The Incident





Also, in a recent interview you mentioned using the Korg wave drum. On which track does that appear? Is that used for drum loops for for specific sounds? 

The Wavedrum is on the early verses of “Remember Me Lover”

mellotron songs – blind house, hearse


You just ended a very long tour in support for “The Incident” with a couple very special shows, one at Radio City Music Hall in New York, and one at Royal Albert Hall. Any chance that we will see a live album or DVD coming out of that? And what are the plans for the future right now?

Unfortunately, no DVD of either show will be happening. We decided against doing any filming mainly due to the fact that we didn’t want the extra pressure of cameras at  Radio City or the Royal Albert Hall, as playing a near 3 hour show featuring lots of material that we don’t normally play was enough for each of us to deal with! We did record the audio at the Royal Albert Hall show, so some of that may come out in the future. After a very full-on years worth of touring, we plan to take 2011 off to do our own solo projects and collaborations.


random points to include:

The Incident is the tenth studio album by Porcupine Tree released in the September of 2009. Like all the albums since In Absentia, The Incident is a concept album, the jist of which occurred to Steven Wilson while driving home from the studio and being stuck in a traffic jam before a big road accident. He states:


“There was a sign saying ‘POLICE – INCIDENT’ and everyone was slowing down to see what had happened… Afterwards, it struck me that ‘incident’ is a very detached word for something so destructive and traumatic for the people involved. And then I had the sensation that the spirit of someone that had died in the accident entered into my car and was sitting next to me.

The irony of such a cold expression for such seismic events appealed to me, and I began to pick out other ‘incidents’ reported in the media and news, I wrote about the evacuation of teenage girls from a religious cult in Texas, a family terrorizing its neighbours, a body found floating in a river by some people on a fishing trip, and more. Each song is written in the first person and tries to humanize the detached media reportage.”

Steven presented a draft for a single lengthy song cycle to his bandmates. It started out with a length of 35 minutes and it kept evolving, eventually settling at 50 minutes and this would go on to occupy the the main disc (of a double CD final release). The second disc would contain a different song cycle with four separate tracks, featuring more notable contributions by the other members.


The Incident has a unique structure, something unseen before in the Porcupine Tree discography. The main song cycle (Part I: The Incident) consists of smaller tracks with inescapable segues, with some tracks extending and seeping into their successors and also repeating a certain chord progression. Being so tightly wound and each track fuelling the overall feel of the album, listening to some of the pieces as standalone or out of context doesn’t prove to be the best experience. However, the listening to the disc as a whole is certainly quite worthwhile and memorable.

The tracks on the second disc don’t contain any segues but do maintain the tone and style of the first disc.


Each track of the first disc is dedicated to a certain event, essentially forming a bunch of vignettes with disconnected narratives, focusing on the seismicity of the events on a personal level with a sense of “after this, things will never be the same”, as stated by Steven.

The ideas for the tracks were a mixture of being pulled from items in the media coverage as well as aspects from Steven’s own personal life. The overall tone of the album is dark. Apart and over the existing themes each event conveys, the album also depicts topics of change, sexual torment, failed relationships, social and moral decline and familial/domestic extremities  It also contains some strong religious themes, as previously explored lightly in Deadwing and more extensively in Signify.


Musically, The Incident has a heavy sound and is comparable to 2007’s Fear of a Blank Planet. However, it can be chacaterised as being colder and more industrial than the previous album. Sections with actual string sustains are not used in favour of tighter drumming in conjecture with groovier bass, blended synth and production effects along with guitar riff based structures. Also notable is the fact that there are not many long atmospheric sections inside songs, as seen on previous albums. All transitions are immediate, but are undoubtedly smooth. The band has yet again made strides in experimenring with their already expansive prowess in sound textures and unique sonic patterns and layers.

In terms of feel, the album invokes a sense of an urban like experience along with glimses of the countryside (the fact that the band spent time in the country during the recording may or maynot tie into this fact) with a good balance between heavy and softer/melancholic sounding tracks.


The Incident received generally favorable reviews and many accolades. However it was a common consensus among many critics that the album does not hold up to the band’s previous efforts.


// Ultimate Guitar:  “Considering the band’s consistently excellent output for the last few years, The Incident’ can easily be seen as the band taking a well-deserved rest before they really start to push themselves again. It obviously takes a very different form to their other records but it doesn’t feel like anything new has really been done, and that all the effort that’s been put in has been to make the ambitious first disc work”.


Pop Matters: (found the song cycle structure as conceited and a hype gimmick) :  “Which isn’t to say The Incident is bad. By no means. This is yet another high-quality release from the band, which remain at or at least very near the top of their game. There are moments of pristine beauty here, as well as singalong pop songs and punishingly heavy passages. But the album’s main conceit, that the title track is a single 55-minute work, seems to be mostly hype. Porcupine Tree’s new home is Roadrunner Records, a label which knows the audience they’re marketing to and understands that the idea of one super-long song is an attractive one to the band’s hardcore fanbase. In reality, The Incidentis a loosely connected concept piece that is comprised of 14 separate tracks.”


Sputnik Music:  “But for Porcupine Tree, a band that has been known to accomplish excellence and greatness, something merely good is a slight disappointment.”


additional info provided by u/annihilatorx