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.
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more
Gargantua & Cashmere - Kotegarda & Cash Romantic Music Machine – These two surprising releases come to us by way of Poland, both prominently featuring violinist, vocalist and songwriter Tylda Ciołkosz, who is also a member of the more keyboard oriented group Van.... (2008) » Read more