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Steven Wilson

Crossover Prog

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Steven Wilson Tape Experiments 1985 - 86 album cover
2.92 | 6 ratings | 1 reviews | 0% 5 stars

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cries of Lucia (10:34)
2. I May Be Some Time (5:57)
3. Constellation (3:23)
4. Them No 1 (4:31)
5. The Life and Times of Sigmund Freud (3:56)
6. Wood Between Worlds (5:12)
7. Seen (3:47)

Total Time 37:81

Line-up / Musicians

Steven Wilson / all instruments

Releases information

Contains recordings of experimental archive material that was going to be given away as a free disc to pre-orders of the "Insurgents" DVD. That idea was dropped and it was released as a free WAV file download instead. It was later released physically as a vinyl only edition (TF 107).

Thanks to TCat for the addition
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STEVEN WILSON Tape Experiments 1985 - 86 ratings distribution

(6 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(0%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(17%)
Good, but non-essential (50%)
Collectors/fans only (17%)
Poor. Only for completionists (17%)

STEVEN WILSON Tape Experiments 1985 - 86 reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars By 2010, Steven Wilson's many fans were demanding to hear the early recordings that he had made and Wilson was at first reluctant to release them, considering them experiments that were not supposed to be heard by the general public. But the demand to hear the early Porcupine Tree tapes, the even earlier recording from "Altamont" and "Karma" and some of the bizarre recordings that he made while "goofing around" with his audio equipment.

This collection called "Tape Experiments 1985 - 1986" brings together some of this material. Originally, this was meant to be sent out to those who pre-ordered the "Insurgents" DVD. That idea was trashed and instead the CD single "Vapour Trail Lullabye" was sent out instead. The music from this album ended up being offered as a free WAV download in 2010 and was later made available physically as a vinyl only edition on the Tone Float label.

This music is definitely strange and eerie, not what you would expect If you have only heard his more recent music. However, Steven was very much into experimenting with sound and psychedelic music. The first track here is the 10 minute soundscape called "Cries of Lucia". This is made up of vocal recordings into a 4 track cassette player that was made by Wilson's father. He layered his voice through a tape delay machine. The result is something my wife calls Halloween music. It is definitely a spooky sound, with various odd noises and textures mixed, processed and placed together into a long soundscape. Wilson said the track was inspired bye Luciano Berio's piece for electronics and voice called "Visage" which was also sampled in a No-man track called "Sinister Jazz". It is also part of the sonic track from "IEM" called "The Gospel According to IEM".

The remaining tracks are shorter and don't go past the 6 minute mark. "I May Be Some Time" utilizes a lot of Farfisa Organ and recording with variable speeds into the same 4-track cassette machine. It is based on David Bedford's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". It has the same queasy and eerie sounds as that album. "Constellation" was also recorded on the 4 track machine and was inspired by Tangerine Dreams "Zeit". It uses ambient textures made by guitar, moog and a string synthesizer. "Them No. 1" is one of my favorites off this album. It uses the Moog Prodigy and a String Synthesizer with sound effects and radio transmissions mixed in and chopped up.

"The Life and Times of Signmund Freud" is based on concrete techniques inspired by classical - modern music Steven was listening to at the time. He uses a 2-track analog tape as the recording format. The sounds that were recorded were dubbed and overdubbed onto the tape and then cut up into many smaller pieces and re-edited. Wilson considered this a hit and miss technique that took a lot of experimenting around with. He only kept the noises and sounds that worked claiming that it took him 2 weeks to create 4 minutes of music. "Wood Between Worlds" is a live performance directly made to a 2 track analog tape. This one is very atmospheric and peaceful with natural sounds surrounding a Farfisa Organ passed through a tape delay. The natural sounds were recorded from his parent's garden using a mic he hung outside his window. The last track is "Seen". It was recorded onto a 4-track tape machine. He overdubbed various guitar layers through a tape delay. Wilson thinks it was influenced by John Martyn's "Small Hours".

This music will definitely not appeal to several people. It is definitely experimental and nothing like his more current material. If you like the experimental music of Robert Fripp or some of the many Progressive Electronic artists, then you will like this, but there are some tracks that might seem rather amateurish. Remember, when this was recorded, Wilson was pretty much an amateur, but he was developing himself into the amazing musician that he is. I find the recording quite intriguing, but it isn't something I would listen to a lot, except when I am in a mood for something different. These are pretty much experimental soundscapes, and if you listen to them immersively, they can generate some strange images in your mind. Wilson always had a knack for this however, and at least you aren't bogged down by disorganized meandering so much since most of the tracks are manageable. Mostly fans or collectors will be interested in this, but I believe those interested in electronic music will find it intriguing. If there was more wasted material on this album, I would consider it a 2 star album, but since it is smartly edited and not so meandering, I can easily see that it deserves 3 stars.

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