Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blackfield: "Pain" and "Cloudy Now"

Some of you may know how much I love the British neo-prog rock band Porcupine Tree. (I use that label for them, but really they defy easy labelling.) I've blogged about them, posting clips, a number of times, including, on a song-by-song basis:

-- "Even Less";
-- "Piano Lessons"; and
-- "Halo."

PT is simply amazing, but amazing as well is PT founder-singer-songwriter (and band leader generally) Steven Wilson, who in addition to PT has a number of side projects on the go, including a solo career and an ongoing collaboration with Israeli star Aviv Geffen called Blackfield.

As Wilson has explained Blackfield and its relation to PT:

Porcupine Tree would never be so focused on the art of a 3 minute pop song... Blackfield is all about the art of a great tradition pop song of verse-chorus-verse-chorus. Porcupine Tree has never been about that, although we have fraternized a little bit with the art of pop music. Porcupine Tree has always been more about horizontally complex long pieces and the album is an overall piece rather than lots of little pieces... Aviv is not a big fan of heavy music and he is not a big fan of long pieces so immediately the meeting point had to be somewhere where we were both focused on short melancholic songs.

I can't say I like Blackfield quite as much as PT, but, then, there isn't much I like more than PT (as far as bands go, Pink Floyd and The Beatles, that's about it). But Blackfield's three albums -- Blackfield (2004), Blackfield II (2007), and Welcome to My DNA (2011) -- are all excellent, and, in a way, more immediately accessible than PT, as Wilson suggested, if also less challenging and demanding.

Blackfield isn't widely known on this side of the Atlantic, nor even so much over there (where even PT isn't exactly a supergroup), but I encourage you to check them out. Start with the first album, from which these two songs come, here performed live in New York (for a live CD/DVD released in 2007). "Pain" may be my favourite Blackfield song. "Cloudy Now," about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, isn't far behind. Enjoy!


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