Colin Newman was a member of the hugely influential post-punk band, Wire. A lack of funds had prevented 4AD from being able to fund his solo debut, A-Z, which was instead released by Beggars Banquet. Subsequently, Newman came to Ivo with an idea for an instrumental album which could be recorded on a shoestring. 1981's Provisionally Entitled The Singing Fish was the result.
The following year, the coffers somewhat replenished, Ivo was able to finance a proper Colin Newman album. Not To featured contributions from Wire colleagues Robert Gotobed and Graham Lewis. A separate 7" single brought together â€˜We Means We Startsâ€™ with an alternate version of the album's title track.