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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Steven Wilson Presents Intrigue: Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979-89 CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

4.73 | 6 ratings

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Prog Dog
5 stars Why do we need this collection of post-70s UK prog and art rock tunes? Didn't the 80s suck for prog??

You won't find any Genesis, Yes, or Asia in this collection but you will find solid proof that even after the seeming collapse of the progressive musical empire of the 70s- brought on by the rise of an upstart punk rebellion- prog lived on! Even if it did go underground. In fact, we even learn that punk and prog could form surreptitious collaborations.

I wish I could have been best friends with Steven Wilson during the golden decades of music in the UK, but unfortunately, I grew up in a boring old place called Canada. However, thanks to this new collection of rare prog- tinged tracks from 1979-89, I can feel like I have been transported to Steven's rec room, where we are surrounded by albums on a shag carpet while he plays me his favourite tracks.

This is a massive little collection Steven curated in collaboration with Demon Music Group. The collection I have is a 4 CD set with an exceptionally beautiful and well-designed small hard-cover book (It's also available in vinyl format). It's loaded with carefully curated songs released out of the UK. There are about 14 songs per disc. I have to say even just cracking into the first disc has been more impactful than I expected. I only got as far as 10 tracks into disc one in my first listen. Same thing happened in the next two listens, but happily so. There was so much there to absorb and enjoy, and I was only getting started! The logic of events have proven to me this is probably the most practical way to attack this selection - piecemeal and spread out over many listening sessions.

The book that houses the CDs is top quality. The articles (technically called liner notes) about each song and well written, and accompanied by photos of the original album artwork. There's also a substantial introduction by Wilson. Listening and enjoying this set has been a revelation and a pure pleasure, even if is a bit of a project because it's so vast and diverse. Each time I sit down to tackle some more songs, book in hand, I feel like I'm walking slowly through a modern art gallery, guided by a knowledgeable docent.

Some of the tracks are even remixes by Steven himself.

There's a few artists I knew well, like Tears for Fears, Japan, Kate Bush, David Sylvain...but out of about 50 selections, they were only a tiny slice. Steven avoided picking obvious tracks and dug for the more unique music.

I highly recommend this set for several reasons. Firstly, it features a collection of inspiring music that is truly remarkable. Secondly, the liner notes, written by James Nice, are deserving of a Grammy Award, and provide valuable insight into the music and its creators. Lastly, the packaging of the set is exceptional, making it a beautiful addition to any music collection. It's a trip though some of the best that the 80s had to offer but most mainstreamers will consider obscure and weird- God bless 'em. Six tracks didn't make it to the finish line due to legal or permission issues, but Steven lists them off for you to search out on your own.

Before making a decision, it might be worth reviewing the track listing to avoid redundancy. However, I would be surprised to find anyone other than Steven Wilson who already owns the majority of these tracks.

Oh hey, Steven... I would love to see a future curated collection of 80's art-rock and prog-tinged music released from other parts of the world. It would be highly intriguing and I am definitely interested in hearing what you would come up with.

Steven Wilson, donning a brown Indiana Jones Fedora hat, has unearthed and dusted off significant musical treasures of post-70s prog and alternative rock from the UK. The accompanying well reasearched book makes this a university course-worth of material- a gift that will keep on giving for the prog-curious and then some.

Prog Dog | 5/5 |


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