Category Archives: Incredible Expanding Mindfuck


This is one album I don’t really have too much to say about. It’s not bad. Just that it’s not too long, and as a result I don’t have too much to say. I immediately liked the album between this and the first one (An Escalator to Christmas, 1999). Of course, I also LOVED the first album reviewed HERE. It was ambient, but more skewed towards the rock side of things. That means slightly higher tempos, PROPER percussion and slightly lesser by way of electronic noise. This one by comparison goes completely the other way, revelling in spooky whale song soundscapes over melted basslines and jazz percussion. Paradoxically, there are quite a few more ‘acoustic’ sounds scattered throughout the album, particularly the flute, which add an oriental flavour to such tracks as Cicadian Haze.

I’d say that for an ambient album, its pretty daring in places. For instance, ‘Politician’ basically consists of sounds of an old gramophone and a woman err….practicing self sufficiency. Infact, sometimes it’s so daring, that I have to ask whether this really is ambient music. I mean, the rythms are consistent and all, there is a big electronica influence, but I don’t find this neither trippily ambient nor blend-into-the-background fare. In short, it doesn’t really float my boat.

That said, ‘The Shadow of  Twisted Hand Across my House’ is a fantastic track. The trumpet/sax solo at 3.10 is a flash of genius by Steven Wilson. You really don’t expect it. But it quickly reels you in. For god sakes, a Jazz solo in the middle of Ambient Electronica? Outrageous!! Yes, and brilliant. It sounds Xenochronic. For those who care, that means taking a musical part from one composition (say, the bassline from ‘Higher Ground’) and putting it in another (say, ‘Imagine’).

That’s about all I have to say. For those of you who are waiting for Porcupine Tree-esque, you won’t find that here. I mean, the tracks are heavily electronica based, but the personality is not nearly the same. The hooks are not there, just an ambient sort of consistency. I had massive expectations in the first place after hearing the first album, and sadly, this doesn’t quite sound right.

- El Bajista

For more I.E.M. reviews, click HERE.


For more ELECTRONICA reviews, click HERE.

Incredible Expanding Mindfuck – INCREDIBLE EXPANDING MINDFUCK – 1996

Incredible Expanding Mindfuck. Say that to yourself again. Incredible Expanding Mindfuck. What kind of err..Mindfuck would have come up with such a cool name? Well, no less of a Mindfuck that Steven Wilson, founder and deceptively-normal-looking-musical-genius-leader of Porcupine Tree. This happens to be the most concentrated psychedelic project of this astonishingly prolific musician. Why did I choose to do this? Well, I did review The Incident and In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet as well as two Blackfield albums. This is turning out to be a bit of a Steven Wilson week. So, I thought I should go with the flow.

Let the name trip off your tongue

Right from the beginning, this strikes one as an extremely psychedelic album, drawing as much from the cosmic goo that is Syd Barrett’s music as it does from later Floyd and Zepplin (what with its bluesy guitar solos). Of course, the rock rhythm section is overlaid by some genuinely creepy noises that get into your head. If you scare easily, do not listen to ‘The Gospel according to I.E.M.’ from 6.20-7.30. Good lord Steven Wilson, what is wrong with you? What kind of paint thinner were you sniffing at when you composed this stuff? Whatever this is, it’s BRILLIANT. Stoners, you will love this stuff. Listen to this with the Windows Media Player ‘visualization’ on. Suicide fantasies guaranteed.

‘Last Will and Testament of Emma Peel’ is a tritone devil’s interval laden nightmare that would make Black Sabbath’s ‘evil’ riffs sound like nursery rhymes. Not only that, it’s overlaid by a drum solo. An echoey drum solo. In all honesty, I couldn’t sit through all of this unless sometime in the future, I’m stoned as a..err…stone. Which isn’t gonna happen anytime soon. So by the time I reached the third track, I had started questioning whether I truly could appreciate this music in this full capacity.

What’s worse is that the tracks are an average of 9 minutes long. And I had to sit through them. Stone sober. Stone aware of the itch in my bum. I kept getting the feeling, even when I was sitting writing this sentence that this really isn’t the way to listen to I.E.M.

The most ‘songlike’ track is ‘Deafman’ which builds up still a (surprise effing surprise) psychedelic keyboard solo. A really good one, admittedly. It builds and builds and builds and consumes your world and then slowly goes away, element by element, like receeding water. FANTASTIC!

**Bows respectfully**

In response to my earlier question about whether I can truly appreciate this, the answer is a no. But I can tell its good music. Anyone can. It’s colossally psychedelic and trippy.  I’m becoming more and more convinced that Steven Wilson will be a Frank Zappa-ish figure (albeit less wacky and opinionated) in a few years. This does sound right.

- El Bajista

Mind not messed enough? Check out other I.E.M. reviews HERE.

Yes, this has an ELECTRONICA element. Check out those reviews HERE.

Steven Wilson’s home ground. Check out PROGRESSIVE/ART/PSYCHEDELIC reviews HERE.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 478 other followers

%d bloggers like this: