Abandoned Dancehall Dreams (2CD Digibook)

Import digibook is identical in content to the domestic version but just fancier packaging.

"In some ways, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams was inevitable. Just as Steven Wilson, his partner in No-Man, ultimately took what is, at the very least, a hiatus from, in addition to No-Man and other projects, his primary gig with Porcupine Tree—pursuing a solo career that's led to increasing success, most recently with the studio recording The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and the live/studio EP Drive Home (both Kscope, 2013)—it appears that the time for singer Tim Bowness to step out on his own has also arrived. It's a risky move for an artist whose reputation has been built on more egalitarian projects like the progressive-minded Henry Fool, the aptly dark dance music of Darkroom—and, of course, No-Man—and for more than one reason, but the two most obvious are: that there's nobody to hide behind or blame for decisions made; and, as ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett told Wilson, what Bowness can expect is for about 20% of his No-Man fan base to go along with them when he takes the leap.

But the rewards can be many, too—and, as Wilson has proven, Hackett's advice can be greatly underestimated. Abandoned Dancehall Dreams may have begun as a follow-up to No-Man's dreamily cinematic Schoolyard Ghosts (Kscope, 2008), it soon became clear that, rather than the collaborative effort that was No-Man, this was a record that more clearly reflected Bowness' more personal predilections. The result is an album that may well be his best recording to date under any name, and certainly continues some of No-Man's visual-rich music while, at the same time, stretching well past the boundaries of that group's defining characteristics to become something more powerful, more majestic...more monumental. While 2004's My Hotel Year (One Little Indian) was the first album to bears Bowness' name alone, as he describes in the extra booklet being provided to those who pre-order Abandoned Dancehall Music from the shopfront he has co-managed since 2001, burningshed.com, it was an album ..." created as a means of tying together several incomplete (and very different) projects I had on the go at the time. A solo album in name only, it never wholly felt mine."

Not so, with Abandoned Dancehall Music. There are, of course, many participants on the album's eight songs, inspired by dancehalls of the 1920s through the '60s in many places around the world—most now sitting empty, razed, or converted—but the overall concept belongs to Bowness, and perhaps the biggest surprise is that, while his breathy, romanticized vocal delivery remains as definitive as ever, the music of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is on a much grander scale than anything suggested by his past work. From King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto's thundering propulsion of the opening "The Warm-Up Man Forever"—a song which could be read as autobiographical, were it not for Bowness' assertions to the contrary, possessing ..."elements of people I've come across on the fringes of the music, literary and art worlds over the last few decades and was an attempt to understand certain ways of thinking that are more than a little alien to me"—it's clear that there's the Tim Bowness people have come to know, and then there's the more ambitious and expansive Tim Bowness of Abandoned Dancehall Dreams.

Musically, the opening song's tribal drums reference the '80s work of artists like Peter Gabriel, while at the same time, Henry Fool guitarist Michael Bearpark adds more suitably contemporary guitar work and Andrew Keeling—the man who collaborated with King Crimson co-founder Robert Fripp and engineer/producer David Singleton on the innovative The Wine of Silence (DGM Live, 2012)—contributes some truly heady string arrangements (here, and elsewhere throughout the album ) that are created, single-handedly by renowned concert violinist Charlotte Dowding, one overdub at a time.

"Smiler at 50" is only eclipsed by the even more epically dynamic "I Fought Against the South" as Abandoned Dancehall Music's longest track, though they're both only half a minute apart, and both exceed the eight-minute mark. The two tracks begin in somewhat balladic territory, with Mastelotto's backbeat-driven groove and Anna Phoebe's lyrical violin driving the first, song-form six minutes of "Smiler at 50"—its bittersweet lyrics best described by its concluding lines: "She weeps for places where she's been / And those she'll never know." But a near-silence interlude leads into flat-out symphonic progressive rock territory for its final two minutes, Mastelotto thundering behind an orchestral/choral tour de force from Henry Fool keyboardist Stephen Bennett that's turned heavier still by Bearpark's crunching power chords, referencing past precedents like Genesis as well as some of Steven Wilson's own contemporary work, albeit less emphatic on the chops front and more decidedly on mood—though Wilson's work is, of course, never shy on mood either. Still, Bowness' music has never sounded this magnificent, this magisterial.

The sequencing of a record's material into a cogent whole—one which represents something far greater than the sum of its individual songs—often makes the difference between a good record and a great one. Following "Smiler at 50" with the sparer, piano-driven "Songs of Distant Summers" makes clear that Bowness knows how to pace an album, delivering a respite from what came before as the singer, in collaboration with pianist Stuart Laws, shapes a song about that very thing: collaborative writing, and the perils of life experience getting in the way. Still, this isn't just a simple ballad; instead, processed and wordless vocals, synth lines, orchestral swells and other atmospherics, as well as volume pedal and delay-driven guitar, turn its 90-second ending into an evocative instrumental passage of glorious, enveloping warmth and grace.

But more than simply being his best recording to date, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is also Bowness' most eclectic. Electronics, synths and atmospherics may define much of an album that sits somewhere between the dreamy romanticism of No-Man and the more energetic progressive leanings of Henry Fool, but Bowness isn't afraid to unplug and use acoustic guitars, courtesy of Keeling—who turns out to be an even greater talent than already known, contributing guitars, bass, organ and percussion to the brighter "Waterfoot." Keeling also plays a major role on "I Fought Against the South," his flute work reminiscent of Court of the Crimson King-era Crimson, acting as a mid-song segue to a dramatic coda that builds—with Bearparks' power chords blazing over Henry Fool drummer Andrew Booker and one-time No-Man bassist Pete Morgan's august pulse—to a climactic peak before dissolving to a gentler conclusion, Keeling's multilayered flutes once again coming to the fore.

"Smiler at 52" acts as a linking premise, picking up on the character of "Smiler at 50" who, just two years later, is alone, as Bowness sings: "There were days when she was missed / There were days not like this," his delivery as poignant as ever on a tune also defined by the electronic texture of programmed drum beats, near-celestial wordless vocals and subdued but soaring strings, all anchored by Porcupine Tree's Colin Edwin, revealing more about his own talents by playing double bass, rather than the electric bass he uses on "Smiler at 50" and "Dancing for You," the latter one of two tunes where Steven Wilson (who mixed the album) contributes musically, in this case drum programming that's juxtaposed with Mastelotto's acoustic kit. Wilson also adds some guitar to the brief, tuned drum-driven closer, "Beaten By Love," broadening Bearpark's extant work as Booker's tribal drums bring the album full circle.

If there's never been any doubt about Bowness' talents, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is, nevertheless, a revelation. His vocal style has long since grown into an instantly recognizable one, but as a writer he's never asserted himself as he has here. Lyrically he may still continue to explore the darker, more melancholic subjects with which he's long been associated, but with Abandoned Dancehall Dreams Bowness has stepped up his compositional acumen, drawing on sources ranging from Peter Gabriel and Japan to Talk Talk and King Crimson, but the end result sounding like nobody but Tim Bowness. It appears that live appearances to perform this material will be limited to a small handful of dates—where, in collaboration with the rest of Henry Fool, he'll also be performing music from that group's small but strong discography, as well as some tunes from the No-Man repertoire—but if this album achieves the critical and popular acclaim it deserves—and the advance buzz certainly suggests it will—then it will also, hopefully, be an opportunity for Bowness, like Wilson, to step out from the shadow of a group and become the leader that, based on the destined-to-be-classic Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, he's clearly ready—and meant—to be." - Jon Kelman/All About Jazz

Track Listing: CD1 (Abandoned Dancehall Dreams): The Warm-Up Man Forever; Smiler at 50; Songs of Distant Summers; Waterfoot; Dancing for You; Smiler at 52; Beaten By Love; I Fought Against the South. CD2 (Abandoned Dancehall Outtakes and Mixes): Songs of Distant Summers (extended band version); The Warm-Up Man Forever (band version); The Sweetest Bitter Pill; Abandoned Dancehall Dream; There Were Days (Smiler at 52, Grasscut mix); Dancing for Youth (Dancing for You, UXB mix); Sounds of Distant Summers (Sounds of Distant Summers, Richard Barbieri mix).

Personnel: Tim Bowness: vocals; mellotron (CD1#1), piano (CD1#1), keyboards (CD1#6), drum programming (CD1#6), guitar (CD1#7, CD2#5), instruments (CD2#4); Michael Bearpark: guitar solo (CD1#1, CD1#5, CD2#6), guitars (CD1#2, CD1#3, CD1# 7, CD1#8, CD2#1-3, CD2#5, CD2#7), guitar atmospherics (CD1#5, CD2#6); Charlotte Dowding: violin ensemble (CD1#1, CD1#4, CD1#6, CD2#3); Andrew Keeling: string arrangement (CD1#1, CD1#6, CD1#7, CD2#3), acoustic guitars (CD1#4), bass (CD1#4), organ (CD1#4), percussion (CD1#4), flutes (CD1#7); Pat Mastelotto: drums (CD1#1, CD1#2, CD1#5, CD2#6); Pete Morgan: bass (CD1#1); Stephen Bennett: Nord Electro 3 CP70 (CD1#2, CD1#3, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-7), Novatron M400 (CD1#2-5, CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5-7), Godwin String Concert (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-6), Moog Minimoog OS (CD1#2, CD1#4, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5-6), Oberheim OB8 (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD1#7, CD2#5-6), the Spitfire orchestra (CD1#2), Fender Rhodes MK1 (CD1#2, CD1#4, CD1#8, CD2#3), upright piano (CD1#2), Korg MS20 mini (CD1#4), drum machine programming (CD1#5), Nord Electro 3 organ (CD1#7, CD2#5), keyboards (CD2#1-2); Colin Edwin: bass (CD1#2, CD1#5, CD2#6), double bass (CD1#6); Anna Phoebe: violin (CD1#2, CD1#7, CD2#5); Steve Bingham: violin (CD1#3, CD2#1-2, CD2#7); Stuart Laws: piano (CD1#3, CD2#7), synth pads (CD1#3, CD2#7), Taurus bass (CD1#3, CD2#7), atmospherics (CD1#3, CD2#7), percussion (CD1#3, CD2#1-2, CD2#7), keyboards (CD2#1-2), effects (CD2#3); Eliza Legzedina and Matt Ankers: The Spontaneous UEA Vocal Ensemble (CD1#5, CD2#6); Steven Wilson: drum machine addition (CD1#5, CD2#6), guitar (CD1#8); Andrew Booker: drums (CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#1-3, CD2#5); Pete Morgan: bass (CD1#7, CD1#8, CD2#3, CD2#5); Andrew Phillips (Grasscut): additional instrumentation (CD2#5), programming (CD2#5); Pete Morgan (UXB): additional instrumentation (CD2#6), programming (CD2#6); Richard Barbieri: keyboards (CD2#7), synthesizers (CD2#7), percussion programming (CD2#7).

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  • "For composer and keyboard player Carl Westholm humanity's future is bleak, and ends in death. The apocalypse is at hand, and Westholm's Jupiter Society tells its inevitable and fateful story in the third effort From Endangered to Extinction. Again Westholm is helped by members of several Scandi bands including Carptree, Krux, Candlemass, Soilwork, Opeth, and Evergrey.Needless to say, with the bleak concept, this is a dark and despairing album, from lyrics to music, with Westholm's ominous synth layers establishing the foundation. Lyrically, the story revolves more around the invaders and destroyers of the earth, led by the Queen of Armageddon, possibly aided by some satanic element, mentioned in the song Invasion, rather than the people of earth.The latter, the people of earth, get some reference in the last three songs, but with little hope. The song Fight back is crushed in the vice of No Survivors and Defeat. It's not good day on Planet Earth. And this is where Westholm's song composition comes to the fore. The music intentionally propels the frustration, devastation, and defeat of humanity in both tone and power. In other words, this dark and bleak story gets played out in a proper musical context and, therefore, makes From Endangered to Extinction creative and engaging. But considering the subject matter, again, entertaining may become a highly contested moot point. Recommended." - Dangerdog.comThird album in the futuristic prog metal series from Carl Westholm.  You may know him from his involvement from Carptree, Krux, and Candlemass.  Westholm always puts together an interesting cast of musicians for these projects.  This time he draws from bands like Krux, Carptree, Candlemass, Soilwork, and Evergrey.  Most notable are the great Mats Leven (as one of a few lead vocalists) and Leif Edling of Candlemass.  Intense apocalyptic stuff with a cyber metal angle to it.  Highly recommended. 
    $15.00
  • We have some customers who collect digipaks. This is the import version of +4626 Comfortzone.  The content is identical to the much less expensive domestic jewel box version.  If you need to have a digi version jump on it as this is a limited edition and will definitely go out of print.Latest studio album from this outstanding band from Sweden.  The best thing about Beardfish is their ability to be contemporary but they blend in just enough old school sounds to appeal to the entrenched prog fan base.  The band never quite sounds retro yet they incorporate vintage keys and guitar sounds. Chalk this up to great songwriting. On their previous album, The Void, something went amiss and it didn't sit well with their fans.  The band had taken on a heavier edge touching on metal.  Well have no fear - the band has jettisoned all metal trappings and have returned to the sound of the earlier albums.  Swirls of organ and Mellotron are everywhere and the unmistakeable sound of the Rickenbacker bass will slam you in the gut.  Are you are fan of Anekdoten, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, or even The Flower Kings?  You need to hear this.With regards to the bizarre album title here is a clue from the band:“The comfort zone is the invisible protective suit of negative thinking, almost like an entity of itself. It’s been with you since birth: your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbours all teaching you the way the world works – this is how it is and will be and there’s nothing you can do about it. The negative vibe is like a voice living inside of you, a companion through life. With time you start to like that voice and the place it takes you to: your comfort zone. I’m so sick and tired of it and I want to address it and maybe in that way start to work my way out of it”+4626 Comfortzone comes with a bonus CD featuring 13 previously unreleased demo and outtake tracks spanning 2002-2008.BUY OR DIE!
    $17.00
  • Remastered edition with one bonus track."With Jonathan Cain, Steve Perry, and Neal Schon leading Journey once again, and bassist Ross Valory and drummer Steve Smith behind them, it would seem that Trial by Fire would contain the same elements that gave them their stardom in the '80s. Disappointingly, though, there is nothing captivating or even the least bit attractive about this unimaginative release. Perry's singing hasn't lost too much of its power, but the faster tunes come off as contrived and messy. Sounding hard and scattered, the smoothness of their trademarked music is nowhere to be found, replaced with brash, beat-up, hollow rock riffs. The ballads fare no better, as the passion that once flourished within the band when it came to slowing things down has long since faded. Just the fact that Journey reunited may lure fans to this album, but it won't be long before the discontentment begins set in." - All Music Guide
    $5.00
  • Third album from a band that is essentially a mash up of members from Sieges Even, Sun Caged and Dreamscape.  Their music carries on very much in the style of the later Sieges Even albums.  In other words progressive rock that leans towards the heavier side of the spectrum.  Rush, Rabin-era Yes, Saga, and Dream Theater come to mind as influences.  Quite melodic and if you are so inclined you'll hear some incredible chops from guitarist Markus Steffen.  The band corraled Stream Of Passion's Marcela Bovio for a guest vocal appearance, dueting with Arno Menses.This is the deluxe 2CD edition.  It sports a really cool looking 3D cover.  The bonus CD is a live concert recorded in Mannheim in 2012.
    $19.00
  • ""Hansson's third album, which according to many music aficionados was his strongest in musical terms, was released in 1973 as Mellnväsen on the Silence Records label; later issued with the English title Attic Thoughts. Much of the album was recorded at Hansson's home which had become virtually a studio with much of the same line-up of musicians/friends who had played on Magician's Hat. With this album Hansson confirmed his maturity as a musical composer, managing to slowly build upon his body of works without losing that feeling of a fairy-tale atmosphere, his trademark sound which was essentially laid down on his debut album.""
    $16.00