Discussion in 'Forum Games' started by Mosh, Aug 27, 2016.
Why do you all hate beauty!?
I don't hate anything on this record, but it's got stronger competition.
Every PT album so far has had 3 songs that were obvious promotion material for me. No tough decisions yet.
Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
Fear of a Blank Planet
In 2007, Porcupine Tree were on a roll. Every album was more successful than the last and the band were becoming a behemoth in the prog community. They were even being recognized outside the prog sphere, which is unheard of for most prog bands. For the next album, the band signed to Roadrunner Records in the UK (distributed by Atlantic in the US). They were now on a major label and widely distributed. The first release in this new partnership was the band’s first live DVD, Arriving Somewhere. Riding the wave of success, they embarked on a second tour in the middle of sessions for the next album.
Steven Wilson began work on Fear Of a Blank Planet in Tel Aviv while working on a side project called Blackfield. The majority of the music was written there and, when the Blackfield album was complete, Wilson came back to London to meet with Porcupine Tree. More songs were written and eventually they narrowed it down to just six songs. The band performed these six songs on the previously mentioned tour before recording them.
Fear Of a Blank Planet is yet another concept album, this time dealing with modern technology and its effects on children. It is based on a novel titled Lunar Park and deals with conditions such as social anxiety, bipolar disorders, and ADD. The concept is summed up in the title track which is the perspective of a young child who stays inside all day consuming media. The title, of course, is an homage to Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet (another great album BTW).
Always being a vintage enthusiast, Porcupine Tree made a conscious effort to keep the album at a reasonable length. Wilson wanted the listener to be immersed in the album and listen to it from beginning to end without losing attention. However, the songs were also longer than what was normal for the band’s last few releases. Since Stupid Dream, there was more of a focus on concise writing with the occasional long song. On Fear Of a Blank Planet, only two songs are shorter than 7 minutes. The album’s centerpiece is the 17 minute Anesthetize, one of their most beloved pieces. The band also got back in touch with their softer 90s side, although with less psychedelia and more prog rock. The metal riffs are still there but it’s not quite as heavy as Deadwing.
Like Deadwing, this album contains some guest appearances. Robert Fripp of King Crimson provides some soundscapes on Way Out Here and Alex Lifeson of Rush plays a solo on Anesthetize. The two appearances definitely add to the band’s prog credentials. Lifeson’s appearance came about when he told a magazine that he was a fan of Porcupine Tree. Wilson responded by inviting him to play on the next album. It’s one of Alex Lifeson’s few appearances outside Rush, which makes it special.
Spoiler: critical reception
Fear Of a Blank Planet was yet another hit for Porcupine Tree. It charted all over Europe and was their first album to make the Billboard top 100 in the US. It received many accolades including Album Of the Year in Classic Rock magazine. It is yet another album highly regarded by fans and is yet another landmark Prog album for the 21st Century. Rolling Stones even named it the 15th best Prog Rock album of all time. While their credibility on prog is questionable at best, it’s still an impressive accolade. (The article if you’re curious: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/50-greatest-prog-rock-albums-of-all-time-20150617/ )
Shortly after, the band released the Nil Recurring EP, which is made out of leftovers from FOABP. We will not include these in the game, but feel free to check it out if you like the album.
This album could potentially only last one round.
Only Sleep Together.
This album I'm not quite as familiar with as I was with the previous 2, and the next one, probably because it isn't on Spotify.
This is another very good album, but I can't say that there's anything here that I absolutely love.
Voting for My Ashes and Sleep Together.
I remember being in my favorite recordstore, and they played Anesthetize at full blast. I asked what it was, they said the new PT, and I immediately bought it. Still my favorite PT song.
It's a very cool song. Given earlier PT epics I was expecting something Floydish like Echoes but thankfully it wasn't that.
Awww. I enjoy My Ashes.
FINALLY got around to listening to this a couple times...it's a definitely a step down from Deadwing, but the heaviness is still there. The only truly great song is Anesthetize, which even gets a little too early PT/Floydian for my tastes.
Voting for My Ashes and Sentimental.
Voting for Fear and Sentimental
Tough decision between Sentimental and Way Out of Here. Since only one song will be eliminated, I'm gonna have to give the vote to Sentimental, as it seems that I slightly prefer Way Out at the moment.
Its a very bloody good album. Very tough to weed it out but I am going WOOH after changing my vote from Sentimental.
Fear of a Blank Planet
Way Out Of Here
We take a short break from Porcupine Tree for the first Steven Wilson solo album: Insurgentes. At the time, the idea of Steven Wilson releasing a solo album was about as strange as the idea of Steve Harris releasing a solo album, if not more. Porcupine Tree was essentially already a solo project as he enjoyed creative control on all aspects of the band with very little contributions from other members. Of course Porcupine Tree would go on an indefinite hiatus (which is still in effect today) just a couple years later, so it’s hard to say whether this was Wilson’s way of toying with the idea of going back to being the true solo artist that he was in the early days of Porcupine Tree’s history. Wilson may have written all the songs, but Porcupine Tree had still become a band with a stable lineup and an audience that expected a certain style of music. By making an album without the Porcupine Tree association, Steven Wilson could write different music and work with other musicians.
Porcupine Tree took most of 2008 off, giving Steven Wilson time to work on the album. It was written and recorded in various locations around the world, including Israel and Japan. The idea was to gain inspiration from different places to boost creativity. Wilson was followed by filmmaker Lasse Hoile who made a documentary based on his travels.
Musically, the album isn’t a major departure for Wilson but there is a lot more focus on atmosphere and soundscapes compared to Porcupine Tree. On the surface, this might sound like the early Porcupine Tree, but Insurgentes is a completely different animal. There are no psychedelic jams on this album, but rather songs that blend a traditional structure with atmospheric instrumentals. There are influences from shoegaze, drone, and noise music styles. Some songs contain gradual instrumental buildups blended with intimate vocal passages.
While Insurgentes is definitely a solo album, Wilson employed several musicians to help with the music. Gavin Harrison performed all the drum parts on the album, but otherwise Insurgentes is a rotating cast of musicians including Jordan Rudess, Tony Levin, and even some unexpected guests such as Japanese Koto player, Michiyo Yagi. Wilson sent the finished tracks to these musicians and gave them free reign to add their own touch. Despite these embelishments, Insurgentes is yet another album that is unmistakably Steven Wilson’s.
A remix album, titled NSRGNTS RMXS, was also released. As the title suggests, it’s various songs from Insurgentes remixed by different artists.
Aww damn well this is where I depart. Never heard this one (or Grace) and never really got into the Incident. I guess when this comes down to the final vote I'll jump back in.
These albums are new to all of us. Feel free to listen and vote off first impression.
Separate names with a comma.