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TIM BOWNESS

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Tim Bowness biography
Born 29 November 1963 in Latchford, Cheshire, UK

Tim BOWNESS is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with the band NO-MAN, a long-running collaboration with Steven WILSON (PORCUPINE TREE).

In addition to releasing six studio albums and a documentary DVD with NO-MAN, Tim has worked with popular Italian artist ALICE, Robert FRIPP, Hugh HOPPER (SOFT MACHINE), OSI, WHITE WILLOW, Nick MAGNUS and ROXY MUSIC's Phil MANZANERA (amongst many others), and is a member of the bands HENRY FOOL and MEMORIES OF MACHINES.

Tim recorded the album 'Flame'(1994) with Richard BARBIERI (PORCUPINE TREE/ex-JAPAN), co-produced/co-wrote 'Talking With Strangers' (2009) for Judy DYBLE (ex-FAIRPORT CONVENTION), and continues to collaborate with Peter CHILVERS (Brian ENO/Karl HYDE).

Since 2001, Tim has co-run the successful specialist online label/store BURNING SHED with NO-MAN live bassist, Pete MORGAN.

In 2004, Tim released his debut album 'My Hotel Year'. 'Abandoned Dancehall Dreams' (from 2014 and on InsideOut Music) is his second.

Biography provided by the artist and used with permission

TIM BOWNESS Videos (YouTube and more)


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Flowers at the SceneFlowers at the Scene
Inside Out Germany 2019
$23.76
$19.22 (used)
Lost In The Ghost LightLost In The Ghost Light
Insideout Music 2017
$11.33
$18.60 (used)
My Hotel YearMy Hotel Year
One Little Indian Im 2004
$12.27
$5.98 (used)
World of Bright FuturesWorld of Bright Futures
Resurgence UK 2000
$97.68
$40.00 (used)
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (Standard CD Jewelcase)Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (Standard CD Jewelcase)
Inside Out Germany 2019
$7.26
$12.93 (used)
Songs From The Ghost LightSongs From The Ghost Light
Plane Groovy 2017
$27.07
$36.16 (used)
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No-Man - Dry Cleaning Ray (1997) Steven Wilson/Tim Bowness USD $4.85 [0 bids]
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no-man "returning jesus" 2CD Sealed [Steven Wilson Tim Bowness Porcupine Tree] USD $11.84 Buy It Now 12 days
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TIM BOWNESS discography


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TIM BOWNESS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.70 | 10 ratings
Tim Bowness & Richard Barbieri: Flame
1994
4.00 | 8 ratings
Tim Bowness & Samuel Smiles: World Of Bright Futures
1999
3.35 | 8 ratings
Tim Bowness & Peter Chilvers: California, Norfolk
2002
3.22 | 13 ratings
My Hotel Year
2004
3.79 | 111 ratings
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
2014
3.88 | 82 ratings
Stupid Things That Mean The World
2015
3.59 | 65 ratings
Lost In The Ghost Light
2017
3.10 | 10 ratings
Songs From The Ghost Light
2017
3.69 | 46 ratings
Flowers At The Scene
2019

TIM BOWNESS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIM BOWNESS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TIM BOWNESS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIM BOWNESS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Voiceloops
2017
0.00 | 0 ratings
Schoolyard (Demos)
2017

TIM BOWNESS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Flowers At The Scene by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 46 ratings

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Flowers At The Scene
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Flowers At The Scene (2019) displays Tim Bowness´relentless music composition maturity clearly and for good.

In this release, as he usually does, he surrounds himself with a great cast of collaborators and as always Tim Bowness sounds like Tim Bowness and no one else.

I could tire you out with Mr. Bowness credentials, but I have done that in other reviews.

In this album there is an energetic feel which renews his heritage, like new blood, and it is all his and it happens all way through from track one to track eleven.

Simplification has been one of Tim Bowness guidelines and he does this without cutting off musical ideas (which he has plenty, both very good & unique), opposite to that this is done by solely displaying the essentials in his compositions, performances, recording and production even in his very intimate lyrics.

So expect diversity in all of Mr. Bowness´ musical language´s scope and a storm of memorable moments compressed in great songs.

4 PA´s stars.

 Flowers At The Scene by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.69 | 46 ratings

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Flowers At The Scene
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars Tim Bowness is probably most famous for his work with Steven Wilson as the duo known as "No-man", which started out as a progressive dance project, and ended up as a mostly minimalist band that played and sang beautifully lush compositions. He has also released several solo and collaboration full length albums, 9 to be exact, at least to this point.

His ninth album is called "Flowers at the Scene" and was released on March 1, 2019. Tim does most of the vocals and synths, but has recruited a line up of guest musicians that is basically a Who's-who of progressive artists. We have appearances of Peter Hammill from Van der Graff Generator, Andy Partridge from XTC, Kevin Godley from 10cc, Colin Edwin from Porcupine Tree, Jim Matheos from Fates Warning and OSI, David Longdon from Big Big Train, and several others. The tracks on the album are all between 3 and 5 minutes with 11 tracks total adding up to a runtime of about 43 minutes.

"I Go Deeper" alternates between a heavy moderate beat with a guitar riff and a atmospheric softness on the chorus. His vocals are unmistakably his trademark sound, especially on the soft sections. "The Train that Pulled Away" starts with a subdued march style percussion and violins emulating a train. Bowness' beautiful vocals reflect a feeling of loneliness and a swelling violin accompanies him. Later, a cello provides bass when the full drum pattern kicks in. "Rainmark" features Jim Matheos. Shimmering synths provide the background and is later joined by a moderate rhythm and occasional brass which slowly build to the lovely guitar solo sandwiched between Tim's airy vocals that always evoke emotions.

"Not Married Anymore" has a pensive feel, but with tonal percussive sounds and piano accompaniment. Dylan Howe guests on drums. Nothing generates the feeling of loneliness or the feeling of regret in music more than Tim's emotional vocals. Exquisite! Jim Matheos also guests on the title track "Flowers at the Scene". This has a more jazz feel to it, a little more upbeat with piano, synths and drums. Jim's perfect guitar work joins in on the 2nd verse and during the instrumental break and it fits perfectly to the feel of the song. "It's the World" features Jim again and Peter Hammill. The song is immediately darker feeling with a heavy guitar and synths. Steven Wilson definitely has a part in this too, it can be heard in the dark, and later, louder feel of the track. I would guess the background harmonies involve Wilson and Hammill here also. This is one I wish was longer.

"Borderline" features Dylan Howe again along with David Longdon on background vocals and flute. There is also a trumpet involved with this soft jazz track. "Ghostlike" starts with a heavy drum progression and stylish synths. This is another dark track and a bit heavier than others and becoming atmospheric in the last minute. This is also the longest track of just over 5 minutes. "The War on Me" returns to a pensive feel with processed piano and synths and airy vocals. "Killing to Survive" features Peter Hammill again. Jangly guitar and piano build under the vocals and a steady drum during the chorus. Hammill's distinctive vocals come in on the 2nd chorus. There is also a great guitar solo in the break, but it's too short. "What Lies Here" features Andy Partridge and Kevin Godley on secondary vocals. Synths and guitar bring in an atmospheric introduction before Tim's airy and pensive vocals start. The harmonized vocals by the guests are a very nice touch here. The track stays soft and atmospheric throughout.

This album is another beautiful reminder of Tim Bowness' musical interpretation skills and it is hard to find a vocalist that can convey lyrics the way that he can. The music on here is mostly soft and melancholic, but that is what I love about his music. There are a few instances where things are more upbeat also, and that lends variety to the album. The one problem is the fact that it only has light doses of Progressiveness, but that is hardly noticeable because of Tim's vocal abilities and textures. the other drawback is I wish a few of the tracks were a little longer. As a regular album, this would be teetering on a 5 star album, but since it is not really that progressive, for the purpose of this site it has to be 4 stars. This is a beautiful album.

 Lost In The Ghost Light by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.59 | 65 ratings

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Lost In The Ghost Light
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A natural turn of events.

Tim Bowness' "Lost in the Ghost Light", 2017, musical language displays an ellaborated simplicity very much in tune with the best of Pop and Rock's easily radio waveable friendly songs. Of course this styling falls naturally in his slow paced, dream like ballads as in his most precious attribute his bare naked, fully emotional lyrics, where music as such is at their command.

It will be totally unwise to bash this project because of the before mentioned closeness to mainstream audiences, worse considering how narrow the borders between Prog and white Pop/Rock eventually turned out in these modern times and if anything (as always) his guest ensemble is quiet a dream team!

Clean, attractive and showing a healthy unpretentiousness, this release does not break any kind of unexplored grounds but emphasizes the well established and focused side of Tim Bowness' personal, atmospheric and melancholic moods and his up front approach in their musical expression as in his unmistakable narrative, moving, as told, towards detailed simplicity and transparent perfection.

*** 3.5 PA stars.

 Lost In The Ghost Light by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.59 | 65 ratings

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Lost In The Ghost Light
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by The Jester

3 stars Review # 48. It is possible that some of you are not familiar with the name Tim Bowness, so maybe it is better to begin by saying a few things about him. Tim Bowness is an English songwriter, singer, keyboard player and producer, who worked with many famous musicians during his career. He is mostly known as the vocalist and co-writer of Steven Wilson's project No-Man. But further than that, he worked with Robert Fripp (King Crimson), Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music), Hugh Hopper (Soft Machine) and Judy Dyble (Fairport Convention), among others. Lost in a Ghost Light is his brand new album, in which 13 musicians are participating. So, further than Tim, there are 12 more musicians, playing a rather wide variety of instruments, including some very good and famous musicians, such as Ian Anderson on flute, Colin Edwin (ex-Porcupine Tree) on bass, Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) of guitars, and Kit Watkins (Camel) on flute and Waterphone (!). Let's take a closer look to the album now. Lost in a Ghost Light includes 8 tracks, and has a total running time of almost 45 minutes. Judging from the album's running time, I assume that it must also be available in Vinyl, further than the CD and Digital edition. It is a concept album, with the main story being about a Rock musician who is aging, and tries to share his fears about the future with us . You will not find any tales of alien invasions or the fall of humanity here, but rather the simplicity of a story about the life of a musician, that turns the album into a beautiful trip. The music is influenced by the sound of some legendary bands of the 70's mostly, such as Pink Floyd and/or Camel. It is a rather melodic and melancholic album, with very few exceptions, like ''Kill the Pain that's Killing You' for example. Based upon the 3-4 listening I've done so far, the songs I like the most are: 'Words of Yesterday' 'Nowhere good to Go' 'You'll be the Silence' and 'Distant Summers', including Ian Anderson on flute and Steve Bingham on violin. (Maybe the album's best moment). My rating would be between 3.0 and 3.5 stars
 Stupid Things That Mean The World by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 82 ratings

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Stupid Things That Mean The World
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars One hour, less a second (59.59). That is a pretty slick running time for a two CD album, surely not a coincidence! Tim Bowness needs little introduction, his work with No-Man (Steve Wilson's 'other' and 'longest project'), Henry Fool and countless other cameo appearances, have also consolidated his reputation that has burgeoned ever since his 2014 album 'Abandoned Dancehall Dreams' (ADD) hit the market and garnered generally glowing reviews, a redefining of a new stage in Bowness' career. I was also a huge fan of that imperial 2CD offering that frankly contained all the goods and included Steve Wilson on various instruments. Well, the thrill continues on 2015's near cousin 'Stupid Things that Mean the World' but SW is 'replaced' by none other than the legendary Phil Manzanera who worked with Tim on the latest Henry Fool album, the sizzling and all-instrumental 'Men Singing'. Phil is one of my all-time heroes as the man can do no wrong in my eyes and is a top 5 guitarist if there ever was one! Plus he is good pals with David Gilmour but that is another story altogether. Despite the impression that this is a follow-up continuation of ADD (even the artwork feels the same), there are some other differences besides Manzanera, such as the regal presence of Peter Hammill (talk about legend!) as well as David Rhodes, he of Random Hold and Peter Gabriel fame. Another treat is the sheer quality of the tracks, some total gems are to be found and heard with drooling glee. They keep a definite course between dreamy pop heavily loaded with progressive touches and highly reflective material that harkens back to No-Man days. Finally, the progression from ADD is quite evident and highly pleasurable, an artist continually hedging forward and beyond.

The show begins on a very high note, the thrilling 'The Great Electric Teenage Dream' is perhaps one of Bowness' finer moments, a short and thunderous dirge, emboldened by a marshalling drum beat and some raucous guitar rubbings that are one step away from Fripp (Michael Bearpark and Bruce Soord) , and a repetitive 'dream' insistence. This is very 'Heroes'-period David Bowie and a fabulous opening salvo.

How about a second killer song, eh? How about an old No-Man song out of the bag? Tim's usual hushed style kicks in on the sublime 'Sing to Me' which comes across as a perfect prog-pop song, piano and organ leading the way. It's devastatingly beautiful and expressive, immediately clasping your jugular and ripping it out. Very strong Steve Wilson penned song that could easily have made the grade with either No-Man or Wilson solo.

'Where You Have Always Been' is a sweeter voyage, delicately romantic and pastoral, in that oh so very English way, plucking strings in the background and a rolling piano motif that exudes nostalgia and romance. Manzanera handles the whimsical guitar parts, as well as the keyboards, since he co-wrote the song with Tim.

Time for some quirky, bass-driven fun, courtesy of Colin Edwin with the looping title track, imagine a proggier version of that superb early 90s Brit pop band The Lightning Seeds, as Ian Broudie's voice is very similar to Tim's. Swirling violins, some 'echo' guitars from Soord, and a lush but tight feel.

That celestial feeling continues with nearly 7 minute 'Know That You Were Loved' that otherwise features a classically pure and simple guitar solo, all crystal glitter and diamond dust. Bright summer colours and a shimmering shade, rolling green meadows, flushed with dewy redolence, twangy pedal steel guitar shifts from Rhys Marsh, this is reflective English country music, cowlads!

Next up, a trio of 3-4 minute ditties that are immensely expressive even though they come in small packages. 'Press Reset' offers that perennial contrast between light and shade, nice and ponderous shoe gazing contemplation that suddenly veers into tempestuous verve, fueled by a nasty upfront bass guitar line and some ferocious orchestrations that spell doom and gloom. The buzzing bass continues on the companion piece 'All These Escapes', the multi-layered voices do the piece incredible justice, cymbals caressing the ivories and laying down the emotions on some satin-laced cushion. And finally, 'Everything You Are Not' which finds itself loaded to the gills with huge swaths of choir work, lush innocence and fathomless desperation. Peter Hammill shows up on backing vocals and slide guitar.

Then we have a couple real short tracks (1-2 minute in length) that condense even more creativity within a tight sequence, one instrumental and the other mostly vocal ('Soft William') , armed with spooky lyrics 'the ghost of family and an air of defeat'. Disc one ends with the whimsical orchestrations of 'At the End of the Holidays', a curious blend of a Penguin Caf' Orchestra-like score and Tim's sweet musings on the human condition. A delightful organ rip gives this piece its letters of noblesse, stirring strings offer support fire.

Disc 2 is a brief affair, 17 minutes long but filled with talented and remixed tracks that have already been critiqued. It's just music, man! The cover and artwork are shining examples of neo70s psychedelia (think Yellow Submarine) that correctly time warps the music inside into a completely different realm altogether. Tim is on a roll.

4.5 Idiotic effects

 Stupid Things That Mean The World by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.88 | 82 ratings

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Stupid Things That Mean The World
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The brighter side of Tim Bowness

Tim Bowness', 2015, "Stupid Things That Mean The World", has been silently rated, quiet well by the way. It will be hard for such a low profile and sometimes way unprog, or eclectic if you wish, project to flip out most prog audiophiles' cravings for metal, speed or fireworks.

Quiet the opposite and very much in tune with Tim Bowness' creations, this release will be mostly appreciated by prog´s crossover aficionados and his close-followers and yet it could find its way into any prog's eclectic, folk and prog related enthusiasts.

A guest list of top-notch musicians (less Steven Wilson) playing around one of the most dynamic Tim Bowness' releases in years , maybe since No Man's first releases, with impeccable mesurity and exploding creativity, each song appears as bag of surprises and exciting highlights.

Now, do not get carried away with the dynamic mentioning, I mean, Iron Maiden he is not, but his usual slow paced mood is less visited as I mentioned before, than his previous works.

And to add icing on this cake, if you still crave for more, this release has its deluxe version bonus disc that will easily add points to this project.

4.5 PA stars.

 Tim Bowness & Peter Chilvers: California, Norfolk by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.35 | 8 ratings

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Tim Bowness & Peter Chilvers: California, Norfolk
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by torvald

3 stars Quite a sparse,intimate and initially unprepossessing album from Steven Wilson's alter ego on the NoMan project singer-songwriter Tim Bowness and Brian Eno collaborator Peter Chilvers on all other instruments here,which nonetheless manages to slowly charm the listener into its hermetic soundworld of melancholy ruminations and languidly evolving ambient composition.Ranging from minimalist neoclassical vignettes for piano and voice such as ''Chant One'' to the acoustic balladry of closing track ''A Dreamers Song'',and from the string driven abstractions of ''Post-its'' to the 10 minute piece de resistance ''Winter with you'',which follows a 3-part suite form that goes from ambient electronics straight through to rough industrial feedback and then back again to melancholic piano crooning,''California,Norfolk''(namechecking an actual seaside resort in Britain)manages to hold the listener's attention,without forcedly demanding it.

Maybe not necessarily as accomplished or spectacular in its tone or variety of range as some of the masterpieces Tim Bowness has recorded with Wilson under the NoMan banner,perhaps a little too uniform and reserved in mood for any stand out tracks to truly etch themselves indelibly on one's memory and occasionally marred by some dated electronic beats(subtle..) and textures here and there,''California,Norfolk'' still manages to present the solo/collaborative Bowness canon with one of its more significant and interesting releases,which I am sure long term fans of this most distinguished and characteristically mellifluous of voices in contemporary art rock need no further incentive to purchase.Those less familiar,should probably start out with the NoMan discography and then work their way through some of his more adventurous latter day solo(''Abandoned Dancehall Dreams'') or collaborative albums with Giancarlo Era of NoSound(''Memories of Machines'') before approaching this slow burning gem of a record;either way,one will not regret spending time in its gracefully lyrical flow or poetic meditations for its court 45 minute duration.

 Abandoned Dancehall Dreams by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 111 ratings

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Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by GruvanDahlman
Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Whenever I travel I like to visit at least one record store. I am a nut for owning albums. MP3:s and Itunes galore but nothing beats the real deal. So, standing there, feverishly, in a record store in Düsseldorf, holding a Grobschnitt album in my hand, I stumble across Tim Bowness' "Abandonded dancehall dreams". I have to admit I knew almost nothing of the man, only having read the odd review on PA but when my eyes wandered across the sections in the store and seeing it there, I knew I had to have it. Something called out inside of me. And thus ends the first part of this review.

The thing about this album is that it is a piece of melancholy, steeped in gentleness and atmosphere focusing on loss and longing. The outbursts of heavier sounds are sparse in numbers and could be easily counted for those inclined to do so. Overall the album is a tapestry of warmth and sorrow, which may sound a bit heavy but it isn't. I would rather proclaim it very enjoyable and moving, not overly complex but rather accessible in a progressive kind of way.

The opener "Warm-up man" acts a great introduction to what has proven an increasingly worthwhile album. "Warm-up man" is one of those more action-packed songs as far as music is concerned. It is a really good song though it is the coming ones that really puts the finger on the album's greatness. "Smiler at 50" is probably my favorite of the lot. One of the two really long tracks it holds two distinctly different sections. The first being very mellow, atmospheric and thought provoking in both lyric and musical tone, the second is an outburst which perfectly fits the glove of this track. Together the sections balances a song of outstanding beauty and ultimately power. Equally good is "Songs of distant summers", though it holds no outburst in the vein of the previous track. Sheer beauty and mellowness.

The next track is interesting and quite different to the other tracks with it's folky approach. "Waterfoot" is a very moving piece, fitting to the context of the album. "Dancing for you" holds a wonderfully emotional guitar solo. That song gives me the feeling of flowing in a non gravitational space. I just have to close my eyes and I am able to touch the stars of our universe. (Ramble on, why don't you.) Well, it's true. The keyboards are outstanding aswell.

"Smiler at 52" and the ending " Beaten by love" are great tracks aswell but of the last few tracks "I fought against the South" is the best. It is built in a similar way to "Smiler at 50" with a soft, beautiful opening and a very powerful ending section, complete with a screaming violin. Exquisite!

The voice of Tim Bowness is gentle and holds a certain timbre of great pleasantness. His voice really suits the narrative approach to the lyrics, making it feel like an orchestrated reading. (I must point out that Bowness sings, not speaks. Just to clear any misunderstandings.) Musically it is performed in a flawless way, fitting the stories perfectly. Steven Wilson, probably the foremost crusader of contemporary prog, appears on the album and delivers some fine guitar playing.

When standing there in Düsseldorf I found the deluxe edition of "Abandoned dance hall dreams" with an extra disc of bonus material. I do not always think that the bonus material is all that interesting. Sometimes it even bores me, as is the case with the second disc of Transatlantic's "Kaleidoscope". In this case it is different. The bonus material is really interesting. In particular this is true of the title track, not appearing on the album itself. It baffles me, since it is a very emotive piece with a crackling musical setting, reminding of lacklustre dancehalls and bars, filled with ever hopeful but sad people. It would really have suited the original album but there you go. "The sweetest bitter pill", reminding slightly of The Verve, is drenched in mellotron and very good. The bonus tracks are obviously not substandard throw-aways, rather discarded on other grounds. I think, overall, that it may have been a good step to take, making the "original" album a more concise and powerful statement.

My rating will be based solely on the first disc of the album, since I believe that is the true proclamation of Bowness' artistic integrity. The bonus tracks are simply the colorful candles on the birthday cake. So, as a concluding note on the subject I must say that this is a terrific album of great emotions and soundscapes. I discover new things as I go along and believe this album will stay with me for quite some time. I will rate it with four brightly shining stars.

 Abandoned Dancehall Dreams by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 111 ratings

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Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by DrömmarenAdrian

2 stars One more record where the thing I appreciate most is the cover, unfortunately. The picture is very old-style and should fit a seventies LP-record fine, the dance couple seems aslo to be taken from an old movie or something. "Abandoned Dancehall Dreams" is a studio album by the american artist "Tim Bowness", it's his fifth work and on this record he plays guitar, keyboard but mostly sings.

The music does really feel abandoned, often it is like a sad voice in an empty roam. All the songs are very sad and pessimistic. I could have accepted that if the music contained more than it did. Sometimes I like what I hear on this record "Smiler at 50" is the record's best song with beautiful strings and great instrumentation and the vocals work fine too(6/10). "The Warm- up man forever" with great drums and guitar solo(6/10), "Dancing for you" with great guitar and synth(6/10) as well as "I fought against the south", which has great instrumental parts (6/10) are pieces I don't regret I listened to. But as a whole record it just makes me sad and melancholic.

I don't recognize things in this music, it's like the musicians aren't talking my language. The rest of the songs are hard for me to endure. "Abandoned dancehall dreams" has good points but I don't see the reason for me to hear them. Two stars!

 Abandoned Dancehall Dreams by BOWNESS, TIM album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.79 | 111 ratings

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Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Tim Bowness Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars I've never really liked No-Man. I'm one of those people that likes to treat Steven Wilson as some sort of god among men, and I am a huge fan of every single one of his musical endeavors with the exception of No-Man and I.E.M. (and to a certain extent Bass Communion). I feel that I should love it - Steven writing dreamy pop music, but none of their albums ever really clicked with me, even after giving the fan-favourite Together We're Stranger a good four or five listens during my 2003 focus last year. The compositions just aren't as melodically interesting, and even though at times I kinda get the vibe they were going for, I can never say a No-Man album is anything more than "ok", and I feel that a lot of it comes down to Tim Bowness' voice. It's just got such an irritating timbre, and he tries to be dramatic and breathy far too many times in his delivery. Give me a No-Man record with Sir Steven singing lead and it may jump up a full 2 points. Ironic, then, that the first thing I actually enjoy from this project, is an album with no Steven Wilson input.

And yes, to those wondering, this is a No-Man record, despite Mr Bowness' name being the one on the cover, since all of these songs were written to be a No-Man record originally, but with Steven abandoning him to continue sucking off Robert Fripp (I'm not complaining by the way), Bowness decided to release them himself, and at least had the courtesy to put it under a different name. But unlike the abomination of Blackfield IV, this actually wouldn't bring any real disrepute to the No-Man catalogue, since as I said before, this is actually rather good. This is easily the rockiest I've heard No-Man at, with some of these songs being quite heavy and grooving. Should the opening pair of tracks have been placed on a true No-Man record, nearly everyone would assume they were Wilson compositions, so it nearly seems that Bowness is rocking up his sound a bit in order to overcompensating for his missing boyfriend.

As I said before, it's the opening duo of "The Warm Up Man Forever" and "Smiler at 50" that really bring this album forward in my ears. The opener has the traditional sultry groove that No- Man has dabbled in in their trip-hop days, but with the stellar string parts and the jumpy rhythms from the bass and drums it becomes an entirely different beast - energetic and quite fun, but in a melancholic sort of way. The second track has a first half reminiscent of what No-Man have been doing on their last two albums (although with a good melody), with its dramatic piano and violin lighting up the melancholy. But the real treat comes at the end of the track, where Tim decides to imitate his best friend in the nicest way possible, bringing a noisy and chaotic wall of noise straight in, smothered in choirs and strings and flute, sounding directly off one of Steven's recent solo records. It's fantastically intense, and the intensity is what No-Man have always needed in my mind, since the rest of their music is so needlessly dreary.

But it's almost as if these two tracks, being more upbeat and exciting and energetic than the standard No-Man material, create a nice opening for the rest of the album, which more or less is standard No-Man material. An album like Together We're Stranger spends its entire length being moody and dark and repetitive and honestly quite dull, but even if some of the songs have moments, the entire record sounds pretty much the same, so they're drowned in boredom and sameyness to the point where I can't even enjoy them as moments. The remainder of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams isn't too far off from those records, being primarily ambient pop music with a focus on dreamy and dreary atmospheric grooves, but with the wonderful opening pair, the songs really start to open up, because they're not waves in an ocean, they're like the first sight of the ocean after a rocky climb over land. There are no real highlights of the remaining tracks, but all but a couple feature nice parts within them. I'll admit that I still can't really get into Bowness' voice, but the dreamy piano and guitar that flows through his structuring finally starts to open up to me on this album.

The one thing that Abandoned Dancehall Dreams has really done for me though, is give me a bit more hype for when Steven returns to No-Man. It's evident that Tim has tried to fill his absence with songs like Smiler at 50, but a full-on return from him could bring about some wonderful compositions in the vein of the Insurgentes record (still waiting for a sequel, Steven). But for now, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is certainly my favourite record from Mr Bowness' career, and I'm really glad that I'm finally starting to appreciate and understand him, because he has evaded me for the longest time.

7.0

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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