Saturday, October 18, 2014

A preview of the forthcoming Steven Wilson album

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you may have seen, we haven't been posting much lately. Suffice it to say, we've been busy, and preoccupied with other things. But we'll try to keep up the blogging now and then, so stay tuned -- and, you never know, we may turn our collective attention back to this blog before too long. In the meantime, some sporadic posting...

And so why not, this Saturday evening, turn not to political commentary but to music, so much a part of this blog as well, and specifically to one of the best of the very best, Steven Wilson (about whom I've written before on several occasions), whose next solo album (with the amazing band he's had for most of his recent "solo" career) is set to be released next February.

Count me incredibly excited. His first three solo albums -- Insurgentes, Grace for Drowning, and The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) -- got progressively better, one after the other, though it's very close for the last two and I'm actually quite partial to Grace, though they're all fantastic and I prefer not to rank them. But where Insurgentes is very much a Porcupine Tree-style album, and not as distinctly solo, and where Grace is a bit all over the place, The Raven is a cohesive masterpiece of the prog rock genre, in many ways a quite retro, '70s-style album, but also post-prog given its vision and breadth, and very much a towering rock album by any standard.

And now Wilson is saying that his forthcoming album is a combination of all his solo work, maybe all his work. Which would be pretty impressive, for sure, but I have no doubt it'll be magnificent -- and what's certain is that it will be another leap forward for Wilson, who never does the same thing but prefers to keep challenging himself and, with each new work, breaking free from his own past.

Here's a short film, by frequent collaborator Lasse Hoile, of Wilson and his band recording the new album at AIR Studios in London. Enjoy!

Steven Wilson at AIR Studios, London - September 2014 from Kscope on Vimeo.

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