Last week I looked at the numerous side projects and collaborations that Porcupine Tree mastermind Steven Wilson is involved with. For the second (and final) part of this blog I am going to turn my attention towards the other three members of the band. Although Wilson gets all the headlines and writes the majority of the band’s music, bassist Colin Edwin, sticksman Gavin Harrison and keyboard player Richard Barbieri are all supremely talented and have all got other projects in which they hold much a greater creative control.
Edwin joined Porcupine tree in late 1993 and first appeared on the 1995 release The Sky Moves Sideways (although he did record the bass track for Always Never which featured on the 1993 release Up The Downstair). His work away from Porcupine Tree is largely instrumental and incorporates influences from ambient and drone recordings. He formed Metallic Taste of Blood in 2011, releasing a self-tiled album featuring predominately metal-styled instrumentals which utilise harsh electronics rather than raw heaviness to provide its punch. His project Random Noise Generator is also metal-based, but features vocals and a much rawer sound, reminding of early punk – albeit with much higher musicianship.
Like Wilson, Edwin also has his own solo project, which so far has produced two albums, Third Vessel in 2009 and PVZ in 2012. His solo work is much more relaxed, featuring many spoken word passages and taking heavy inspiration from ethnic music styles, especially in the percussion section. His latest project Twinscapes, with Lorenzo Feliciati continues in the same vein, relying on an amalgamation of electronics and world music styles to create a truly unique product.
Barbieri was the keyboardist in the experimental band Japan from 1974 to 1982, before he joined Porcupine Tree at around the same time as Edwin in 1993. So far he has only released one solo album, Things Buried, in 2005, which unsurprisingly is overflowing with hectic synthesizers and electronic splutterings. He has focused most his time outside of Porcupine Tree either as a composer for various media productions or with Marillion vocalist Steve Hogarth, as part of his live H-Band and more recently as a collaboration which culminated in the 2012 album Not The Weapon But The Hand.
Harrison was recruited into the Porcupine Tree family in 2001 after previous drummer Chris Maitland parted ways with the group. Harrison’s drumming style was immediately more complex and along with the Wilson-Akerfeldt partnership, he helped lead the band away from their space rock image and towards their progressive metal image of today.
Harrison’s main partnership outside of Porcupine Tree is with vocalist and guitarist 05Ric, who have released three albums together (Drop in 2007, Circles in 2009 and The Man Who Sold Himself in 2012) and who tour with a very skilled live band. Harrison’s drumming style is heavily influenced by his father’s jazz collection, which is much more noticeable within this project, compared to his more conventional (term used loosely) work with Porcupine Tree. Recently he was included alongside fellow drummers Bill Rieflin and Pat Mastelotto as part of an experimental drumming trio in the latest King crimson touring band.
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