Porcupine Tree’s Steven Wilson has always been an audiophile and visual expressionist, and he’s pushing the envelope of recorded sound and vision for rock music in September with the release of Grace For Drowning (music samples here), his second solo album and reportedly the first ever new rock album to be released as a Blu-ray video disc. The music on the album will be mixed in 5.1 surround sound and will feature video content accompanying every song; music videos featuring Wilson along with excerpts from the recording, mixing, and mastering sessions, all presented in interactive formats. It’s certainly an ambitious sounding package, and we have not even gotten to the music itself.
“[My first solo album] Insurgentes was an important step for me into something new,” explains Wilson. “This record takes that as a starting point, but it’s more experimental and more eclectic. For me the golden period for music was the late Sixties and early Seventies, when the album became the primary means of artistic expression, when musicians liberated themselves from the three-minute pop song format and started to draw on jazz and classical music especially, combining it with the spirit of psychedelia to create ‘journeys in sound’ I guess you could call them. So without being retro, my album is a kind of homage to that spirit. There’s everything from [Ennio] Morricone-esque film themes to choral music to piano ballads to a 23-minute, progressive, jazz–inspired piece. I’ve actually used a few jazz musicians this time, which is something I picked up from my work remixing the King Crimson records.”
A deluxe edition of Grace For Drowning, which streets September 27th, will feature the Blu-Ray version, 3 CDs and a 120-page book of artwork and notes. The album will also be released on vinyl and CD. To promote it, Wilson will play a string of select solo dates in the U.S. in November.