A post-progressive label from the home of Peaceville Records
The Kscope label was founded as a means of providing a platform for a growing number of artists that had started to reclaim and reinvent aspects of the Progressive genre.In order to produce something that resonated in the 21st Century, these artists had stripped the music of its perceived excess and clichés, and subtly re-established the movement’s original impulses, experimenting with eclectic musical sources and contemporary sonic possibilities.
Spearheaded by the ambitious likes of Porcupine Tree, Radiohead and Elbow on one side, and Muse, Opeth and Mars Volta on the other (the lynchpins of the hugely popular Prog-Metal movement), this new wave of Progressive expression also incorporated the atmospheric offerings of Air, Talk Talk and Royskopp, and the cinematic Post-Rock vistas of Sigur Ros, Godspeed You Black Emperor and Tortoise. All represented strands of traditional Progressive ideas influencing vital and exciting modern music.
If Post-Rock was a means of creating a music that contained the thrill and transcendent power of Rock music without resorting to its age-old reliance on riffs and Blues-based solos, Post-Progressive was a means of taking Rock music forward without regurgitating the baroque nature and occasionally stifling virtuosity of some of the original Progressive icons. Alongside inspiration from more recognised 1960s/1970s pioneers, Post-Progressive contained aspects of the technological innovations and primal energy of other forward-thinking genres such as Krautrock, Trip-Hop, Electronica and Post-Punk.
The first dedicated Post-Progressive label, Kscope launched in May 2008 (with new albums from its first signings The Pineapple Thief and No-Man, and reissues from genre leaders, Porcupine Tree). An artistically focussed and sympathetic home for an evolving, flexible and adventurous style of music without boundaries, (as with its spiritual forebears 4AD, Factory, Vertigo and Harvest) Kscope is as concerned with packaging and artwork as it is with music and has established a distinctive visual, as well as musical, identity.
Seven successful years after its auspicious beginnings, by continuing to utilise a combination of both new and established talent, Kscope offers a creative nurturing point for like-minded artists. The label has given a springboard for previous unknowns such as Nordic Giants, Iamthemorning, Nosound and North Atlantic Oscillation, greater exposure for the likes of The Pineapple Thief, Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Crippled Black Phoenix, Gazpacho, Katatonia and No-Man, and achieved significant chart success for Steven Wilson and Anathema.
Now, as always, this is a label looking to the future.
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Rock - Released February 28, 2020 | Kscope
Despite already existing for exactly 15 years, Porcupine Tree released its best album yet with In Absentia, or at least one of its most notable. Stepping away from their perhaps over-used psychedelic experimentation, the band decided to adopt a beefed up heavy/prog rock approach, combining influences from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath with Queensrÿche and Dream Theater. This could have been down to the change of drummers from Chris Maitland to Gavin Harrison, but the singer and main songwriter Steven Wilson was also a catalyst for this change. This stylistic shift is explained by his newfound familiarity with the book that would go on to inspire Jonas Åkerlund’s shocking film Lords of Chaos, dedicated to the somewhat extreme Scandinavian black metal scene. His outlook after that would be forever altered, and the album cover would just have to be scary, without forgetting the three main themes: serial killers, the loss of youthful innocence, and a criticism of the modern world. However In Absentia isn’t the soundtrack to a slasher film, but rather an album that tries to understand why certain individuals go through with the awful things they do. Lips Of Ashes tells the story of a guy madly in love with someone – but the feeling isn’t mutual – so he kills the object of his attention so that they belong to him forever, whereas The Creator Has a Mastertape is the story of a father who tortures his son and records it so he can listen on repeat… But while the album kicks off with a guitar-heavy introduction (Blackest Eyes), the rest is a lot more accessible, wavering between ballads and soaring melodies. Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Marillion and even U2 are just a few of the names that come to mind when listening. A long 68-minute album that ends with a beautiful piano-voice combination Collapse the Light Into the Earth. © Christian Eudeline/Qobuz