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No-Man - Flowermix CD (album) cover

FLOWERMIX

No-Man

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.57 | 20 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Strange beast, this.

Shows what happens when, with the most laudable of intentions, an archive site tries to be inclusive. With a gentleman like STEVEN WILSON, some of those 'inclusive' efforts are going to be way beyond the parameters of the archive, as this is. 'Flowermix' is, as the title suggests, a dance remix album of 'Flowermouth'. If the very mention of repetitive beats, synth loops and the like sends you screaming for your GENTLE GIANT records, stay well away from this. It's not for you.

I'm a huge fan of the dance revolution. I happen to believe that it helped revitalise popular music which, at the end of the 1980s, was fairly dire. It took advantage of superior production techniques and lowered the bar in the same way punk did, providing a point of entry for those who were otherwise excluded from the music making process. Part of the legacy of the KLF and their ilk was a sharing community, where a remix culture emerged allowing experimentation and openness. Yes, there was a fair amount of drivel produced, but a great deal of genius was also perpetrated. This remix album is somewhere between the two.

There's only one way to listen to this album, and that's preparation: you must already be familiar with the original. Then the remixes make some sort of sense. Some of the titles tell you which track they're remixing, others don't. There's very little of BOWNESS here, just the odd sample: this is WILSON's soundscape.

Most of this album is much nearer the ambient end of the dance spectrum. None of it (perhaps apart from the slightly out of place 'You Grow More Beautiful', an edit rather than a remix) makes the listener want to drop what they're doing and flaunt it on the dance floor. It's head-nodding, beard-stroking stuff. 'Angeldust', for example, is a gentle dance mix of 'Angel Caught in the Beauty Trap', something I didn't think NO-MAN could pull off. The rest of the album trundles along like an UNDERWORLD B-side (I'm thinking of their 1993 'Dubnobasswithmyheadman', a seminal dance record, and the associated 'Dark & Long' EPs, which have a very similar feel to this). I suspect Mr. WILSON could have carved himself quite a comfortable career in the dance scene had he desired, playing IDM along with ORBITAL, APHEX TWIN and AUTECHRE.

The stellar moment for me is the ambient and sinister 15 minute minimalist 'Born Simple', which appears in a slightly shorter version on the 1999 version of 'Flowermouth'. Chillingly beautiful.

What can I say? There's a 99% chance you'll hate it. But I like it, so let's split the difference.

russellk | 3/5 |

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