For those of you who are familiar with my love of music, you will probably know that one of my favorite... nah, my absolutely FAVORITE artist, is the man known as STEVEN WILSON. Why is he known as that? Probably because he was given that name at birth, but that is NOT the point of this post.
To briefly summarize the career of Steven Wilson, so you won't need to go back into my early blog archives, I will begin in the late 80's. Steven Wilson began his professional music career back in 1987 (if I recall correctly), when he teamed up with fellow British singer, TIM BOWNESS, to create the band known as NO-MAN. I first discovered the music of NO-MAN, in 1995, while working in a local music store. We received the promo of "LOVEBLOWS AND LOVECRIES", in our store, and I was immediately smitten with the sophistication of the songwriting, in addition to the great production. No-Man has been called "a sexually rampant three headed monster", although since the late 90's, they have only had two heads. I became a pretty big fan of No-Man, at that point in time, and began collecting their music. One thing about No-Man, is that they shared a similar attitude with that of my (then) favorite band, TALK TALK. They didn't care about commercial success, and were only interested in releasing the music that they were inspired to record. Their sound changed from a hybrid of classical (they began with a full time violinist on board) and New York City Hip-Hop (the programmed beats drew this comparison), to a more Indie Rock sound in the later 90's.
During this time, I got a copy of "The Record Collector", a British magazine specifically geared to record collectors (the publication was very similar in format to America's "Goldmine"). This particular copy had an article about Steven Wilson. I was intrigued to find the magazine spending a lot of time talking about PORCUPINE TREE, another of Steven's projects. I had not heard of them, and would not get around to hearing them for another six years. I was puzzled at how the magazine (keep in mind that it was a British publication, Steven and Tim's homeland) wrote as if the reader had never heard of No-Man. For me, it was the opposite. I knew No-Man, but not Porcupine Tree.
In September, 2001, days before the horrific tragedy of 9/11, I decided I should get on Audio Galaxy (a music download site) and download some Porcupine Tree, to see what they sounded like. I downloaded 16 tracks, and of those 16 songs, I was smitten by 15. Being that I was working at the same store (after a five year hiatus), I decided it was time to order some of those discs. I was immediately a full blown convert of Porcupine Tree. At the same time, No-Man was releasing some of their finest work, including "Returning Jesus", one of my favorite albums of all time.
The true irony, is that I later found out that Steven began the Porcupine Tree project as a fund raiser, trying to raise money for No-Man, the band that was supposed to be his main focus.
To make a long story short, Porcupine Tree is getting more popular than ever, although they are still far from being a household name. They have definitely established a solid fan base, one that is extremely "rabid". I have sold Porcupine Tree discs, out of my personal collection, for amounts ranging up to $200.00. No-Man has continued throughout all these years, experimenting with different sounds, the most recent being a strain of Avant Garde Jazz music. Beautiful stuff, with thought provoking lyrics and beautiful vocals, courtesy of Tim Bowness.
Steven Wilson has also continued releasing different forms of music, with his different musical projects. BASS COMMUNION is an Ambient/Electronic project of his, IEM (Incredible Expanding Mindf*ck) is another project somewhere in between all the other projects, and BLACKFIELD, which is a collaboration with Israeli singer/songwriter Aviv Geffen. Blackfield is most similar to Porcupine Tree, but where Porcupine Tree has taken a more Neo-Progressive turn, Blackfield has more basic Pop sensibility.
BUT, the most exciting music news for me, this fall, was going to the Porcupine Tree website and seeing a link to a "trailer" for the forthcoming Steven Wilson SOLO album. Another irony: ALL early Porcupine Tree music was performed in near entirety by Steven Wilson. Bass Communion (and IEM, if I am not mistaken) were also solo projects, to an extent. REGARDLESS, the music that backs this video tells me that this will be a fantastic album, and will definitely satisfy fans of Porcupine Tree... and probably any of his OTHER projects, for that matter.
Steven Wilson is amazing. Is it that he is the greatest at his genre of music? No. It's because he refuses to be held down by one genre of music. If you have ever seen him in concert, you will notice that he shows signs of having ADHD... and it wouldn't surprise me if he did. BUT, at least he puts all that creative energy to good work... in his SIX different musical projects. THAT, is why I like Steven Wilson so much...
So, see for yourself... check out the video clip. Yeah, it's not for everybody... but, it may be for YOU!