It’s been said that there’s only space for two projects that cover the same territory: the first and the best. This, so far as I can tell, is the first. This is a retrospective series of almost everything Steven Wilson’s touched in his capacity as a musical person. These aren’t necessarily reviews, although they can be, but they will at least attempt to be engagements.
Acknowledgments. This whole thing would not exist without Uwe Häberle’s Complete Steven Wilson Discography, now in its tenth edition, and when he says complete, he means complete. The most recent edition, from 2015, is 564 pages long, with well over a thousand entries. The man has been that prolific. Also indispensable is Quinn Downton’s Neural Rust site, but where Häberle aims for a broad survey of Wilson’s entire discography, Downton focuses on certain specific releases (PT, mostly, for obvious reasons) and digs deep.
The sheer volume of stuff Steven Wilson has released as a musician means that I’ve had to do some pruning regarding what I’m going to cover in this space. As a general rule, one entry per album and any associated supplementary thingies. Albums by other artists where he guested or produced will be included. However, there will be no test pressings, promos, record company compilations or samplers, or fakes. Bootlegs will be covered only if they pique my interest. I haven’t decided whether to include remixes, either, but I got time to figure that out, trust me. As of this writing, that leaves us with ~225 entries, depending on which rarities I can get my hands on (if I haven’t heard it, I won’t spend a lot of time on it), but that’s at least manageable. The goal is a post a week, provided I don’t get too wordy.
The format of this blog owes massive debts to Chris O’Leary’s Pushing Ahead of the Dame (aka Bowiesongs) and Elizabeth Sandifer’s Nintendo and Super Nintendo Projects, both attempts at chronicling large bodies of work. (I suspect the full extent of their influence will become clear as we go further on.) The content, probably less so, at least for now. Despite this, I still hope that this space will eventually produce something useful or interesting. We’ll see.
First proper post goes up on Sunday. In the meanwhile, some setup. For our purposes, Steven Wilson’s musical output can be divided into five eras, based on whatever genre was the predominate influence upon Porcupine Tree or his solo career at the time: the Space Era, the Alternative Era, the Metal Era, the Jazz Era, and the Pop Era. I have somewhat arbitrarily defined the Space Era as beginning with Porcupine Tree’s first release, 1989’s Tarquin’s Seaweed Farm. We are not starting with Tarquin’s Seaweed Farm.