Sunday, August 30, 2009

Today’s Find: Porcupine / Incident

You think you know contemporary progressive rock and wave it away dismissively. And then, this comes along.

Time Flies from the album “The Incident” by Steven Wilson’s project Porcupine Tree.

I found this via Sid Smith—writer, reviewer, quiet bon vivant—and his reportage at Postcards from the Yellow Room.

Allow me to quote his opening paragraph from the juicy review:

“Porcupine Tree has always been about exploring the resonance and echoes found within Steven Wilson’s subconscious. After witnessing a road accident, Wilson was prompted to construct an ambitious song-cycle exploring the numerous associations which this initial incident triggered."

Really, you have to read Sid's entire entry.

Sid hips me to all sorts of things I’d never hear about otherwise. Who knew Steven Wilson existed? Okay, lots of people. But not me. Wilson's project list is fascinating.

An excerpt from the wiki

“Steven John Wilson (born 3 November 1967) is a British musician, best known as the founder, lead guitarist, singer and songwriter of progressive rock band Porcupine Tree. He is involved in many other bands and musical projects both as musician and producer (including No-Man, Blackfield and Ephrat) and also maintains a solo career.

Wilson is a self-taught producer, audio engineer, guitar and keyboard player, also playing other instruments as and where required (including bass guitar, concert harp, hammer dulcimer and flute). He splits his living time between Tel Aviv, Israel and London, UK.”

Remember those crazy days of imported vinyl prices? You can pre-order The Incident/Special Edition at iTunes for a mere pittance compared to what we used to shell out in the 80s. [Ah, the 80s...good times but I'm grateful I lived through them.]

Something more, also from Porcupine Tree: Fear of a Blank Planet, their critically-acclaimed and best-selling album available now for purchase. It's Wilson's self-described take on Public Enemy's Fear of a Black Planet.

The actual title track is a smart, clean, muscular seven-plus minutes of force. For you, the abbreviated version in video form:

Thanks, Sid. You do indeed rock.

~ ~ ~

Addendum: George reminded me that the second drummer during King Crimson's last tour—the show I saw at the Keswick—was Gavin Harrison, Porcupine Tree's drummer.


David said...

More connections to King Crimson ... Did you catch on the Wikipedia page that Robert Fripp contributed to their 2007 album and EP? Also, Barbieri was in "Japan" with David Sylvian who worked extensively with Fripp. It's like Six Degrees of King Crimson.

CommonWombat said...

If you're in the mood to explore the PT back catalog, I'll give you this handy note - Wilson likes to shift gears. He rarely explores the same spaces for more than a few albums, Therefore, early PT is largely spacey & Floyd-influenced, after that (late 90s) There's some shorter, song-based somewhat poppy stuff, and then beginning with In Absentia, the current rock/prog/metal mash. All of it (at least what I've heard - I don't own everything yet) including Wilson's various side projects, is very worthwhile.

Brickgrrl said...


I did see the Frippian contribution note! And I do think it's Six Degrees of Crimson.

The closest I get is the fact that Sid Smith allows me to visit his blog. Then there's the connection that George's cousin lives in the same area as Tony Levin. Or something like that. Oh, and Pat Mastelotto signed Geo's vest when we saw them at Town Hall in Manhattan.


I read that early PT was influenced by the Dukes of Stratosphear [XTC] project and was kind of psychedelic. Thanks so much for the info! And I hope you enjoy seeing them in Baltimore. Lucky you!

David said...

For fun, I thought about it a little, and I'm surprised that I can actually link myself to King Crimson in less than 6 steps. I was in a short-lived band in the early 1980's. Our drummer, Mark, toured with Nona Hendryx. Nona sang vocals on Talking Head's "Remain in Light" and Adrian Belew played on the same album.


Sid Smith said...

Hey there Ms.Info - many thanks for the name check. I'm glad you like the Time Flies track. I love the staccato acoustic guitar figure which runs through the song. It's been driving Debbie (my wife) and kids nuts for the last month as I've had the album playing full tilt.

I thought I had a review of Fear of a Blank Planet on the blog but it looks like I've either lost it or forgot to upload it. Howevever, should you be interested you can read it

D.M. Cook said...

Good to see someone new getting into PT! A few really fantastic tracks to check out (to show some of their range and beauty) are:

- Trains (one of the greatest pop songs I've ever heard)
- Arriving Somewhere But Not Here (long, incredibly emotional, and one of their very best)
- Sentimental (haunting and VERY nicely produced)
- The Sound of Muzak (biting social commentary, fantastic music)
- Shesmovedon (catchy pop tune with an amazing guitar solo)

As people have said, I HIGHLY recommend their album "In Absentia" - it would be hard to top its sheer range and the combined weight of SO MANY exceptional songs!

Brickgrrl said...

Mr. Smith-

Well, now I'm just getting a little spoiled. I want to read your reviews before I buy anything. Heck with personal trainers, I want a personal reviewer! Also, thanks for visiting my humble pages. Had I known you'd show up, I would have made some toast with butter and cinnamon.


D.M. Cook-

Thank you so much for the excellent recommendations!

I want to thank you, too, for sharing your gorgeous images on the net. Your work is wonderful.