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Thread: FEATURED CD: Gavin Harrison - Cheating the Polygraph

  1. #1
    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    FEATURED CD: Gavin Harrison - Cheating the Polygraph

    Today's feature is one of the more interesting surprises of 2015. I am not certain that one could have guessed Gavin Harrison would have chosen to do big band jazz interpretations of Porcupine Tree tunes. And I'm not sure one could have guessed just how well it was done.



    Review at Progrock.com
    Some tribute albums are genuine labors of love. Most feel more like quick cash-ins. Thankfully, Cheating the Polygraph is something different entirely; itís not a tribute album as much as it is a challenging and imaginative recreation of its source material.

    While Gavin Harrison is best known for his work with the indefinitely suspended Porcupine Tree, heís contributed his talents to acts such as King Crimson, OSI, and a myriad of others in recent years. Harrison has also continued to enjoy acclaim from music critics and fellow drummers on the national scale, even after his day job disappeared to make room for Steven Wilsonís solo career.

    Those who have followed Harrisonís post-Porcupine Tree career know to expect the unexpected, and Cheating the Polygraph is no exception. While I admit I was initially skeptical of the idea of turning Porcupine Tree into a big band, I now just feel guilty for ever fearing Harrison would put out something as thoughtless as a note-by-note recreation with jazz instrumentation. I canít emphasize enough that Cheating the Polygraph is not a Porcupine Tree cover album. Itís a completely new perspective on Porcupine Tree. The melodies may be familiar, but Harrison and his band have painstakingly recreated these songs from scratch, often painting them on completely new emotional landscapes. In fact, if I hesitate to recommend this album to anyone at all, it would be out of concern that it is just too different from Porcupine Tree, and some fans will potentially struggle with the material.

    Iím no jazz critic, and truth be told itís difficult for me to say too much about this album knowing so little about the genre. What I can say, however, is that Cheating the Polygraph will offer Porcupine Tree fans the same level of challenge and reward that can be reaped from repeated and attentive listens of Steven Wilsonís new solo albums. As Wilson continues to move forward with his solo project, a Porcupine Tree reunion seems to grow more distant by the day. But, at the very least, Cheating the Polygraph is a statement that Wilson wasnít the only musical genius in the band. - wpapu nick



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  2. #2
    Cozy, this sounds great! I wouldn't know a Porcupine Tree tune if I heard one, but this is an excellent recording with some snappy arrangements, particularly the first upload with the marimba and bass clarinet.

  3. #3
    Boo! walt's Avatar
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    First point: I've heard no PT music, don't own any of their cds,just know that they're well thought of here(and elsewhere).I know only of Gavin Harrison drumming with the latest Crimson incarnation.

    Having said this and hearing both clips here...i dig.I hear the sound of quality.Thanks for posting.
    "please do not understand me too quickly"-andre gide

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    Very interesting album.

    And it's important to give credit to Laurence Cottle - bassist, session-man, arranger, bandleader, and sometime jazzer - who actually wrote the arrangements for the album. The concept was Harrison's, originating from a version of "Futile" the two created for him to demonstrate his jazz playing against at drum clinics, but Cottle did much of the work. Furthermore, the whole thing was recorded "backwards": Cottle and the horn players put their parts on first, to a click-track; they recorded one at a time, and that "big band" was usually just one guy overdubbing all the trumpets, one on all the trombones, and one on all the saxes. Then finally, Harrison came in at the end and put drums on the finished result. Yet somehow it sounds organic and loaded with feel, even though the circumstances of its creation were anything but.
    Last edited by Baribrotzer; 08-13-2016 at 07:12 PM.

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    Being a hugh Porcupine Tree Fan and owning everything they've done, this is a really radical interpretation of their music but done so well. Big band, big time music. GH is absolutely a monster drummer and these arrangements are superb. If my dad were alive today, this would be one CD of mine he would embrace.

  6. #6
    Interesting enough but it reminds me of the background music for a 70's police show. If you hadn't told me it was a PT song I would have never guessed.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Toad View Post
    Interesting enough but it reminds me of the background music for a 70's police show.
    Those usually have strings and some wah wah rhythm guitar.

  8. #8
    Member Nijinsky Hind's Avatar
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    I really like this album... Great for when it all gets too heavy. Just swingin.
    Still alive and well...

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    Member Digital_Man's Avatar
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    Ha ha. I borrowed this from the local library not too long ago. I didn't realize at first these were PT tunes done all big band-ish. Actually not bad especially if you are into jazz.

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    This is brilliant album. Great arrangements. Production is also very very good.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

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    Member ombasan's Avatar
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    A great album and even better if listened to in surround!

  12. #12
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    I'd like to see him keep going with this concept and do another album of big band King Crimson tunes or something along those lines...love this album!
    www.canvasproductions.net

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Toad View Post
    Interesting enough but it reminds me of the background music for a 70's police show. If you hadn't told me it was a PT song I would have never guessed.
    That kind of music is Cottle's day job: He scores TV shows and the occasional movie for a living, as well as playing sessions. And you can sort of tell when you listen to his own stuff - it's very well done, but slick as hell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Canvas View Post
    I'd like to see him keep going with this concept and do another album of big band King Crimson tunes or something along those lines...love this album!
    It was a huge amount of work. Nothing easy or straightforward. It took him and Cottle five years of on-again, off-again meetings and sessions, and they tried out many tunes that didn't work in that treatment, and didn't make it onto the album. So I don't know how likely that is.

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    Excellent stuff.

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    Being SW and PT fan, I had never really considered any solo projects from other PT participants. Boy, how wrong I was... Thanks to this topic, I have listened to this album - and it's really a radical view on the PT songs that I thought I knew very well.
    Very enjoyable music!

  16. #16
    I guess there aren't not that many posts so far, because we've discussed this album not so very long ago in this thread.

    Great 5.1 mix indeed!

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by ombasan View Post
    A great album and even better if listened to in surround!
    This is the reason I got it- went to the crim merch table after the show and asked what do they have in 5.1
    Dont know any PT but this album sure is a fun listen.
    I love the arrangements but strangely enough my only quibble is with the slick bass sound...

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    Moderator Poisoned Youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Cozy, this sounds great! I wouldn't know a Porcupine Tree tune if I heard one, but this is an excellent recording with some snappy arrangements, particularly the first upload with the marimba and bass clarinet.
    Very happy to have turned a few people on to the album. That's all that matters for me.
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  19. #19
    Matt! polmico's Avatar
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    Definitely one I've been meaning to pick up. Thanks for the reminder.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baribrotzer View Post
    Very interesting album.

    And it's important to give credit to Laurence Cottle - bassist, session-man, arranger, bandleader, and sometime jazzer - who actually wrote the arrangements for the album. The concept was Harrison's, originating from a version of "Futile" the two created for him to demonstrate his jazz playing against at drum clinics, but Cottle did much of the work. Furthermore, the whole thing was recorded "backwards": Cottle and the horn players put their parts on first, to a click-track; they recorded one at a time, and that "big band" was usually just one guy overdubbing all the trumpets, one on all the trombones, and one on all the saxes. Then finally, Harrison came in at the end and put drums on the finished result. Yet somehow it sounds organic and loaded with feel, even though the circumstances of its creation were anything but.
    Wow! Can't believe that it was recorded that way and it sounds so good plus the arrangements are very good. I don't know how well this sold or if it was just labor of love, but I hope he has more like this in him. I don't have any PT music so this is all new to me. Now I have to check them out.
    Last edited by Tangram; 5 Days Ago at 12:31 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigpicturekeys View Post
    If my dad were alive today, this would be one CD of mine he would embrace.
    Definitely! I think the only CD of mine that my parents liked that wasn't classical or big band, was Genesis' Invisible Touch; especially the song The Brazilian. Yeah, I can't figure it out either.
    Last edited by Tangram; 5 Days Ago at 01:17 PM.

  22. #22
    Member Gizmotron's Avatar
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    I finally ordered it.
    I've been on a gradually-increasing boil on Mr. Harrison. Always, aware of him, I finally saw him when I caught Crimson in September. He just amazes me. Just stunning.
    I have tix for The Pineapple Thief in a month.

  23. #23
    Just noticed that his debut, Sanity & Gravity, is becoming quite rare.

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