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Porcupine Tree Taking On Bigger Concepts

of the Oakland Press

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Steven Wilson is a proud and unapologetic progressive rocker — and has been since forming Porcupine Tree 13 years ago in Hemel Hempstead, England.

So he was happy to continue on the genre’s characteristically ambitious path with its latest release, 2009’s “The Incident,” a two-disc set whose first half is devoted to a 14-part, 55-minute song cycle.

“The real motivation for me,” Wilson, 42, explains, “is always to try to give myself a challenge in order to not go over old ground and to set a goal that means that each project or each album is somehow distinct from all of those that preceded it.”

And after including a well-received 18-minute track, “Anesthetize,” on Porcupine Tree’s 2007 release, “Fear of a Blank Planet,” Wilson says that, “there was a growing sense of confidence coming into this record that we could attempt something on an even more epic, ambitious scale. So we did.”

He read the tea leaves correctly. “The Incident” has been the most popular of Porcupine Tree’s 10 studio albums worldwide, hitting No. 25 on the Billboard 200 — the band’s best showing yet — and the Top 5 in the Netherlands and Poland. Not surprisingly, Wilson is planning to stay on that creative path next time out.

“It seems me the more indulgent we are, the more selfish we are, the better it’s received and the better we do,” notes Wilson, who’s also spent much of the past year remixing King Crimson’s catalog for re-release. “There’s a growing sense of confidence that what we’re doing makes us special and is what people love about us.

“So the next logical step is to do something of this scale again and see where it takes us.”

Porcupine Tree and Bigelf perform Sunday, May 2, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.50, $35 and $45. Call 313-961-5451 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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