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No-Man - Flowermix CD (album) cover

FLOWERMIX

No-Man

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
1 stars Everybody onto the dance floor

No-Man is one of the side projects of Steve Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, the "band" consisting of just Wilson plus vocalist Tim Bowness. Do not however expect anything resembling Porcupine Tree here. Among those who also contribute here are Mel Collins who plays soprano sax on "Angeldust" and some fine Flute on "Why the noise", and Robert Fripp who adds guitar on "Angeldust" and "soundscapes" to four tracks.

Wilson is well known for the diversity of his output, his No-Man projects representing the less structured, ambient end of his spectrum. "Flowermix" is a remix album of tracks originating from No Man's "Flowermouth" album and "other sources". Good reference points for similar projects are "Brain Salad Perjury" (ELP), and the Yes' "Remixes album. "Flowermix" however predates both by some years.

The album consists of lengthy dance remixes by various "underground" remixers, who specialise mainly in trance and dub. Other terms used on the band's website to describe the music are "New electronica", "Progressive dance", "Symphonic trance", and "Womb music". One term which would be completely out of place though is "progressive rock"!

Much of the music has that annoying electronic drum rhythm supporting endless repetition of basic themes and extracts from the original tracks. "Natural neck" is slightly more symphonic, and while it is still over repetitive, it is largely devoid of the dance beat. "You grow more beautiful" is the most melodic track, and closest to something approaching a decent track. The vocals are allowed to develop a bit more, something the album as a whole would have benefited greatly from. "Born simple" is presumably the "Womb music", being a spacey drifting ambient piece, on a heartbeat backing track.

The best that can be said for "Flowermix" is that it does indicate that the source tracks on "Flowermouth" could be pretty good. All "Flowermix" does though is show that it doesn't take much effort to turn decent music into wandering drivel.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#18251)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
ycercle@free.
4 stars Flowermix is not the Masterpiece of No-Man Music, but this is Excellent, addition ton any prog music collection, especially, a Prog Space, with the sensuality ... emotion ...

Tristesse, beauté, Steve Wilson by Porcupine Tree with Music

Tim Bowness is especially a sensual singer of fusion space prog commercial.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#36891)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#144753)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink

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