Arjen Lucassen's Guilt Machine On This Perfect Day on 180g 2LP + Download
Arjen Lucassen's unwillingness to bow to trends and outside expectations is once again apparent in his latest release, On This Perfect Day, the first album from his new project Guilt Machine. On this release, he departs from the over-the-top complexity of Ayreon in favor of the simplicity of a relatively small line-up. Rather than an putting together an ensemble cast of vocalists, Arjen recruited Jasper Steverlinck, singer of the Belgian alternative rock band Arid, as the sole vocalist of Guilt Machine. The talents of Chris Maitland (ex-Porcupine Tree) were enlisted for the drum parts. Arjen’s partner and manager Lori Linstruth supplied the guitar solos. The rest of the instruments were played by Arjen himself, who also sings backing vocals.
In the aftermath of his 2007 Ayreon album 01011001, which involved recording a cast of no less than 17 singers, Arjen was ready for a much smaller-scale project. “Zero-One was a logistic and financial nightmare,” he recalls. “That’s why I wanted to keep On This Perfect Day on a manageable scale. Working with a small group of people also provided a welcome new challenge. People sometimes tell me how hard they think it must be to write parts for the huge cast of vocalists on an Ayreon release. Actually it’s easy: I can choose vocalists who are specialized for each particular emotion that I want to express. But for Guilt Machine I had to find one singer who could cover the entire range of feelings and emotions, and who was versatile enough to keep things interesting until the last song.”
On This Perfect Day features drums by Chris Maitland. It is the first time that Arjen has worked with this musician from the UK. “Compared to most of my previous work, the music of Guilt Machine is more introspective and quiet. That’s why I wanted to record this album with a drummer that could hit hard when needed, but who would also be able to deal with subtle passages. During his years with Porcupine Tree, Chris had proved to be such a versatile drummer. He certainly delivered the goods with Guilt Machine.”
Arjen is proud of On This Perfect Day, calling it his best and most precious side project so far, and is hopeful that listeners will feel the same. “I realize that Guilt Machine marks a brand new chapter in my career. How will people respond? Part of me is anxious about what people will think; it even keeps me awake at night sometimes. Another part of me is very confident, though. The songs, the production, the lyrics and the performances – I really wouldn’t know where to improve the album. But the most important thing is that it all comes straight from the heart. This is a brutally honest album. I hope that there’s an audience out there somewhere who will recognize that immediately.”