Colin Newman - Provisionally Entitled The Singing Fish [vinyl]

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In the early 1980s, Newman released a brace of solo albums which continued to push several envelopes. His second album, the perversely named provisionally entitled the singing fish, was released in 1981 and proves that Newman was more than able to work outside the traditional rock format.

A collection of imaginary soundtrack pieces in the manner of Brian Eno’s Music For Films, provisionally entitled the singing fish is a diverse collection of instrumentals, encompassing the atmospheric, the abstract and the thrillingly propulsive. Now, for the first time, this album has been completely remastered and augmented with a whole disc of additional tracks, including alternate vocal versions, B-sides and demo recordings.

Sounds described it as “Wonderfully cinematic”. And it’s not hard to see why. Witness the misty, ambient marshes of ‘Fish 4’, or the tripped out Morricone-esque soundscape of ‘Fish 11’. But there are moments of intensity here too. Check out the deliriously insistent krautrock of ‘Fish 7’, or ’Fish 9’, where Newman speeds up the rhythm tracks to dadaist effect. The album as a whole displays a true desire to endlessly experiment.

Newman’s first self-produced set, its ambition and scope show why he would go on to become producer of choice for post punk luminaries such as Minimal Compact and Virgin Prunes.