Happy new year from Wilson HQ!
Who could have predicted that as another year rolls around, anything approaching normal life would continue to be in a holding pattern. In my own universe it’s been two years since I finished recording THE FUTURE BITES and one year since it was finally released into the vacuum of the pandemic. It’s been great to see it receiving end of year accolades nevertheless, the 2 Recording Academy / GRAMMYs nominations especially were an unexpectedly pleasant surprise.
Normally, I would have been highly visible promoting and touring a new record throughout the year, but unable to do so I instead disappeared into my studio and busied myself working on some big projects. The first of these is a book, Limited Edition of One, to be published by Little Brown in late March. It was written under a “no rules” philosophy with the collaboration of rock biographer Mick Wall. As well as containing some autobiographical material, it also has a lot on my ideas about music and the way things have changed in my time as a professional, lists, photos from my personal archives, conversation transcripts and even some fictional elements. As there have already been a few books written about me and/or Porcupine Tree in recent years, I’ve chosen to focus on the stuff that people really don’t know about me. As you can probably guess, there will also be a special limited deluxe version. This will feature a second volume of supplementary material and photos, plus a 70 minute CD with “audio illustrations” of some of the things I talk about in the book, including mercifully brief extracts of my school bands, and early unreleased demos by No-Man and Porcupine Tree, among others. Although much of its musical merits might be questionable, my hope is to put you there “in the room” when I’m talking about my early musical endeavours.
The other major 2022 release will be the new Porcupine Tree album Closure / Continuation. The album was completed during lockdown, entirely written, produced and performed by just myself, Gavin and Richard, and will be issued in June on Music For Nations / Sony. I think it’s fair to say that it sounds quintessentially like a Porcupine Tree album, albeit with the benefit of all that the three of us have been doing during the 12 years since the last PT album. Like our best albums, it’s probably the kind you need to listen to several times before it sinks in. You can hear “Harridan” from the album now, with 2 more songs to be previewed online between now and the album’s release. There will also be a select run of concerts towards the end of the year. European shows are on sale now with North and South American shows to be announced soon. There are no plans for any future Porcupine Tree concerts beyond these (though never say never.)
The third major project I’ve been working on is my next album, which I hope to release in mid-2023, a big conceptual thing partly based on a short story that appears in my book. A long way to go yet, but I’m excited about it and where the music is taking me, something completely different again with collaborators both old and new. I remain committed to the idea of building a body of work where every album has its own personality and unique place in the catalogue.
As always, I did my fair share of mixing work for other artists in 2021, including some very unexpected high profile ones, but most of these projects have been held over until 2022 due to a combination of the pandemic and the ever increasing delays in manufacturing vinyl. In terms of surround it was definitely a year when invitations to mix in 5.1 gave way to requests for Dolby Atmos. I’m also in the process of curating a box set which will focus on how the progressive spirit of the 70’s continued to inspire independent and alternative music throughout the 80’s, something which has allowed me to revisit a lot of my favourite post-punk and art pop/rock music from the decade when I was a music-crazed teenager. Everything from Wire and Joy Division to Cardiacs and Cocteau Twins will feature. More news on that soon.
For those that follow and enjoy my podcast with Tim Bowness, The Album Years, we promise to try to be a bit more prolific with it in 2022!
Finally, if you haven’t already, please do check out the collaboration song with my friend Paul Draper called “Omega Man”, a vibey piece of lockdown themed art-pop. As well as featuring on his new album Cult Leader Tactics, it’s being released as an exclusive indie-stores only 7 inch single in extended form.
That’s all for now. Let us all hope for a better connected human race in 2022, despite the Omicron spectre of recent weeks. In the meantime I wish you all the very best for the year to come!
SW, 1st January 2022