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Tim Bowness: Ghost Lights and Life Sentences

John Kelman By

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A sentiment that Bowness fans no doubt share. But there's another exciting possibility on the horizon as well. "Steven and I have both talked about doing some No-Man dates and making a new album," says Bowness. "Additionally, we did write something new a few years back that was very promising. I'm excited to see where No-Man goes next and I'm also sure that whatever happens won't be like the work we've done before. At least in the sense of us not making Schoolyard Ghosts 2 or Together We're Stranger 2, anyway.

"When working with Steven in 2013, we developed a new No-Man piece out of something the band had been working on since 1994. The new piece was at once very different from the composition it developed from and was immediately, definitively No-Man. There was something in the harmonies, textures and mood that wouldn't have worked on any of the other projects Steven Wilson and I are involved with."

But most important, perhaps—and not something that all people share as they get older— Bowness continues to be a pathological music addict, always on the lookout for the next discovery, whether it's contemporary or an older group that yet to be experienced. "I was obsessed about music from my early teens onward," Bowness explains. "Along with books and films, music provided a great escape from a pretty miserable adolescence. Beyond the usual teenage tribulations, I was surrounded by chaos for a while (deaths, nervous breakdowns and more) and being able to immerse myself in music and also to sing the heartache away (a cliché, but a true one for me) was important.

"I really don't regret what I did. I properly pursued making music my life from the age of 18. I know it's not common these days, but I've managed to make a living out of music. Financially there were precarious times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, when every contract I had was lost; but aside from that, from 1991 to the present day I've managed to survive doing something I love.

"I'm still an avid music listener and purchaser and I constantly listen to music old and new," Bowness concludes. "I love discovering back catalogs I didn't know (over the last few years that's included Max Richter, The Strawbs, Judee Sill, Michael Chapman and Labi Siffre). I'm still excited by how some favorites are continually evolving (Kate Bush, Peter Hammill, Elbow, David Bowie and Leonard Cohen before their deaths) and it's great to make new discoveries (like Ryley Walker, Troyka and Keaton Henson). I also still play albums I loved a long time ago, of course."

On the strength of his work with No-Man, Henry Fool, Peter Chilvers, Centrozoon, Opium Cartel, White Willow and others, but most notably in his recent solo efforts Abandoned Dancehall Dreams, Stupid Things That Mean the World and now Lost in the Ghost Light, it's a sure thing that Bowness' own superlative work will also continue to be loved and played well into the future by his growing fan base.

Photo Credit: David Owens

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