Category Archives: Porcupine Tree

A Soundchecking Incident

After a longer break, Peter from Schallgrenzen has started a new Soundcheck, and I’ve also gave my opinion about Porcupine Tree‘s latest offering, The Incident. Read it at Peter‘s in German, or check out the – somewhat bumpy – english translation below:

I’m not really sure if I should write about The Incident yet. Because one thing you need to invest into the album is time (and that’s something missing right now…). After listening to The Incident twice, I still don’t know what to think of it. Musically, it’s as always top-notch, as all band-members blend together perfectly and show what they’re capable of. What I can’t figure out yet is where the whole story goes (The Incident is a 14-piece-concept-album), mainly because I can’t make out any cornerstones (except the turning-point Time Flies maybe…). Based on that fact, The Incident may seem a bit drab at first, but as an “experienced” Porcupine Tree-fan, you can already guess that there’s more below the surface. More listening sessions are definitely a must for this album to grow, but the first impression sure doesn’t disappoint either.


A word about the Limited Edition of The Incident: once you hold this high-quality, beautifully designed box in your hands, you’ll know what Steven Wilson means when he says that “music should again be worth something”. Editions like these are not simple packages for music, but timeless collectors pieces that you will happily pick out of your shelf again and again to look at, and even proudly present to friends and family. Seen from that point, I can only pity the “download-generation” that knows music only as data on a computer…

http://www.porcupinetree.com/

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Flashback Friday – MOTM Edition

Not the usual kind of Flashback Friday, but we’re getting there. Here’s a flashback to the past September 12th’s of MOTM:

2007:

the Led Zeppelin reunion was announced

Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (MP3)

Kent was building up suspense for their album Tilbakka Till Samtiden… which turned out good, but maybe not as good as expected.

Download Vy Fran Ett Luftslott (Punks Jump Up Remix) via Lemur Blog

Danes Inspector Seven One offered their songs for us for the first time… and they still do! 🙂

Inspector Seven One – Dream Machine (MP3)
Inspector Seven One – Shine Your Past Away (MP3)

Porcupine Tree served a second helping following their excellent album Fear Of A Blank Planet with the release of EP Nil Recurring.

Link to the post

2006:

On September 12th, I was travelling through Canada, but the few days before, I was writing about the various mixtapes I made for the trip. Re-read the tracklists and find some of the songs below.

Music For The Road
Strictly Canadian

Amanda Marshall: Let It Rain (Live) (MP3)
Rufus Wainwright: Across The Universe (MP3)

 

2005:

On September 11th, I was totally falling in love with Zookeeper’s Boy, one of the first songs that leaked from Mew‘s excellent milestone And The Glass Handed Kites. Back then, I was hoping for a great album, and a few weeks later, my hopes came true!

Mew-Zookeepers Boy Video

Link to the post

On September 13th, Sigur RósTakk was added to my collection, and looking back, I rate it my favourite album from the Icelanders. And it also containes my favourite SR song, Milano… ah, just writing about it makes me wanna listen to it right now.

Hoppipolla (We Are Scientists Version) (MP3)

Link to the post

Mixed News

Led Zeppelin reunite! Never been that big a fan, but this might be good news for some of you.

Someone wants us to leave Britney alone… try not to laugh through this video!!! 😀

Only five days to go until the release of Ingenting, the first new single from Sweden’s fabulous Kent. Excactly one month later, the album Tillbaka Till Samtiden will follow… can’t wait!!!! Want to hear the first few seconds of the single? Click here! Not too much there, but it sure makes a nice ringtone! 🙂

The generous lads from Denmark’s Inspector Seven One have good news for us: you can now download all four (brilliant) songs from their Dream Machine EP for free on their MySpace! Get them quickly, and while you’re there, say thanks to them, will you? Of course you can also buy the EP as a physical CD… just read their latest blog entry for infos!

Inspector Seven One – Dream Machine (MP3)
Inspector Seven One – Shine Your Past Away (MP3)

More fear! If it wasn’t enough that Porcupine Tree released a brand-new album earlier this year, and also toured with it, the guys around Steven Wilson will release another EP with new music worth of 29 minutes this September! These recordings also come from the Fear Of A Blank Planet-sessions, and have now been mixed to a – as you expect it – high standard CD. And guess what? The 3’000 copies that were available via the band’s online-shop have already sold out! 2’000 are left to buy on the forthcoming tour, but if you’re not able to visit a concert (or come in just after buyer No. 2000), fear not… the EP will be released again in 2008! Lucky for me as I don’t expect to get one at the concert in November here…
You can download a teaser for the EP on the band’s MySpace, btw.!

More Mixed Stuff

Travis have just released their next single from The Boy With No Name. It’s my favourite, My Eyes. And as you expect it from the boys, there’s a funny video to go with the song:

I’ve just found a great remix of Imogen Heap‘s wonderful Hide And Seek. The Unofficial Ciaran Strings Remix makes this perfect song even more perfect… or perfecterer… the perfectest? Well, check it out, will you? 🙂

Imogen Heap – Hide And Seek (Ciaran Strings Remix) (MP3)

And another break-up: Brazil, Indiana-based Prog/Psych-Rock-band, has decided to disband. Somehow, I can’t find any information on the circumstances, I’ve just read it in the latest blog-entry from one band member. Aaron also tells us that the remaining band members will start working on new projects, and that they will start releasing previously unreleased material of Brazil via MySpace over the next few weeks. Another interesting and talented band gone… 😦

Brazil – Candles Cast Long Shadows (MP3)
Brazil – Crime And The Antique Solution (MP3)

Been listening to Maritime‘s latest CD Heresy And The Hotel Choir, and I’m really surprised how good it is! I’m not too familiar with the band, but this one is a great collection of catchy and well-crafted indie-rock-songs. Might well become a contender for that famous year-end-list!

Maritime – Guns Of Navarone (MP3)
Maritime – For Science Fiction (MP3)

And I’ve just been informed that Eyes On The Highway, the latest album by Danes Saybia, has been delivered to my home. I’m really curious of the direction the band will take on this album. I loved the debut, I liked the second one… what will I think of the third?

From debut album The Second You Sleep:
Saybia – The Second You Sleep (MP3)

And finally, Porcupine Tree have announced more European tourdates, and there’s one in Switzerland amongst them (HUZZAAHH!). They will be accompanied by Anathema, so if you’re somewhere around these locations, don’t miss this double-pack of great Prog-Rock!!!

12th Nov – Volkshaus, Zurich
15th Nov – Arena, Vienna
17th Nov – Alcatraz, Milan
18th Nov – Tendastrisce, Rome
22nd Nov – Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
25th Nov – Sentrum Scene, Oslo
26th Nov – Vega, Copenhagen
5th Dec – Heineken Music Hall, Amsterdam

Porcupine Tree – Trains (MP3)
Porcupine Tree – The Sound Of Muzak (MP3)
Anathema – Are You There? (MP3)
Anathema – Angelica (MP3)

Down By The River

In 2004, ProgRockers Porcupine Tree released their brilliant album Deadwing. Later that same year, Polish ProgRockers Riverside released their equally good album Second Life Syndrome. It was a tight battle at the end of the year between both albums, but in the end, Deadwing got the cup for Best ProgRock Album 2004 in my list.

Now this year, it looks like the same battle is looming on the horizon. Porcupine Tree have already released another strong contender with Fear Of A Blank Planet, and in September, Riverside will send their third album, Rapid Eye Movement, into the race. My expectations are very high, and after listening to the new song that they have just put on their MySpace, these expectations just got a little bit higher. Rapid Eye Movement will be the last album in a trilogy, and I can’t wait to put Out Of Myself, Second Life Syndrome and REM into a playlist and play them one after another… should be a great listening experience!

For those of you unfamiliar with Riverside, I can offer you some tasters. The first four songs are from the debut, Out Of Myself, and the last one is from Voices In My Head, a mini-album that Riverside released between Out Of Myself and Second Life Syndrome. You can also listen to the new song called 02 Panic Room on MySpace, and this song has also been released as a digipak-CD including a remix and two more songs that won’t be on the next album; the digi is available at LaserCD.

I guess most of you Prog-Fans out there already know Riverside, but if you don’t, I urge you to discover this band now!

http://www.riverside.art.pl/index.php
http://www.myspace.com/riversidepl

Riverside – In Two Minds (MP3)

Riverside – Reality Dream (MP3)

Riverside – Out Of Myself (MP3)

Riverside – Loose Heart (MP3)

Riverside – Acronym Love (MP3)

btw.: if you check the bands Last.FM-profile, keep in mind that only Out Of Myself and Reality Dream are from the Prog-Riverside; there’s another band called Riverside there, but it’s not the real thing! 😉

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This ‘N That

Danish melancho-pop heroes Saybia have revamped their homepage. Always a good sign that there’s something going on. I’m quite curious about their next album which should be out this year…

Here are two very catchy songs from Leeds band i concur. I’ve really fallen for Oblige. Great stuff!
i concur – Oblige (MP3)
i concur – Decimal Places (MP3)

Belgian band Suburb Songs has befriended me on MySpace, and their song Another Side Of You is worth some of your time. Think about singer/songwriter indie pop mixed with a hint of electronica.
Suburb Songs – Another Side Of You (MP3)

Neo-Prog-band Anathema (still without a record contract… what world are we living in???) has announced some concert dates for Europe. Guess who will attend the one in Switzerland? 🙂
Anathema – Everything (MP3)
Anathema – A Simple Mistake (ZIP)

There’s a great video montage by Danish artist Lasse Hoile for Porcupine Tree‘s new masterpiece Fear Of A Blank Planet (review will follow next week). And the band has also redesigned their homepage. Here’s the video:

And that’s that. Have a great weekend!

Meeting Blackfield – Part II

Continuing the post from yesterday; here’s the interview with Blackfield‘s Steven Wilson:

Hey everybody. What are you talking about?

MOTM: We were talking about God, World politics and the deeper meaning of life.

OK then… let me know then what you want to talk about with me, alright? (laughs)

I was just asking Aviv if he knew where you hide your time-machine to manage all the projects you’re working on.

hmm… I just don’t have a private life at the moment. I’m constantly working.

Good for your fans.

yeah, but not so good for me. But that’s the way it is, I just can’t stop myself.

This is your second concert with Blackfield in Switzerland; I’ve seen you here with Porcupine Tree four times, and with every concert, the audience grew bigger. Do you think this will work as well with Blackfield?

I hope so, ’cause the last time we played here with Blackfield, there were about 50 people in the audience. I really hope this is a trend, at least it was for the rest of Europe. Most of the shows were sold out. We are bit worried about the gig here as it wasn’t such a success last time. But as you said, the numbers doubled with Porcupine Tree, and I hope it will work here as well. (It did, btw.!)

I guess the word of mouth amongst PT-fans helps in that matter?

Yes, probably, but Blackfield has started to built a reputation of its own. There must be lots of people who like Blackfield, but have no clue about PT. Especially in countries were we already had a hitsingle from our first album, like Greece or Poland.

Why did you plan your tour without any concerts in the south of Germany?

I don’t really know. Personally, I would have loved to play there. With PT we’re often in Stuttgart or Munich. But I think there’s a general misunderstanding concerning the band’s decision on a tour route. You don’t get to choose where you’d like to go. We rely on offers from Promoters or Agents for the tour. If a venue in a city isn’t available for a certain date, it just doesn’t work, and it might be that by the first available date, you’re already in the opposite corner of the country. And then there are times where there’s just no good offer. With PT, it grew over the years; we now have a more effective way to plan a tour. In the beginning, we played whenever and wherever we could.

Thanks for this insight!

Did you think that bands pick where they would like to play? I wish it was that easy!

Is it true that you have recorded a Blackfield-show for a DVD?

Yes, we have recorded one, but we will do another one next month in New York. We weren’t really happy with the one we made. Yes, there are plans for a DVD release. Another point on my to-do-list.

The last releases of PT were also available in Surround-Sound. Can we expect something like that with Blackfield?

I would like to do that. I really like Surround-Sound-discs. PT is perfect for Surround-Sound with all the production details and the sound, the tracks are very long, and there’s a lot going on. Perfect for 5.1. Blackfield is simpler and straighter in structure, but I think it would sound very good in Surround. Can you expect something like that? Hm… I haven’t thought about it really, but that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. But don’t expect it… just be surprised when it happens!

Most of the songs on Blackfield II were written by Aviv again. Don’t you have problems to decide which songs will end up on the album?

It’s just that Aviv is more productive. He is more effective when it comes to writing songs like this. Opposite to the longer and more complex stuff I normally write, these shorter songs are not what I normally do. It’s rather an exception here, and it’s really Aviv’s thing which he does very well. The relation on this album is 7:3. It was our intention from the beginnings of Blackfield to merge Aviv’s talent for melodies and songwriting with my sound and my production. For me, this is the magic that happened between us from the very first moment, and we just continued doing that.

If one listens to “1’000 People”, it might seem as if you don’t like being on stage really…

This is one of Aviv’s songs, and it’s my favourite of the album. For me, this song is all about loneliness. It says that loneliness is not about being without anyone around, it’s more like a state of mind. If you tend to be a lonely person – like we both are – it doesn’t matter how much love you get, how many people visit your gigs and shout your name… you’ll still feel lonely.

In an earlier interview you said that you don’t like explaining songs to leave some room for one’s own interpretation. So how is it to talk about one special song then?

That is pretty difficult, in two ways. First there’s the artist who might not be aware of the deeper meaning of the lyrics when he writes a song. Happened to me on various occasions over the past years. Then there’s suddenly someone who has its own interpretation that I never thought of, but makes complete sense. It’s then when I realize that I really had similar feelings about the song back when I wrote it, but was not aware of it.
And second: if you give an undisputed definition about what the song is about, it robs the listener of his ability to make his own interpretation. That’s why I still think that music is the highest art, because it demands as much time from the listener as well as the artist who wrote the music. You can’t say that about movies; everything is clearly displayed there. Same about books where everything is explained. But music demands input and interpretation from the listener. To sit here and talk about how I meant this and that is a bit embarrassing really, because you rob the listener of the connection he might have built to the artist. That’s the reason why I don’t like talking about it. And as I said before, sometimes I’m not even sure anymore what I was writing about!Today’s music fans are turning more and more into downloaders and have a collection of bits and bytes instead of an actual CD or LP. The tendencies are clearly pointing to a more song-orientated listening behaviour…

Well, I have a personal, but also a professional opinion about that. Personally, I hate it. I don’t own an iPod. I hate the whole jukebox-mentality of those things. You download a few songs, but don’t care about the rest of the album. I really hate it! From a professional point of view the internet was essential for all my projects, especially for Porcupine Tree and Blackfield; there was no media coverage for Porcupine Tree at all for a long time. Most people discovered the band through the net and filesharing, and then went out to buy the albums. In the end it is all about reaching as many people as possible and touching them with your music. You may like it or not, but the genie is out of the bottle now. That’s how the majority of the listeners will consume music in the future. But I hope, that there will always be a strong minority – to which I belong, too – who wants to have a physical media. I don’t have any needs to buy myself an iPod ever; sometimes I think I’m the only one thinking like that…

But there’s also an opposite trend: many blogs or similar sites promote artists and release some tracks, but clearly support the musicians behind the music.

If it wasn’t for the internet, there wouldn’t be Porcupine Tree anymore. For years no one has talked about us or played our music. Word of mouth was clearly the one thing that has kept us alive. It would be pretty childish to say that I hate the internet, because I wouldn’t possibly be here without it. On the other hand I don’t like what the internet has made out of music, from an aestethical point of view. MP3s sound terrible, but there’s a whole generation growing up who thinks that this is what music sounds like. Terrible! Kids growing up and don’t even know about the concept of an album, the creative flow and the musical journey through 40, 50 or 60 minutes of music. “I’ll just download this song I’ve recently heard on the radio or seen the video on TV…” I think it’s quite sad…
OK, I think about lots of things that are sad, but this is special. The new Porcupine Tree-album deals with excactly that matter. Fear Of A Blank Planet is about the question if we raise a new generation who’s completely empty inside. A generation growing up with mobile phones, iPods, Playstation, Internet, Reality-TV, Big Brother, American Idol and that whole crap. What kind of humans are we raising here? But on the other hand I know that my parents must have thought excactly the same about my generation. Maybe they thought that television corrupts our minds. It’s probably a part of growing older to look down disapprovingly on the next generation.


You talked about your fans’ reactions when you signed with Warner. Now Porcupine Tree is with Roadrunner Records (a German Metal-label). Guess what your fans thought now…

Yeah, everyone thought we were turning into a heavy-metal band. I know, I know. Thing is that fans always complain, whatever you do. It’s probably part of being a fan complaining that the band doesn’t do what you like. I don’t really pay attention to that anymore. The absurd thing about the story is this: when we signed with Warner or Roadrunner, the albums were already written. We signed with Roadrunner in October, but the album was already written in January before. You could hear things like “oh my God, they’re with Roadrunner now and will release a heavy-metal-album”. No! It was completed long before. This is just a silly thing…

Imagine what would happen if the release was postponed…

That won’t happen… no way. No. We have already booked the tour, starting on April 18th in London, visit the rest of Europe and we will also play some festivals in summer.

You will get more and more into troubles when putting together the setlist for your concerts. The new PT-songs have turned out quite long again…

We have yet to discuss what we will play. We will certainly play the whole new album and we will have to fill another hour with our by now very considerable back-catalogue. Another thing for the fans to complain here: “they haven’t played my favourite tune!” But you’re right, it gets more and more difficult. The more albums you have, the less songs you can chose from them. Except you play overlong shows. Rush for example played for over 3 hours with a lot of songs from their back-catalogue, but even they were only scratching the surface!

You mentioned Rush; how was working with Alex Lifeson?

Fantastic! Very enjoyable, great guy. And a wonderful musician. It was a great honour for me, as I grew up with Rush’s music.

What’s your favourite Rush album?

Moving Pictures… or Farewell To Kings… or Permanent Waves… or one of the others! (laughs) No, Moving Picture it is.

Is there any artist with which you would desperately like to work?

Not necessary desperately, but there are a few ones that I would be quite curious how it would sound with a collaboration. Meshugga for example, or Trent Reznor…

Any “old heroes”?

I’ve worked with Robert Fripp and Alex before. OK, they’re not that old, but you know what I mean. The problem with the “old heroes”, as you call them, is that most of them have released their best work years ago. When I grew up in the 80ies and listened to 70ies-music, I loved the stuff from Tangerine Dream and the likes, but they haven’t released anything worthy during the last 20 years. And I don’t think they’ll ever be able to repeat what they’ve done in their heydays. If I had a time-machine and could travel back in time, I’d be more than happy to work with them, but not in the here and now. There would be Can and all the other German bands in their heydays. Klaus Schulz, Faust, Neu, Amon Düül, all the Progressive Bands of the early 70ies, Jimi Hendrix… who wouldn’t like to work with them? It would be quite easy with a time-machine, but without it, it’s rather difficult.

Our interview-time was over then. It was a real pleasure to talk to those two guys who seem really down-to-earth and in no way arrogant. I guess I couldn’t have picked a better band for my first-ever interview! Thanks again to Alex from Laut.de for making this happen.

Blackfield II is out now, the next Porcupine Tree-album Fear Of A Blank Planet, will be released in April. There are already some tourdates on the homepage, and Steven let slip that they’ll visit the Z7 in Pratteln as well… good for me! 🙂

www.blackfield.org
www.porcupinetree.com