Switch Off The Future

I don’t write about music much these days (though it’s starting to seem so pointless to write about the things I have been writing about that I should probably do so more often). But if any of you are fans of the musical genre known as “progressive rock”, I have something for you, something that I think you probably haven’t heard. It’s from the album Fear of a Blank Planet, by the musical polymath Steven Wilson’s band Porcupine Tree.

The album is a darkly themed vision of rootlessness and anomie; the atomized modern world seen through the eyes of a young and disaffected adolescent boy. It’s a strong record throughout — one of the best of the genre ever made, in my opinion — but what I want you to hear is the last song, Sleep Together. (Whether the title is about sex or something more final, I’ll leave up to you.)

Much of the strength of this track is due to the thunderous drumming of the Gavin Harrison, but the climactic ending of the song — featuring a hair-raising orchestral arrangement by the enormously gifted Dave Stewart — is something else altogether.

Make sure you won’t be interrupted. And play it loud.



  1. whitewall says

    “progressive rock” is an unfixed term for me. My music tastes are based on mid 60s- early 70s progressive artists like Jethro Tull, ELP, Moody Blues, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and the like. When I arrive home from this disappointing fishing trip, I want to give a listen to your recommendation. Maybe there are similarities with the groups I mentioned.

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  2. JK says

    @ Whitewall, Why thank you very much Sir for letting me in on what I’ll be listening to next – note below – something I’d forgot about (or slipped my mind … whatever) Many years ago I’d got a ticket in a city I’ll be visiting come the first of December. The ticket was for Disturbing the Peace merely due to my forgetting my car’s sound system power.

    And what’s up next?

    Locomotive Breath.


    Malcolm you may recall the text I sent back in August asking your advice? I’ve since kept you in the loop and expressed my “Thanks” a couple of times.

    “We” have since been doing a “long distance romance” … back during the recent eclipse “we” were on our phones watching the “same moon.” Thanks for this opportunity.

    I sure hope a replay of the Carrington Event isn’t in today’s cards …


    Sweetie Pie? … Headphones … the authorities in the city to which you re-located last week take a dim view of intruding on their serenity!

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  3. Malcolm says

    Whitewall, “progressive rock” is a pretty broad category. You might find PT to be closest to King Crimson (in fact, Gavin Harrison is currently a KC member).

    JK, glad to hear it.

    If a Carrington-class event is imminent, there probably won’t be much blogging for a while.

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 12:33 pm | Permalink
  4. JK says

    Harr you go Whitewall, the most perfectly titled


    (Especially afer’n an unproductive fish trip.)

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink
  5. The one eyed man says

    The liner to the Let It Bleed album had these instructions: “This Record Should Be Played Loud.”

    Our host crossed it out, and replaced it with the grammatically correct “This Record Should Be Played Loudly.”

    Posted November 6, 2015 at 5:54 pm | Permalink
  6. The one eyed man says


    Posted November 6, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  7. Musey says

    Sorry, this does nothing for me but I’m just an old bore. Sometimes, well every couple of weeks, I play the organ for church weddings and occasionally I provide the background music for sedate functions. Lots of Chopin. Nothing too noisy or intrusive.

    I get a few dollars and usually some lovely food, so I’m happy, but then I’m easily pleased.

    Whitewall, I’m sorry to hear that your fishing trip was disappointing. It sounded like such an adventure. We went for a river cruise on a house boat once, trailed the rod off the back of the boat and caught nothing at all, in an entire week. Another time, many years ago we purchased brand new rods and fishing licenses for our boys and left them by a fish infested pond. Apparently it was almost impossible not to catch a fish but they managed it. We arrived back from our walk just in time to see our youngest son hurling his rod into the water. He had to swim out and get it back but the rods were never used again. In the brave new world I think we all might starve.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 4:01 am | Permalink
  8. Whitewall says

    Musey, how are you? I have been on fishing trips like you describe. They are frustrating but do happen. Then I have been on trips where I was ill prepared, broke some of my gear, turned off cold real fast as the Outer Banks can do in the late fall and ended up making do with the best I could construct. As a result, I have caught so many fish for so long that I could not physically stand the effort anymore. I shall try again in about 3 weeks…maybe it will turn off chilly instead of this lingering Indian Summer.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 8:50 am | Permalink
  9. Whitewall says

    JK…if you are ever stopped again for disturbing the peace, don’t ask the officer if he is “Thick as a Brick”. They take a dim view of that.

    I like that video link very much! “Bad Liver and a Broken heart”. That’s good writing and reminds me a bit of Montgomery Gentry in their beginning songs. I think I’ll investigate these boys a little more.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  10. Whitewall says

    Malcolm…”Sleep Together” is certainly coming from a deep dark place. I see what you mean by the King Crimson touch and why. I think maybe a bit of Pink Floyd too. Oddly enough, the orchestration segment has a bit of what I would call 1979 or 1980 Led Zeppelin. I like aggressive drumming especially on an actual drum set. Same with electric base guitar.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  11. Malcolm says

    Yes, the string arrangement is reminiscent of LZ’s Kashmir.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  12. Musey says

    I’m well, Whitewall. I trust that you are also in good spirits.

    Malcolm, you’ve stopped talking to me recently, but that’s fine. I have never been a fan of rock music or heavy metal. There are certain groups such as Cream, Led Zepellin, Pink Floyd, Buffalo Springfield, Santana, Yes, Soft Machine, Jethro Tull which were loved and embraced by every hip boy. My brother used to call me out for being a “true blue” by which he meant I was a staid, conforming, boring little girl because I didn’t appreciate it. It’s funny how things turn out.

    My husband also liked all these groups. Mostly, because it was cool. These days it’s just nostalgia. That said, if you worked a s a sound man for a long time you must have a far deeper connection, and a greater understanding of how clever some of this music really is..

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  13. Malcolm says

    Haven’t stopped talking to you, Musey. I had planned to reply to your baseball-bat comment on the other thread, but I get distracted sometimes… (I’ve replied now.)

    Yes, I think it’s fair to say that prog-rock is much more of “guy thing”.

    Posted November 7, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  14. Abelson says

    I enjoyed that greatly, Malc. Since we’re talking prog, try these faves:

    “I’m Raining Here, Inside” from the brilliant collaboration between Mike Keneally and Andy Partridge of XTC fame: https://youtu.be/Sug4hC3Ysb0

    “Victorian Brickwork” by Big Big Train. An immensely talented group, they cover a lot more ground than this Genesis-ish piece so check ’em out on Apple Music or Spotify or wherever you graze. https://youtu.be/XX5X19aHZ2M

    And this better-than-carbon 1990’s copy of “Siberian Khatru” by the jokingly named Stanley Snail, which also featured Keneally and Kevin Gilbert, who died about 60 years too early: https://youtu.be/azlchsTqc_U


    Posted November 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

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