Steven Wilson really is a workaholic. Apart from being the singer, guitar player and main songwriter for Porcupine Tree, he has several solo projects and collaborations with others going on. And he's also involved in producing and remixing the work of others. He never takes the easy road. Back in 1989 it wasn't an obvious choice to start a prog rock-psychedelic band, but he did and he managed to make a success out of it. Now it would be easy for him to harvest the success of Porcupine Tree, but instead he puts his energy in less successful side projects.
Bass Communion is his main solo project. It's the oldest one with the most releases, apart from I.E.M. that have been terminated and No-Man, which isn't really a solo project but a collaboration with Tim Bowness. The first album was released in 1998 and Cenotaph is number fifteen, including some very limited releases. Not all Porcupine Tree fans like Bass Communion, but this project has also established Wilson's name in a scene that doesn't like the music of Porcupine Tree. Although Bass Communion is mainly a solo project, Wilson collaborated with Robert Fripp, Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze) and Theo Travis. It's Wilson's vehicle in the land of ambient, minimal music, field recordings and drones. In a way it's the musical opposite of Porcupine Tree which is melodic, complex and guitar-orientated. Bass Communion's music is minimal, sound based and electronic.
Cenotaph is a musical continuation of the voyage that started on the album Ghosts On Magnetic Tape (2004). On this album the music started to become darker, with more low notes and scary sounds. Around the same time Steven Wilson collaborated with Vidna Obmana on the Legacy-album, which goes in the same musical direction. Cenotaph contains four pieces each lasting around twenty minutes. Track 1, 2 and 4 have simple rhythms with only a bass drum that has been processed. Play it loud and the walls will start to shake. Given the length of the tracks this album was recorded to be released as a double-LP. For people who don't have a record player it has been released as a single-CD as well. It's not meant to be listened on an iPod or in the car. You have to sit back and feel the sound waves. It's a scary voyage but well worth taking.
**** Erik Gibbels (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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