Currently working with progressive rock giants King Crimson, drummer Gavin Harrison revisits and re-imagines eight key tracks from his Porcupine Tree past on the upcoming solo album Cheating The Polygraph.
"I think every album needs a focus – a master plan – and whilst I thought about writing new tunes for a big band project, I made a version of Porcupine Tree's Futile with [bassist] Laurence Cottle, and it came out really well," says Harrison. "It felt like a good plan to follow on with some of my personal favorite PT songs and see if we could make them work."
Harrison explains that he envisioned arrangements that wouldn't lean toward a cliched big-band sound, but would instead follow a modern contemporary angle. "So even if you didn't know the original tune, you could still enjoy it as a modern composition that would work with this instrumentation," he says. "I couldn't be happier with the results. Laurence Cottle's immense talent as a musician and arranger was mind blowing."
Recorded over a five-year period, Cheating The Polygraph finds Harrison working in conjunction with saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock as well as bassist Cottle. It's a set that will no doubt excite much controversy; Harrison's use of the big-band musical sound stage isn't some ersatz attempt to make a swing album; it's closer in execution and arrangement to the innovative works of Frank Zappa and The Mothers Of Invention – a layered, richly-textured selection that is both beautifully recorded and incisively delivered.
"It's very important to me to push the boundaries of music whilst respecting what came before," Harrison says. "In the arrangements of these pieces we really get 'out there' with some of the harmonies and rhythms, and we vastly extended the edges of the original compositions."
Tracklist for Cheating The Polygraph
1. What Happens Now?
2. Sound of Muzak (So Called Friend)
3. Start of Something Beautiful
4. Heart Attack in a Lay-By (Creator had a Mastertape / Surfer)
5. Anaesthetize (The Pills I'm Taking)
7. Cheating the Polygraph (Mother & Child Divided)
Cheating The Polygraph will be released in North America on April 14 via Kscope (April 13 in the UK, April 17 in Germany, April 22 in Japan). You can pre-order the album now at the Kscope web store.