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Steven Wilson - Insurgentes CD (album) cover

INSURGENTES

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.83 | 1119 ratings

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Antennas
4 stars =Why are all his songs so SAD...? Because they make him HAPPY! - and me, too ...!> Steven Wilson, Undisputed Master of the Genuine Beauty that is/are Porcupine Tree, Blackfield and numerous other projects, once was asked why all of his songs are so truly SAD. His answer? - Because they make me happy!

The first words sung in the indeed stunningly beautiful opening track of Insurgentes - Rain, come down, and fall... forever...! - immediately tell the listener that it's not going to be any of a !party! on this album, either. Thank You Providence, Not! It's indeed quite comforting, as any a fan of Mr. S.W. knows he/she will be in for yet another offering of Honest Sadness, but even more... of COMFORT, like only Steven seems to be capable of offering - apart from maybe quite a few other friends in the music scene (Anathema, Opeth, Demians, Paatos, etc.), who all, surprisingly, are fellows of this genuine GENIOUS.

Harmony Korine shows Steven Wilson at his very best, IMHO - a cascade of gentle guitar notes, silently, slowly, but inavoidedly emerging into outbursts of emotionality. This song had easily fitted in on Porcupine Tree's In Absentia, because both of its dark atmosphere and its heavy-but-sincere melodicity - and most of all, its melancholy. A fantastic song, can't stop listening to it, to be honest.

Abandoner - a soft, friendly Portishead-like synthesizer bass pulse forms the introduction to this very mellow song, which somewhere around the 3:30-mark bursts out in an indisputed DRONE.

Salvaging lets one fall into the Guitaristic Drone immediately, accompanied by Steven's minimalistic vocals. Gets spacy somewhere around the 3:20-mark, and yes, it continues to be spacy. Steven's love of Hawkwind surely shows, here. The song concludes with a very atmospheric sequence - mellotron (if I'm right, here?) & massive strings, accompanied by a mellow guitar, very symphonic indeed - but rather harshly ending into a massive DRONE once again. Not that I mind! :-D

Next on the block is Veneno para las Hadas, the opening of which immediately reminds all hard-core Porcupine Tree-fans of 'The Sky Moves Sideways'. Just a very atmospheric guitar, Steven's vocals, and a bass pulse culminating into a very spacy track, an obvious 'return to the past'. Space-Is-Deep, here. Some fantastic clarinet-parts to hear here as well.

No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun - well, here we have the truly 'experimental' track of this CD, I think. A rather King Crimson-like song, dominated by Gavin Harrison's drumming, combinded with one Tony Levin's bass lines. Freaky! I'm sure people who appreciate the more truly PROGRESSIVE suff - hence, that means something else than being just 'symphonic'! - will appreciate this track. After a mellow bass - soft drums - whispered vocals interlude, the track combusts into Mr. S.W. screaming, after which it returns back to its original progressive atmosphere again, most notably enhanced by Jordan Rudess' piano solo - and in the end, the whole thing combusts into yet another drone-like explosion. Well, if there's just one track on this album that I'd truly call PROGRESSIVE, it's this one, though it surely isn't my favourite track of the album. THAT honour indisputedly goes to its follow up -

Significant Other - Good Heavens Almighty, this is FANTASTIC! No-one who loves the more mellow Porcupine Tree and/or Blackfield-songs should be allowed to give this one a miss! A ballad, but a heavy, melancholic one, haunting, angsty, dark, but just as lovely, all the same. Anyone who ever saw Steven perform together with John Wesley at the Porcupine Tree-live gigs, knows how beautifully Steven's subdued vocals combine with a fellow high-pitched singer's, and here it shows again. Clodagh Simonds takes over the highest notes, and in all, this evolves in a true jubilant eargasm of a song, however melancholic and sad it indeed is. This one should have easily fit on a Blackfield album, and if you like this one, check out Blackfield. ;-)

Only Child - The more you struggle, the more you fail... no happiness here, once again - only melancholic, psychedelic beauty. The chorus is rather repetitive, song's not really evolving. Not the best track of the album but rather pleasant I'd say. Very dominant bass playing, not that I mind.

Twilight Coda - well, eh... I know it's just me, but that intro! That's EXACTLY the same as 'Rivals-but-Friends'-Band Anathema's 'A Fine Day To Exit'-title track! I have to laugh at the fact that nobody seems to have noticed so far... and WHAT a coincidence indeed, as Steven will in fact be the mixer of Anathema's upcoming studio album! :-D

Ah, back to Steven's tune. Yep, after the truly Anathemanian intro, it takes a completely different course - Thanks Providence - mostly highlighted by Jordan Rudess' piano solo. A fantastic atmospheric track evolves - one of the highlights of this album.

Get All You Deserve - yet another song with a rather Anathemanian-feel about it. Carried by piano and (later on) a hammond organ & drums, a very melancholic tune, emphasized by Steven's high-pitched vocals, culminating in yet another NOISE Grand Final. Not to be missed, this one! Well then, the album's closing track -

Insurgentes - I love this track, I really do. The culmination of melancholy, it is. Ruled by a simple piano tune, the Japanese Koto, and Steven's vocals - I can't wait to see him perform this tune live, if ever he will. And your dream... absolves - and your past... dissolves... Freakingly Beautiful. Enough to silence all...

So far for the 'official' album. A few notes on the Special Edition's Bonus disk:

Lots of DRONE, the Japanese koto, wonky, out-of key singing (most notably: Port Rubicon) experimenting. Track #3, Puncture Wound sounds suspiciously like latter-day Rush (which is not - I repeat: NOT! - an insult, I daresay!), while track #4 is a remergence to the title track, not offering much more than the initial version.

The only track that truly stands out for me as being more than just an 'experiment' is track #5, suspiciously named Untitled. I well remember Steven once having said that he's be doing a - Brace Yourselves Right Now, dear fellow Proggers! - Fifteen Minutes Disco Symphony on his first real solo-album. Well, Untitled is as close to that as it gets. Though it isn't really a disco track, and fortunately it only lasts for some five minutes - it's some strange track combining a 'Drum 'n'Bass'- rythm with Heavy Metal Guitars. I happen to like it a lot!

General conclusion: If you like Steven Wilson in all his Musical Appearances (too many to mention as any a true contemporary progger will know), this is an absolute MUST HAVE of a recording. The album has - of course - a fantastic, crisp production, great songwriting, wonderful musicianship, etc. But I'm not denying that it has its flaws as well. There's not much 'experimenting' around on the record if you happen to know Mr. S.W.'s (abundancy of) earlier work.

So, for that matter, I'd say this album is a MUST HAVE for all those who genuinely love Mr. S.W.'s work (like I do). Should you, however, be an introducee to his work, I'd rather advice you to check out his fantastic work with Porcupine Tree - most notably, the albums In Absentia and the very much underrated Stupid Dream, as well as both of his Blackfield-albums.

Greetz to all of you Proggers, Harmony Korine... eh, Karin, I mean. :)

Antennas | 4/5 |

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