Posts tagged anathema
Aviv Geffen has revealed on his Twitter that he and Steven Wilson are working with Vincent Cavanagh from Anathema on a brand new Blackfield song. This is very exciting news – Steven mentioned in a Facebook post a while back about the possibility of the new album featuring guest performers. Aviv also confirmed via Blackfield’s official Twitter that Steven will indeed sing vocals on the record, alongside playing an instrument (it wasn’t specified which one). Blackfield’s fourth album is set to be released in May. Vincent’s band Anathema today announced a brand new album, titled ‘Weather Systems’ which will be released on Kscope in April. Read more about that on ShadowsDance.com, StarsDie.com’s sister website dedicated to Anathema.
To begin with, it is most unfortunate that we should even have to use the term ‘prog’ or ‘progressive’ to define this particular genre of music. Ever since music became an established art form, people have been continually pushing the envelope of what’s accepted by those who listen to, and appreciate music; and have aimed for the impossible. Music is, after all, sound – and the manipulation of it. It is only in the last century that humanity has begun to see the rise and domination of record labels when it comes to the production and distribution of this manipulated sound. People’s social wellbeing during the World Wars was inevitably a significant contributing factor to record label’s want to alter artist’s music in order to please a war-stricken society. A bad move? Not at all! But the subsequent repercussions have left a dark stain on the face of the music industry today – both for better and for worse. It is since then – the era of manufactured, pleasing music that the artistic community has seen a decline in what the population accepts to be ‘music’. Instead of music being the direct manipulation of sound, to please the artist and to strive for new levels of musical understanding; it is now dominated totally by this new culture of 4 minute pop songs with catchy choruses.
Now, before I can truly start to say where progressive music stands in today’s society, I have to stress the importance of the fact that there is nothing truly wrong with 4 minute pop songs – or catchy choruses, for that matter. It should also be stressed that there are many, many artists who genuinely strive to create this sort of music as their art. Porcupine Tree, for example, are certainly very influenced by the song-based sound and acoustic singer-songwriter conventions. Conversely, it is the record labels that strive to control artistic abilities to satisfy a demographic that are the hindrance of music today. We can collectively look back at the pre-war view of music, and we see the now-dubbed ‘classical’ musicians such as Mozart who in their heyday composed pieces of epic proportions. And I have to take this time to stress the word epic here – to put it simply; if they were alive and composing today, they would be progressive legends! Here we see the problem – we, in today’s society, have to label ‘risky’ music as progressive, simply because of the dominating invasion of label-controlled pop songs.
Kscope just emailed this list of their ‘best of 2011′ albums from this year to subscribers of their mailing list. Topping the list is Steven Wilson’s ‘Grace for Drowning’ which was recently nominated for a Grammy award. Blackfield’s third studio album ‘Welcome to My DNA’ which was released on Kscope back in March, is also featured on the list. Be sure to take a look at some of the other artists on the list, as they certainly deserve a listen!
It’s getting closer! Soon enough, we will all finally be able to hear ‘Grace for Drowning’ in it’s entirety, a project that Steven Wilson has been working on for well over a year now. So far, we have been treated to several previews of the album, which have been available as MP3 samples and music videos. The album is just over 80 minutes in length, comparable to a feature film’s length! Adding in the bonus tracks & demos that will be available as part of the Deluxe Edition, the album is shaping up to be a mammoth release.
Aside from ‘Grace for Drowning’, this month in particular has been very important for new music from several bands that have worked with Steven Wilson & Porcupine Tree before, including Roadrunner label mates Opeth, who released their new studio album ‘Heritage’ today.
Opeth lead singer Mikeal Akerfeldt is currently working with Steven Wilson on a project tentatively called ‘Storm Corrosion’, and the album will be released in early 2012, I’d say personally that it will be out before Porcupine Tree’s eleventh studio album, which is currently slated for a Summer 2012 release. Steven Wilson has commented in interviews in the past that the music for Storm Corrosion is very orchestral, but ‘very strange and quite disturbing’. The record draws inspiration from the music of Scott Walker, but Steven also stated that ‘as a whole, the album has a lot of things that people will recognise from Opeth and my stuff’ confirming that the record won’t be such a drastic musical departure. It is not yet known whether Mikael will use clean vocals on the album or not. Steven will play keyboard and arrange the music, whilst Mikael will play guitars.
I think a lot of people thought, ‘Oh, it’s gonna be like ‘Damnation’. It’s not; it’s a long way from that, too. And it’s actually a long way from anything I’ve done; it’s possibly closer to aspects of things I’ve done, but really quite distinct from anything I’ve ever released.
It’s very orchestral, lots of strings, lots of guitars and vocals, too. Lots of very long songs that kind of go in different directions that you don’t necessarily expect them to go in — almost theatrical in a way. And we both kind of admitted to ourselves that there are a lot of fans out there that are probably gonna hate it. But we’re doing it for us – Steven Wilson
Former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy was initially supposed to be part of the project, but it was confirmed that he was too busy on his other projects. It seems like the original plan for ‘Storm Corrosion’ was to create some sort of progressive rock supergroup. All they have to do now is call up Neil Peart, and the job’s complete.
Moving on from Storm Corrosion, Anathema released their new album two days ago, entitled ‘Falling Deeper’. The album doesn’t consist of new material, but it does contain newly recorded versions of their older material. But, the songs have been transformed into epic orchestral pieces, that don’t bear a lot of similarity to the originals. It’s a great album, and a really interesting way of revitalising older records. Steven Wilson mixed Anathema’s last proper studio album, 2010′s critically acclaimed ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’. He said that the album is ‘definitely among the best albums I’ve ever had the pleasure to work on’.
Next month also brings the new album from Norwegian progressive rock band Airbag, which we recently included on the StarsDie.com Featured Artist article. Below is a description of the upcoming release from our favourite online music store, Burning Shed.
Their new album, ‘All Rights Removed’ A bigger and bolder variation on the Atmospheric Art Rock of the acclaimed Identity, All Rights Removed once more creatively straddles the middle ground between the Progressive inclinations of Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd, and the Epic Pop of Talk Talk – Burning Shed Online Store
So, that’s about it for this week’s news update! I hope you all have a great week, and be sure to check back on the site soon for news about Steven Wilson’s new solo record and more! Exciting times are ahead, folks.
As promised, here is the StarsDie.com video feature for the news story that I put up yesterday, entitled ‘A Year of New Music – 2011′. The video covers most of what I wrote in yesterday’s news article, including all of the releases due to come out later in September, as well as a section on Blackfield’s release earlier this year, ‘Welcome to My DNA’.
This took a while to make, so I hope you appreciate my work!
Also, do excuse my narration, I personally think I did a pretty bad job, but that’s up to you to decide.