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Steven Wilson - 4  CD (album) cover

4

Steven Wilson

 

Crossover Prog

3.56 | 448 ratings

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Evolver
Special Collaborator
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This release by Steven Wilson in 2016 is not exactly an album. It's a compilation of tracks recorded in the past few years, a few leftover songs from his last two studio albums, some outlying songs not yet released, and one live version of a Porcupine Tree piece, from Wilson's 2015 tour.

The star of this album, to me, other than Wilson's always perfect production, is bassist Nick Beggs. His playing seems to lift even the most mundane spots to higher levels.

The songs, from worst (relatively) to best:

"Year Of the Plague" - recorded during the "Raven That Refused To Sing" sessions and "Sunday Rain Sets In" - from the "Hand. Cannot. Erase." sessions are both somewhat short, low key instrumentals, that sound to me like they were meant to just carry along a theme on the aforementioned albums. They are nice, but on their own here, not memorable out of context.

"Happiness III", also from the "Hand. Cannot. Erase." sessions, is a nice psychedelic piece, based on a minor/major 2-chord progression that too many lesser bands overused in the 1970s.

"My Book of Regrets" is a more typical Wilson piece, starting with an alt-rock sound, and building to pure modern prog. Much of this was recorded live, and then overdubbed in the studio, but just as in many of Frank Zappa's similarly produced works, the issues usually apparent in live recordings do not come through.

"Don't Hate Me", known from the 1998 Porcupine Tree version, played live by Wilson's recent touring band, starts out nice, but when Beggs' bass takes off, it lifts the piece to new heights.

The crown jewel of this disk is "Vermillioncore", which starts out with a smooth jam, reminiscent of King Crimson's "A Sailors Tale", and builds to a crescendo which sounds more like the 2000's version of the same band. Beautiful piece.

Then album is short for these days, coming in at 36 minutes. And as a leftovers collection they don't always flow together.

So. the songs range from somewhat good to great. I'd rate the album 3.5 stars, but I'll round it down to differentiate it from the absolutely 4 star albums "The Raven That Refused To Sing" and "Hand. Cannot. Erase."

Evolver | 3/5 |

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