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.
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.
In the late 80s, numerous artists as diverse as Barry Adamson and In The Nursery would go on to release so called imaginary soundtracks. But with 1981’s provisionally entitled the singing fish, Newman proved that, as ever, he was well ahead of the curve.