The core of no-man is Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson.
I wasn’t aware of no-man when they were first active. I was led to the duo’s work via my discovery of Steven Wilson’s solo albums in 2013.
My favorite no-man album is the trip-hoppy, atmospheric art pop set Loveblows and Lovecries: A Confession. That release has some competition now.
love you to bits is a successor to that 1993 album. This one is a 21th century disco ride, with tonalities which harken back to an earlier era but sound fresh in this context.
I read that no-man have been working on this album on and off for a while. Eleven years have passed since their last studio album, Schoolyard Ghosts.
This is a concept album of sorts, a memoir of an ended relationship, of a longing to return to a happier time. The style of the music might seem at odds with the subject. I perceive it as a comforting envelope, a reassurance.
The work is divided into two sections, Love You To Bits and Love You To Pieces.
(Sounds like an album designed for vinyl – or cassette!)
There is a sonic theme that runs through both sections and ties them together..
The rhythm moves the music, with Mr. Bowness’ atmospheric voice fitting in the soundscape.
There are keyboards, guitars, bass and drums in the mix.
Love You To Bits (Bit 4) features a wild guitar solo, played by (I’m taking a guess) David Kollar, noted for his work on Mr. Wilson’s To The Bone album. (Mr. Kollar’s own music can be found on Bandcamp.)
Brass instruments close out the first section, a bit of change up to the groove.
The openings of each of the musical halves have a similar buildup that might be found in a classical piece.
Love You To Pieces (Piece 2) features some darker sonics with a keyboard solo by (I’m guessing again) Adam Holzman and a dense bass tone from (another guess) Pete Morgan.
I never thought there would be another no-man album – with all the other projects that Mr. Bowness and Mr. Wilson are involved in, how could they find the time?
But here is the magic, undimmed by the years passed since the last. A gift for the fans, one that will bring new members into the fold.
no-man have delivered music to uplift us and move us, with lyrics to commiserate shared loss and longing. Try a listen via headphones for a truly blissed out experience. (And an earworm that will linger!)
Yes, it’s not prog, but it is music by two men who are well respected by other musicians in the prog world. Free your mind…..
N.B. I wasn’t given any information with the music for my review, so I am guessing on the soloists from information I have found on the internet, including an entry on Discogs.
Release date: November 22, 2019
Label: Caroline Records
A. Love You To Bits (Bits 1-5)
B. Love You To Pieces (Pieces 1-5)
Tim Bowness: vocals
Steven Wilson: various instruments and backing vocals
Adam Holzman: keyboards
David Kollar: guitar
Ash Soan: drums
Pete Morgan: bass
The Dave Desmond Brass Quintet