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Monday, 3 October 2011

Reviews: Steven Wilson

Steven Wilson: Grace For Drowning (Kscope)

Starting with a multi tracked vocal song in the title track and a heavy weight instrumental in Secritarian before the cascading Deform To Form A Star gives the first hint of his day job this could only be the new solo album from creative genius Steven Wilson. Every track on this album is different; it spans multiple genres and has Wilson's creative stamp over all of it. No Part Of Me is a techno infused romp that includes a horns section crescendo and is then followed by Postcard a touching piano led ballad that features a choir that dissolves into the next track Raider Prelude which is a haunting baroque style track that has a chamber music style. The final song on disc 1 (yes this is two discs) is Remainder The Black Dog which sounds like an early Porcupine Tree track and features the guitar talents of the legendary Steve Hackett of Genesis. The second disc has fewer tracks but they are of the same quality, opener Belle Du Jour is a restrained acoustic track with orchestral backing. Index is an industrial style track filled with a restrained menace. Track One follows and turns from its acoustic opening to a dark ominous coda and then into a Pink Floyd style guitar solo. Raider II was the track that was going to be the deal breaker for many people, described as a 23 minute jazz-funk track this was going to test even the most open of mind. The track starts slow and then builds into a flute topped rockier section about 3 minutes in the flute continues over the jazz influenced piano led middle part (the piano played by Jordan Rudress of Dream Theater). This leads into a guitar rundown and a blasting section showing Wilson's guitar talents before breaking into a jazz clarinet breakdown. This moves into an ethereal acoustic part that becomes almost folk-like before ending on a crushing guitar up-scale that also features some scat sax playing before ending in percussive crescendo and trails out with a bass led coda. The final track is Like The Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye and is a slow ballad with a stunning guitar part that ends the album well.

I realise this is a big review but there is really a lot to say, this album is fantastic and any fan of music should seek out this and its predecessor (as well as Wilson's other works with Blackfield and No Man). An excellent album from a gifted individual. 10/10

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