Anesthetize (Porcupine Tree ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’)
I listened to this album every minute for months when it first came out. It took a while to find my way in and take it all in but once I was in there was no escape! This is an 18 minute PT masterpiece and I actually didn’t realise until writing this but Alex Lifeson does a guest spot on this track!
18 minutes is plenty of time to weave and wind through lots of different themes and dynamics and it certainly doesn’t disappoint! Favourite bit? The wishy washy dreamy bit at the end. I just love it. I have no idea why but it reminds me of an Iain Banks novel. Anyway, that’s one of the bits not in the YouTube video linked above so I highly recommend getting the whole record.
Way Out of Here (Porcupine Tree ‘Fear of a Blank Planet’)
This track is another great example of how summing up lots of simple parts makes a magnificent composition as a whole. That’s something I have a big passion for and most of my favourite music appears to be that way. Maybe it’s because I always overcomplicate my own compositions? I’m also a big fan of expression and dynamics. There’s plenty of that going on in most PT tracks and Way Out of Here is no exception. The chords are delicious and emote beautifully.
Alien Hip Hop (Planet X ‘Quantum’)
I’m not sure about the Planet X stuff. Just when I think “this is incredible” it all gets a bit Doctor Who. I simply don’t dig that “ooooooooeeeeeeeeeeooooooooo this is science fiction in your ears” type thing. I’m not saying it’s bad or geeky, because there’s some really bad geeky music that I love but when it’s good it’s really good and I love the rhythm playing on this. Allan Holdsworth takes a solo on two tracks on the record and he’s typically awesome, fitting right in to the proggy style.
The Prayer (Bloc Party ‘A Weekend in the City’)
The guitar solo on this blows me away. You’d be forgiven for barely even noticing it as it’s simply not loud enough in the mix! At the time of release there was an internet contest to remix this song and the mix stems were available for download. If you were lucky enough to have those and could isolate the guitar solo you would have heard it is absolutely spellbinding!
Meet Your Master (Nine Inch Nails ‘Year Zero’)
Trent has always been pretty creative with what he does with guitar, not in a “notes” way but in a sound decimation kinda way. Year Zero has an amazing amount of things going on that you wouldn’t believe is a guitar. And this album arguably has more synth than anything from NIN in years. It can be so hard to tell and it’s only through downloading the audio tracks from the NIN website that I know they’re guitars at all! I have no idea what the hell he’s doing to the guitars here.
It’s all got a slightly proggy for 2007! I can only be honest and list 5 pieces form the year that have inspired my guitar playing… and it seems to be that it is tending to lean towards a group of bands at the moment. So the list isn’t necessarily fair but I can’t list something I haven’t heard and hasn’t genuinely had an affect on me!
So, what I really mean is don’t forget to leave a comment with your own fave picks for the year!
Have a great weekend!