Tim Bowness / Peter Chilvers — California, Norfolk
(Burning Shed bshed1306, 2002/2013, 2CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-01-22California, Norfolk was a Tim Bowness (No Man, Henry Fool) and Peter Chilvers (Samuel Smiles, Brian Eno) collaboration originally released in 2002. It was Burning Shed’s (which Bowness and Chilvers co-founded) first ever release, available only online in limited numbers with minimal promotion. Nonetheless, it managed to sell out quickly. A follow up was planned but never materialized, short of a collection of alternative mixes and outtakes called Overstrand (2003). Seeing that copies were fetching insane figures on eBay, Bowness and Chilvers decided it was high time to reissue California, Norfolk, and in typical Burning Shed fashion it’s been beautifully packaged as a two-disk set in a hardcover book with expanded liner notes and Carl Glover artwork. This package is about as perfect a documentary about two artists brief but potent partnership as I can imagine. The first disk is the full California, Norfolk album while the second disk contains Overstrand plus two leftover pieces (labeled Sidestrand), and four live recordings. Despite the sprawling nature of the collection, and considering it spans over 10 years of the musician’s lives, there’s a marvelous continuity to it all. Chilvers excels in the sort of minimalist soundscapes that Eno/Fripp fans drool over while Bowness is a master of lyrical story telling. Other than the rhythmic and almost club-y “Criminal Caught in the Crime,” there’s a uniformly somber and reflective wistfulness to the songs. The marriage of Bowness’ ethereal vocal caresses and Chilvers’ modernist textures and processed loops (using mainly keyboards though a diverse assortment of instruments was employed) is a powerful match. Whether the songs are drawn from their work in Samuel Smiles in the 90s, or from an intimate live recording in 2010 it all hangs together and is a textbook example of how to create minimalist yet evocative musical movies.
Related artist(s): Tim Bowness
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more