No-Man – Mixtaped
Posted on Dec 5th, 2009 by Alan @ 2:04 am

The Birdie Mix - December 2009

What better way to blog about the release of the No-Man DVD “Mixtaped” than with a No-Man mixtape? I meant to do this back in August/September after going to the preview screening of the DVD (a documentary called “Mixtaped” on one disk, and a live show called “Returning” on the second disk) but as usual lack of time won the battle with my good intentions.

Like a lot of people I came to No-Man through Porcupine Tree, and probably like a lot of people they were a slow-burner for me. Nowadays while Porcupine Tree excite me and I eagerly await every next release, I find I listen to No-Man just as much if not more than them.

The documentary DVD is unusual in that with most bands if you like them enough to buy the DVD you probably know pretty much everything about them already. But No-Man have led such a low-key existence that it’s packed with surprises. Who would have thought, for example, that it was Tim Bowness and not Steven Wilson who had the sillier hair! Although Wilson does beat him in the daft hat stakes. There are a few gaps in it though, for example when talking about the One Little Indian years they mention that they would regret “what would come next” without saying exactly what it was.

The live DVD is great, although I was a bit surprised that they “rocked up” their live sound. Never having seen or heard them live I’d always imagined more of a jazz club feel to their shows – having said that it’s a terrific performance and it is no surprise that they’re as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

Check it out, and enjoy it.

Playlist:

  1. Walker (from the compilation “All The Blue Changes”)
  2. Break Heaven (from “Loveblows & Lovecries”)
  3. Things Change (from “Flowermouth”)
  4. Angeldust (from “Flowermouth”)
  5. Pretty Genius (from “Wild Opera”)
  6. Sweetside Silver Night (from “Dry Cleaning Ray”)
  7. Night Sky Sweet Earth (from “Speak”)
  8. Only Rain (from “Returning Jesus”)
  9. No Defence (from “Returning Jesus”)
  10. Back When You Were Beautiful (from “Together We’re Stranger”)
  11. All Sweet Things (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)
  12. Truenorth (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)

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No-Man – All Sweet Things / Pigeon Drummer
Posted on Jun 23rd, 2008 by Alan @ 9:28 am

As promised, some new No-Man. I’m posting a couple of tracks so you understand my “WTF” reaction when I heard the second of these for the first time… “All Sweet Things” opens the new album and is typical No-Man, so laidback it looks like this man. Another track in the same vein follows (“Beautiful Songs You Should Know”) before “Pigeon Drummer” plays, and it’s probably the last thing I’d ever expect to hear on a No-Man record.

Gavin Harrison is responsible. You bad, bad man. I soiled myself.

All Sweet Things:

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Pigeon Drummer:

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No-Man – Lighthouse
Posted on Jun 20th, 2008 by Alan @ 3:16 pm

My first No-Man post – but not the last… I’ve got another one on the way with a couple of tracks from their new album “Schoolyard Ghosts”, but first here’s one from their 2001 album, “Returning Jesus”.

It took me quite a while to get into No-Man, mainly because I picked the wrong starting point. I started with “Speak”, a 1999 compilation of re-recorded versions of their very earliest material from the days before they had a record deal, and I still find it hard work to listen to it even now that I’m more familiar with them. I think my problem with them initially was that Tim Bowness’s vocals often seem to slow the music down – it’s not the liveliest music to start with, and his delivery seems to drag it back even further. The fact that I persisted with their stuff is purely down to Steven Wilson’s involvement (as you may have spotted the Porcupine Tree kingpin can do no wrong in my eyes). And it was definitely worth persisting, once I worked my way through their back catalogue and found “Returning Jesus” and “Flowermouth” I’ve not looked back. Those two records stand out as their finest work, although this year’s release is pushing them close, as you’ll find out in the next few days.

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This blog is intended as a way to spread the word about music I really like, and encourage others to support artists who are making great music. "Try before you buy", if you like. If you hear something you like here, go and buy it - I'll post links to online shops where you can buy each track I blog about.

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