Category Archives: General

Review: Limited Edition of One by Steven Wilson

Limited Edition of One: How to Succeed in the Music Industry Without Being Part of the Mainstream, by Steven Wilson with Mick Wall. Constable, 2022. 375 pp.

I don’t often do book reviews, but lately I have embarked on a heavy schedule of reading music biographies (for reasons), and this is one of several in the pipeline. Since I’ve reviewed some of Wilson’s solo albums on this site, I figured I’d extend the favour to his book. 

Limited Edition of One is Steven Wilson’s chance to talk about himself in long form, touching on all sorts of topics along the way. The style is informal and accessible, not all that different from long interviews, or articles that he has written: I have no doubt that this is his voice. Apart from his annoyingly persistent habit of using the first-person-reflexive pronoun as a subject pronoun, it is relatively error-free, so there was probably some kind of editorial eye cast on it. There aren’t a lot of pictures, and the ones that are there are black-and-white and relatively low-res, scattered throughout the book. This review is for the paperback.

Anyway, on to the meat.

Continue reading Review: Limited Edition of One by Steven Wilson

Movie Review: In the Court of the Crimson King – King Crimson at 50

A film by Toby Amies

Released 2022

Short Version — it’s okay, very little new or really surprising.

King Crimson is indisputably one of the icons of prog, generally acknowledged to have founded the genre as a full-on recognizable thing with their first album, In the Court of the Crimson King, released in 1969. Robert Fripp of course is Legend, regardless of how you feel about him. The band itself has never really been a band, but more of a concept that fluctuates with Fripp’s fluctuating notions of “band”.

If you have even a passing awareness of the career of Robert Fripp/King Crimson, then there is probably very little in the movie that will come as a surprise. The movie spends its time following the band around, talking to its members and a few of the survivors of the early days. We don’t see a lot of performance or hear a lot of the music (there is lots of noodling/set-up/rehearsal), although there are some really early clips of the first version of the band, which are cool to see. 

The overall aim of the movie seems to be getting various performers to talk about how they feel about Robert Fripp. Fripp has always given the impression of being somewhere between difficult and impossible to work with, and nothing anyone says in the movie changes that. It is one thing to have high expectations and demand the best of your band, but at times Fripp seems to revel in being a deliberate martinet. He also was clearly going out of his way to provoke the interviewer — but I would assume that one would enter into such an exercise (interviewing Fripp) prepared for that sort of thing. The band members (current and former)  appear to either revere Fripp, or have chosen to suck it up and stick with him, suffering through the tribulations of performance for the sake of the ideal that is “King Crimson” — or both. The reasons for putting oneself through the ordeal often remain unclear. Gavin Harrison had very little interview time — it is not clear why. Bill Bruford was interviewed more extensively but in the end he really didn’t shed much light on the workings of the band either. Perhaps everyone was simply treading cautiously. 

There was one moment that did surprise me: Fripp admitted that the first break-up of the first incarnation of Crimson (the departure of MacDonald and Giles) devastated him: he says he offered to quit if they would stay and carry on with King Crimson. At this point in his career it is hard to imagine him doing that, but perhaps at the beginning….

I’ve seen King Crimson twice — once a few years back with what looks to be the lineup we see in the movie, in a suitably formal venue (Massey Hall), and once way back in the mists of time, the Fripp/Levin/Belew/Bruford lineup in an intimate venue, with Fripp sitting close enough to touch (not that I would have committed such a crime). I also saw him as a solo artist, doing his Frippertronics over two nights. The three albums released when the Crimson was at its most spare (Fripp/Wetton/Bruford) are my favourites: Larks’ Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black, and Red. I can take or leave any of the rest. 

In short, King Crimson has been a musical enterprise I have respected more than I have ever liked. Nevertheless, as a music fan, it is hard to escape Fripp’s reach — even without Crimson, he has been a major force in the prog/ambient world, a part of the music of a large number of other important artists. Love him or hate him, there is no question of his towering importance.


The final truth

It used to be that “going home” – returning to my home town — was a fairly casual affair that didn’t take much planning.  Call a relative, say “We’re coming”, and someone would open their doors to us.  I went home to see my folks, to see the ocean, to trigger memories: streets and houses, sounds, smells; the wind and the marsh.

These last trips, however, were not about visiting.  They were about saying goodbye — winding up a life.  And with the end of that life, the thread that connected me directly to my place of birth, to the sweetest childhood memories (in a childhood that was in desperate need of them) was broken.

My father is gone, the last of my direct relatives, and the idea of going home has a new significance. Making the trip must be for a reason other than to visit the folks, because there are no more folks to visit.  It must be planned as if I was a tourist.  “Home” is not where family is; it is where family was.

In the wake of someone’s death, all the mundane, routine minutiae of a life suddenly loom large.  So much to be done all at once: cut off the newspapers, telephone, cable and internet, cell phone; switch the gas and electrical accounts over, stop the insurance policies…oh yeah, I’d better get to the post office before it closes to stop the mail! All that ammo upstairs that Syd didn’t take when he took the firearms must be delivered to the police.  But wait — okay, here is a loaded rifle under the couch cushions and a handgun hidden in a book. Um…!!

For all that, it strikes me that dying, well-known in a small town, is not a bad deal for your loved ones.  The paperwork was easy (relatively), people were accessible and eager to help.  Government issues were handled largely by the funeral home.  Only the customer-service representatives of the large nation-wide companies were a bit balky, but they are tied to scripts after all.  There might be some merit to all of this activity; one has little time to sit and mourn.  At least, during office hours.

Continue reading Aftermath

They Go From Us Too Soon

Piotr Grudziński:  1975 – 2016

As of this writing, I have spent well over a week reading the flood of tributes, stories, and remembrances of Riverside’s guitarist, from everyone: those who knew him intimately, those who knew him casually, and those who knew him only through his music.  It is astonishing how thoroughly he has touched people’s hearts, what an impression he made simply by being himself.  I have not said anything substantial beyond shock and sadness, but I need to say goodbye now.

2016 started out as a year bound to go down in collective musical memory as a major suckfest, as one by one musical icons and beloved individuals left us…but for most of them, somehow it was not completely unexpected. Illness, age, lifestyle choices — we regret their loss, and mourn it, but at some level we know that it is inevitable.

This was not one of those times. Fate was not yet done with us.  On February 21st, with both middle fingers stuck high in the air, she dropped the biggest karmic Fuck You possible on the prog music scene: She took Piotr Grudziński.

There are people in this world whose kindness, generosity of spirit, whose sheer genuineness set them apart. They find a way into your heart just because of who they are.  I met Gru because of what he did for a living.  I am broken-hearted because of the man he was.


Continue reading They Go From Us Too Soon

Black Dog

(image: screenshot from “Shutting out the Sun” trailer by Sightsphere)

I’m taking a bit of a break from music posts with this one.  I’ve decided to get personal.   I apologise if this topic is of no interest to you; stay tuned, the music ones will return shortly.  I likewise apologise for the length.  This is not a trivial topic, so I hope you stick with it.  The chances are pretty good that you know someone who suffers from depression, even if you don’t know that they do.

And if you didn’t before, you do now.

Hi.  <waves>

The Black Dog

The topic of depression has resurfaced of late in the news, for reasons that are driven by tragedy (as the reasons almost always are, when depression becomes A Topic)…and there have been editorial responses to the intense focus on the background of the Germanwings pilot, which I will link to  but not discuss, beyond noting that it is entirely understandable, under the circumstances, that people are anxious to know why a human being could have undertaken such a horrifically deliberate act.

What is more to my point, however, is this: when Robin Williams ended his life last year, there was much the same sudden flare of interest, with lots of blog posts and stories in the media.  It was a rather different flavour of hand-wringing of course, because it was a much different kind of tragedy.  But amongst all the earnest attempts To Understand and Be Sympathetic were peppered certain questions: (some, regrettably, from people I thought should know better) how could he do this? He had everything, certainly way more than most people.  Fame, success; he was beloved, esteemed…the clear implication being that his was the ultimate act of sheer selfishness and disregard.

I am saddened (but not surprised) by that kind of response; it demonstrates that deep down, many people regard depression as a thing of fear and confusion.  As much as they express sympathy, shock, regret, there still seems to be the underlying sense that somehow depression (especially this, because on the outside we are not obviously crazy) is a failing, a personality flaw, a weakness of self-discipline.  People do want not to stigmatize, at the same time is the need for some kind of explanation.  Tragedies like that aren’t supposed to “just happen”.

I get that.  That is why I decided to write this post.  If that notion has ever crossed your mind…you are mistaken.   As Stephen Fry says…”There is no ‘why’ ”.  That is not the right question”.


And I will add: if you or your loved ones have never suffered from this terrible thing, then drop to your knees and thank whatever deity, or karmic influence, or genetic luck of the draw, or whatever – for your good fortune.  You do not know how lucky you are, and I sincerely hope you never find out.

The Black Dog arrives

This is my story.  I can’t claim that my experience encompasses all experiences, it is just mine.  If I can provide even a glimmer of understanding by doing this, then my effort will not be a waste.  I have suffered from depression twice (arguably three times, it just depends on whether this current episode is a new one or a continuation of the last one, but hey, in the overall scheme of things it’s not like it matters…).  This is me, below the fold.

Continue reading Black Dog

Welcome to the Resonance Cascade Blog!

Herein I will plant random thoughts on the topics that interest me. These tend to be music, pseudoscience and crackpottery, music, maybe stuff I read, paleontology, and music. Perhaps some other things will make their way into it, who knows. Even music.

I have found that over time blogs tend to evolve and change as the interests and focus of their authors change; I assume the same will happen here, if it lasts that long. Who knows. I also am not naïve enough to believe that anyone but some sympathetic friends will cast eyes on this thing, and even they for not very long. But that’s okay. What I really need is an excuse to practice my writing chops. They get rusty, and then I just hate doing it.

Bear with me as I get the hang of working behind the scenes on blog posts. I have no idea what I am doing.

Where did I get the name?  Well, I’m fascinated by the sorts of strange things that people believe.  I am a skeptic,  one of those tedious sorts who thinks that accepting ideas based on evidence should trump accepting them based on how warm and fuzzy they make you feel, and as I explore that field I come across all manner of entertainments.  Here is the one that gave me the blog name.  You too can generate your own New Age Bullshit.  Have fun!