Mr. Alec Bowman — I Used to Be Sad & Then I Forgot (May 1, 2020) UK FLAG  Mr. Alec Bowman — I Used to Be Sad & Then I Forgot  Mr. Alec Bowman — I Used to Be Sad & Then I Forgot (May 1, 2020)⇒  Posmutnělý, zasmušilý, zdánlivě bezútěšný a osobní, přesto okouzlující a vtipný. Odstíny Leonarda Cohena s moderní anglickou atmosférou. Chtěli jsme se o stopě dozvědět více a oslovili jsme umělce. Mr. Alec Bowman byl tak laskavý, že nám dal následující informace: „Neuvědomil jsem si, když jsem vydal tuto píseň a video, natož když jsem to nahrál, jak by to mělo být — píseň oslavující sebepojetí..., a to video, které mě provázelo touhou najít útěchu mezi stromy. Nejsem soothsayer nebo světcem, nesnažím se být moudrý, chytrý nebo vtipný, jen jsem se pokusil shromáždit obrázky podivně znepokojujícího míru, získaného v naprosté izolaci od ostatních lidí a můžete posoudit, jestli se mi to podařilo nebo ne. Zde jsou první dva řádky: „When the time for talking’s over & the silences begun — You can’t come up for air & the words have all been done” [Když nastal čas na mluvení a začalo ticho — Nemůžete přijít na vzduch a všechna slova byla hotová.“] 
⇒  Když jsem tuto píseň poprvé poslouchal, miloval jsem ji z fleku a video v objetí svěží přírody udělalo zbytek. Zdálo se, že je to taková světská věc — možnost vyrazit venku a užívat si života venku. Kolik se změnilo mrknutím oka. Stále více oceňuji skvělou hudbu a vizuální efekty. Děkuji, pane Aleci Bowmane!
⇒  Album uzavírá nádherný film „Never the End of the World“ — „Jen se zastaví na chvíli, než se rozvinete“ — a než to začnete vědět, album jste si pustili znovu. Je to album, na které se můžete obrátit, když potřebujete útěchu, což všichni děláme v těchto podivných dobách, ve kterých žijeme.⇒  English singer~songwriter Mr. Alec Bowman knows a thing or two about appearances and how they often differ from reality. As a professional photographer and filmmaker, he is attuned to the varied ways we interpret the world visually and he has a keen ear for verbal and musical nuances. These skills are combined to mesmerising effect on his new album, I Used To Be Sad & Then I Forgot.
⇒  A quick glance at the cover might give you some small clue as to what lies within. The typeface, the sunlit meadow, the hazy close~ups of buttercups: these are all redolent of a particular type of album, maybe one of those lost pastoral folk masterpieces of the late 60s or early 70s. And while Bowman is certainly no stranger to a sweet melody or a soft~focus soundscape, that is only a fraction of the story. These eleven songs occupy a world that is profoundly personal and at times, extremely dark.
⇒  It is Bowman’s first release under his own name, and accordingly its songs are autobiographical, drawn from the deep well of lived experience. In Bowman’s words, ‘it’s all me’, and while it is transfixed by moments of astonishing beauty, its overall mood, in the words of its creator, is ‘angry, fragile, redemptive.’
⇒  Above all it is an honest statement, as close to the bone as it is possible for a work of art to be. Think the literary soul~searching of Nick Cave without the gothic melodrama, Leonard Cohen’s knack of alchemising the emotional pain that often characterises human relationships, or even the raw personal trauma of the last two Mount Eerie albums.
⇒  But like the best songs of Cohen or Cave, Bowman’s sad miniatures are frequently shot through with pitchblack humour or surprising and often optimistic turns of phrase. Hand In Hand gleefully lists the various ways in which the singer doesn’t want to die while still managing to be the sincerest of love songs, and Never The End Of The World turns a well~worn platitude into a genuine, wise message of hope.
⇒  Songs like Safe Mode — which compares people to the mobile phones that have started to take over their lives — and Physics & Form are distinctly contemporary in their detail, while The Event Horizon Of You makes something tender and beautiful out of the general theory of relativity. My Kind Of Chaos sets its turbulent theme against a calm counterpoint of acoustic guitar and examines the paradox of how disorder and harmony can coexist in a loving relationship.
⇒  And musically too, the attention to detail is striking. This is a far cry from your average singer~songwriter fare: witness the dark, almost spooky effects that underpin the melody of A Ditch Worth Dying For, the detached and otherworldly organ that plays a snippet of The Old Rugged Cross at the album’s mid~point intermission, or the muted clarinets that haunt Leaves. The production — courtesy of Josienne Clarke - is quietly stunning.
⇒  Ultimately, for all its darkness, I Used To Be Sad & Then I Forgot is a redemptive, positive experience. Bowman has gone through a lot to get to the point where he felt he can release these songs into the world, and it shows. Desperation might have been the driving force of this album, but its message is one of hopeful defiance. It represents an ending of one period of its creator’s life, and a new beginning. It’s not about forgetting pain, but about claiming it, and recognising that over time it can be crystalised into something that contains a kernel of truth and beauty.
⇒  As Bowman says, his songs are ‘scar tissue on my skin, owned by me, worn on the outside, and if you’re going to judge me, then do it with an open hand in the cold light of a future day, rather than under the cover of a darkness past.’ Location: UK
Album release: May 1, 2020
Record Label: Mr. Alec Bowman
Duration:     28:48
01. Physics & Form   2:44 
02. A Ditch Worth Dying For   2:41 
03. Safe Mode   3:54 
04. Leaves   2:30 
05. Long Goodbyes   2:31 
06. Intermission (The Old Rugged Cross)   1:20 
07. Patience   2:31 
08. Hand In Hand   2:12 
09. The Event Horizon Of You   3:33 
10. My Kind Of Chaos   2:19 
11. Never The End Of The World   2:33
♦  All songs written & composed by Alec Bowman © 2020 (except The Old Rugged Cross by George Bennard © 2013)
♦  Produced by Josienne Clarke
♦  Vocals, acoustic, electric & bass guitar, bowed cymbal & Hammond by Alec Bowman
♦  Vocals, electric guitar, harmonium, piano, saxophone, recorders & clarinet by Josienne Clarke
♦  Rhodes, Wurlizter, Hammond & harmonium by Paul Mosley
♦  Engineered by Andy Banfield at Superfly Studios
♦  Mastered by Mike Hiller at Metropois
♦  Cover Photography by Trevor Hamilton
♦  Sleeve Design by
Mark Nenadic ⌊ April 17, 2020 ⌋ Score: 9 
⇒  Mr. Alec Bowman offers the ears of the world a serving of erudite, melancholy folk. Bowman is something of an English Leonard Cohen, which is a high compliment, and one his doleful baritone is quite deserving of. Indeed his simple song structures, short epithets and simply plucked/ strummed guitar across these songs are distinctly Cohen~esque. Equally so is the dark, dark humour nestling in the lyrics.
⇒  Formerly of ambient dub outfit Formication, there’s a hint to his past in some of the soundscapes Bowman employs, mostly floating behind, sometimes smashing into the boughs of the songs. It’s a dark listen, as you might expect given the style and influences on display. However, there’s many a charm to be had within the bleakest of song, and Bowman’s adds a dash of self~deprecating humour, perhaps even fragile optimism to it all.
⇒  Opener ‘Physics and Form’ starts with pump organ and opines about life crashing down as a plummeting aircraft might. It’s the closest Bowman has to a poppy, singalong track (though that might be stretching the notion of poppy and singalong somewhat). Closely following is ‘A Ditch Worth Dying For’, which is Bowman it his bleakest, with mechanical saw~screeching sounds puncturing the track. The starkness is painfully evident again in ‘Long Goodbyes’, but there’s a genuine ‘Intermission’ track at the midpoint of these eleven songs. ‘Hand In Heart is simple and soaked with black humour — a comprehensive list of ways Bowman wishes not to die..
⇒  In simple terms, Bowman has delivered a fine, fine album. His association with Josieanne Clark (credited with production and backing vocal duties) is a further stamp of quality, not that it’s necessary. — AmericanaUK
by Mark Buckley • 1 May 2020
Paul Kerr