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Tim Bowness

Tim Bowness is primarily known as vocalist/co-writer with the band No-Man, a long-running collaboration with Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson.

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tim bowness / samuel smiles - live archive one (cdr)

Comprising three separate 'live in the studio' sessions dating from 1991-99, the bulk of this recording is culled from the band's stint in Liverpool's famous Amazon Studios in 1991 and showcases the band at a fascinating, formative phase in their development.


Amazon Studios, Liverpool, July 1991

1. When I said I loved you (Bearpark / Bowness)
2. Overland (Bearpark / Bowness / Chilvers / Fernyhough / Wild)
3. Life is elsewhere (Bowness / Hulse)
4. You pray the sky (Bearpark / Bowness)
5. Life with the independent whore (Bearpark / Chilvers / Bowness)
6. Stay strong (Bowness / Chilvers)
7. This must be the place (Byrne / Frantz / Harrison / Weymouth)
8. Ancient walls (Bowness / Hulse)
9. Flame (Bearpark / Bowness)
10. Walker (Bearpark / Bowness)
11. A scare at bedtime (Bowness)
12. Home (Byrne / Frantz / Harrison / Weymouth)

David Kosten's Studio, London, April 1996

13. Catching the rain (Bowness / Chilvers)
14. As tears go by (Jagger / Richards)

The Ski Lodge, Cambridge, December 1999

15. Also out of air (Bowness)


Michael Bearpark - Guitar
Tim Bowness - Vocal
Peter Chilvers - Piano, Treatments (Also out of air)
Maz de Chastelaine - Cello (Catching the rain)

Mixed and Engineered by:
Ken Nelson (1-12)
David Kosten (13-14)
Peter Chilvers (15)

photography by Myke Clifford


Tim Bowness writes:

'So, after 'The Way We Used To Live' comes the way I used to sing. After initial playback of these lost pieces and performances, I was genuinely shocked. Did I really used to sing so deep, so cracked, so flat? How on earth did I develop that 'Scott Walker with gut ache' sound? What exactly was this hysterical historical document about?

On further listening, I gradually came to understand why we'd gone ahead with this curiosity in the first place, started to appreciate the quality of some of the forgotten songs and learned to like the strange vitality of the more aggressive material in evidence. We may have been inadequate, but I felt some of the songs definitely deserved to be heard.

Tracks 1-12 date from one three hour period in July 1991 in Amazon Studios, Liverpool (now Parr Street Studios). The idea was to recreate the way in which 1950's Jazz, Blues and Rock'N'Roll records were recorded. We had a basic mix level for the voice and instruments fed straight into a DAT machine. After everything had been set up, we played through what was effectively our live set at that time, subsequently re-recorded a couple of pieces and then went home to watch Lovejoy and his adorable mullet.

Starting with a rather conventional set of ballads, the idea was that the songs got progressively stranger as the show/album went on. In retrospect, I like the first few songs a lot, although I don't feel we do them the justice they deserve. The first version of 'This Must Be The Place' features some splendidly heavy guitar from Mike and some truly horrendous singing from me (was this my Bad Company audition)? The second version ('Home') is actually rather sweet. Strangely, the darker pieces, especially 'Flame' and 'A Scare At Bedtime', I still like. There's a stern integrity and group dynamic that haunts these pieces which is quite unlike anything we've attempted since.

Mike's playing is much more roots based than I remember it being, Peter's playing is a lot less accomplished than it is now and on some tracks I seem to think I'm American. We even occasionally play around with Blues and Gospel clichés in a way that we hadn't previously and haven't subsequently done. The only excuse I can offer is that, for some reason, we did listen to some Van Morrison and Elvis Presley albums the day before we went into the studio. A poor excuse, but true.

Tracks 13-15 date from much later, are technically much better performed and were recorded in a similar fashion to the Amazon sessions. I like the version of 'As Tears Go By' despite the fact that by now I seemed to think that I was a Cockney. 'Catching The Rain' is an interesting mutant of a song and 'Also Out Of Air' is something that we liked so much we decided to re-record and schedule it for the new Bowness/Chilvers opus.

I've done better before and I've certainly done far better since most of this material was recorded, but the essentially unrepeatable nature of this project seemed to suit the criteria of Burning Shed, so here it is for your listening displeasure.

Be kind to our mistakes.


Burning Shed CDRs

Burning Shed CDRs are burnt to order and packaged in a stylish rubber stamped cardboard sleeve with card inlay.



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