Opinions on music.
i really, really, enjoy progressive rock, or prog. there’s just something about the eclectic sounds and epic scale that this genre embraces like no other that makes me feel truly in awe. this can be, and not infrequently is, accompanied with a smidge of delusions of grandeur… but with how i see things that is something you can enjoy, occasionally. regardless of genre, i also have a thing for polyphonic and colorful dense instrumentals and rapid-fire borderline unintelligible lyrics. the first band featured below is pretty good on both of these.
a very… unique… band. founded around 1970 in france, they have their own genre, zeuhl, and their own language, Kobaïan, which together with the founding lead drummer and vocalist, Christian Vander, and an ever-changing cast of other musicians form a musical, mythological, even quasi-religious experience you won’t forget.
this band also feels like it really belongs to one guy, but instead of french he’s british this time1. the name’s Steven Wilson, who also has a variety of other projects that all seem to share a very dark, music-as-catharsis, energy. he assures us he is a very normal person though. porcupine tree was founded in 1987 and ran with minor interruptions until 2010. it looks like they might be coming back soonish.
Pure Reason Revolution.
Terraformer (Thank You Scientist, 2019)
My proper introduction to the genre, about 90 minutes of largely catchy and positive tracks with an overarching theme of Aliens and the paranormal. As usual for the band, the lyrics are… well, let’s settle on “they’re there”. I like them more for their overall sound. My favorite tracks are the semi-opener FXMLDR, the apparently obligatory instrumental intermission Chromology and the closing Terraformer.
The Man Who Never Was (This Winter Machine, 2017)
The debut album of the group2; slightly less than an hour long. The eponymous opening track comes in at a respectable 16 minutes and fills them well. I also choose to shoehorn trans imagery into lyrics like this:
i have a photograph of my memory
too many people know this person as me
another stranger that i tried to ignore
confusing who i am with what happened before
taking me through the cold and the rain
making it hard to remember my name
You have no one to blame but yourselves, This Winter Machine. The next track is honestly boring, save for one couplet that always sticks around in the back of my mind:
lights you thought would guide you
were the lights to almost blind you
Two more tracks follow, they’re okay. The finale, Fractured, is well worth the ten minutes it takes to listen to, but has kinda weird lyrics. Oh well. Still, a solid recommendation.
Cygnus X-1 (Rush, 1998)
This technically isn’t an album but just two songs that
coincidentally share the same name and a common storyline. Together,
Book I: The Voyage and Book II: Hemispheres are
seconds away from half an hour and tell the story of a space traveller
that really wants to get torn into bits by Cygnus X-1 (Black
Hole)3. The narrator proceeds to do just
that and, well, dies. Book II then starts with exposition on the society
that produced said astronaut, then rejoins them as they discover that…
The sound is terrific, the content is, as one would expect, written by Rush.
…it said in a regretful tone↩︎
Since then, they’ve been dead. Well, they released one more album, but … i can’t find any more info on it beyond them having released it. Also their website evaporated.↩︎
From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia↩︎