The Strokes: Future Present Past

10 Jun

The Strokes

Success came too early for the Strokes. The band’s first studio album, Is This It, is widely considered to be one of the most quintessential indie rock records of all time. Musical kingmakers like NME heralded the leather-clad quintet as the saviors of the entire rock genre. In an era marred by Linkin Park and Nickelback, the Strokes provided the soundtrack for the drunken heydey of an entire generation of now-nostalgic twentysomethings. What more could they achieve?

The threat of great expectations colored their next few albums. Sophomore record Room on Fire certainly had a handful of gems in the Strokes’ signature style; First Impressions of Earth had fewer. Disagreements often cropped up between the members, particularly against lead singer Julian Casablancas. In 2009, Casablancas noted to British daily The Sun that “a band is a great way to break up a friendship”. Demise seemed certain.

However, the band still owed two records to RCA, the label that won them in a bidding war during their prodigal days. The Strokes halfheartedly released Angles in 2011 and Comedown Machine in 2013, both to lukewarm reviews (at best). Their early days – immortalized in the carefree exuberance of Is This It – seemed to be gone forever.

Future Present Past

It is into this complex atmosphere that the band released the Future Present Past EP. Over a media-heavy two days in late May – uncharacteristic for the infamously aloof band – the Strokes released the four songs that make up the band’s first EP since January 2001. Finally unburdened from RCA’s stifling contract, the Strokes have breathed fresh air into their stagnant career.

“Drag Queen” is a dense piece driven by Nikolai Fraiture’s sludge-like bass line, almost reminiscent of mid-career Killers. The lyrics, oblique as with most Strokes songs, seem to hint at an anti-capitalist stance (“I don’t understand your fucked-up system, messing up the city/Try to sell the water, try to sell the air”). Could it be a message to RCA and the music industry?

“OBLIVIUS” hits closer to the band itself. “Untame me, it’s not my midnight yet” sings Casablancas on the opening line, speaking to the band’s fresh start after the five-record albatross. Musically, the song would fit right in on Room on Fire: not as crisp as their first songs, but certainly as driven by a clean click track. The song also features two enmeshed guitar pieces – one soaring, one pulsating – bedded under Casablancas’ condenser croon: all vintage Strokes. The EP also includes drummer Fabrizio Moretti’s remix of “OBLIVIUS”, wherein an electronic version of the bass line and guitar riffs are brought to the fore, atop a flattened version of Casablancas’ vocals.

However, “Threat of Joy” is the song that completely revives the Strokes. Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr trade simple, crunchy guitar riffs over Moretti’s clean drums – straight out of Is This It. Casablancas opens the song with a Lou Reed-esque drawl but moves into an early 2001-version of himself, his voice filled with more joy than we’ve heard in years. “Place your bets this time/Just has to let it ride,” he ventures, perhaps talking of their newfound freedom. If you loved Is This It, you will love this song: it’s right up there with “Someday” or “Hard to Explain”.

In a way, Future Present Past is perfectly named. The three songs present a condensed version of the Strokes’ repertoire: from the unadulterated, old-school perfection of “Threat of Joy” to the soaring complexity of “OBLIVIUS” and finally to the more arcane “Drag Queen”. Unencumbered by record companies and with absolutely nothing to prove, the Strokes have all the choice in the world. We’re excited no matter what they do from here.

Your Chin at The Humming Tree – 22/5/2016

5 Jun

As far as shows in Bangalore go, seeing Your Chin at The Humming Tree is not bad. Your Chin is essentially royalty in the Indian indie scene and The Humming Tree is the one of the few major concert venues that Bangalore has to offer. It’s just a shame that both disappointed.

via The Humming Tree

The Humming Tree has a problem. People interested in the show, people who know Your Chin and like his music, skipped this show simply because of the venue. It’s crowded, it’s expensive and it’s shaped completely wrong. The Humming Tree gives the impression of a minor bar that puts up shows simply to differentiate itself. It is not designed for people to listen to live music and doesn’t give the impression that it’s particularly enthusiastic about the fact that people do. It exists less for the show and more for the Instagram updates of the day after.

And yet, The Humming Tree performs a very important function. India has a lot of very literate people making contemporary culture. Like everything else, Indian indie music is just waiting for the one breakout success to give credibility to the others. The fact that music is doing so much better than the other fields is in part thanks to places like The Humming Tree. It is fantastic that there are places that I can go to see my favorite Indian bands, and it’s necessary for there to be a place where I can interact with my favorite musicians.

The problem is that The Humming Tree is not a satisfactory place to go for the music – it is just the place where the music happens.

Komorebi


via The Humming Tree

The opening act was actually very good. They ran some very clever music that put down excellent foundations and then chopped the weirdest interludes into them. They played like a stranger, more interesting SOHN. Their performance was possibly a little rougher than it should have been, and a couple of songs would have benefited from some refinement with fresh ears, but it was still an excellent act. The venue failed them a bit, as their lights were atrocious and Your Chin’s set-up took up much of their stage, but they nevertheless had a great live presence. They were just fun to watch and fun to listen to. I’m definitely going to check them out again when they are next in Bangalore.

Your Chin

via The Humming Tree

I actually really like the new Your Chin EP, Peeping Till It’s Noise. It’s light-hearted, it’s energetic and it just makes your day better. It could be a little smarter and slightly more varied, but it is still just fun to listen to. This is also true live, just far less so. Raxit Tewari just had no stage presence. His low-energy, laid back demeanor on stage did nothing to help his music. His visuals helped, but were overall unimpressive.

Contrast him with Broken Bells or with The Postal Service, both of whom had highly energetic shows that really helped make the experience. No matter how fun the music, if the singer doesn’t involve himself with the show, it’s hard for the listeners to have fun as well.

Additionally, his music was far too repetitive and took no advantage of being live to become varied. Part of the point of a live concert is that, as a listener, you can focus on the music. It’s then incumbent on the artist to hold up their end of that deal and reward your focus. The best concerts have their music step up, but failing that, the artist must. Swaying slightly back and forth just does not make for a compelling show.

Peeping Till It’s Noise is a fun EP and I highly recommend that you check it out. It’s free to listen to on Soundcloud and is just good, solid electro-pop. It’s absolutely the perfect thing to put on while taking some time to relax. It’s just not worth going to see live.

@murthynikhil

Dream Theater – The Astonishing – live in New York City, 23rd April, 2016

1 Jun
Picture courtesy: The Metalist.

Picture courtesy: The Metalist.

If you follow the concert reviews that I write for this blog (for example, this, or this, or this, or well, even this), you would notice my incurable – almost clinical obsession – with a rather particular genre of rock music – viz. progressive rock.

The one band that opened the floodgates of my obsession for this genre was Dream Theater. Of course, I had been listening to Pink Floyd before, not quite knowing that A Dark Side of the Moon was “prog”. Or that the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Heart Club Band had actually laid the foundation of the concept album – which has become central to prog music today. And of course, once the floodgates had opened, the usual prog suspects followed – from the 70s British scene right up to the progressive metal of today. But Dream Theater was that one band that really introduced me to the genre, made me aware of what the genre really entailed, and taught me how to appreciate music that’s instrumentally elaborate and technically sound.

Thus, when Dream Theater announced their 2016 tour to support their new album, “The Astonishing”, it wasn’t long before I had a ticket for myself for their NYC show at Radio City Music Hall, on the 23rd of April.

dreamtheaterpromo2013_638

Picture courtesy: Blabbermouth

Now, I am well versed with most of Dream Theater’s discography, but The Astonishing is a new album. It was certainly brand new when I booked my tickets – it had released only a week or so back. So getting to “know” the album would be central to the concert experience. Thus, during the next few months – right till the hour before the concert – I was on a mission to familiarize myself with the album, to the very best of my abilities. I’ve written before, how prog songs don’t hit you immediately. They aren’t like “Hey Jude”, or “Stairway to Heaven”, that you fall in love with, the moment you hear them. They require multiple listens; they grow on you slowly, steadily; and after you’re well aware of the various twists and turns that the song takes during its generally expansive lifespan, do you really begin to appreciate them in their entirety. The Astonishing is no different. However, from a Dream Theater perspective, it does see a marked departure from their usual albums. There are no longer gratuitous instrumental solos in each and every song. There’s no 20+ minute opus towards the end. Lastly, and most interestingly, there’s a lot more focus on vocals – arguably more so than on any other Dream Theater album so far.

All in all, by the time the concert began, I had assimilated The Astonishing thoroughly. I had poked and prodded every section in it with my my scalpel of musical critique. I had examined virtually virtually second of the album under my magnifying glass. In the end, I felt fairly prepared to enjoy the concert. It was after all, going to be my first Dream Theater concert – and I was determined to make it a memorable one.

The Astonishing is a concept album. In other words, it’s not a set of unrelated songs like a general music album. The songs make up a narrative, and they follow in logical sequence, one after the other. The narrative generally has characters, a plot, and a denouement. The storyline in The Astonishing is a fairly typical one that one finds in progressive music. It explores themes such as dystopias, futurism, and creates a storyline set in a post-apocalyptic United States, where freedom of musical expression does not exist. Instead, all the music in this world is regulated by the Great Northern Empire of the Americas and produced by noise-machines or NOMACs. The plot follows the Ravenskill Rebel Militia in their efforts to defy this Empire using the power of their own music. Yes, the story does seem heavily inspired by Rush’s classic 2112, and also seems to draw from modern/popular fantasy franchises like Game of Thrones, and even Star Wars – but let’s get this straight – you really don’t get such albums these days. Sure, the world moved on from progressive rock in the 80s, but there’s still something about an album of this type – be it in the amount of thought that goes into it, or the incredibly high level of musical talent it showcases – that simply sets it apart.

Now, on to the concert.

A prog concert is a lot more than just a musical concert. There’s a lot of supporting paraphernalia – from sound effects, to props (remember Pink Floyd’s The Wall tour? Or Genesis during their Peter Gabriel days?) – that are used to create an experience that is more theatrical than simply musical. So was it the case with this. A number of tracks in this massive 34-track double album are purely synthetic tracks of pre-recorded sounds (Don’t roll your eyes, Pink Floyd used plenty of synthetic tracks too – like this or this). These pre-recorded tracks serve more of a narrative role than a musical role. Accompanied with videos and other props, these tracks serve the function of advancing the story. The first track for example, “The Descent of the NOMACS” – with its cacophony of electronic sounds – was used, to introduce the Noise Machines to the audience. As those sounds subsided, the instrumentals kicked in, and the music bridged into the second song, “Dystopian Overture” – a magnificent instrumental. And from there on, it was full-blown Dream Theater. The stage lit up in spectacular fashion, as John Petrucci, Jordan Rudess, John Myung appeared – seemingly out of nowhere – to massive cheers from the audience. Behind them, was Mike Mangini’s absolutely sensational double-decker drum kit. One could only discern the presence of a person sitting behind that contraption owing to glimpses of his flying hair that showed through the gazillion cymbals and drums that kept him engaged. The other highlight on the stage was Rudess’ keyboard, which looked more like a spaceship than a musical instrument. It swiveled around in all directions, about every axis, while his fingers performed the wizardry that has made him one of the greatest keyboard players on the planet.

IMG_20160423_201118

It wasn’t till the third song, The Gift of Music, that James LaBrie appeared on stage, swinging his arms wildly, and beating his palms with the mic. The vocalist, who has been splitting fan opinions for more than two decades now, looked quite the character . However, to be fair to him, what he lacks in panache that the other band members possess, he does make up for with the effort that he puts in to every song that DT record. Sure, his voice isn’t to everyone’s taste, but one cannot deny the absolutely incredible vocal range (Learning to Live, anyone?) and technical ability that he brings to the band. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say, that The Astonishing showcases his very best efforts till date. Apart for a rather high-pitched and frankly non-melodic portion in Lord Nayfaryus, his contribution to every song in this album is fantastic. If you were to turn a blind eye to his “I’m trying to be rockstar, but I’m not” histrionics, and focus only on his voice, he really is phenomenal. Because, let’s get this straight – these songs are complicated. It’s not easy to deal with unconventional time signatures that change over time, when you are singing live. But LaBrie absolutely nailed them all. He reached every high note with the most consummate ease (Brother, Can you Hear Me?), he was well aware of every twist and turn the songs had throughout the concert – A New Beginning was particularly memorable. And in the end, one couldn’t but help feel bad for the amount of criticism this top-class vocalist draws from fans.

 

IMG_20160423_224357

Nothing much needs to be said of the other band members. Being among the most decorated and critically acclaimed masters of their crafts, Petrucci, Rudess, Mangini, and Myung displayed a level of poise and technical proficiency that I’ve honestly not seen in a live concert before. Petrucci, the six-time G3 legend seemed to transcend all barriers of human ability with his guitar. Ruddess was in a league of his own, blitzkreiging his way through his keyboard, and the arsenal of other fancy gadgets that he is well known to use. Myung, unarguably the most unassuming of the lot, kept the supremely difficult bass riffs ticking like clockwork. Regarding Mangini however, I had a few reservations – not because he was any less good at the drums, but because the drummer has traditionally been the virtual “front man” for Dream Theater. When the legendary Mike Portnoy left the band, the band didn’t just lose one of the greatest drummers in the world. The band lost someone who imparted an identity to the band when they performed live. If you watch videos of past Dream Theater concerts, you’ll see Portnoy, not just as a drummer, but as the real “face” of the band. He awed audiences with his techniques on one hand, and commanded their attention on the other. He masterminded the sound, and orchestrated the people’s emotions, . With him gone, and with his replacement, Mangini, being more of a drumming machine than a human being, the band sorely lacks a person who takes on that onus. Brilliant with the guitar as he might be, John Petrucci isn’t really the flamboyant performer who rivets the audience’s attention upon himself. Rudess is too cerebral, Myung, too modest, and while LaBrie gets an A for effort, he fails horribly when it comes to being a galvanizing front man.

And therein was my greatest disappointment with the concert. You couldn’t put a finger on any single thing that was “wrong” with it. The music was beyond phenomenal. Each of the band members was at his very best. The atmosphere was surreal. But what was lacking was a personal connection. It didn’t feel like a truly live concert. I could well have been watching a recording of the concert, and I doubt I’d have felt anything too different than what I felt that night. Added to that was the fact that notwithstanding how well I had assimilated this new album “within” me, I still wasn’t as familiar with it, as I am with their earlier work. Therefore, while Dream Theater still remains one of my top bands, (and I will probably not give up an opportunity to see them live again in the future), this particular concert, unfortunately, did leave a few things to be desired.

words and photos by Subhayan Mukerjee (@wrahool)

The Last Shadow Puppets: Everything You’ve Come to Expect

28 May

everything-youve-come-to-expectIn 2008, the world was a different place for Alex Turner and Miles Kane. Turner was a shy lad, still getting used to the stardom accosted onto him after two hugely successful Arctic Monkeys albums. Kane was exiting from the Little Flames, a venture that failed to produce even a debut album, and touring with his new band, the Rascals, alongside the Monkeys. Perhaps as an escape from their main storylines, Turner and Kane began playing together backstage: a pair of gentle, romantic boys almost clinging to each other in a turbulent and uncertain time of their lives. This side project, dubbed The Last Shadow Puppets, culminated in a baroque-pop testament of drama and nostalgia entitled The Age of the Understatement.

A lot has changed in eight years. As Turner said in an interview with British late night host James Corden, TLSP seems to serve as an octennial documentation of the duo’s personal and professional lives. After five successful Monkeys albums, Turner has taken on a stereotypical rock-star persona (whether affected or real is still a matter of contention among fans). Kane has transformed into a modish cad, dating an array of models on both sides of the pond and attiring himself solely in razor-sharp silhouettes. Even in a very literal sense, both men have moved away from their roots in northern England to hedonistic mansions in LA. In a sense, Everything You’ve Come to Expect feels like a reconciliation between the 2008 versions of the two men and their 2016 versions.

This sense of reconciliation can be seen (as is often the case with pop stars) in their songs about girls. In 2008, Turner and Kane mainly wrote songs about wooing girls, in a tone that can best be described as early-Beatles-esque naivete. In 2016, the duo mainly writes songs about girls that have done them wrong, girls that are ill-advised pursuits, girls that are no more than that night’s entertainment, and so on.

In first single “Aviation” (about getting high, get it?), the narrator tries to convince a druggie girl with colorful eyes to start a casual relationship with him. In the eponymous title song, the narrator speaks of getting cheated on by a girl who liked him only because he was part of TLSP. “The Element of Surprise” takes a slightly different route; Turner talks about his rustiness at the wooing game, after meeting a girl who has caused him to fall in love after a long string of seemingly casual relationships. “Sweet Dreams, TN” is the thematic next step: an ode to his current girlfriend Taylor Bagley, who’s a Tennessee native with a septum piercing just like the girl in the song. Even though Turner’s friends and fans think of Bagley as a Yoko Ono of sorts in the Arctic Monkeys universe, Turner feels that he’s truly in love with her. It’s only on the album closer, “The Dream Synopsis”, that we see a glimpse of the old Turner. On that song, he reminisces to his new girl (probably Bagley) about his simple, pre-fame life in Sheffield – and immediately takes a self-conscious step back into nonchalance (“Isn’t it boring when I talk about my dreams?”).

Even though they have changed dramatically, one cannot underplay Turner’s signature lyrics. The Transylvanian descriptions on “Dracula Teeth” (“The full moon’s glowing yellow and the floorboards creak/C’est horrifique!”) paint a horror-movie setting for a girl that haunts the narrator like a ghost. On “She Does the Woods”, Turner speaks of a “spirograph of branches” behind the girl he’s shagging in the woods. On “Pattern”, he describes his complicated relationship with an ex as a spider slipping and sliding on an icicle. It’s the kind of intuitive imagery that we’ve come to expect from Turner’s words.

On a practical note, Everything You’ve Come to Expect does have everything you’d expect from a Puppets album: lyrics that smoothly roll off the tongue, the genius of Owen Pallett’s arrangement, the famed Turner-Kane chemistry. On a philosophical level, however, The Last Shadow Puppets no longer exists. What exists in its place is another side-project by an eight-years-later version of the same two men: a real-world example of the Ship of Theseus. The Age of the Understatement was a collection of lushly orchestrated novellas, created by two boys who wrote tender love letters in the age of Tinder and text message hookups. Turner and Kane are no longer those boys. In fact, they are now the very playboys that represent the “understatement” of modern-day romance. Understatement felt like a natural outlet; this album feels like more of a forced output. Still, it’s worth a listen, if only for Turner’s lyrics.

Best song: “Dracula Teeth”

 

 

Savages – Adore Life

5 May

Savages-Adore-Life

The Savages have a very particular niche and they own that niche completely. Their music is savage and raw, but oh so intelligent. Silence Yourself is the rage of a genius and the two parts are inseparable. There are moments that are pure insight just as there are moments of pure rage, but the whole is defined most by the adjective, pure. Adore Life maintains much of the same tone, but looks a little muted, a little scattered when compared to their debut album.

It is still focused to a point beyond the reach of most musicians. “Sad Person”, for instance, is excellent. It holds a fierce intelligence, yet is primal in its savagery. Adore Life arrests the listener constantly, from the riff of “When In Love” to the scream in “Slowing Down The World” to the fascinating beats of “Surrender”, and yet, the album lacks a piece like “She Will” from Silence Yourself that can consume the listener.

Nevertheless, Adore Life is a very good album and even if not quite to the bar that The Savages have set for themselves, it is still some of the best post-punk rock of today.

– @murthynikhil

Kevin Gates – Islah

13 Mar

KevinGatesIslah

Even in this current world of complete openness in rap, Kevin Gates’ Islah stands out as honest. This is still very gangsta rap and Kevin Gates has the credentials for it, but it’s also tender and human in the way 2Pac was. I can’t think of another rapper who would admit to giggling, but Kevin Gates throws it out there without the slightest trace of embarrassment. His voice and his music, however, keep the listener from ever doubting his toughness. His “I go to war behind you” line from “One Thing” is his album in a nutshell; loving and sincere, but in no way soft.

Musically, Kevin Gates does everything on this album and does it well. Most of the hooks and the verses are his, and those few that aren’t, like the hook in “Kno One”, are some of the weakest points of the album. There’s a little too much filler here for this album to be a classic, for instance “Jam” is just boring, but there’s enough high quality rap here to suffice all but the most demanding of listeners.

Humanity is an essential part of gangsta rap, but one that’s criminally underserved. Islah puts the complete Kevin Gates in the light and makes for fantastic rap in doing so.

@murthynikhil

Steven Wilson – Live in New York City, 5th March 2016

9 Mar

Steven-Wilson-concerti-2016

The disappointment was palpable. The thousands that had filled up Manhattan’s historic Beacon Theater on a cold March evening were probably beginning to regret their decision. A crew member had just announced that Steven Wilson, the main attraction of the night was unwell. For the first time in his 20 years of touring, Wilson had lost his voice on the night of a concert.

When he did come out on the stage however, the applause was deafening. Perched up on the first row of the balcony, I could hardly contain my excitement. Needless to say, Wilson was a person whom I practically worshipped. Being a huge lover of progressive rock music myself, I have often felt my musical taste to be somewhat of an anachronism – displaced in time by a few decades. Consequently, it is difficult to find musicians these days who create progressive rock in the manner it was meant to be created. Amongst the few who do create such music however, Wilson stands out as a towering, trailblazing figure – his greatness in the genre comparable only to the thematic depth of his compositions; his multifaceted brilliance, matched only by the melancholic beauty of his lyrics.

steven-wilson-11

Despite his illness that night, Wilson made a statement of intent that the concert would be unique, but that his vocal contributions would be limited. He went on to confess that his music was depressing, and that the crowd would definitely have to be miserable to have paid to come and watch him that night. With that bit of wry humour he began the first of his two part set. The first part was essentially a complete live rendition of his album Hand. Cannot. Erase. He called upon his harmonic partner, the very talented Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb to fill in his parts as he himself fulfilled his guitar and synth duties. All the disappointment that had burdened the atmosphere in the theater vanished the moment Ninet delivered a flawless, breathtakingly powerful rendition of the title track. Screaming through the chorus at an octave above the usual, she dispelled all notions of mediocrity and quickly established herself in the adulation of the audience. She continued her class act – tackling pieces ranging in vocal difficulty – from the relatively easy Perfect Life to the rather complicated Ancestral. Steven himself took over the vocals for the less demanding songs (Home Invasion and Happy Returns) – choosing to alternate with Ninet on several occasions. The other members on the set were absolutely top notch- particularly the drummer, Craig Blundell, who, Steven revealed was only “slightly less sick than he was”. The brilliance of the instrumentalists stole the show particularly, during the drum and keyboard heavy pieces – Home Invasion and Routine #9.

The second part of the set comprised Wilson’s earlier work with Porcupine Tree, and some of his own. The lead guitarist, Dave Kilminster who had sung 3 Years Older in the previous set returned to the vocals for My Book of Regrets. Ninet delivered yet another mesmerizing piece – this time a Porcupine Tree classic – Don’t Hate Me, but her crowning achievement of the night came in the form of Sleep Together – which saw her unleash a stunning vocal duet with Wilson. Her voice reached heights of epic brilliance while the audience looked on in awe and wonder. It wouldn’t be too far from the truth if one were to contend that she effectively stole the limelight from Steven that evening. The other pieces in the set included Index and Vermillioncore – two of Wilson’s earlier works, both of which, much like the rest of the concert, had the Steven Wilson brand of eerie melancholia and pensive depression plastered all over.

 

The David Bowie tribute

The David Bowie tribute.

While the set officially closed with Sleep Together, the encore saw Wilson arrange a tribute to the late David Bowie – something that has become a running feature in his current North American tour. Ninet took to the vocals for one last time, while Wilson strummed along to the iconic space / psychedelic classic, Space Oddity. Needless to say, it was received with huge applause from the audience. For the last act of the night he requested the crowd to accompany him along for one of Porcupine Tree’s most loved numbers – The Sound of Muzak from the 2002 album In Absentia. The crowd acquiesced. The result was an absolutely thunderous recreation that left many a mark on many a mind that night. Wilson may not have sung a word in that song, but he had made his intent clear enough. Progressive rock is much more than singing the songs out loud. It has more to do with the state of mind, and the musical epiphany that results therefrom. And in that, Steven had absolutely nailed it, and driven home his point with a poise that belied his present indisposition.

29005e45-63a5-4e83-9fc4-2ef0c589336a

 

When one follows the meandering history of rock music in the 20th century, some names stand out more than others. This is not just owing to the oeuvre of work they created (though that certainly goes a long way) but also owing to the legacy they leave behind. Then there are the other names who didn’t quite make their effect felt in their time. Their music remained underground, only to be resuscitated much, much later by adoring audiences around the world. In spite of being largely eclipsed during their lifetimes, the influence they had in paving the path forward for rock music simply cannot be denied. Velvet Underground, and the enigmatic Lou Reed, for example, never achieved commercial success. But the legacy they left behind was monumental.

Broadly speaking, Steven Wilson has all the makings to be in the latter category. His music will never be considered “hip”. It will never hit the mainstream, nor will it ever feature high up on the Billboards. His voice will seldom be heard on popular radio. But even after years have passed –

after we’ve lost the skyline

we stepped right off the map

drifted into blank space

and let the clocks relapse,

… Steven Wilson will shine on like a star in the night sky. For his will be legacy that is timeless. A legacy that Nothing. Can. Erase.

words by Subhayan Mukerjee (@wrahool). Pictures by Karuna Ahuja.

%d bloggers like this: