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Steven Wilson, Prog heritage and legacy

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IGNEO1991 View Drop Down
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    Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:11


If you examine what Steven Wilson says, particularly in interviews, about progressive music- he will say that it is about artists moving beyond the norm, incorporating different musical styles and creating something new that ‘ shouldn't be looking at the past ‘. In this context for example he attacks the Flower Kings and Transatlantic for being regressive and not moving beyond the classic progressive rock sound. This debate is found in Roine Stolt, V Steven Wilson thread http://www.progarchives.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=88744&PN=1  . 

However, not to turn this topic into an album review, but what I find with Steven’s latest album, (TRTRTS) is a man running out of ideas and resorting largely to an ‘classic progressive rock’ escapism. ‘Luminol’, ‘The Holy drinker’ and ‘the Watch-maker’ are all complete ‘classic progressive rock’ rip-offs- implicitly and unquestionably referring to the likes of Yes and Genesis for example. Because of this, I personally think the music suffers as a consequence.   His justification for his latest musical direction, from examining interviews, is that ‘we are all influenced by previous musical developments and this comes across when a writer makes music’, yet he wanted to create an album that ‘sounded like it could only be made ‘now’. These seem very poor justifications/ explanations of Steven’s latest ‘classic progressive rock sound’.

I admire both the ‘classic progressive rock sound’ and the ‘new progressive sound’, but whether or not you love Steven’s new record, there is a considerable amount of regression not progression which annoys me considering his previous ‘Flower Kings statement’ on progressive rock.

I suppose this begs the question, has ‘progressive rock’ or progressive music reached its time- or more specifically has Steven Wilson reached his time - being unable to create ‘new’, fresh material that tries hard to break from existing musical clichés and traditions?

Edited by IGNEO1991 - June 21 2013 at 11:01
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Knobby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:18
Nothing in music is dated - except crooners, country music, metal and hiphop.
 
Not familiar with this Steven Wilson of yours  though.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:31
Not a fan of the baiting title of this thread...but there is no doubt that Wilson is...shall we say, `embracing' the vintage progressive rock sounds of old on his most recent two solo albums.

But there is no way I would dismiss `The Raven...' as being a mere clone of 70's works. Many classic era influences implemented into the material, but more than enough modern and contemporary sounds too. Oh, and it's damn good as well.

I love all of Wilson's work, and am a mad Flower Kings fan as well, but the constant cycle of this `FK's vs Wilson' story popping up again is really tired.

And there is not even the slighest sign that `progressive rock has reached it's time'! There are so many oustanding, cutting edge and fascinating releases so far this year alone, so plenty of life left in the genre!

Edited by Aussie-Byrd-Brother - June 21 2013 at 10:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:39
I have only listened to a couple or so tracks of Raven...and that did sound like a retro affair to me.  Yes, if that is representative of the album as such, then what he is doing is not very different from TFK/Stolt.  But it's not surprising, Wilson's statements, that is.  The impression I have formed from various interviews is that he cares a lot about how his work is perceived and perhaps says things he might go on to regret in trying to address what he might think is a wrong perception of his work. He once claimed that he could have been much more successful working in the 70s.  Ha, pretty lofty, notwithstanding the state of the industry at that time. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ole-the-first Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:48
There's a lot of modern moments on 'The Raven', one shall be totally deaf not to notice them.

'Drive Home' is a completely britpop track with some folk-ish flute.

'The Pin Drop' is much more like 'In Formaldehyde' and other alternative rock stuff from previous Wilson's works.

Finale of 'Watchmaker' was definitely inspired by death/doom metal.

Guitars in title track are somewhat post-rockish.

Moreover, one man's opinion might change as time passes by.

So before call someone 'hypocrite', take a look at the nearest mirror.

UPD: My message #666, lol.


Edited by ole-the-first - June 21 2013 at 10:53
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:51
I should have added, the other thing is that Steven Wilson has simply proven himself as one of the most productive, consistently on top of his game and hard-working individuals in the modern progressive rock scene, and he has a generally faultless track record for quality progressive music releases. Whether you like him or not, it’s impossible not to acknowledge his efforts, or the well-earned status he has found himself in the modern prog scene!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:52
If his opinion is subject to change, all the more reason he could have waited to grow older and wiser than attacking the choices of an older colleague in the industry.  It is wonderful if Wilson sees himself as the self anointed white knight of modern prog but what on earth would be his problem with somebody else deciding to play, well, what he wants to play.  It may be old now but the fact is Wilson has never said he was wrong to blast retro prog all the while that he is now gushing about the 70s. I suspect he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ole-the-first Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:55
Well, the strangest thing here is that there's a bunch of narrow-minded people who not just dislike Wilson (it's okay to dislike someone), but also try to shout their important opinion on him as loud as it is possible.


Edited by ole-the-first - June 21 2013 at 10:56
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 10:58
lol, offended, much?  I have never met him and have no like or dislike towards him as a person.  These are my observations on his personality based on his own words and if they are too unpleasant for you, that's really not my problem.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ole-the-first Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:00
I haven't told that about you, sir. Moreover, at the moment I posted my message, I even haven't read yours.


Edited by ole-the-first - June 21 2013 at 11:02
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:02
Ok, I will accept that though I don't see any other post in this thread either that expresses dislike for Wilson as a person.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IGNEO1991 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:08
I should have probably added that i am a big Steven Wilson fan, and yes there is some new and inspiring stuff on his latest record, which i do not deny- i particularly like 'the pin drop', 'drive home' and 'the Raven' .But i want to point this issue out, which has probably already been debated in the Stolt v Wilson thread, that there is an element of hypocrisy here- these 'classic prog rock sounds' are, at many times, at the forefront of this record , almost like he is trying to emulate these 'classic' themes of the 70's. This really goes against his ' true innovative progressive' ethos which he has, in my opinion, channeled so well particularly in Porcupine Tree, with albums such as FOABP and In Absentia- which were new and inspiring. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote IGNEO1991 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:14
I never implied that i dislike Wilson - or hate him-  on the contrary i love him and his work! it is a discussion of his incorporation of the 'retro' or 'classic progressive rock' sound into his latest material. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie-Byrd-Brother Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:15
There is no doubt that Wilson is more `retro' sounding on his two most recent solo works. Most Porcupine Tree albums (well the ones up until FOABP) not only sounded completely different from eachother, but brought a contemporary and modern sound to classic progressive rock styles.

When I listened to `The Raven...' (and doing that right now again too, thanks for the inspiration!), I can't help thinking that it reflects how Steven spent so long wanting to move away from the vintage prog sounds that he actually forgot how much he fell in love with them in the first place! You can hear the energy and excitement of the vintage sounds in the music itself!

Urgh, approaching Wilson fanboy levels of excitement there, sorry fellas!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ole-the-first Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:16
Originally posted by rogerthat rogerthat wrote:

Ok, I will accept that though I don't see any other post in this thread either that expresses dislike for Wilson as a person.

Well, but rather the very situation exists, and it kinda irritates me.

I myslef not the biggest fan of 'The Raven', btw, and find Wilson's previous works more attractive to my ear, so I rather surprised it has better reviews than 'Grace for Drowning'.

If someone dilkises some band or artists, there is best way just to ignore that artist. For example, I'm not a big fan of The Beatles. I might say they're overrated or losing my interest in comparison with someone another, but I'll never run shouting about how I hate them.

But in the case with Steven Wilson, I even don't know how to express that, but there are some people, they... they just hate him in the same way as some 13-years old girls might hate bands like HIM, with which other 13-years old girls are obsessed with. That looks like some kind of latent love, I don't know.

For exaple, look at that review: http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=929249
There are thousands ways to write a negative review on an album, but to start it with words like 'I decided to finish my hate affair with this musician'... sorry, but that sounds just like Robert Christgau.


Edited by ole-the-first - June 21 2013 at 11:24
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:18
Wilson's opinionated and sometimes mouths off a bit.  He's a passionate guy.  Lots of people are like that.  If he's a hypocrite, then so are about half the people you see on the street every day.. It's really no big deal.  John Lennon did that a lot too - lots of contradictions between what he said in 1966 vs what he said in 1973.  They're just humans like us.


Edited by HolyMoly - June 21 2013 at 11:19
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rushfan4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:28


Speak for yourself puny human.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HolyMoly Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 11:29
You are making me very angry.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Horizons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 15:08
There's a difference from having influences from the past and sounding pastoral. Stevens recognizes this line.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySpiral Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June 21 2013 at 16:11
TRTRTS is a frustrating album to listen to for me. I want to enjoy it. But there are so many blatant rip-offs from classic prog that it's just annoying. Luminol may as well be straight from Fragile by Yes.

I love Steven Wilson but that album is frustrating. And I think based on what he said, that is a bit hypocritical of him. But who cares? People's minds can change.
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