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Steven Wilson - Hand. Cannot. Erase. CD (album) cover


Steven Wilson


Crossover Prog

4.30 | 1605 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I missed out on the preorder for the deluxe version of this album so I wll focus on the surround sound DVD and talk about on on a more personal level as there are already many detailed reviews of the music itself.

This is an album that will mark my 50th birthday for the rest of my life. It arrived about a month prior and will be one of three 2015 releases to do so, but this one will likely have the most meaning as time progresses. If you peel away the surface story, it's all about growing older, which we do everyday, and the regrets you encounter over a lifetime. Particular touching for me are the lyrics in Happy Returns addressed to a brother that one has lost touch with, but I will spare you the details.

I was amused to see an interview with Steven, where he was asked about the possiblity of a Porcupine Tree reunion and about his moving on to a "solo" career. To paraphrase: he felt he had said all he had to say through Porcupine Tree and moved on to the self titled albums so he could explore new musical territory that he couldn't in the band due to the other members particular musical tastes and what that brought to the band. This album actually impresses me as the most Porcupine Tree like music of his solo albums so far. It is particularly reminiscent to me of the albuma around and after Lightbulb Sun. Sure there are no females in the mix with PT, but come on. Not that I am complaining. Steven has a knack for putting out albums that alway appeal to me even if the feeling is not universal amonst some reviewers. This one is of course no exception.

I do have one question about Regret #9. What exactly is the regret here? That Steven didn't play anything on the track? That Adam Holzman is borrowing heavily from Jan Hammer and didn't give him a thanks a credits? That there are no vocals? I don't understand. Actually if this is reflective of a new band (the same musicians were present on The Raven That Refused To Sing) then I have no doubt their next album be equally as enjoyable.

So, I would recommend going with the blu-ray version if you have the means to play it back. It is certainly worth it for the surround sound listening experience, of which I think Steven is the undisputed master of. He has a real talent of surrounding you with the sounds be it his own music or remixing, progressive rock classics. It appears that all the artwork you would get in the deluxe version show up on screen as a coordinated slide show. Whoever laments the loss of the old LP sit down and listen experience, an album relased in this format certainly brings it back without the audio limitations and flaws of the vinyl medium. And after all it is a concept album.

Tons of bonus material on this version. A duplicate of the music with slide show and no vocals. Karaoke anyone? Some alternate version of the tracks.including a radio edit of Hand Cannot Erase (no Steven no!!!) There are also some additional images/slides included to go along with these tracks. Finally a studio documentary.

For those who can't do blu, there is a mediabook version with a high quality DVD audio disc, a standard CD version (no pretty video pictures though, as well as, sigh, a double LP version. He may have been able to spread the grooves far enough to overcome some of the audio limitations of that format, plus you get a nice LP package. I suppose you could also just download it, sigh, but why deprive yourself of a better listening experience?

At the Burning Shed store site it says Steven is a "four-time Grammy nominee and founder member of cult legends, Porcupine Tree." I knew the latter but not the former. That might explain why I saw a copy of the standard CD version available at a local chain electronics and appliance store...

Slartibartfast | 4/5 |


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