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No-Man - Dry Cleaning Ray (CD mini-album ) CD (album) cover



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3 stars "It's the same old song/With the same old bits", TIM BOWNESS sings: "It's the same old thing/It's the same old sh*t/Thirty years without a hit." 'Dry Cleaning Ray' is a companion CD to the 1996 album 'Wild Opera', pushing their sound a little further and in the process becoming a more memorable record. Not the same old thing at all, Tim. But yes, no hits here.

Ostensibly this record is an EP, but to me it's the missing piece of the mid-nineties NO-MAN puzzle. I wondered where their sound had gone; this album gives part of the answer. This is an extension of 'Wild Opera', a remix in parts, experimentation in others. Put the best bits of this together with the best bits of 'Wild Opera' and you have something as good as what came before.

I can't work out why 'Sweetside Silver Night', 'Urban Disco' and 'Jack the Sax' didn't make the 'Wild Opera' cut. Perhaps they weren't written back in 1996. But the inclusion of AUTECHRE-like experimental 'Punished for Being Born' and the minimalist, epic 'Sicknote' would have given that album some needed punch. As it is, they are welcome here, as is 'Diet Mothers', a remix of 'Pretty Genius'.

Overall this is an eclectic collection: jazzy, dancey, minimalist, experimental. 'Sicknote' is the outstanding track, and makes the album worth purchasing.

Report this review (#144897)
Posted Monday, October 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Dry Cleaning Ray is a collection of leftovers and alternate takes from the Wild Opera recordings. As usual with Wilson B-material, it is not only interesting for dedicated fans, but also for the occasional passer-by.

It contains a mix of mildly psychedelic pop (Dry Cleaning Ray), trip-hop (Diet Mothers), noise experiments (Punished For Being Born) and a couple of tributes to other bands such as Cocteau Twins (Kightlinger ) and Jeff Buckley (Evelyn). Porcupine Tree freaks will recognize the guitar chord strumming of Wake As Gun in the ballad Jack The Sax. The songs are generally fine, almost at the same level of Wild Opera.

Dry Cleaning Ray is a nice EP for fans and sure deserving a 3 star rating, but since it will be included in the soon to be re-released 2cd version of Wild Opera, it will become an item that only fans will want to collect. If you're curious to check out this No-man era of trip-hop and ambient pop songs, you'll need to hang on a bit longer till the Wild Opera reissue.

Report this review (#282376)
Posted Monday, May 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This is quite a diverse collection of alternate mixes and outtakes from the "Wild Opera" album sessions. This results in a good variety of songs for this E.P. which makes it worthwhile especially if you like the style of music that was on the album, so this EP works as a great companion to the album.

It starts out with a remix and extension of "Dry Cleaning Ray" which allows for a little more guitar from Steven Wilson. "Sweetside Silver Night" is an unreleased outtake that is just as good as anything left on the album. "Jack the Sax" is an alternate version of the track from the album and it utilizes the same guitar progression as "Wake as Gun" by Porcupine Tree from their E.P. "Insignificance". "Diet Mothers" is a more experimental sound but gives a new dimension to Tim's vocals and also features some nice violin which has been missing since the departure of Ben Coleman who was the regular violinist previously. "Urban Disco" is short experimental sounding instrumental which is a remix of a previous song from No-Man called "Housewives on Heroin". The remix is by Muslimgauze who collaborated with Steven Wilson before working as Bass Communion which is SW's experimental electronic project. Very strange sounding on this E.P. and almost out of place, but it's short. Next is "Punished for Being Born" which is another alternative take this time on another Porcupine Tree song; "The Colour of Air" from "The Sky Moves Sideways". Nice and airy instrumental, but short. The next two are some interesting covers and "Sicknote" is a song that would have fit nicely on the album with a run time of over 8 minutes.

A great collection with nothing very repetitive of the album. Worth checking out this E.P. by itself of you can search for the re-issue of "Wild Opera" which features a copy of this as a bonus disc. Quite a variety like I said before and even works great as a stand alone or together with the album. The E,P. itself runs over 40 minutes which is the length of many albums anyway. But it's the variety that saves this one and merits it's 4 star rating.

Report this review (#1338777)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2015 | Review Permalink

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