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STEVEN WILSON

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Steven Wilson biography
STEVEN WILSON, perhaps most widely known for his role as the frontman for the popular act Porcupine Tree, is an artist from the UK who, through his various side projects, has spanned a vast number of musical ideas and concepts. Some of the styles he has been known to utilize are heavy prog, psychedelic, electronica, post-rock, ambient music, drone, metal, and art rock. Furthermore, WILSON is intensely focused on production values, dynamic mixing and mastering, and all other sorts of building albums that sound best in high-quality systems. In short, WILSON has always been an artist that appeals to audiophiles and fans of meticulously produced music. This shows up strongly in each of his bands and projects, but it plays even more of a role in his solo efforts.

Though some of his earliest musical recordings were demos that predated even Porcupine Tree, his solo releases did not truly start appearing until his "Cover Version" singles began in 2003. Essentially releasing one a year, each "Cover Version" contained a particularly unconventional song that WILSON chose to reproduce and one original song by WILSON. Also, in 2004, WILSON put out his experimental electronic album "Unreleased Electronic Music Vol. 1." Neither the "Cover Version" singles nor "Unreleased Electronic Music" feature any other performers, aside from some input from THEO TRAVIS on the latter.

That trend changed at the end of 2008, however, when WILSON released his first full-length, proper solo album, "Insurgentes." Featuring, among others, PORCUPINE TREE drummer Gavin Harrison, Prog bass legend TONY LEVIN, current DREAM THEATER keyboardist JORDAN RUDESS, and saxophonist/flautist THEO TRAVIS, "Insurgentes" proves rather quickly that it is not simply another ambient or electronic release. Toying with many of the styles that can be seen in PORCUPINE TREE, "Insurgentes" is a mature, laid-back album marked by less metal and more noise than PT's later albums. WILSON has stated that the album draws a lot of influence from shoe gazer, post-punk, and drone music.

Essentially, before "Insurgentes," WILSON used his solo moniker for a final catch-all for some of his music, making it difficult to draw comparisons to other bands. Nevertheless, "Insurgentes" makes it possible to site some bands with similar sound. Of notable similarity or inspiration are RADIOHEAD, JOY DIVISION, GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR, THE MARS VOLTA, and other WILSON projects such as BASS COMMUNION and PORCUPIN...
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Hand. Cannot. Erase.Hand. Cannot. Erase.
KSCOPE 2015
Audio CD$6.47
$6.78 (used)
The Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other StoriesThe Raven That Refused to Sing: And Other Stories
KSCOPE 2013
Audio CD$6.42
$6.50 (used)
Grace for DrowningGrace for Drowning
Kscope 2011
Audio CD$4.13
$3.96 (used)
Cover VersionCover Version
Kscope 2014
Audio CD$7.69
$7.87 (used)
Drive HomeDrive Home
CD+DVD
Kscope 2013
Audio CD$7.38
$7.98 (used)
Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]Get All You Deserve [Blu-ray]
Multiple Formats · Blu-ray
Kscope 2012
Blu-ray$10.29
$9.29 (used)
Insurgentes (CD & DVD)Insurgentes (CD & DVD)
Kscope 2009
Audio CD$10.77
$6.98 (used)
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STEVEN WILSON discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

STEVEN WILSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.82 | 771 ratings
Insurgentes
2008
4.21 | 1333 ratings
Grace for Drowning
2011
4.30 | 1412 ratings
The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
2013
4.35 | 672 ratings
Hand. Cannot. Erase.
2015

STEVEN WILSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.26 | 149 ratings
Catalogue/Preserve/Amass
2012

STEVEN WILSON Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.48 | 123 ratings
Insurgentes - The Movie
2010
4.59 | 236 ratings
Get All You Deserve
2012

STEVEN WILSON Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.84 | 94 ratings
Nsrgnts Rmxs
2009
2.98 | 67 ratings
Cover Version
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Transience
2015

STEVEN WILSON Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.72 | 36 ratings
Cover Version
2003
3.62 | 34 ratings
Cover Version II
2004
3.67 | 36 ratings
Cover Version III
2005
3.75 | 36 ratings
Unreleased Electronic Music
2005
3.85 | 32 ratings
Cover Version IV
2006
3.41 | 37 ratings
Cover Version V
2008
4.48 | 62 ratings
Harmony Korine
2009
3.66 | 48 ratings
Vapour Trail Lullaby
2010
3.59 | 35 ratings
Cover Version 6 plus full collection bundle
2010
3.67 | 6 ratings
Demos
2010
4.12 | 41 ratings
Postcard
2011
4.07 | 15 ratings
Cut Ribbon
2012
3.91 | 73 ratings
Drive Home
2013

STEVEN WILSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Sweetheart

4 stars Wilson and T introduced me to progressive rock. I really like Steve Wilson's way of creating atmosphere a lot. On the other hand, sometimes a few more breaks and twists would be required to maintain interest for the whole duration. But sure this is criticism on a high high level. The production is wonderful, and though I think it would do the music good to have a more prolific singer, this is not really a minus for the cd. I am very thankful for the music being a bit pop-like. Else I would never have found out about this "genre" at all! In the end, this counts for a lot, although it might be a minus with reference to being "progressive ". Or maybe it really isn't?

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 Grace for Drowning by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2011
4.21 | 1333 ratings

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Grace for Drowning
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

4 stars It's really an inescapable stereotype isn't it? Steven Wilson's music is depressing, it's boring and it's unoriginal.

I'll let you have this, friends, it's not the busiest music around, and while listening to the opening ballad "Grace For Drowning", it seems to hold true, despite some beautiful playing by my boy, Jordan Rudess. But it doesn't take long before "Sectarian" kicks in, an instrumental ode to Morse-era Spock? Plenty of action here, but again, it really does seem a bit too lively to be conceived by Wilson. Then again, his solo repertoire differs vastly from his Porcupine Tree work, like (or believe) it or not.

I'll also concede the fact that it is a bit more depressing mood wise. "Hand. Cannot. Erase." is probably the happiest album Steven Wilson is ever going to release. But that's not entirely bad. Songs like "Deform To Form A Star" sound very PT, and thus, might be very boring, Wilson always keeps stuff happening. Overlapping harmonies from his vocals, the periodic guitar solo, Rudess' piano playing and the mildly interesting drumming from Nic France, and the addition of instruments like the sax and clarinet just add so much color and depth you never got from old Porcupine Tree albums.

And that I think is the brilliance of Wilson's solo work. It's still very much reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, but it just sounds more interesting. "No Part Of Me" could be constituted as another typical Wilson ballad, but with the little twinkling bell tone pattern that repeats in the intro, the electronic drums adding tension and drama and the excellent string section (not samples, so you know he's serious here). But then, just when he has you fooled, Wilson throws in some rhythmic claps ,and that's when you know it's going down for real (to quote some guy, think his name is Flo Rida?) The guitars pick up and the actual drums enter close the second half of the song in style behind a sick sax solo by Theo Travis.

But Wilson really does know how to create beautiful songs. "Postcard" is probably right at the top there, with "Raider Prelude" being another interlude filled with beautiful choir vocals and "Remainder The Black Dog" channeling Pink Floyd's down-tempo jams and jazzy, bluesy vibes, before diving into some distorted power chords and rocking out to some sick clarinet and sax solos, one of my favorites of the album.

This album really marks the culmination of Wilson's sound, to me, as "Insurgentes" sounded almost too like Porcupine Tree. There are some catchy songs there, more than any other Wilson solo album, but it also didn't feel like an original style. This album does.

The second disc isn't as good as the first, in my opinion. The acoustic main intro "Belle De Jour" is just sort of there, not really much substance or melody to carry my attention, and "Index" and "Track One" are more haunting atmospheric soundscapes than actual songs. "Raider II" is the jewel of the oyster, here. Soft soft, loud stuff, haunting melodies, technical prowess, this song has it all (And frankly makes me wonder why they couldn't have just made this a one disc album with this being the closer? It would've worked) "Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye", while it's another typical, but beautiful Wilson ballad, I still feel like most of them are just B-sides to accompany "Raider II".

This album has its gems and misses, but it's the beginning of Wilson's own sound and style. Much more diverse than "Insurgentes", but not as complete as "Hand", in my opinion. Most of the songs on the second disc I think are just filler to accompany "Raider II", apart from perhaps "Like Dust". That said, it's still got some tunes, good for any Tree or Wilson fan.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Oh happy days, now I can finally get to review some Steven Wilson, surely one of, if not the most polarizing figure in prog these days.

(I'll also try to refrain from calling him the David Gilmore of Porcupine Trees' "Pink Floyd", if you get the connection)

And surely the old prog faithful lambaste him for being boring, pathetic, unoriginal. And yet apparently David Gilmore wasn't on his solo albums, yet I could make the same argument there, lest I get persecuted by the old Pink Floyd faithful. Except those two bands, Floyd and Tree, sure got an awful lot in common.

But perhaps I'll get to that in a future Wilson album, I don't want to discuss that here.

Especially here on a more lively album in Wilson's repertoire. Yes, the album is based on a young girl's life and death (or murder), but especially on "3 Years Later", it's in much higher spirits than "Grace For Drowning" or "Insurgentes". It seems kinda funny since Porcupine Tree was one of those bands that seemed to always produce depressing music, or at least, that's what it appeared on the surface, underneath though there was so much more action happening.

"3 Years Older" is a perfect example. The instrumental intro is so lively and spritely, and Wilson's vocal harmonics are always a pleaser in my mind, very Beatles-esque those harmonic overlays, something surprisingly absent in most music these days. And the outro is spiffy as well. Then again, I shouldn't be surprised since we got Guthrie Govan on guitars, bit of a technical guy, but focuses more melodically than just straight shredding. And then you got Marco Minneman on the beats, frankly the closest guy you can get to replace someone of Gavin Harrison's character: he made most of those Porcupine Tree songs so much more interesting, he saved about half those.

But it really is a rare specimen, this. Wilson is only good at making depressing music, how the hell can he write happy music? Simple, by focusing on the simpler things.

"Hand Cannot Erase" is about as simple as it can get. Apart from the syncopation in Wilson's vocals, it sounds like a happy pop rock track, and "Perfect Life" just oozes ambiance and warmth. It doesn't get any better than that. One of, if not the biggest keys to Wilson's success and fame is this: he knows how to set the mood, and that can make or break an album, let alone a single song. Without the right atmosphere or mood set at the beginning of a song, the listener is left without an anchor to grab onto. Thus, he/she is less likely to be interested throughout the remainder of the song. Sure, there are some songs that are saved by future material, but they're just the exceptions to the rule.

And even the material just seems to sound right with what's going on. "Routine" is the perfect title for this song, it sounds typical, like a slow PT tribute song, but when you take into account the lyrics, and the monotony of it all, it somehow works. It's a soundtrack to an unfilmed movie that actually works.

Of course, the myth is that Wilson doesn't like fast action, that he prefers soft, slow, depressing blah. 1) That's absolute garbage. 2) You probably haven't listened to "Home Invasion" yet.

The title is self explanatory if you're following the dialog, but it's just such a groovy piece, with rock organ providing a little pizzazz, Minneman rocking like a fiend through time signature changes and groovy fills. It's a non-stop ride, with Govan providing some meat in his riffs as well. This is a jam, very blusey, very Pink Floydian like (oops, did I just mention them again?). One of the highlights of the album. And it just flows right into "Regret #9", another jam filled with fantastic keyboard and guitar solos. It's wonderful, a modern interpretation of Floyd if I've ever heard.

Yes, there are more somber spots, the acoustic driven "Transience" is one, and the electronic drum led intro of "Ancestral" is another, the latter moving in and out of mysterious, dissonant chords, with Ninet Tayeb providing some wonderfully haunting vocals here and there. Clearly, we're in the sad part of the story, so there's not going to be much happy here, but there are licks, by Govan and Minneman, before it all spastically accelerates to the finish with some quips from flute contributor Theo Travis before an almost Dream Theater-like finish.

"Happy Returns" is the final song of interest before the outro "Ascendent". It's another Wilsonian acoustic led ballad, but it's not really depressing. Unlike Dream Theater's "Metropolis, Pt. 2" which was "mostly" focused on the tragedy, and the mourning of a passing, this album seems more the opposite, more focused on the celebration of a life once lived. And yes, there are many nods to Pink Floyd that I hear, but I can't compare Wilson to Gilmore or Floyd to Tree anymore. Both are separate identities, the bands and the men. Gilmore, thriving in an age of space rock that contemplated human behaviors, Wilson, thriving in an age of pop that also contemplated human behaviors. Both are the same, living in different eras.

Except, not. Gilmore, to me, couldn't survive creating his own identity from his mothership band. Wilson couldn't have survived UNLESS he created his own identity from his mothership band. And the main reason for this difference, is Roger Waters. I'd like to think Gavin Harrison save a lot of PT songs from being boring, but then again, throw another prog drummer like Minneman here for example, and all is well. Wilson didn't have another mind (or ego, if you talk to some) like Gilmore did with Waters. Floyd couldn't survive in its famous state with those two butting heads. Tree, to me, could've survived as a Wilson solo project, even though their last album seemed to be rather created without an interest in actually making it from the band.

In the end, though, there are some genuinely good tunes to listen to here, not just an album that's best appreciated all the way through once in a while, which hurt some of PT and Wilson albums in the past. Original? Not in the slightest. But is it good? I'd say so. Revolutionary? Not really, but then again, what is anymore? What Wilson has done is take a beloved sound of Porcupine Tree and infused some life in it, partially from his backing band, and partially from his compositional skills, skills that dare I say could even rival that of one sir Paul McCartney? The resemblance is uncanny, and NO, it's not because they're both British.

But now with several grenades thrown, you, the unlucky reviewer who just read this entire piece of crap, can decide with your opinion. The decision on the wealth of music on this album has already been made: Almost certainly it'll be one of the best albums of the year, by far.

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 The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.30 | 1412 ratings

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The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories)
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by RaelWV

4 stars I've had a strange relationship with Steven Wilson. Or with his music, anyway.

My first exposure to his stuff was Porcupine Tree's The Sky Moves Sideways, which left me completely unimpressed. It wasn't until I heard Porcupine Tree in their later, more streamlined Stupid Dream phase (via a webcast of their set at NEARFest) that something clicked. I've been a fan since, although I've not dug back into the older stuff (Sky . . . still doesn't really do it for me).

Given that Porcupine Tree is essentially Wilson's baby, it made sense to check out his other stuff. I really like most of what I've heard of No-Man (his collaboration with vocalist Tim Bowness) and would really like to get my hands on his droney ambient project Bass Communion (they're maddeningly hard to come by). So when Wilson went "solo," such as it was, I came along for the ride.

His first album, Insurgentes, mined a lot of his influences that were tangential to progressive rock, if they had any relation at all. As such, it's not overtly "proggy," but has a pan-genre inclusiveness to it that makes it really interesting. I like it more than most people, however. Grace for Drowning, his second effort, wore the influences of his work remixing the King Crimson catalog and went down a much more prog-through-the-lens-of-jazz path. In spite of an amazing list of collaborators, Grace . . . has never done much for me.

Which brings us to The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories). To tour Grace . . . Wilson put together a killer band that included Marco Minnemann, Theo Travis, and Nick Beggs. From that tour he took those guys right back into the studio for The Raven . . .., hoping to capture some of the energy of the live shows.

The result is pretty impressive, even though it doesn't get me as excited as it does many prog fans. The Raven sounds even more like an homage to 70s symphonic prog, right down to the extensive use of the original King Crimson Mellotron (it pays to be friends with Bob Fripp). It's used to particularly good effect near the end of "Luminol," which in other places fires off riffs that remind me of "21st Century Schizoid Man" (or, more recently, another Wilson collaborator ? Steve Hackett's "Mechanical Bride"). The highlight for me is "Holy Drinker," with some fantastic organ and synth bits. The title track is also a beautiful, mournful cap to the whole experience.

I've lived with Grace for Drowning since it came out, waiting for it to grow on me and rip my head off. It's never happened. But in the few weeks I've had to digest The Raven . . ., I've found myself warming to it noticeably. Not an immediate "wow," but definitely an impressive, layered grower. There's nothing wrong with that.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by RaelWV

4 stars Without a doubt, Steven Wilson is the modern standard bearer for progressive rock. Over the course of four solo albums since putting Porcupine Tree on hiatus, Wilson has reached a standard of success other proggers just dream of. All right, he's not Katy Perry, but his new album, Hand. Cannot. Erase., debut not just in the charts in Europe but near the top of several. For a guy who's spent the last few years channeling King Crimson, Yes, and a host of other terminally unfashionable bands (while remixing chunks of their back catalogs), that ain't bad.

What's more, Wilson's done by producing four albums that are distinct from each other but still sound clearly like him. Where The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) fully embraced its 1970s proggy roots, Hand. Cannot. Erase. casts a wider net, harkening back not only to some of the more tuneful bits of Porcupine Tree (think Stupid Dream or Lightbulb Sun) but also other Wilson projects like Blackfield or even No-Man. As a result, the album is more accessible, but no less interesting. Each track, whether it's an acoustic vocal piece or a frenzied prog workout, is deftly constructed and performed.

The performance comes largely from the band assembled to tour Grace for Drowning (and which made The Raven . . .), with some interesting additions, including a choir and some effective strings (arranged by the ever talented Dave Stewart). Wilson does a lot of work himself, but he leaves the spotlight stuff to others, particularly guitarist Guthrie Govan, who has his usual shreddy self reigned in somewhat, to great effect. There's even a piece that's basically spoken word, although I think it's probably the weakest effort here.

Hand. Cannot. Erase. is a concept album, inspired by the story of Joyce Carol Vincent ? a woman who died in her apartment and wasn't found for three years. She reportedly wasn't a loner or recluse, had friends and family. Wilson was drawn to the story by wondering how she got there. As a result, this is kind of like Wilson's run at Brave, the Marillion album inspired by a BBC report about a uncommunicative girl wandering on the Severn Bridge. The album is Steve Hogarth's attempt to figure out how the girl got there.

The comparison is inevitable and, unfortunately, Hand. Cannot. Erase. suffers for it. Hogarth and company are expert at picking you up and wringing every bit of emotion out of you. You feel for the girl in Brave, even if you never quite understand what went on in her head (there are also some broader swipes at the society in general that might have driven her there). Wilson doesn't work the same way, preferring a more detached observational approach. He's very Kubrickian in that way, which isn't a bad thing (I loves me some Stanley), but it does make for a stark contrast.

All in all, Hand. Cannot. Erase. is another great effort from Wilson. Highly recommended.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Progkid

5 stars This album is the story of our generation. I am a 15 year old and this album exactly represents my life. It shows a lot about our generation, if we were to disappear we wouldn't run away but instead just lock ourselves in our homes and sadly no one cares, this is what the story tells us. When I heard the raven I thought it was almost impossible to better it, but still he won my(and certainly others) hearts.I am gonna do a track by track review(please forgive if it's bad I am a newbie)

1- First Regret: 8.5/10 it is the perfect introduction to the album, at the start you hear the sound of laughter and maybe rain too, that perfectly suits the mood of the album and the title talks about regret so you get the idea of the sad nature of the album from here itself

2. 3 Years Older- 9/10 the guitar at the start of the album is somewhat uplifting yet there's a sadness in the music that speaks for itself you get to understand how brilliant steven truly is.The line 'its complicated' itself describes the situation. Its basically just being locked up and thinking about the events that happend in your life, the anger and the sadness it brought to you and how you are moving towards medics. It asks a simple question, why do people like us still stay in a society that doesn't appreciate us 'life is not some silly game' it says and what a true statement

3. Hand Cannot Erase- 9/10 its a love song, but a complicated simple one, its about missing people in your life, regretting of all those fights you've had and remembering the time you spent with them, how you thought nothing could ever go wrong. But still after all those times even though you aren't together You still love him/her

4. Perfect Life- 9/10 It's.....beautiful...it is about remembering good times and how you had a perfect life but for me it seems its a dream like how you dream of the people you love, holding hands, running here and there, hugging and smiling then suddenly they vanish and you wake up from your dream, and then just wish if they would come back, Steven's voice shows this perfectly at around 2:10 when he starts singing 'we have got a perfect life' in the most uplifting manner, he keeps repeating those lines but in a way you always keep asking for more

P.S happens to me last night

5. Routine- 10/10 Miss N Tayab is a beautiful singer I am glad she is in this album, she's got a voice perfect for this situation(add Steven and the band into the music and just imagine) This song is basically when you're tired of living alone, you wake up, do your work, get bored, go to sleep without anyone to talk to, it represents the desperation of a tortured soul, musically its one of the best pieces on the album, 9 mins in length and pure prog #donteverletgo

Home Invasion- 8/10: the title seems like an alien invasion but for me its about the effect internet has on humans, it's a funky piece and reflects the anger and irritation of a human in a situation like that, when you're fed up doing the same thing again and again, downloading things to help pass your time but yet you're gonna get tired sometime, it has quite angrier lyric than the rest, 'download the ocean and the sky'( funny when you're away from them) when you think why download things that I haven't seen for days, you can't 'download the life you wish you had'... time passes you by and you're here doing nothing

Regret #9 - 9/10 great guitar!! Guthrie you are such a genius, it carries on the angry mood from the past song perfectly yet adds a bit of disappointment and sadness

Transience- 9.5/10 A hidden gem, its the most sentimental piece on the album for me 'a child in a train distressed as it departs' its when you leave everyone, and forced to go away

Ancestral - 10/10 I wish I could give it more than 10, but I can't... that solo around 4 is the best I have heard in years and Theo does his best in this song, actually all the members are at their best in it, its the climax of the album, its realizing you can't change the society the way it is and neither can hide away forever, it's when you give up isolation and are ready to use your wings again to fly high in the sky cause as everything in life it will pass too, Prog at its finest

Happy Returns/ascendant here on - 10/10 : its a sad ending to a beautiful album(happier in terms of the real incident in where she dies) its when you return to normal and then find that you weren't missed at much, it makes you cry, his angelic voice in this song just breaks me

this album shows that if someone wanted to run away they wouldnt escape but go into the middle of the city where each of them are busy with themselves and have no time and compassion for others

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Jazz-Rock/Fusion/Canterbury Team

5 stars Leave it to the genius of Steven Wilson to pick up on the disturbing story of London socialite Joyce Vincent and make the marvel and mystery of her death into the inspiration for an album --a brilliant album full of the musings and vignettes of subtle criticism of our 21st Century society. The possibility that a young, popular, almost-engaged woman of caring parents could go three years without being discovered or missed seems ludicrous, even impossible. Especially when considering that the television was on, the window wide open, and the mail and bills kept piling up inside on the floor of her front door--for three years! Amazing. What makes Steven Wilson such a genius, to me, is not his reverence for the "masters" and "masterpieces" of the past, not his incredible attention to detail in the engineering and production rooms, not his proclivity for attracting the most amazing instrumentalists to contribute to his songs and tours, but it is in his insightful articulation of the ills of contemporary society. And he's done it almost from the beginning--at least from Lightbulb Sun on. I actually don't like much of his music--as sophisticated and catchy as it is, as well- constructed and well-performed as it is, as well-produced as it is, it is usually lacking something, je ne said quoi, (I can never pinpoint it)--which is what makes me rarely feel the desire to return to many of his albums. In Steven Wilson I recognize the true genius in his lyrics, his subtle yet oh-so timely and poignant soical commentary. When we look back in 50 years for music that gave us a look at the real issues troubling our society in the opening of the 21st Century, we will be able to find it in the songs of Steven Wilson. Hand. Cannot. Erase. is definitely a work of genius, definitely a testament to our troubled times. Whereas some groups choose to focus on the big picture issues like Anekdtoen, Ulver, and Paatos, Steven Wilson chooses to focus on the microcosm--on individuals or scenes that provide us with pictures into the imbalances in our society, the odd patterns in our collective and individual consciousnesses, the disease eating away at our souls. Kudos to you, Steven, for continuing to find the cojones, the drive, as well as the right stories to satisfy your obvious need to place that ever-disturbing mirror in front of our eyes. We are such an odd--disturbingly odd--species!

The album starts off rather weakly, trying ever-so hard to breach the chasm of pop and prog for the first four songs (the fourth of which, "Perfect Life," just happens to be awesome and, yes, haunting). Yet, it's really not until the fifth song, "Routine" that Mr. Wilson and company reach the prog stride that will be necessary to please us progheads. From there on, however, the album is pure magic, power and bliss. Brilliant prog songs. Brilliant vignettes into individual lives which Mr. Wilson masterfully uses to illuminate the dysfunctional patterns and priorities that are eating way at our society.

Though not all of Hand. Cannot. Erase. is my cup of tea, I cannot argue with its masterpiece status. Steven Wilson has, once again, contributed something quite significant to posterity.

Five star songs: songs 4 through 9.

Favorite songs: "Perfect Life," "Routine," "Regret #9," and "Transience."

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Steven Wilson's latest endeavor takes us to a more "song" oriented album but with plenty of adventerous and innovative instrumental excursions to keep most Prog fans happy. I really think his other job in re-mixing seventies classics has had a very big influence on the way he made this album. The common factor with the classics by GENESIS, YES, KING CRIMSON etc. was the ability of these bands to make accessible and melodic tunes but at the same time veer off into experimental and complex instrumental passages. I feel that same connection with "Hand.Cannot.Erase". This is the first solo album from Wilson that made me think of PORCUPINE TREE quite often, yet it still has that aspect that made me think of some of his earlier solo stuff.

This is a concept album of sorts based on the strange story of Joyce Carol Vincent who was found dead in her apartment and she had been there dead for almost three years. When Steven watched the documentory on her life he just couldn't get it out of his head so here he relays a fictional story inspired by the real life story of Joyce Carol Vincent who was 38 years old at her death and by all accounts popular and attractive. So how did no one find her sooner? Steven weaves a story about a female who grows up and moves to the city and becomes isolated, lonely, nostalgic of her childhood, and he also delves into the internet aspect of her life and how it connects to these things.

So this story is being told from a female perspective but mostly it's her internal thoughts and the more isolated she becomes the more her thoughts become surreal. Steven decided to look for a female singer for some of this music because of this and was looking for a Kate Bush- like singer and it wasn't until he heard Ninet Tayeb at Aviv Geffen's suggestion that he found his singer. Man she has an amazing voice.

Some excellent guests on here including Dave Gregory the former lead guitarist for XTC one of Wilson's favourite bands as well as Dave Stewart once again helping with arrangements and more. My oldest daughter got me this through I-Tunes and it's interesting how on that download he combines "First Regret" and "3 Years Older" along with "Home Invasion" and "Regret #9" and "Happy Returns" and "Ascendant Here On".

"First Regret" is 2 minutes of hearing children laughing in the background as atmosphere rolls in and builds. It all stops as relaxed piano melodies and atmosphere take over. Drums are added late. "3 Years Older" features strummed guitar that takes over quickly followed by a full sound. I'm in heaven and check out the drum work. Killer bass lines follow then a RUSH-vibe before the guitar solos over top. It calms right down as Wilson's reserved vocals arrive. The vocal harmonies are a pleasure, very CSN&Y-like. "I will love you more than you will ever know" is a cool line. It kicks in hard but then settles quickly with piano. So much emotion here. Themes are repeated then we get an incredible instrumental workout late to the end. That RUSH vibe is back late. "Hand.Cannot.Erase" is one of the most addictive songs i've heard, especially the chorus. This has a driving rhythm and great lyrics.

"Perfect Life" is another catchy tune with emotion. Atmosphere to start then a drum machine as spoken female words arrive from a British actress. Steven comes in vocally on the chorus. This is simple but so emotional. The collage of instrumental sounds is breath- taking. "Routine" is a track that many have said is the best song on Wilson's current tour. Ninet Tayeb sings on this one and her voice has such character. Fragile vocals from Wilson and relaxed piano to start. My God! It picks up some and atmosphere is added. Ninet follows and man this is so emotional. A calm 3 minutes in until it picks up after 4 minutes and my emotion is triggered once again. A beautiful guitar solo follows then Ninet is back vocally after 5 minutes. Damn! She blows me away before 6 1 /2 minutes.

"Home Invasion" just slays. We get some Funk, Jazz and spacey sections, the latter that recalls early PORCUPINE TREE. Man Holzman kills on the keyboards here, but they all impress instrumentally. Vocals 3 1/2 minutes in and they sound determined. That spacey passage comes in after 4 minutes. Love this tune. "Regret #9" is an instrumental with a moog solo and even some banjo. An insane moog solo kicks in fairly early and goes on and on as it builds in intensity followed by an amazing guitar solo. The last minute is reflective with the sounds of children in the distance. "Transience" has reserved vocals and picked guitars with atmosphere. STORM COROSSION comes to mind here. The drifting harmonies remind me of PORCUPINE TREE.

"Ancestral" is the longest track at 13 1/2 minutes and it would have fit well on "Grace For Drowning". Wilson's voice sounds different here and Theo Travis plays sax and flute. So much depth before 4 minutes then a guitar solo. Ninet is back vocally with these vocal melodies before actually singing words. Love the guitar that follows. This is dark with some killer drum work as it builds. Kicking ass 7 minutes in, mellotron too. It's mind bending after 8 1/2 minutes and they lay the soundscape waste a minute later. An amazing guitar solo follows. "Happy Returns" is laid back with piano as strummed guitar and vocals join in. It gets fuller and the words and vocals bring emotion. A full sound 2 1/2 minutes in, so beautiful a minute later. Love the guitar late that is followed by a haunting atmosphere. It blends into "Ascendant Here On" as piano joins in and the faint sounds of children.

What can I say? This will probably be my favourite album of 2015 and it's a top three Wilson album for me with "Insurgents" and "Grace For Drowning".

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Blackwater Floyd

5 stars Every year he's published something SW has amazed us. Every record is different and unique in its own way, but they all carry that vibe, that sound, that masterful production, that genius... SW has yet to disappoint. Hand.Cannot.Erase is not what you'd expect but is flawless anyway. More pop oriented (if pop is really the way to put it) that his previous two releases, this entry carries inside a PT feel to it, mixed with the musicianship that SW's band brings in. Fabulous performances are heard all the way through, Nick Beggs in almost every song, Ninet Tayeb's hauntingly beautiful vocals in Routine and Ancestral, Adam Holzman's unmistakeable keyboards, Marco Minneman's prescence (in my opinion, one of the greatest drummers alive) and Guthrie Govan's talent. Every SW solo album has been a masterpiece with a unique touch, and this is no exception.

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 Hand. Cannot. Erase. by WILSON, STEVEN album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.35 | 672 ratings

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Hand. Cannot. Erase.
Steven Wilson Crossover Prog

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams

4 stars Here is a case for giving an album some time before posting an opinion on it. I purchased this album on the day of it's release. At first listen, I liked it, but thought it was nothing special. But the production was so nice, I kept it in my heavy play rotation for quite some time. I've come to think of it as a great album, but not as good as the previous "The Raven That Refused To Sing".

The exceptional songs are 3 Years Older, which begins with a Rush-like riff, but soon settles into a song with the structure and feel of a Neil Morse Spock's Beard era epic, and Ancestral which I believe owes more than a little to King Crimson's Starless.

Just behind those two are the more straight ahead rockers Home Invasion and Regret #9, both powerful and familiar sounding tracks with impressive passionate solos.

Even on the lesser tracks Wilson shows his talent as producer. The title track is more of an alt rock piece than anything else, and A Perfect Life, a repetitious euro-electronica song that, in other hands, may have been unlistenable. Both are strengthened by Wilson's fine ear for finding the perfect tone for his instruments. It shows why so many classic acts are hiring him for the remix on the bicentennial celebrations of our favorite albums.

If you don't like this at first, give it a chance.

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Thanks to dean for the artist addition.

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