Prog God Steven Wilson Names Three Bands You’d Be Surprised He Loves
Prog rock legend Steven Wilson is a known appreciator of challenging music in many forms and, in a new video posted on X (formerly Twitter), the Porcupine Tree visionary pulls from his vast record collection to name three bands you'd be surprised to learn he loves.
In addition to his career in Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield and more, Wilson is an esteemed producer and mixer, having tackled exhaustive reissue remixes of some of prog's earliest icons (King Crimson, Jethro Tull) as well as having been behind the console with more modern day contemporaries (Opeth, Anathema).
While his musical world largely revolves around prog, it's not the only style of music in his orbit. He even finds one record, hailed as the "most extreme record ever made" and made up of "ear-splitting noise" as having a near ambient-like quality.
Another is a big-time rock band who he gained a greater appreciation for after doing some remix work for them. And then there's one you probably have never heard of before, but has an interesting back story.
Regarding the three artists, Wilson selects one album by each and reflects on what he loves about it.
Rajput & The Sepoy Mutiny, Flower Power Sitar
What Steven Wilson Says: "This is an album made in the late '60s by someone who had never seen a sitar before but was given a sitar and told to make a record with it because the sitar has suddenly become very popular and fashionable with people like Ravi Shankar and The Beatles using it. Poor guy who's playing the sitar on this record, he obviously has no idea even how to tune it. It's one of the records that has made me laugh more than any other in my life."
Guns N' Roses, Use Your Illusion
What Steven Wilson Says: "I didn't really grow up listening to Guns N' Roses, but I remixed this album. But I spent a long time with this record — a record I had never really listened to before — and I have to say that I ended up coming out of it a real admirer. Incredibly experimental and ambitious for a rock 'n' roll band. Use Your Illusion is [a] double album — it's a massive amount of music."
Merzbow, Pulse Demon
What Steven Wilson Says: "I think some people know of my love for Japanese noise music and industrial music. This record, famously when it came out in the mid-'90s, was promoted by the record label as the most extreme record ever made. We're talking pure noise — earsplitting noise — and there's a quote here from Pitchfork saying, 'Music cannot get much more extreme than this.' And there's something in that. This is pure ear-splitting noise. It's almost ambient music. Sometimes it's exactly what I want to hear and I'm a big fan of this kind of extreme noise music which is, in many ways, the antithesis of a lot of the music I do."
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Gallery Credit: Jordan Blum