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Friday, October 25, 2013

Steve Wilson Series Part 2: Porcupine Tree Deadwing: Part 2

       Steve Wilson, the musician has some mind bending tunes. In this second part, the Porcupine Tree members will state their opinions on Deadwing. The Arriving Somewhere But Not Here DVD is a mystical experience. I will also dispense the emotions of the Deadwing era bonus tracks. I will analyze the script Steve Wilson released for the Deadwing feature film.  I will also highlight Lasse Hoile's music videos for Deadwing: Lazarus, Start of Something Beautiful, and Glass Arm Shattering. I am presuming you are familiar with Porcupine Tree. If not, once you listen to any of his albums from beginning to end, in one sitting, you will become a real fan, and understand the Porcupine Tree hysteria.
Porcupine Tree memorabilia
         Not much is known about Deadwing since Wilson concealed information, thinking the album would serve as a companion for the feature film.But, I finally found the Deadwing Script that then entire Deadwing album is based on. The screenplay of Mike Bennion and Steve Wilson is essentially a ghost story. So many of the fore-coming characters may be ghosts. Figuring out which ones is the challenge. This is only the first fifteen pages of the film but it makes many references to the album; such as a reference to the line in Mellotron Scratch 'A tiny flame inside my hand', the man mentioned in Lazarus 'My David don't you worry', and to the artwork in the album's cover insert (more specifically the page with the lyrics to "Halo" scrawled in it2
       Getting the album might be better than simply downloading since you can see the artwork that is the image for the songs.


Summary / slight analyzation of Deadwing script
The main character David is working on the sound of a film. But you don't realize this. You are brought into the scene with a mother singing a lullaby to a small boy about 3 years old. She tries to give him a pill but he doesn't take it; instead he (Lazarus) escapes into the woods on a moon-light night and falls in the mud. A vagrant lights a match but the sound isn't right, three separate sounds before David (who is in the office studio) gets it right. But then the little boy appears in his fictional film. He rewinds and the boy is gone from the shot. He heads home after a little fire in his office building, no one is there. He heads onto the train, everyone is yawning and weird. He sees that his reflection is not human. After a while, the vagrant alone remains. Is it the same one as in the video? David heads home through a park. It rains and he notices drawings. The small boy must have made drawings in this park because there is a pendant like the one the young woman putting him to bed possesed. But how could this fictional video become reality? David gets back to his small house. Located among noisy neighbors. He has discs stored and filed. He has an image he is working out of a jigsaw puzzle. He hears a clanking sound in his pipes. He falls asleep we hear his heart beat. Again, this was all part of the video he is working on. His boss is now on his coattails, not liking the clanking sound in the video. How can he be in his own video? The boss instructs him on a complex video project. He goes back home, seeing an anti-child abuse poster with a small boy saying, "I can't sleep. When I sleep that's when the monster comes." on the subway wall. so this could all be a demonic possession which would explain the shadows or ghosts (the little boy) and David having no memory when or where he was. A young lady, Elizabeth meets David at the train station. Could this be the young woman from the beginning? But now they are still and both hear irregular footsteps-someone limping in the dark. As they wait Elizabeth fears the footsteps more and more. As the train pulls away David sees a man's shadow in the distance at the station. This women Elisabeth, who is unknown to David, states that she is safe from the shadowy figure as long as she is with David.3

Steve Wilson / Porcupine Tree's attitude 
       Steve Wilson gives every record the same effort. He states that writing is a painful process for him.4 Steve Wilson likes to work in a self consumed vacuum (Fear of a Blank Planet) In the second interview (Fear of a Blank Planet 2) Steve Wilson mentions some interesting things: Being a producer, performer, and writer the strong only has the power and emotion on the first take. Hearing it thousands of times takes away from that. Also his 4 favorite albums he worked on are: 1. Ghosts on Magnetic Tape with Bass Communion, 2. In Absentia and 3. Fear of a Blank Planet with Porcupine Tree and Blackwater Park with Opeth. He talks about being depressed with the release of a record (Fear of a Blank Planet) He also hates being compared to other bands. And hates that critics and journalists have "their fucking opinions".
       Another thing astounding about Steve Wilson or Porcupine Tree is his commitment to excellent quality music. He has finally become famous with porcupine tree by 2005 when Deadwing comes out but he is not afraid about exploring different musical paths. And possibly alienating older fans for his pursuit of spiritually transcendent music. And for the recent fans he is not afraid of going away from the heavier stuff to return in the direction of the older Porcupine tree stuff that is more exploratory.5

Arriving Somewhere But Not Here DVD 
 Revenant is simply the intro to The Arriving Somewhere But Not Here DVD - delving into the ghostly theme of Deadwing.
Open Car
Steven Wilson does charades to the rocking lyrics and music of open car. This song's blistering tempo gives a sense of  getting over a shattered relationship. You don't need him or her, you are a free man or woman.
Blackest Eyes
Blackest Eyes is the first track of In Absentia - one of Steve Wilson's favorite albums he created. And it is my favorite album opener. One of Wilson's favorite albums because of the in depth theme of serial killers and going insane. The heaviness of the guitar matches the heavy subject matter of the song - a guy takes a woman into the woods to kill her. Wilson uses hand motions to symbolize crying. The song describes the conflict of the killer and normal life. He kills and then lives mundanely, hiding his crimes in his sheds, where he relives them. "Something taking over me" refers to demons taking over the killer. "wiring loose in my head" as wilson points to his head. A strong guitar riff excites you.

Lazarus
We move from evil spirits in Blackest eyes to the angelic or benign spirits in Lazarus. David and Lazarus aren't  referencing the biblical characters, instead they are found in the deadwing movie script. The beautiful chorus and guitar solos occur in a song when a band has the same guy, in this case Steven Wilson, be both lead guitarist and lead singer. None of the fights that have plagued so many great bands.
The chorus is audio gorgeousness:
Follow me down
          to the valley below
           moonlight is bleeding
          from out of your soul

Hatesong
The yo-yo between good and evil continues - back to evil. The loud bassy rhythmic riff of Hatesong sucks you into the poetry of the song. You quickly notice a pattern in the song, both lyrically and musically. The rhyme scheme is predictable you know "head" is coming. But who cares, you have the manic energy  of
Yes, I'm hearing voices too, and I'm more cut up than you. Yeah!

The alternative rock guitars drive you into space. Then you notice Gavin Harrison's delicate, yet rhythmic technical drumming. At the end, Harrison does he his hard core loud drumming. Hardcore fans love this jam, but songs like this and
Don't Hate Me are more enjoyable for the musicians than the audience. The rhythm they get into is musical ecstasy. So you can enjoy it but experimenting with different musical instruments and trying to start such an epic jam. The song itself paints a picture of snow falling in London.  You are cold and wandering on an eerie winter's night. But why are you hating Wilson thinking you are special? haha. Don't Hate Me is from Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream of 1999. The song has a great music solo - all band mates jam their instruments without singing. The happy bassist Colin Edwin always kills it. While watching this I focus on differentiating the sounds coming from each instrument.

Mother and Child Divided
A bonus track to Deadwing. A tremendous instrumental for fans of long passages of hard alternative rock.
Buying New Soul
Another bonus track from Deadwing. The song sounds cheerful. But this biographical tune may not have a cheerful message. But I love some of the lyrics anyway.
Buying new soul at the start of every year
 So Called Friend
Catchy singing to loud music. I have too many So Called Friends. I love the part where he sings "What kind friend are you?", When Wesley and Wilson sings the chorus the higher pitched guitars brings a descending bridge to the song. Musician Bill Watt weighs in,
"That's the bridge and I can't really explain. It's like a background echo. I really like that part. That's really progressive rock there."
 Arriving Somewhere But Not Here
    The feature presentation of this article begins with a slow intro to its own atmosphere with a weird backdrop. Then, the high note quitar lick and the plucking of the strings by John Wesley. The lyrics take us to a dark night as Wilson sings about not trusting much. Wilson points to you as he sings "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" The music kicks in. The black and white cinematography of the projection screen shows someone travelling full speed down a freeway. You are full of adrenaline as you listen to the loud, pulsating, vibrating music.The crowd cheers but then hush as they realize the song is maybe 2/3rds through. Wesley makes the playing look simple, and you wish to try. The quality music solo concludes with an exuberant thank you from Wilson. Right into a tragically sad

Heartattack In a Layby. The yo-yo effect (good to evil, manic to sad ) continues. "The fever pushing the day by" is an interesting lyric. The song is a story about a man dying on the side of the road, having a heartattack in a lay by. The song is SO EMOTIONAL because he is thinking about how his girlfriend would have forgiven him and made up with him. Then, ironic lyrics are sung
"I am perfectly fine I just need to lie down, we'll grow old . . . together."  The way Wilson goes from normal to high pitched during these lines is special. Musician Bill Watt describes this as
"Polyphony. He is singing two different things at the same time. I like to think of that as wrap around polyphony. Like in microsoft word you can do wrap around text. The guitar in this song is amazing. Almost classical guitar sounding. It's Clementesque but avoids Padulaisms"
The Start of Something Beautiful
Definitely goes back to the ghostly theme of the Deadwing script. But Mr. Wilson expresses anger towards the ghost. His emotions explode into the song with
The more I show the way I feel the less I find you give a damn . . .
Later, Wilson tells the ghost "father never wanted you". So, a person getting over a breakup could relate to this mad emotion. John Wesley plays a fast guitar solo. The musical melody echoes the chorus - trapping you inside the song.
Halo
This catchy tune with the steady rhythm is perfect for gawkers. You can stare at people as they bob their heads to the beat. The satirical lyrics tell us God is everywhere. The driving guitar sounds like music from an Evel Knievel documentary.6 The industrial drums perfectly fit the song.
The Sound of Muzak
Encore! Encore! Encore! This relaxed tune with strong music that critiques the music industry, gets us started. An excellent music solo and Fantastic outro - an unbelievable effort by the whole band.
Even Less This true rocker from Stupid Dream pumped me up for Division 2 tennis matches. Except now, I cringe at the stacking shelves part, since I fell into this line of work. The song is about a lost friend- one you couldn't save. The lead guitar notes stomp the landing of this epic song.
Trains
they finish with Trains, after promising a full-17-minute-blow-out-version of Free bird the next night.
A guitar string breaks and the music stops. But John Wesley gets the audience clapping and listening to the ear-melting-song. and back into it as they continue the song in its majestic audio glory. The loud finish gets my lazy cat up, as we both enjoy the music. He purrs, I roars.

Deadwing comes in different editions that feature some cool bonus tracks.  The band recorded 15 songs during the Deadwing sessions. You probably have the 9 track album. Tracks 10 through 15 include the re-recorded She's Moved On, Revenant, Mother and Child Divided, Half-light, So-called Friend (Lazarus single), and Christenings. The latter was released as part of Blackfield's 2007 album Blackfield II.2  And while there isn't much I could find for interviews for Deadwing; I will reserve the right for addendums to this article feauturing special interviews on Deadwing. However, I can confidently say they were proud of their creations. And these bonus tracks were not solely penned by Wilson. Revenant was written by keyboardist Richard Barberi. Mother and Child Divided was a combined effort from Steve Wilson and drummer Gavin Harrison - the rest- a band effort.2  

Porcupine Tree half-light is so mellow. But gets intense with a desirable sound I have craved my whole life. The thing I love about PT music is the gentle guitar sounds over their music's main beat.

 Deadwing as a whole, is much heavier sounding than this; It is more about the long guitar passages. The music of Deadwing can bring dopamine to the brain in a similar way cocaine might. Probably not as strong, but listening to Deadwing is a healthier substitute that keeps you out of jail. And this intense good feeling can help you get over any failed passionate romance.
Deadwing Music Videos
Lazarus
The video is about a little boy from the Deadwing script.


The great imagery follows the story of a little boy who walks in a park at midnight. Hawaiian-like- guitars. 50s video footage of a place is rural and peaceful. It's summertime, kids are playing in the pool and a family gathering or party is happening in the backyard. The drums at 3:23 re-jolts the song. While introducing the song Lazarus during the Shepherds Bush Empire concert in December 2005, Steven Wilson explained that this song was about a mother communicating with her young son - 'from the grave'.2
Start of Something Beautiful


Artistic and then some; the video features clay models, growing vines, and worms. The male clay model pretends to play the violin with the female clay models' feelers. The growing plants are the start of something  beautiful. They are in some factory trying to fix a wounded winged animal. Funny that this is what Steven Wilson and Lasse Hoile envisioned for this song.  However, the spiraling imagery perfectly fits the solo. 

Glass Arm Shattering

Slow and melodic, the low energy of the video is fine. A naked female sinks to an underwater abyss. Lightning flashes and fish swim over her slim body. This short haired woman is in a blissful coma. A naked man finds her, and so starts the underwater affair. Swim to the surface you idiots!

In addition to the music videos above, Deadwing had two singles: Shallow and Lazarus. Those singles and the album itself can be purchased through Rhapsody. 
Listen to all your favorite Alternative & Punk songs for free.
Whether it's an alternative rock station, alternative internet rock station, alternative internet radio,
internet radio alternative, or alternative internet radio stations they don't play the great tracks from Deadwing often enough, if at all.

       You may have had similar experiences with the album, or maybe completely different. It doesn't matter, any uninterrupted experience of this album is good. If you are trying to get over a loss of a loved one, relationship, commitment, after you have done everything psychologically recommended by shrinks, pastors, so-called experts, listen to Deadwing and feel its power. In part 2, I have covered the bonus tracks from this era; as well as the DVD: Arriving Somewhere But Not Here; I have tried to focus on in depth interviews with Steve Wilson and other Porcupine Tree members and associates, producers etc. regarding Deadwing.  I also focused on Lasse Hoile's music videos for Deadwing: Lazurus, The Start of Something Beautiful, and Glass Arm Shattering. And what happened in the script of the unmade, Deadwing movie. Thanks for reading!
   3. http://www.directorsnotes.com/2006/11/09/dn-ep-009-deadwing-mike-bennion/

    4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7455UX9LYQ

     5. Source to be found

      6. Bruce Nash Produced TLC documentary 1999