středa 12. ledna 2011

Insurgentes (English)

With a little hyperbole I could say that I found out about new album by my favorite musician by coincidence. I would hear it sooner or later anyway, I just can’t think about where would I be without it. I vividly remember when it happend. In old times, when myspace ruled as a precursor of Facebook I heared Harmony Korine for the first time right there. Of course, I’ve never heard it before, but I felt like it was in my brain for long time and I loved it. It was exactly what I wanted to hear.
It’s hard to believe that my favourite Briton is part of musical scene since late 80’s and still, in 2008 he’s heading somewhere he’s never gone before. For him solo album means something little different than it’s generaly meant. There has already been some pure solo records (e.g. Incredible Expanding Mindfuck and Bass Communion), but Insurgentes is presenting the musician the way he sees music. Everything sounds like he wants it to and so the record is influenced by all of his other projects.
Some may now (see my page) that Insurgentes is my most listened and probably favorite album. Why? It’s simply amazing to me. Especially by its atmosphere, but also by experiments it is something we never heard from Steve before (yes, I know Bass Communion which evokes Insurgentes most, but mixing different sounds together also makes the result new, doesn’t it?).
When someone registers words “insurgent” and “rock” in one sentence one may think of cool teenage idol bands, but Wilson’s solo doesn’t have anything to do with it, of course. Album is manifesto against status quo of current music industry which is not entirely supported by lyrics. Steven let out his imagination, so lyrics are quite surreal and often one can’t really tell what autor wanted to impart. I like that - abstraction is my cup of coffe, vague communication raises interesting feelings in me and anyone can interpret the lyrics a bit differently. Moreover, Steven Wilson himself said: “I try to write lyrics so listeners can find piece of themselves in them”.

Within Wilson’s work Insurgentes is rather easier to listen and at least for people knowing his music easy to access, yet I find much more than it may be obvious from first few listens. During all these minutes spent with it got attached to my heart and now I’m finding quite hard to discover something affecting me in similar way by bringing me musical euphoria. Everytime I hear eight-minute long song repeating the same melody over again, yet always sounding little different escalating to noise orgies I let it devour me completely. When my ears are gobbling “Rain down from the sky” from Clodagh Simonds’s mouth I can feel goseflesh on my limbs as I’m floating through sky along with cold raindrops.
Almost deserted train station. Aloof on the bench some rather unknown person is sleeping, gently cold wind is playing with its hair and with newspaper dancing according to wind’s commands hopelessly searching its owner. Orange-red sun is winking on me from distant horizon bidding me farewell. With quiet eyes and head full of non-existent memories I’m waiting...waiting for train which will never come to take me...”Twilight Coda” is only amazing vanguard to in my ears “Insurgentes” opus magnum - “Get All You Deserve/Insurgentes”. Last two songs belong together. Together they are perfect contrast, which leaves me completely disassembled after they vanish. After this I feel like open book without pages and backbone which has never been read, but someone forgot to close it. Like I arrived to end of journey which end is far away.
The second disc in this case is not just bonus, but also important part of the record, the song on it are just little different conceptually. Listener can find there musician’s probably most experimental music by far. They radiate Wilson’s joy of writing music and swimming in uncharted waters.
When writing these lines I don’t approach to Insurgentes like to great album which I like a lot and that’s the main reason for it to be on the top of my playlist. It’s time period I spend in my own world. Almost every distraction is interference to my privacy. Like someone was breaking my old wooden shed containing all of my euphoria and depressions. “Whan genre do you play?” asks Israeli fortune teller. Steven Wilson answers shortly: “Weird shit”. For some people sure, for me it’s “the weirdest, most awesome and beautiful shit I’ve fucking heard.”

First of all, let’s talk about packaging, Steven himself mentions in as important part of presentation:
The DVD didn’t come in usual cardboard box which most would expect, but only in some paper envelope a little bigger than regular envelope would be and padded by bubbles (bubble mailer is how they call it). The content was, of course sealed in cellophane, probably because of conservation. After I gently broke it, finally I got in my hands thing I’ve been waiting for actually since the album came out. After all it’s good that there’s only one version of the DVD, otherwise I would definitely order something I didn’t want. The hardback book containing many pages with interesting, with the record and movie corresponding pictures is stored in slip case ( Google ). Graphical presentation I like a lot and it’s definitely worth 12 GBP. What I don’t like as much is the way the actual discs are stored. They are stored like these cheap DVDs you can buy in the mall. Not that it wouldn’t look nice, but every time you take it out you scratch the disc whether you want or not. My dream of intact DVDs is gone.
Enough, let’s get to what’s important ->

Steven’s been asked for a few times already about cooperation with Lasse Hoile. He always answered that they have very unique relationship and he’s person we meet very rarely in our lifetime. Person which exactly understands Wilson’s thought processes and ways he expresses himself and most importantly - what he wants to express. We could already see the results of this cooperation, but on Insurgentes it feels most natural. Like they weren’t two separate people, just one. Musical and visual aspects perfectly fit together creating amazing audiovisual complex.
Similar projects are usually understood only like some kind of bonus with lots of backstage footage intended for hardcore-fans, but Insurgentes isn’t like this.
Talking about content, the movie is similar to the record. The makers tried to say a lot at once. Mostly it’s considered to be document about how the record came to see the light and about Wilson’s opinions at current “iPod culture”, at least half of the lenght is taken by bizarre and surreal scenes already known from trailers. Steven just loves bizarreries (me too, heh), in interview on second disc he talks about a gift from above pictured as meadow full of broken coffins and dolls and ton of strangely beautiful atmosphere. Also artist’s life is mentioned, specifically how and when he started to create music, where he grew up (not only places) and how does his life look like nowadays.
Now a little to Wilson’s opinions expressed in movie: (talking about iPods - Steven doesn’t hate specifically iPods, it’s just synonym for mp3 player)
He says mainstream nowadays doesn’t take music as art, but as just a way to get money and fame. Potencial listener comes home, sits to computer and downloads newest album from iTunes (or other online music store or ilegal source), because he heard song he liked in radio today and because he let advertisements to lure him, just like he was buying a toilet paper. Music is not the way to express ourselves, but just piece of software to fill hard-drive, folder of data which we sooner or later erase to download some new music which is almost the same as the one it replaces.

After all, everything depends on listener. Only he decides if he lets mainstream to lead his tastes, if he’ll listen to radio only to pass the time, or he’ll plunge deeper to find out that there are also other ways to listen various frenquencies coming from membrane. Music fans are divided to these two main camps these days. Mainstream interprets don’t deserve deeper than superficial interest anyway, we’d fully realized how worthless and uninteresting they are (of course, I’m not talking about all of them, just most). Music industry is same as other industries, everyone chooses what he wants. Some are ok with food from supermarket, others go to expensive restaurant (bigger meterial/enjoyment value is in music expressed as more difficult listening). So, where do I belong? I’d say somewhere to the middle. However, I don’t fully agree with Wilson’s opinion. I’m little more optimistic and I still believe music industry hasn’t fully changed to a supermarket yet. There are still lots of Porcupine Tree (and other bands with similar approach), right?

The second disc contains more of Insurgentes-like audiovisual as Bass Communion concert (very nice to see how all these weird sounds are produced), interview with Steven Wilson and Lasse Hoile from premiere screening of the movie (nope, you can’t see Lasse Hoile’s face) and songs which wouldn’t fit neither to an album of his projects, neither to his solo record. It’s quite interesting stuff in this case really intended for fans.

Before you leave (this blog or comment, which would be nice :-P), let me apologize for my mistakes in laguage, my english is far from great and Google translator is still very good friend of mine.

Project's official web

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