Porcupine Tree — Fear of a Blank Planet
(Atlantic 2-115900, 2007, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-01-01
Not known for uplifting and cheerful music, Porcupine Tree has delivered another dose of downer prog rock. The theme of Fear of a Blank Planet is adolescent angst and the large number of drugged out children who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The CD artwork and the video for the title track show young teens blindly staring into the distance and popping pills. The album opens with “Fear of a Blank Planet,” a metal prog number, which has a sterile numbing quality, probably not the best choice to open a CD. Then things improve with the standout songs “My Ashes,” “Anesthetize,” “Sentimental,” and “Sleep Together,” music we have come to expect from Porcupine Tree. In addition to their usual high quality and melodic releases they are joined this time by Rush’s guitarist Alex Lifeson on “Anesthetize” and Robert Fripp (soundscapes) on “Way out of Here.” Lifeson’s guitar interplay with Wilson is outstanding and well worth the price of the CD. Interestingly, Fripp’s presence is understated, which is a testament to both Wilson and Fripp. Perhaps not their best release, Fear of a Blank Planet still delivers and continues the Porcupine Tree journey.
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more