Musical Obsession 2013 Edition

I become obsessed with at least one bands discography each year, gleefully feeding the urge to buy everything I can from the artist until I hit one (album, that is) that’s disappointing, and then I stop. It’s something I can count on, year after year after year. This year it happens to be Steven Wilson and his pet project Porcupine Tree. Although many do I hesitate to label anything Wilson does as “Prog”, at least in the old-school derogatory sense of the word. Maybe if you define “Progressive” as experimental, musically gifted, way above great production, superlative album art and detail to packaging then, yes, I guess I’d be OK with it.

wilson1Each and every new obsession starts with one album, and for me it was 2013’s The Raven That Refused To Sing And Other Stories, Wilson’s third proper solo album. It pushes all my buttons. It’s funky, challenging, experimental and really freaking good! Yes, I suppose a few of the songs in addition to the so-called ‘concept’ hearkens back to Ye Old Prog Times Of Old, back when Genesis was still battling Giant Hogweeds, but it never ever sounds like pure aping, and only occasionally does it give off the stench of an “homage” album. It’s great, and definitely one of the top records of the year.

From there I started doing a little research and discovered this guy Wilson is about as prolific as they come! But the one project of his that piqued my interest the most was Porcupine Tree. Starting out with the most revered album (from what I could tell, anyway) entitled Fear Of A Blank Planet………………fear

wilson2……..then picking up Wilson’s Grace For Drowning double album…….

up the down…..and onto Porcupine Tree’s debut entitled Up The Downstair…….

stupid dream….to which I move next to fan favorite Stupid Dream…..

in absentia…then the harrowing In Absentia……

deadwing…..and, lastly (thus far) Deadwing.

 The debut is by far my favorite, and any of my old time music buddies, after listening to it once, will instantly know “why” that is. It is the most unconventional album of them all, and the most experimental, the most atmospheric, the most unique. At least that’s my opinion today. All of these are worth picking up, especially in their Digi-book incarnations.

Steven Wilson is an old-school class act. He cares about craft, and the importance of song structure, and drama, and most importantly he knows what it’s like to be a fan. Give the people what they want, indeed.