Friday, February 27, 2009


For those who are well acquainted with the music of Steven Wilson, you know that he never does anything halfway. Whether it be with Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, IEM, No-Man, Bass Communion, or one of his many collaborations, Mr. Wilson is not one to disappoint. You know you are in for a poignant and awe-inspiring monolith of an experience whenever you listen to something with his name on it, and these were my expectations for his first solo album, Insurgentes. Incredibly, he has topped himself again and exceeded all expectations.
Insurgentes received an official release February 24th, but a very limited special edition (which I happened to get my hands on) came out this past November. This edition comes packaged in a hardback book with 120 pages of high-quality photos taken during the recording of Insurgentes and the filming of the accompanying documentary, set for release later this year. The majority of the photos were taken by Danish photographer Lasse Hoile, with other contributions by Carl Glover and Susana Moyaho. The package itself is beautiful. The album was recorded all over the world, with major portions recorded in Mexico and Israel, and the documentary follows Mr. Wilson as he records the album and explores these foreign countries. As he wanders about the globe, he meets with important figures in music, such as producer Trevor Horn, and discusses how music has fallen in the MP3 generation. In this he discusses the issues of album artwork, quality of sound in MP3's versus vinyl, and how much attention is given to music when downloaded for free versus when it is carefully chosen and invested in. Wilson explains how when he was young, he had only enough money for one record a month. This record had to be carefully chosen, and was listened to over and over to pull any sort of inspiration possible from this record in which his time was invested. "Nowadays," Wilson says "if a kid hears about Pink Floyd or the Beatles and wants to check them out, he can go online and download all their albums, doesn't cost him a penny, he can listen to a few tracks and, if it doesn't jump out at him immediately, delete it." He explains how this instant access allows us to dismiss something just as easily as we obtain it. 
Now for the music itself, which is some of Wilson's best and most diverse. The opening track, "Harmony Korine," begins with a melancholic verse leading to a soaring chorus showcasing Mr. Wilson's flawless falsetto and bringing to mind the music of Sigur Ros. The next, "Abandoner," has an electronic feel straight out of a Nine Inch Nails album. "No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun" brings the prog fashions of King Crimson to mind, and the album closes with a simple piano ballad featuring Steven Wilson on piano and vocals and Michiyo Yagi playing an 18 string bass koto. Other guest musicians on this illustrious release include Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, King Crimson bassist Tony Levin, vocalist Clodagh Simonds, and Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison. This album is more than just another cd; it has a legacy, and is easily one of the greatest accomplishments in music in the last few decades. For those who are more curious, visit .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Short Fiction Essay Topic

I have chosen to do option 3 for my short fiction essay. This topic has to do with the narrators of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," and what each narrator is trying to convince the reader of. In "The Tell-Tale Heart," the narrator is apparently trying to convince the reader that he is not insane. Obviously, the ending of the story proves exactly the opposite. In "The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas," the narrator seems to want to convince the reader that Omelas really is a perfect place, that it is not made worse because one person must suffer greatly, and that if this person could be free, they are so debilitated that they would actually gain little. However, the way the story is written seems to try and convince the reader that the treatment is wrong as well. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

3rd Person

Things were peaceful for a very short time; then the alarm rang. Matt stared at it with a sort of contempt. He hated the thing for disturbing the most peaceful part of his sleep every morning, but deep down he knew that it was a necessary evil. He heaved a pained sigh and tossed the covers to the side, stumbling to the shower. The cold water woke him up. (The price of having a roommate.) He stepped out of the door and walked toward his car to get his MP3 player. He locked the door and shut it, yet something glinted in the sunlight and caught his eye. His keys were comfortably locked in the front seat. He swore silently and, seeing the futility, began the long walk to class. 
Class was about as interesting as ever; the Biology teacher kissed the feet of Darwin at every second, and Matt felt completely emasculated at having to perform step aerobics in PE. Stepping onto and off of a slightly elevated platform while God-awful dance music blasted in the background wasn't exactly his idea of a workout. Lunch held no surprises either; Matt ate with the same people that he always ate with, talked about the same things, and ate the same food. He got there at the same time as always, and he left at the same time as always; you could have set a clock to him. It was impressive. It was sad.
When he returned home, he decided that he had better phone the locksmith. 10 seconds and forty-five dollars later, he climbed into the car, staring spitefully at the lock and keeping his newly retrieved keys carefully wrapped in his fingers. He proceeded to Bible Study; the only real interesting this that happens on his tuesdays. At the call of his pained stomach, he returned home. After checking the refrigerator several times and discovering nothing new, he fixed up yet another bowl of ramen noodles. He sat at the computer, eating his ramen and listening to Jeff Buckley. He lay down in bed and tried his best to fall asleep. The neighbors were stomping around above him again. 
Things were peaceful for a very short time; then the alarm rang.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Stream of Consciousness

I hate wednesdays, but I love thursdays. I hope Biology lab doesn't hold me up too long tomorrow. 3 hours is too long to be stuck in that room. I need to sleep soon, but I'm not tired. 
That washing machine makes the most annoying sound. 
I'm in the middle of 4 different books right now. I should really choose one to finish. ITunes doesn't shuffle very well with over 5000 songs. Ooh, King Crimson. I wonder what kind of guitar Robert Fripp plays? My guess is Gibson, maybe a Les Paul or SG. I swear, saxophone is the sexiest instrument known to man. Bass is at a close second, followed by mostly clean guitar with a little wah-wah effect. Wetton is a good vocalist, but I prefer Greg Lake by far. Man, they got weird when Tony Levin joined. I should really work on my fingerpicking on guitar. Man, Andy McKee is a beast. 
"Get to the Choppa!"
This carpet is making my feet itchy. 
It sure would be funny if they had a dead soldier on CSI, and the title was "GI John Doe." More along the line of black humor, but funny. Wow, I haven't seen "Eraserhead" in a long time. That movie is screwed up. There are too many lights on in here. I should clean my apartment soon. 
Why is my roommate groaning pleasurably from cinnamon?
Thank God that washing machine finally shut up. 
I take that back. Crap.
Let's see, I need to do homework for Math and PE, and I need to get to the gym at some point, and....
Wow, how much acid did it take for the Beatles to write all of "The White Album?"
Nile is a pretty weird band. A death metal band from South Carolina that sings about Egypt. 
Skip. Skip. Skip. 
Godflesh is a terrifying band. 
Wow, spell check sure is being cocky tonight. 
Uh. I really feel sorry for whoever reads this. My stream of consciousness is about as interesting as a leaky faucet.