The worldwide recognized work of Steven Wilson will certainly not go unnoticed to everyone who is into the progressive rock. With more than 30 years of a successful career, Steven has made enough of the required merits to be hailed and crowned as “The king of prog rock” during 2015s Progressive Music Awards in London.
He is a multi-instrumentalist who has taught himself to play guitar, bass, keyboards, music production, audio engineering and he is also a great singer. Steven Wilson’s work is renowned thanks to two of his most important projects: Porcupine Tree and his most recent solo career.
Steven was not very fond of music after being forced to guitar lessons when he was a child. However, everything was going to change when his dad brought home what he lists as the two most influential albums for him: Pink Floyd’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby. This was going to take him on the paths of the progressive rock, and David Gilmour’s playing was his inspiration to pick up a classical guitar and begin to experiment with an early form of a multi-track recorder created by his father.
During 1987, Steven Wilson and Malcolm Stocks started together a project inspired in the progressive acts of the 1970s, intended more as a joke that a serious profitable musical effort, and for that purpose they created a false and colorful backstory for The Porcupine Tree, the band’s name. Wilson went on to create a massive amount of tracks, in order to prove the “evidence” of The Porcupine Tree’s “long and successful career”.
The Porcupine Tree evolved as a Steven Wilson solo project in which he was continuously delivering quality material in the cassette format. However, as time went by Porcupine tree was growing into one of the most relevant progressive rock acts from England.
By 2008, Porcupine Tree counted with ten studio albums in 22 years of existence, success after success. Each album reflects Steven Wilson’s artistic evolution, from the psychedelic experiments to one of the highest forms of contemporary progressive rock ever made. Amazing songs like Anesthesize, Arriving Somewhere But Not Here, Trains, Lazarus, Dark Matter, Russia on Ice or Way Out of Here demonstrate the continuous evolution of an artistic mind that crafts novel forms of progressive rock with each new musical effort, creating soundscapes combined with lyrical poetry and introspection.
Porcupine Tree shaped Steven Wilson’s creative flow and made him one of the biggest names in the prog-scene as for this moment, and this prompted him to pursue a solo career to explore a different musical perspective.
Steven’s solo career have produced five studio albums to the date, and is characterized by a more introspective view that his work within Porcupine Tree. His solo work has been focused to tell a story; each song has its own personal universe with a particular chain of events that makes it unique. This approach has been taken by Steven into full conceptual albums like Hand. Cannot. Erase. Which tells Joyce Vicent’s story about how her death went unnoticed for 3 years.
We can definitely say that Steven Wilson’s personal universe and ability to combine great quality lyrics with refined progressive music makes him one of the most relevant musicians in today’s prog-scene, and anyone who approaches his music will surely enjoy the richness of an accomplished artist that is reinventing himself with each new work.
In 2017 Steven released his fifth solo record To The Bone. This album is inspired by progressive pop artists Steven listened to when he was young and it’s fully dedicated to the chaotic reality we live in today; the refugees crisis, terrorists and religious fanatics.
Article photo by Hajo Mueller