a No-Man album in mind, and it became what feels like my debut solo album. (I know it’s my second solo album, but it feels like my debut solo album!)  Stupid Things That Mean the World emerged out of that, really, in that Abandoned Dancehall Dreams had got a very positive reaction and I was feeling very energized by that, really, so I was writing quite a lot of the time.

And with Lost In The Ghost Light, that was the conclusion of a project that I’d kind of been working on probably for about ten years.  And some of the songs in that concept had been on Schoolyard Ghosts, some on Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, some on Stupid Things That Mean the World.  And I didn’t think I was going to complete it!  But there was a certain point in 2016 when I focused on it and it all came together.

And with Lost In The Ghost Light, it felt like a conclusion to a particular way of writing and working, and I think specifically that pieces like “Smiler at 50” from Abandoned Dancehall Dreams or “Sing to Me” from Stupid Things That Mean The World, that it was almost like an album-length exploration of that type of music.  And of course, it had a very specific overall concept, which is the first time that I’ve ever worked, really, with a kind of narrative concept album.  The Lost In The Ghost Light story was one that I’d been writing about for years and one that I really wanted to finish.  So I was delighted when it was finished!

But after that, it really felt like I needed to do something completely fresh, completely refresh my own musical palette to keep things exciting.

Thanks!  The other thing that you’ve done recently is you’ve also gone back even deeper into your past.  I know that you worked with Brian Hulse and David K. Jones to re-record the music of your very first band, Plenty.  And It Could Be Home is a really delightful album. Was that part of your process for trying to find something new?  How did that project feed into this new album?

I think you’re right; I think it did feed into this album in some ways.  Because what was interesting is that we’d not worked together for thirty years, and it was actually very creative.  Going back to that material, we wanted to be faithful to it.  But what was exciting was that we were doing something new with it, and it was taking us to new places.  Partly, in my case, it was re-introducing me to ways of singing and writing I’d long abandoned.  And so, as much as it was old material, it really felt like it was a new project.  And we enjoyed doing that so much that Brian and I continued writing together.

And we just felt that what we were coming up was something that wasn’t Plenty, and it was kind of hinting at what I wanted to do on my next solo album.  So it definitely directly fed into Flowers At the Scene, the fact that we just continued to write, record, produce together.  And eventually there was a project that we were both excited about, and that became Flowers At The Scene.  And of course, there are other collaborations and other methods of writing used on the album.  But yeah, I think the Plenty experience directly led to this and fed into it.

Continue reading “The Progarchy Interview: Tim Bowness, Part 1”

Lightning Round Reviews: November 10-19, 2018

Capsule reviews of what I’ve listened to since the last installment follow the jump.  Albums are reviewed in descending order on my Personal Proggyness Perception (PPP) scale, scored from 0 to 10.

Continue reading “Lightning Round Reviews: November 10-19, 2018”

The Big Fall Prog Preview!

What new music, live albums, and reissues (deluxe and otherwise) are heading our way between now and Black Friday?  Check out the exhaustive (and possibly exhausting) sampling of promised progressive goodies — along with a few other personal priorities — below.  Pre-order links are for CDs or combo packages; vinyl editions are frequently available from the same website.

  • September 21:
    • Marillion, Happiness is Cologne and Popular Music.  Limited edition live reissues from Racket Records and earMusic.  Pre-order at Amazon or other online retailers.
    • Nosound, Allow Yourself.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
  • September 28:
    • Blackfield, Open Mind (The Best of Blackfield).  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
    • Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin, Star Clocks.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
  • October 5:
    • Steve Hackett, Broken Skies – Outspread Wings (1984-2006).  Esoteric Recordings reissue box set (6 CDs + 2 DVDs).  Pre-order autographed copies from Hackettsongs.
    • King Crimson, Meltdown: Live in Mexico.  3 CDs + 1 BluRay.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
  • October 12:
    • Glass Hammer, Chronomonaut.  Pre-order autographed copies or the deluxe bundle from Glass Hammer’s webstore.  Pre-order deadline: October 11.
    • Sanguine Hum, Now We Have Power.  Pre-order from Bandcamp.
  • October 19:
    • Greta Van Fleet, Anthem of the Peaceful Army.  The first full-length album from Frankenmuth, Michigan’s young Zepheads.  Pre-order at GvF’s webstore.
    • iamthemorning, Ocean Sounds.  Live in the studio; audio/video bundle.  Pre-order at Burning Shed.
    • In Continuum, Acceleration Theory.  With Dave Kerzner and an all-star line-up.  Pre-order bundles from Bandcamp. Pre-order deadline for special bundles: September 30.
    • Frank Sinatra, Only the Lonely: 60th Anniversary Edition.  Yes, really.  The greatest concept album of the pre-rock era, with Sinatra and arranger Nelson Riddle at their most gorgeous and devastating.  “Make it one for my baby … and one more for the road.” More info at Super Deluxe Edition.
  • October 26:
    • Anathema, Internal Landscapes.  The best of the band’s Kscope albums.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
    • Haken, Vector.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
    • Procol Harum, Live In Concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.  Esoteric Recordings reissue with bonus tracks.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
  • November 2:
    • Opeth, Garden of the Titans: Live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre.  Various audio & video formats/bundles available.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
    • Steven Wilson, Home Invasion: In Concert at the Royal Albert Hall.  Various audio & video formats/bundles available.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
  • November 9:
    • Jethro Tull, This Was — The 50th Anniversary Edition. Steven Wilson remix included, on 3 CDs + DVD.  Pre-order from Burning Shed.
    • Rikard Sjöblom’s Gungfly, Friendship.  Pre-order from Rikard’s webstore.
  • November 16:
    • Marillion, Brave Live and Live in Glasgow.  Limited edition live reissues from Racket Records and earMusic.  Pre-order at Amazon or other online retailers.
    • The Tangent, Proxy.  Pre-order special bundles from The Tangent webstore.
  • November 23:
    • Marillion, Clutching at Straws Special Edition.  4 CDs + 1 BluRay.  Pre-order autographed copies from Marillion or Fish.
  • TBA:
    • The Beatles, White Album 50th Anniversary Edition?
    • Big Big Train, Merchants of Light Blu-Ray
    • King Crimson, The ReConstruKction of Light (40th Anniversary reissue) and Heaven and Earth (Crimson ProjeKcts box set)

— Rick Krueger

Tom Woods, Roie Avin, Prog. People. . . what more do you want!!!

tom logo

This week, I had the great and grand pleasure of speaking with Tom Woods and Roie Avin about the state of progressive rock music.  As you all should know, Tom Woods is an absolute genius–especially on all matters political, cultural, and economic.  That’s his razor-sharp logic side.  But, he’s also a romantic and a huge prog fan.

avin book
A must own.  It belongs on the shelf of every progger.

Roie Avin, as you all should know as well, is the founder of one of the best prog sites on the web, Prog Report, and the author of one of the best books ever written about rock or prog, Essential Modern Progressive Rock.  

If you don’t own it, you must.

Ok, so a bit of bias here.  Tom is one of my three or four closest friends, and, though, Roie and I have never met, I have been following him rather closely for the past five years.  The three of us, I think, had a blast.  So, here’s hoping you do as well.

https://tomwoods.com/bonus-ep-1204-without-this-music-your-life-is-worse/

 

2018: Reasons to Be Cheerful …

… If you’re a prog fan, that is.  Some of what’s in the forecast for the rest of the year:

3.2, The Rules Have Changed Robert Berry’s one-man tribute to and posthumous collaboration with Keith Emerson; released August 10.  Details and a teaser track here.

Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, Star Clocks.  I’ll be writing more about Stewart & Gaskin’s music soon; suffice to say it’s some of the best intellipop you’ve probably never heard.  (With Gavin Harrison on drums, no less.) The new album is out August 17; pre-order it and investigate their back catalog at Burning Shed.

The Pineapple Thief, Dissolution.  Bruce Soord and the TPT crew are joined by Gavin Harrison — him again! — as drummer and co-writer.  Released August 31. Details and a teaser track here; check out Sonic Perspectives’ interview with Soord (which hints at a possible 2019 US mini-tour) here.

Soft Machine, Hidden Details.  The pioneer psych/prog/jazz-rock collective is back for a 50th anniversary world tour — and they’re bringing a new album with them!  Three members from the 1970s versions of the band plus sax/flute progger Theo Travis (Robert Fripp, Steven Wilson, David Gilmour) tackle new compositions and a couple of vintage classics.  Released September 9; watch for a Soft Machine retrospective series from me during the run-up. Tour info herepre-order options for the album and a sample track here;

Yes featuring Jon Anderson, Trevor Rabin & Rick Wakeman, Live at the Apollo.  The “unofficial” version of the band (albeit one with two “classic era” members plus the musical mastermind of 90125) weighs in for the band’s 50th anniversary year.  Released September 9 in various audio and video formats; details and a teaser here. 

Coming soon from In Continuum: the debut album by Dave Kerzner’s new supergroup, with contributions from: vocalist Gabriel Agudo (Steve Rothery Band / Bad Dreams); guitarists Fernando Perdomo (Dave Kerzner Band), Matt Dorsey (Sound of Contact) Randy McStine (Sound of Contact, The Fringe) and John Wesley (Porcupine Tree); drummers Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats), Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train, Spock’s Beard) and Derek Cintron; and special guests singer Jon Davison (Yes) and guitarist Steve Rothery.  Release date TBA; more info here. 

Coming soon from King Crimson: Based on the liner notes in Crimson’s 2018 Tourbox, we can anticipate: a reissue/revamp of the band’s 2001 album, The ReConstruKction of Light; a related, more exhaustive box focusing on the era of the ProjeKcts and the Double Duo Crimson, Heaven and Earth; and a fresh concert set from the current Crims, Live in Mexico. Release dates TBA.  Meanwhile there have been rumblings from Robert Fripp ruling out Europe for Crimson’s 50th anniversary tour in 2019.  Does that rule in the USA?  Stay tuned …

Coming soon from Marillion: deluxe edition of Clutching at Straws (release date TBA); mass market reissues of the Racket Records live sets Happiness is Cologne, Popular Music (U.S. release in September), Live in Glasgow and Brave Live (U.S. release in November).  Clutching rumors to be found in the Lucy’s Friday Questions group on Facebook; live reissue info is here and here.

Coming soon from Steven Wilson: Home Invasion Live at the Royal Albert Hall, with guest appearances by Richard Barbieri (Porcupine Tree), Mark Feltham (Talk Talk), Dave Kilminster and Ninet Tayeb.  (Oh, and a Bollywood dance company).  Release info for the video TBA;  details here.

Bonus round from the Pink Floyd camp: Nick Mason expects to tour the USA next year with his new band Saucerful of Secrets.  The group’s set of early Pink Floyd classics (from the albums Piper at the Gates of Dawn through Obscured By Clouds) went down a storm in London earlier this summer; they embark on a European tour in September.  More info on the band and Mason’s box set reissuing his solo albums here.

— Rick Krueger

Remembering the Genius of Porcupine Tree

2018 release
The 2018 release.  2 CD/1 Blu-ray from Kscope.

Porcupine Tree, ARRIVING SOMEWHERE. . . (Kscope, 2018).  2 CD/1 Blu-ray package.  A re-release of the 2007 title on DVD.

Though it originally came out over a decade ago, Porcupine Tree’s ARRIVING SOMEWHERE . . .–its live show from Chicago, October 11-12, 2005–has just been re-released by Kscope in a very nice 2 cd/1 blu-ray book.

When it first came out on DVD in 2007, I had purchased it immediately. Of all the concerts I own on varous forms of video, ARRIVING SOMEWHERE . . . has been in constant play, rivaling only Rush’s TIME MACHINE and Talk Talk’s LIVE IN MONTREUX for most played.

Now, having it on CD and blu-ray reminds me yet again how incredible Porcupine Tree was in the first decade of this millenium. Admittedly, between 2001 and 2010, I was rather obsessed with the band. To me–all pre-2009 and, thus, pre-UNDERFALL YARD–no other band had reached as far and as perceptively as had Porcupine Tree. The band seemed the perfect fusion of prog, pop, and psychedelia–in its music as well as in its lyrics.

Continue reading “Remembering the Genius of Porcupine Tree”

Marillion BRAVE pre-order news for U.S.

marillion brave
De-Luxe!!!

Dear Fellow Citizens of the United States,

At the moment, it is cheaper to order the 5-disc Steven Wilson remix deluxe version of the forthcoming BRAVE from Marillion through Marillion.com than it is through amazon.com.

At Marillion.com, including shipping, $42.

At amazon.com, including shipping, $49.98.

This has been a public service announcement from your friends at progarchy.com.

Yours, Brad