i know what it meant to you…

Steven Wilson has released a new album. This would normally be greeted with rapturous applause by the geek squad of prog rock pimple poppers.

Instead there is confusion all around as the darling of the prog world has gone pop. Not since Genesis had a hit or Yes went all Buggley or maybe when Porcupine Tree became Steven Wilson solo has the world of the lonely male progger been so challenged. They have wiped off their moist hands pushed back their lank unwashed hair and straightened out their cargo shorts to scream betrayal through a mouthful of Mountain Dew and Cheetos, their toxic orange and lime spittle staining the bemused faces of the record buying public.

What may have happened is that their hero decided to challenge himself to do something other than meet their expectations. Maybe that became too easy and unfulfilling for him.

What may have happened is Steven Wilson finally left Porcupine Tree and all the expectations that went with that.

So when you listen if you listen closely you can hear 10CC, Wilco, Abba, George Harrison, The Beatles, Wings some McCartney, Giorgio Moroder, Marvin Gaye, Pink Floyd, a little Nine Inch Nails, Duran Duran. XTC, Bowie, Tangerine Dream, Yes, Genesis, Madonna, Phil Spector, Sly Stone and a whole lot of other influences boiling up to provide a melange of one mans listening habits. Is it all great? No! Is it different? Yes! Is it enjoyable? Yes! It’s a great Progressive Pop album which is no way a bad thing.

Remember when Robert Fripp decided he wanted to be in a pop band!

She introduced me to her favourite books…

Ever since I began buying records they have been tied up with books. I began buying books long before I began to buy records though. This afternoon I was feeling a little melancholy and turned to Moorcock. Not the slash up sword and sorcery of the past but the more introspective serious writing that more and more he has been engaging with.

The soundtrack was Steven Wilson’s Hand Cannot Erase which with it’s themes of alienation and loneliness seemed to go with Moorcock’s Lunching With The Antichrist.

hand

Both the book and the album have left me feeling particularly introspective. I don’t have a lot apart from this from Mr Moorcock in 1993.

“It is heartening to note, as our economy collapses perhaps for the last time, a return to the language and sentiments of mutual self-interest. London was never the kindest of English cities but of late her cold self-referential greed has been a watchword around the world. Everything we value is threatened in the name of profit.”

Substitute the city and the country and you have a pretty good picture of the world as it is.

All of which leads me to conclude that you should only listen to Hawkwind when reading Moorcock.eye switching to another musician has caused a dis-regulating experience.

The Steven Wilson however is one of my favorite albums of the year and the concert was one of my most memorable as they crammed a quadraphonic sound system and a big rock show into a hall that normally hosts reflective folk musicians.

I have to confess I had to give up reading as the music became too compelling and I finished the book in silence once I was done with the record. This either attests to the music being attention grabbing or acknowledges my brain is not necessarily able to allow for the input of two types on information anymore.