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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
TCat
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This is the companion remix compilation for "Flowermouth" which I consider a masterpiece. This collection however is not consistently good throughout like that album. It is completely made up of remixes of tracks from Flowermouth, but, except for a few exceptions, they don't really add to or improve the original tracks. We can talk about these tracks a little bit and you can decide for yourself if it merits the effort to locate this compilation.

The collection starts off with "Angeldust" which is a great remix done by Steven Wilson of the track "Angel Gets Caught in the Beauty Trap". The remix features guitar and soundscapes from Robert Fripp and it stands out because of the effective use of Frippertronics and improves the original track. It also features sax from Mel Collins (also originally from King Crimson) spotlighted even better than the original track. However, the Flowermouth reissue contains this particular track as a bonus track, so you are just as well off to get the track on that album. The next 3 tracks are "Faith in You" (the first instance of "You Grow More Beautiful" remixed by Prophets of Bliss) which has a hip hop sound that moves into electronic techno territory that to me distracts from the beauty of the original track, "All I See" which is a repetitive remix of "Soft Shoulders" made for the dancefloor and not for casual listening, and "Natural Neck" which doesn't do anything for me. These 3 tracks are not even close to challenging except for the effort it takes to stay interested in the music and they add nothing to the originals.

"Heal the Madness" is a great remix that starts out very atmospheric and builds from a spacey, somewhat ambient sound to a nice beat that actually stays interesting because of the lack of extensive repetitiveness that is overwhelming in the previous 3 tracks. After that you get another version of "You Grow More Beautiful" re written by SW and featuring a funkier sound than the original. This one is probably the only "traditional" sounding song on the entire album and adds a different character to the song than the original without ruining it.

After that, you get 2 more repetitive remixes, "Sample" which is a techno sounding version of "Simple" without any kind of feeling that made the original great, including the fact that the vocal loop from Lisa Gerrard is either missing or pushed so far into the mix that it means nothing, and next is "Why the Noise?" which is a reworking of "Teardrop Fall" with the vocals remaining fairly intact, but it is rougher sounding than the original and more dramatic, but not really worth the effort of the remix.

Last of all is "Born Simple" which is a 12 minute foray into Frippertronic soundscapes and SW electronics and it sounds more like SW's other project Bass Communion than it sounds like a No- man remix. It is a great example of Fripp's atmospheric guitar special effects put to effective use, but it is also available as a bonus track on the original album's reissue, although it is about 3 minutes shorter than the "Flowermix" version.

In my opinion, even with the great tracks on here, it still isn't worth searching this one out. You are better off finding the amazing "Flowermouth" album where at least you get 2 of the 4 better tracks that are on this compilation. The other 2 great tracks are not enough to redeem the rest of the compilation from it's repetitiveness and inability to add much to the original album. Taking this compilation on it's own merits though gives it a good rating, but it really isn't essential especially with the bonus tracks now available on "Flowermouth"

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Send comments to TCat (BETA) | Report this review (#1373059)
Posted Wednesday, February 25, 2015 | Review Permalink

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