Tuesday, April 11, 2006

FDF Volume 1 Issue 5: I.E.M - Arcadia Son

another fine submission from emticsage

Album: Arcadia Son
Artist: I.E.M.
Key Players: Steven Wilson (guitars, keyboards, electronics); Colin Edwin (bass); Geoff Leigh (sax, flute); Mark Simnett (drums)
Produced by: Steven Wilson
Released: 2001


I.E.M. is the brainchild, and one of the side projects, of Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson. Arcadia Son is the second of three I.E.M. albums, and the only one still in print at this time. I.E.M. was formed to explore Wilson's interest in experimental music, specifically inspired by cosmic jazz and krautrock of the late '60s and early '70s.

Emetic Sage's Comments:
Four of the listed tracks are little more than 1-minute clips of random sound samples. They can be ignored, but have a certain charm of their own when listened to in context. The other four tracks are extended jams: 'We Are Not Alone' is a jazzy instrumental, made eerie with speed distorted spoken voice tracks. 'Circadian Haze' is a bongo and flute improvisation, that ends with delicate strings and nature sounds. 'Arcadia Son' is a repetitious bass and drum phrase with flute and distorted guitar soloing above. 'Shadow of a Twisted Hand Across My House' is the showstopper, a 20-minute extended improvisation, firmly in the vein of krautrock, a driving drum and bass groove with soloing sax overlayed, that merges into an ambient electronic soundscape.

Where Are They Now:
Steven Wilson is currently still going strong with Porcupine Tree. He is living in Tel Aviv right now, writing the new Blackfield and Porcupine Tree albums. While there are no plans for another IEM release, one never knows what the future holds for this amazingly talented bloke.

Emetic Sage's Overall Take:
I.E.M. is not easy listening. Not remotely. It has nothing in common with the 3-minute pop song. Fans of Porcupine Tree will not necessarily dig this. Fans of experimental music, Bitch's Brew-era Miles Davis, and krautrock, however, will dig it. It is an homage to, but not pastiche of, the aforementioned styles. Give it a listen, though, if you can, and make up your own mind.

P.S.: I.E.M. stands for Incredible Expanding Mindfuck.



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