Friday, 22 May 2020

Porcupine Tree - The Love, Death & Mussolini E.P. (1990)

Porcupine Tree are an English progressive rock band formed by musician Steven Wilson in 1987. The band began essentially as a solo project for Wilson, who created all of the band's music, and their early sound evoked a style of psychedelic rock comparable to that of the psychedelic/progressive bands of the 1970s, such as Pink Floyd, that had dominated the music scene during his youth. He was joined by Malcolm Stocks to form a fictional legendary rock band named The Porcupine Tree, and the two fabricated a detailed back-story, including information on alleged band members and album titles, as well as a colourful history which purportedly included events such as a meeting at a 1970's rock festival and several trips in and out of prison. As soon as he had put aside enough money to buy his own studio equipment, Wilson created several hours of music to provide evidence of the bands existence, and although Stocks provided a few passages of treated vocals and experimental guitar playing, his role in the project was mostly offering occasional ideas, with the bulk of the material being written, recorded, played, and sung by Wilson. 
At this point, Porcupine Tree was little more than a joke and a private amusement, as Wilson was concentrating on his other project, No-Man, an endeavour with UK based singer/songwriter Tim Bowness, but by 1989 he began to consider some of the Porcupine Tree music as potentially marketable, so he created an 80-minute-long cassette titled 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm' under the name of Porcupine Tree. He still wasn't taking it entirely seriously, though, as he included an eight-page inlay which further revealed the hoaxed Porcupine Tree backstory, including references to fictitious band members such as Sir Tarquin Underspoon and Timothy Tadpole-Jones. Wilson sent out copies of 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm' to several people he felt would be interested in the recordings, including Nick Saloman, the cult UK guitarist better known as The Bevis Frond, who suggested that he send one to Richard Allen, a writer for the UK counter-cultural magazine Encyclopaedia Psychedelica and co-editor of the UK psychedelic garage rock magazine 'Freakbeat'. Allen reviewed the tape in both magazines, and while he disliked some of the material, he gave much of it a positive review, and later became the band's manager, press agent, and promoter. 
In the meantime, Wilson had continued to work on new material, and in 1990 he released the 'Love, Death & Mussolini EP', issued in a very limited run of 10 cassette copies, and it remains one of the band's most collectible pieces. Because of its rarity it has been bootlegged and copies sold as originals, but original copies came with a handwritten letter by Steven Wilson and a 3-page A4-sized booklet with mostly imaginary credits, so beware. It was composed of nine at-the-time-unreleased tracks, as a preview for the upcoming second cassette album 'The Nostalgia Factory', which further expanded Porcupine Tree's underground fanbase, although at this point they were still carrying on the charade of being 1970's rock legends. Tracks 1 to 7 ended up on Side A of 'The Nostalgia Factory'. while track 8 was later released on the vinyl version of 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape'. Track 9 has never appeared anywhere else, although its name was reused for a different track that appeared on 'The Nostalgia Factory'. The notes from the cover are worth reproducing as they are quite amusing.

'Love, Death and Mussolini' is an E.P.
E.P. stands for 'extended player'
An 'extended player' is longer than a single but not long enough to be called an L.P. (a long player).
Here then are 3 songs and 2 instrumentals, new material from the band Porcupine Tree.
These 5 tracks last for about 20 minutes in total. 20 minutes is a good duration for an 'extended player'.
However, 'Love, Death and Mussolini' takes advantage of the cassette medium by including an additional 17 minutes of music taking it to L.P. (long player) length.
This is known as 'value for money'.
In the music industry it is known as 'marketing'.
Do your accounting to the sound of Porcupine Tree.

Track listing

01 Hymn
02 Footprints
03 Linton Samuel Dawson
04 And The Swallows Dance Above The Sun
05 Queen Quotes Crowley
06 No Luck With Rabbits
07 Begonia Seduction Scene
08 Out
09 It Will Rain For A Million Years

Enjoy / Enjoy


  1. Thanks a lot. Excellent blog!!!

  2. Many thanks for this pj and echo the above comment" Excellent blog!!!"