I wrote the core of this post to someone today and decided I needed to post here ‘for posterity’. The ‘soundtrack of my life’ is heavily centered on what I call ‘English Progressive’. It is more focussed than the more extensive ‘Progressive’ – and in my mind at least keeps it seperate and away from the confusion of Metal, Symphonic Rock and other genres that impinge.
Pink Floyd, Genesis (up to Steve Hackett leaving) and Yes are the most obvious names that can be categorized thus. But add to that names like Caravan, Camel, ELP, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant … you begin to get the picture. Pink Floyd – for most of my life was the one single band I would name when asked “So .. who is your favorite band?”. But more recently – they have been making way for a new name. Steven Wilson.
According to Amazon it was March 15th 2003 when I purchased In Abstentia – at the time the newest album from a band called Porcupine Tree. Later that year I saw them play live here in San Francisco. Porcupine Tree was the brain child of Steven Wilson.
Since then I have constantly bought his new work – and also gone back into his back catalogue aswell – to the point that I am now proud owner of 50 of his albums under various band names …
- Steven Wilson
- Porcupine Tree
- No Man
- Bass Communion
- Storm Corrosion
Yes – a massively prolific man – because those 50 albums are what I own – not everything he has produced. And if I then went on to tell you that he is also responsible for re-engineering the back catalogue of a lot of ‘English Prog’ bands – such as the entire back catalogue of King Crimson and selected albums of people like Jethro Tull, Caravan, ELP and more, you should wonder how he has time. I do.
But it is his solo work that shows him really coming into his own. Arguably moving away from those Progressive routes – as he explores Jazz themes and begins to reach levels of complexity not just in the music – but the performance.
His latest (and fourth) solo album Hand Cannot Erase is due in March. And yes – I have pre-ordered.
These three videos are well worth watching for for the back story on the making of the album.
- Steven Wilson at AIR Studios, September 2014
- Steven Wilson at AIR Studios – Part 2: Concept and Inspiration
- Steven Wilson at AIR Studios – Part 3: Artwork and Packaging
Finally if you get a chance to watch his documentary Insurgentes (same name as one of his solo albums – you should) – and then you will start to get a handle on this man. Me – I think he is spot on.