‘LAST DAY OF JUNE’ THE OFFICIAL SOUNDTRACK – CAROLINE INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL ALBUM RELEASED 1ST DECEMBER 2017

Steven Wilson has announced details of a new digital album, due for release on 1st December via Caroline International. ‘Last Day of June’ is the official soundtrack to the critically acclaimed PS4/Windows game of the same name.

Inspired entirely by the visuals and ideas from the video for Steven’s 2013 single Drive Home, ‘Last Day Of June’ is soundtracked by music from Steven’s first four albums – InsurgentesGrace for Drowningthe Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) and Hand. Cannot. Erase. – and his electronic/ambient project Bass Communion. All of the tracks included are specially re-edited instrumental versions created exclusively for the game (and this subsequent soundtrack), including alternate versions of Steven Wilson classics including Routine, The Raven That Refused To Sing and Deform to Form a Star. The result is a series of mesmeric, minimalist musical snapshots, each deeply evocative of autumnal melancholia.

Described by creator Massimo Guarini (from the multi award winning development studio Ovosonico) as “a game about love and loss”, Last Day of June was released in August via 505 Games. Reviews of the game praised it as “incredibly powerful… beautiful, melancholic…  an experience that I’m sure will stay with you” (Eurogamer) and “some pretty exceptional art” (Gaming Age).

Steven Wilson on ‘Last Day Of June’: “A couple of years ago I was asked if I’d be ok with some of the ideas from the video for Drive Home being used for the basis for a computer game. They wanted to explore further the characters that Hajo Müller drew so beautifully and that director Jess Cope gave life to. I had no idea how it might work, but was happy to let them show me. The game grew out of my music and that original video.

It’s been one of my long held ambitions to score a movie. In a way I feel like I’ve done it now. After sequencing these tracks – recorded all over the world with different musicians – it was amazing how much it felt like they were all written specifically for one cinematic project. I’d never thought computer games could be ‘art’ before – having seen and experienced Last Day Of June, I’m now convinced they can be.”

‘Last Day Of June’ tracklisting:

  1. Some Things Cannot Be Changed
  2. That Day by The Pier
  3. There Must Be A Way
  4. The Last Day Of June
  5. Suspended In Me
  6. Driving Home
  7. I’m Still Here…
  8. The Boy Who Lost His Friends
  9. The Crib
  10. Time For A New Start
  11. Suspended In You
  12. Under The Shadow Of My Father
  13. Accept
  14. Deceive
  15. Together, Forever Again

 

Steven Wilson’s fifth album To The Bone was released in August this year. It charted at No 3 in the UK and No 2 in Germany and was top 10 across the continent. Steven sets out on a previously announced world tour in January – the UK leg takes in three nights at the Royal Albert Hall in March (27th – 29th).

Steven Wilson website / online shop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Spotify complete discography

 

 

Review – no-man – Returning Jesus re-issue – by James R. Turner

A long awaited welcome re-issue from the 4th album by the No-Man pairing of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson, ‘Returning Jesus’ was the follow up to 1996’s ‘Wild Opera’, and was originally released in 2001, which was quite a big gap for the group, due to Steven Wilson’s profile raised somewhat by the success of Porcupine Tree no doubt.

Fully remastered and expanded to a double disc set, including a new remaster by Steven Wilson of the album, and plenty of b-sides, EP material and unreleased tracks, this is the definitive edition you might say.

As a connoisseur of remastered products, particularly those where Steven Wilson has been given a free hand, it’s a little disappointing that there isn’t a 5.1 mix, as No-Man records are perfect for 5.1 (the mix on ‘Together We’re Stronger’ for instance is sublime) still, that’s my only quibble with the reissuing, and as ever it should always be about the music and not the medium.

It’s hard to talk about ‘Returning Jesus’, as I tried it once but didn’t have the receipt, so Jesus is now living in my cupboard, still it’s nearly his birthday so I might get him out then…

I digress, the music maketh the album, and this is an excellent example of the collaborative skills of Bowness & Wilson, I have long stated the opinion that Tim Bowness is one of the finest vocalists around today, and having seen him perform with Henry Fool and his own solo shows, I can without a doubt keep repeating that opinion without fear of contradiction. Here, the beautifully haunting low key, almost minimalism of the opener Only Rain (which features performances from guests like Ben Christopher (guitar) the late Ian Carr (on plaintive trumpet) and David Kosten (synths) is the perfect symbiosis of Bowness’ vocals and Wilson’s music, the slow build and the evocative imagery is sublime.

The hauntingly wistful No Defence is one of those song stories that Tim specialises in lyrically and with some wonderful trumpet from Ian Dixon, it is another one of those wonderful No-Man songs that could be from a soundtrack.

In fact No-Man specialise in making movies using music, and these albums with their evocative lyrics and sublime widescreen performances transcend the normal, and take music into a different stratosphere.

(Both pictures of Steven and Tim by Carl Glover)

I adore the work of No-Man, and love the trilogy of albums that Tim has done recently, however I understand that this kind of music is very much mood music, you have to be in the right space mentally and emotionally to listen to No-Man, and bittersuite slow burners that grow like Close Your Eyes (8 minutes long on the main event, 7 minutes on the EP version from 1998 included here in the bonus tracks) is one of those heartwrenching songs that will either have you sobbing with the melancholy, or fill you with some kind of uplifting joy, and the guitar solo in there is an absolute belter by the way.

Music like this from No-Man seems to grow organically, and the length of the tracks show this, the shortest Slow it All Down being cut from the 5 minute demo on the 2nd disc to a 3:43 song on the actual album. I know some people think bonus tracks that weren’t originally released , were unreleased for a reason, but as an anorak I do like hearing demos and seeing how the final piece ended, it gives an interesting insight into the songwriting process, and whilst for some it’s the equivalent of breaking the 4th wall, for others it’s a part of the process we don’t always see, and I don’t see it as breaking the spell, for that reason the 5 demos on disc 2 are an interesting place to visit.

The fact that only 2 songs clock in at under 5 minutes shows how the music on this album grows into itself, there’s plenty of soft sounds and spaces that give the music room to live and breathe, and is very much a fantastic example of where less is more.

The star of the record is undoubtedly Tim Bowness’ vocals, and Steven Wilson sensibly allows the music to build around these, and on this album (and their others) the lyrics are as important as the music, and lets face it, when you are making an album with Tim Bowness singing, you don’t want to drown his voice out in a sea of instrumentation do you?

Carolina Skeletons, with its wonderfully evocative title, it’s laid back groove and it’s reprise (Carolina Reprise on disc 2) is one of the standout songs on the album, and showcases all that is good about No-Man.

Returning Jesus, the title track is full of low fi percussion, bubbling electronica and metronomic beats that skitter and pulse, whilst Tim’s voice again pulls the song together, one of the more experimental tracks on the album, it seems to fit the flow, despite it jarring slightly in parts.

The fantastic Lighthouse, features guests like Theo Travis and Colin Edwin, whilst Steve Jansen (who drums throughout) out does himself here. The track builds and grows into an absolute treat throughout, foreshadowing Tim’s later solo work, and work with Henry Fool.

This album ebbs and flows throughout with sublime musical work, and Tim’s fantastic vocals, and I have always found that people either love No-Man or have never heard of them, this re-issue is an excellent place to dip your toe in if your new to the band, and as a long time fan, is a fantastic addition to the catalogue.

Released 3rd November 2017

Order ‘Returning Jesus’ from Burning Shed here

KSCOPE TO RELEASE THE 2001 FOURTH ALBUM – RETURNING JESUS – FROM NO-MAN – THE STEVEN WILSON & TIM BOWNESS DUO ON 2CD & 2LP FOR THE FIRST TIME

Originally released on the 3rd Stone label in February 2001, Returning Jesus is a collection of ambitious songs which combine Singer-Songwriter, Chamber Jazz, Progressive and Ambient influences with the band’s unique widescreen production and seductively melancholy compositions. Released two months following Steven Wilson‘s 2017 solo album To The Bone, which reached #3 in the UK charts#2 in DE, #1 in FI, #4 in NL and CH, #7 in AT, #12 in BE, #14 in IT and #15 in NO, and following Tim Bowness‘ 2017 album Lost in the Ghost Light, which reached #5 in the UK Rock charts and #8 in the UK Progressive charts.

Returning Jesus received positive reviews in QUncutBillboardClassic Rock and other publications at the time of its release and has continued to be seen by both critics and fans as one of the best albums by the duo of Tim Bowness and Steven Wilson.

Guest musicians include Steve Jansen (Japan/Rain Tree Crow) on drums, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass and double bass, Theo Travis (Soft Machine) on saxophone and flute, and Ian Dixon on trumpet. The late trumpeter Ian Carr (Nucleus), David Kosten (Faultline, Bat For Lashes) and Ben Christophers contribute to the evocative opening piece “Only Rain”.

The double CD edition features a 2017 remaster from Steven Wilson and sleeve notes by Tim Bowness – and contains the original album, plus a bonus disc of b-sides, demos and alternate versions; plus additional artwork and photographs from regular No-Man collaborator Carl Glover. With the double 180g heavyweight audiophile double vinyl edition also featuring a 2017 remaster by Steven Wilson, packaged in a gatefold sleeve with additional artwork and photographs from Carl Glover.

(Picture of Tim and Steven also by Carl Glover.)

Listen to “Outside The Machine” here: 

NO-MAN – RETURNING JESUS – TRACKLIST DETAILS (2CD VERSION )
DISC 1
1 Only Rain
2 No Defence
3 Close Your Eyes
4 Carolina Skeletons
5 Outside The Machine
6 Returning Jesus
7 Slow It All Down
8 Lighthouse
9 All That You Are
DISC 2
1 Something Falls
2 Close Your Eyes (EP Version)
3 Carolina Reprise
4 Until Tomorrow (Hifi)
5 Chelsea Cap
6 Darkroom
7 Until Tomorrow (Lofi)
8 Song About The Heart
9 Lighthouse (First Demo)
10 Darkroom (alternate version)
11 Like A Child
12 Chelsea Cap (alternate version)
13 Lighthouse (second demo)
14 Slow It All Down (long version)
15 All That You Are (demo)

Returning Jesus is released on 3rd November and available to order here: http://burningshed.com/store/noman

 

Review – Gentle Giant – Three Piece Suite – by Progradar

‘Epiphany’ – now there’s a good word, it brings to mind realization and the awakening of the mind to something new. It can apply in all walks of life and situations but today we are using the word in relation to music and, in particular, the 1970’s legendary English progressive rock band Gentle Giant.

I must admit to being slightly miffed and betrayed by my prog-loving friends who have harped on about the relative merits of YesGenesisKing Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator (to name a few) with ne’er a mention of Gentle Giant, their educational skills have been found wanting in this case!

It’s not that I’d never heard of the band but that it was almost like rumours and last minute thoughts when the questions were asked about the great early prog bands. It was only when I was sent the promo of the Gentle Giant retrospective ‘Three Piece Suite’ that I really discovered the talents of this quite remarkable group of musicians.

‘Three Piece Suite’ is a specially curated selection of songs and compositions from the band’s first three albums (‘Gentle Giant’, ‘Acquiring The Taste’ and ‘Three Friends’) presented in both 5.1 surround sound and stereo, all remixed by Steven Wilson. The fact that there are only 9 tracks is due to the fact that these are the only songs known to exist as multi-tracks. Also included is a pre-debut track also remixed by Steven Wilson.

The undoubted re-mixing talents of Mr Wilson are put to excellent use on this album, adding extra layers to the tracks and subtleties never heard before. Add in the exhaustive liner notes by the incredibly knowledgeable Anil Prasad and you have a package worthy of long time fans of the band and those that are relatively new to them, like myself.

The first three tracks are all taken form the band’s debut release in 1970, ‘Gentle Giant’. Giant is a mighty bassline driven piece of jazz/prog which could only have come from the 70’s and, the band freely admits, is hugely influenced by Zappa. It is the first part of a creative manifesto for the band and is a bundle of nervous, almost psychedelic energy. With a definitive ‘wide-eyed’ vocal delivery it has an identity far from the likes of Yes and Genesis. Next comes Nothing At All, a nine-minute epic that opens with a delightfully simple acoustic guitar melody before alternating with a Sabbath-esque guitar riff and contains a classic chorus line. The story is that the recording wasn’t going so well until a break for a trip to the pub seemed to focus everyone’s mind on the task at hand and the three-and-a-half-minute drum solo and incandescent guitar would seem to confirm the tale at hand! Again, to my ears, this song is very different to what was originally considered progressive rock in those days and is what is really drawing me to the band. Highly inventive guitarist Gary Green came from a blues background and that is wholly evident on Why Not?, a track where the band are saying ‘Why not try something new as opposed to something commercially successful but that you’re not happy with?’ Edgy and funky with elements of orchestration and a passionate vocal, it is highlighted by the inspired solo and closing 12-bar blues-rock jam which showcase’s Green’s superb playing perfectly and has been on permanent repeat on my stereo.

The next two tracks are from Gentle Giant’s second release, ‘Acquiring The Taste’, released in 1971. A significantly more experimental album than the debut and one where the songs were written for the studio and not performed previously. This, combined with the band’s growing ambition, give a totally different feel to Pantagruel’s Nativity, a pretension and aspiration with its alien sounding Moog introduction, orchestration and subtle trumpet in the back ground give it a freshness and a truly progressive touch. The excellent distorted guitars and vocal harmonies also work so well that, when asked to describe what the band were all about in their early days, Multi-instrumentalist Kerry Minnear will always point people in the direction of this track. To my ears another heavily blues influenced track, ‘The House The Street, The Room’ is another vivid and vibrant piece of music and emerged from a fairly simple lyrical idea, according to Phil Shulman,

“The songs describes the place you went to score your drugs, that’s the essence of it.”

It is complex and maybe even crazy with some mind-bending guitar playing and uses 32 instruments in total. You almost feel like you’ve been affected by a legal substance while listening to it, it is ordered chaos but utterly captivating and mesmerising in places. I challenge you to listen to this and not have an inane grin creep across your face the further you get into the song. A wonderful piece of music that shows the confidence and self-belief that was growing within the band, the scope of their ambition seems to have no bounds.

1972’s ‘Three Friends’ contributes four tracks to this collection and was the album where the band took over all production duties from Tony Visconti and where new drummer Malcolm Mortimore joined. A more sentimental album which is evident in Schooldays, a song that focuses on the titular characters from thew album and where, as children, their lives care carefree and their hopes and ambitions were the stuff of whimsy. Lush and choral with some excellent orchestration, it is true progressive rock as a storytelling medium and has a whimsical feel as you look back on life with sepia tinged nostalgia. Peel The Paint takes a low key symphonic opening and leads it into hard-edged, heavy riff led, rock. The track is about peeling back the layers to show that even the calmest, most moral people can turn into anger-fueled monsters of hate. The music is dynamic and powerful and the vocals have the requisite fervor and intensity, intelligent progressive rock fused with high energy blues and heavy rock with a hypnotic guitar solo thrown in for good measure. The finale of this collection is Mr Class and Quality which segues into the title track of the band’s third album, Three Friends. The first part is an involving and complex song with a convoluted theme and intricate rhythm, it never seems to sit still with its skittish nature and sci-fi interludes. Yes, to a certain extent, it is classically trained musicians showing off but, when it is done this good, do you really care? The segue brings around a much more choral focused and anthemic track with sumptuous harmonies and an expansive sound driven by an elegant bassline, musical rapture indeed!

Freedom’s Child was a song that was written in the band’s first sessions in 1970 and yet didn’t make it onto the debut album. Originally written with a TV program in mind, the words were changed and a stylish vocal harmony added. To my ears, the use of a violin and this Beach Boys-like harmonies give it a sound non unlike early Kansasit also has an innocence to it which was never replicated on any recorded work. For completeness, the CD also has a Steven Wilson 7″ edit of Nothing At All which, while a good track in its own way, seems to lose some of the fee of the full length version.

As musical epiphanies go, ‘Three Piece Suite’ has to be up there with the best. A band that really deserve more recognition have been brought to the forefront by Steven Wilson’s remixes but the brilliance and originality of the music was always there. A great package for long-term fans and those new to this wonderfully innovative collection of musicians.

Released 29th September 2017

Buy ‘Three Piece Suite’ from Burning Shed

 

 

STEVEN WILSON announces THIRD ROYAL ALBERT HALL SHOW and single NOWHERE NOW

Steven Wilson has announced details of a third and final show at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall in 2018. He plays the venue on Thursday March 29th – his two previously announced shows there are sold out. Steven Wilson’s 2018 UK tour dates are:

Thu 15th Mar                      Warwick Arts Centre

Sat 17th Mar                       Belfast Mandela Hall

Mon 19th Mar                    Dublin Olympia Theatre

Wed 21st Mar                     Cardiff St David’s Hall

Thu 22nd Mar                      Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sat 24th Mar                        Glasgow Clyde Auditorium

Sun 25th Mar                      Gateshead Sage 1

Tue 27th Mar                      London Royal Albert Hall (sold out)

Weds 28th Mar                 London Royal Albert Hall (sold out)

Thu 29th Mar                      London Royal Albert Hall (NEW DATE)

Sat 31st Mar                        Manchester Bridgewater Hall (sold out)

Sun 1st Apr                          Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Tickets for the new show go on sale at 9am Friday 22nd September. The last remaining tickets for the other shows are available from usual agents.

Prior to the tour, Steven releases another track and brand new video. One of the many highlights of Steven’s recently released fifth album To The BoneNowhere Now is a gloriously soaring paean to the joys of everyday escapism. The video for the track was shot on location at and around Atacama Large Millimeter Array (Alma) in Chile – the world famous, high altitude radio telescope array. The video was directed and edited by Steven’s long time visual collaborator Lasse Hoile.

Steven’s fifth album To The Bone (Caroline International) was released to massive acclaim in August. Quotes from some of the reviews:

Resolutely independent… the most successful British artist you’ve never heard of The Telegraph

A near perfect balance… flash & flamboyant with lovingly crafted big tunes Mojo 4*

An inimitable rabbit-hole of psychedelia Planet Rock, 5*

Lush and ambitious… insistently melodic Uncut

Wonderfully executed… pop brilliance” Q 4*

The album we’ve been waiting for Steven Wilson to make… marries intelligence and ability with straightforward popular music with progressive overtones… astonishing” Record Collector 4*

A fervent and meticulous tribute to the very notion of the song itself… Steven Wilson is consciously rehabilitating an approach to pop music that, let’s face it, is long overdue a widespread revival. And, as with everything else, he does it better than most” Prog (album of the month)

“To The Bone features squalls of furious guitars and occasional shifting time signatures… it’s artful, sophisticated pop-rock, channelling the favourites of his youth: Talk Talk’s The Colour of Spring, Peter Gabriel’s So, and Tears For Fears’ Sowing The Seeds of Love” The Guardian

His best and most complete solo album yet Classic Rock 4*

Review – Steven Wilson – To The Bone – by Progradar

“It’s a new challenge to keep changing your music. I like words like transformation, reinvention, and chameleon. Because one word I don’t like is predictable.”

I’m sort of paraphrasing a quote from Naomi Campbell there, I like the way that, to me, it seems to describe how I view Steven Wilson and his music.

There’s lots of words to describe this artist, challenging and pioneering are two but predictable he definitely is not! I was a big fan of Porcupine Tree but it took me a long time to become enamoured with his solo work and I’m still not a big fan of albums such as ‘Insurgentes’ and ‘Grace For Drowning’. While they were no doubt groundbreaking and forging a new way for his music, I didn’t subscribe to the hype at the time.

I’ve grown to love ‘The Raven That Refused To Sing’ and ‘Hand.Cannot Erase.’, although both were uneasy relationships at first. Through every release he has sought to change his style, not any major changes but subtle transitions that have transformed each piece of work.

Now comes possibly his most controversial work and one that seems to have split the music community in two, ‘To The Bone’.

After many years with Kscope Steven has now signed to Caroline International and his new album is described as:

“A gloriously dynamic modernist pop record as imagined by the UK’s biggest underground artist…” 

There’s been a flurry of singles released from the album but I’m going to review it as whole and, with a break from tradition, I’m not going to dissect each track but just give a relatively short synopsis of how they feel to me after a few listens.

Let’s just say that ‘To The Bone’ is a really accessible album but one which also has longevity, the opening and title track To The Bone starts with a voice over before hitting you with something that is rather edgy, full of a funky guitar riff and with some rather tasty harmonica work that adds a driving pop-infused groove to the whole track. Nowhere Now seems like  a homage to the bombastic 80’s stadium rock that was the forte of bands like U2 and can still be heard in the alternative rock of Foo Fighters today. A memorable, catchy chorus and some excellent guitar work are the icing on the cake.

The first single release from the album, Pariah, features the unforgettable tones of Ninet Tayeb and is a lush, cinematic piece of intelligent and emotive pop music. A song with a serious overtone and one which envelops the listener in a cosseting soundscape and fuzzy, dynamic guitars. It’s possibly the best song on this release and is immediately followed by another great track, The Same Asylum As Before. This time we’re treated to power chords and crunching riffs that are mingled with chiming pop sensibilities and a falsetto vocal (an abomination to some but I like them) to give an acute and perceptive discourse on the world we live in today.

Refuge is a slow burning, incredibly immersive piece of music that captures the imagination and draws the listener in to its dark world of sanctuary. Haunting and deeply meaningful, the music plays its part in giving the song an otherworldly, almost alien, edge especially with the squalling guitar and harmonica soliloquy and the slow, gentle ambience that closes out the track.

Now onto the marmite song on the album, Permanating is either a wonderful piece of modern, driving pop music, Mr Wilson’s homage to ABBA and E.L.O or empty, mindless pop. I fall firmly in the first camp and love the pastiche and the good feeling that emanates from every note. To each their own and I can see both viewpoints, make your own mind up on this one. Sepia tinged nostalgia drips from every note of the criminally short Blank Tapes, a song that channels Porcupine Tree to these ears. The heartfelt vocals and hushed, delicate music add a huge dose of pathos, just make it longer!

Post-punk Pop with clashing guitars and edgy vocals, People Who Eat Darkness is another fast-paced and hard living track that has hints of Steven’s earlier solo works. A toe tapping song with undertones of developing anger amid the quieter moments., it fits right in with the current mindset of this troubled world. Song Of I is ‘a story of unrepentant obsession set to a sharp-as-a-tack rhythm track and an orchestral sandstorm’ and is the one track on the album that fails to reach the lofty ambitions of the others. It’s a track I have to be in the mood to listen to other wise it is just a meandering piece of music that seems to have no destination and is in no hurry to get there. Perhaps a victim of it’s own sagacity, it would be no detriment if it wasn’t included.

Detonation is the longest song on the album at just over nine minutes and never outstays its welcome, building layer by layer of hypnotic and haunting music amid vocals that seem slightly disconnected and uneasy, it has a chilling tone. Primeval guitars and a discordant rhythm section add to the tense and agitated aura that pervades. A modern mystery where the answers always seem just out of reach. The album closes with the wistful grace of Song of Unborn with its touching chorus and sepia tinged ambience. A piece of music that almost makes you hold your breath before breaking out into a dynamic, soul-stirring wall  of sound dominated by a solemn guitar solo.

‘To The Bone’ is intelligent,driving modern pop music with vibrant punk and rock roots and sees Steven Wilson cement his position in the music fraternity. Who’s to say his next release won’t be a 70’s disco-funk pastiche? And who’s betting that, even if it is, it won’t be as good as this striking new album.

Released 18th August 2017

Buy ‘To The Bone’ from Universal Music

 

 

Gentle Giant’s album ‘Three Piece Suite (The Stephen Wilson Mix) to be released 29th September 2017

Gentle Giant—’Three Piece Suite’ is a specially curated selection of songs and compositions from the band’s first three albums (Giant, Acquiring The Taste, Three Friends) presented in both 5.1 surround sound and stereo. There are nine tracks from the albums, plus a pre-debut song, remixed by Steven Wilson. The choices were determined by the limited availability of multi-track master tapes from the era. Only a few songs from each album are known to exist as multi-tracks, with the rest presumably lost.

‘Three Piece Suite’ is available in the following formats:
*A two-disc digipak containing 96/24 animated Blu-ray plus CD.
*A single disc digipak CD.
*A two-disc gatefold LP in180g high-end vinyl.
*A 95/24 digital download of the CD version.

Gentle Giant’s ‘Three Piece Suite’ includes the songs “Giant”, “Nothing At All”, and “Why Not” from the first album “Giant”. “Pantagruel’s Nativity”, “The House, The Street, The Room” from the second album “Acquiring The Taste”. “Schooldays”, “Peel the Paint”, “Mr. Class And Quality?”, and “Three Friends” from the album “Three Friends” completes the list of the original recorded material. The band and Steven Wilson are including a previously commercially unreleased song“Freedom’s Child”, taken from the first recording sessions with legendary producer Tony Visconti.

The liner notes by interviewer Anil Prasad include reflections from Gentle Giant’s members about the writing and recording sessions. Furthermore, Steven Wilson and Tony Visconti share their incredible observations about the early days of this unique collection of timeless music from one of progressive rock’s most influential bands.

Tony Visconti recounts:
“I was a very optimistic young man in 1970…I thought music like theirs would save the world from mediocrity. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth in it. I championed their cause by becoming sympathetic to the point where I temporarily joined the band for both albums. I modified their arrangements and pulled off some stunning audio effects that gave their sound more depth and immediacy. The band knew I was on their side. I remember there being a great feeling of camaraderie during the sessions.”

Steven Wilson explains:
“To create the new mixes, I used Logic as the software and Universal Audio plug ins, which provide emulations of classic analog outboard effects, channel strips and old mixing desks…I used these tools to clean things up and bring out some more clarity, detail and definition in some of the instrumental interplay. There was never a question of trying to outdo the original mixes, but offer different perspectives on them.”

Tony Visconti continues:
“In our own way, we’ve touched the ears, minds and hearts of thousands of true believers.”

The band members, collectively, feel there are still good reasons its fans continue to enjoy Gentle Giant’s music and why it continues to be discovered by new generations. For fans of Gentle Giant, “Three Piece Suite” is a must have. For fans of great musicianship and progressive rock this is an incredible insight into the earliest days of this legendary band.

Watch the video for Peel The Paint here:

 

Steven Wilson releases new track ‘Song of I’, announces additional tour dates

“I’m truly sorry but/this is my addiction…”

Steven Wilson released a new track from his forthcoming fifth album To The Bone yesterday.

Song Of I is a story of unrepentant obsession set to a sharp-as-a-tack rhythm track and an orchestral sandstorm – the third track taken from ‘To The Bone’ (following Pariah and The Same Asylum As Before), it is another tantalising musical curveball thrown by the UK’s biggest underground artist.

The video for Song Of I features performance artist Maya Petrovna and has been directed by Steven’s long time visual collaborator Lasse Hoile and will be available on Vevo from Saturday 10thJune.

Steven Wilson plays a previously announced UK tour in spring 2018 – two extra dates have just been added due to huge demand. The tour dates are:

Thu 15th Mar                       Warwick Arts Centre (NEW DATE)

Sat 17th Mar                         Belfast Mandela Hall

Mon 19th Mar                      Dublin Olympia Theatre

Wed 21st Mar                      Cardiff St David’s Hall

Thu 22nd Mar                      Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sat 24th Mar                        Glasgow Clyde Auditorium

Sun 25th Mar                       Gateshead Sage 1

Tue 27th Mar                       London Royal Albert Hall (sold out)

Weds 28th Mar                    London Royal Albert Hall (NEW DATE)

Sat 31st Mar                         Manchester Bridgewater Hall (sold out)

Sun 1st Apr                          Manchester Bridgewater Hall (NEW DATE)

Tickets are on sale now from usual agents.

Steven Wilson website / online shop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Spotify complete discography

Steven Wilson – New album August 18th 2017… massive global 2018 tour announced…

Steven Wilson has announced details of To The Bone – his expansive, brilliant fifth album – and a major 2018 UK tour including a return to one of the country’s most iconic venues, the Royal Albert Hall. Pre-order the album here.

A gloriously dynamic modernist pop record as imagined by the UK’s biggest underground artist,

To The Bone is released August 18th via Caroline International on CD / 2 x 12” / Blu-Ray / super deluxe box set and all digital platforms.

Fusing driving futurist rock and spectral electronics to elegiac hyper-space ambience and dizzying, squalling guitars, To The Bone is Steven Wilson’s hat-tip to the hugely ambitious progressive pop records of his youth (think Peter Gabriel’s So, Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring, Tears for Fears Seeds of Love).

Lyrically, the album’s eleven tracks veer from the paranoid chaos of the post-truth era and the creeping self-loathing of the technology age to steely fly-on-the-wall observations of the everyday lives of religious fundamentalists with a welcome shot or two of wide-eyed escapism. Sonically and melodically stunning, To The Bone is a high definition snapshot of the disconcerting times we live in.

The follow up to 2015’s Hand. Cannot. Erase. (“a smart, soulful and immersive work of art” the Guardian 5*), To The Bone is Steven Wilson’s first album since signing with Caroline International (Iggy Pop, Underworld, Thurston Moore, Glass Animals). Formerly the founder and mainstay of outsider rock band Porcupine Tree, Steven released his first record under his own name – Insurgentes – in 2008. He has been resolutely independent throughout a three-decade career that’s made him the most successful British artist you’ve never heard of.

Listen to ‘Pariah’ from the new album here:

Steven Wilson has announced details of a huge global tour that takes in over one hundred shows across all five continents including a 25 date US tour that sees him return to the renowned Beacon Theatre, NY after last year’s sell out there. His European dates are:

Wed 31st Jan              Portugal, Lisbon, Sala Tejo at the MEO Arena

Thu 1st Feb                 Spain, Madrid, Wiznik Centre

Sat 3rd Feb                  Spain, Barcelona, L’Auditori

Sun 4th Feb                 France, Marseille, Silo

Tue 6th Feb                France, Lyon, Le Transbordeur

Wed 7th Feb               Switzerland, Zurich, Halle 622

Fri 9th Feb                  Italy, Milan, Teatro Degli Arcimboldi

Sat 10th Feb                Italy, Rome, Atlantico

Mon 12th Feb             Germany, Frankfurt, Alte Oper

Tue 13th Feb              Germany, Ravensburg, Oberachwabenhalle

Wed 14th Feb             Austria, Vienna, Gasometer

Thu 15th Feb              Germany, Berlin, Admiralpalast

Sat 17th Feb                Poland, Zabrze, House of Music and Dance

Sun 18th Feb              Poland, Poznan, Earth Hall

Tue 20th Feb              Germany, Hamburg, Mehr Theatre

Sat 24th Feb                Finland, Helsinki, The Circus

Mon 26th Feb             Sweden, Stockholm, Cirkus

Tue 27th Feb              Norway, Oslo, Oslo Concert House

Wed 28th Feb             Norway, Bergen, USF Verftet

Thu 1st Mar                Norway, Stavanger, Konserthuset – Zetlitz

Sat 3rd Mar                Denmark, Copenhagen, Vega Main Hall

Mon 5th Mar               Germany, Essen, Colosseum

Wed 7th Mar               The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Heineken Music Hall

Fri 9th Mar                  Belgium, Brussels, AB

Sat 10th Mar               Luxembourg, Rockhal Club

Mon 12th Mar             France, Paris, The Olympia

Tue 13th Mar              France, Lille, Theatre Sebastopol

 

Sat 17th Mar            Belfast Mandela Hall

Mon 19th Mar           Dublin Olympia Theatre

Wed 21st Mar           Cardiff St David’s Hall

Thu 22nd Mar           Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sat 24th Mar             Glasgow Clyde Auditorium

Sun 25th Mar            Gateshead Sage 1

Tue 27th Mar           London Royal Albert Hall

Sat 31st Mar             Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Tickets for the UK tour are on sale from 10am Friday 12th May (with a fan only pre-sale on Wednesday 10th May).

To The Bone tracklisting:

 

  1. To The Bone
  2. Nowhere Now
  3. Pariah
  4. The Same Asylum As Before
  5. Refuge
  6. Permanating
  7. Blank Tapes
  8. People Who Eat Darkness
  9. Song of I
  10. Detonation
  11. Song of Unborn

The super deluxe box set features the album, a CD of outtakes and demos, a Blu Ray, a DVD, a fully illustrated book and a one-sided 7” single featuring non-album track.

For more information, contact Robin at Turner Hall.

Steven Wilson website / online shop / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram/ Spotify complete discography.

 

Review – Tim Bowness – Lost In The Ghost Light – by Progradar

“Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing…changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Yes, everything changes but, in music, sometimes that change either takes what seems like a lifetime or never happens at all. Some of the more established acts could be said to have congealed into their final selves. To be fair, they can often still produce great music but you always know what to expect and that means no more surprises and I for one like a few surprises in my musical journeys.

Tim Bowness has admitted to me himself that he does have a signature sound and it is one that can be heard as the foundation on his previous three solo releases ‘My Hotel Year’ (2004), ‘Abandoned Dancehall Dreams’ (2014) and  2015’s ‘Stupid Things That Mean The World’. 2017 sees him return with a new album, ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’, and a new approach.

Here’s Tim’s thoughts:

“This new album, in some ways, it is quite a departure. There are lots of flutes on it and due to the nature of ‘the concept’, it’s definitely the most traditionally Progressive album I’ve made. It was very much a labour of love and like you say, it ‘felt’like a Tim Bowness album while taking the music into some uncharted places (for me).”

‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ is a concept album revolving around the onstage and backstage reflections of a fictional ‘classic’ Rock musician in the twilight of his career. It is a grand statement about a grand era of music making and an undoubted highlight of Bowness’s career.

Lyrically, the album addresses how the era of streaming and ageing audiences affects creativity, how a life devoted to music impacts on real / family life, and how idealistic beginnings can become compromised by complacency and the fear of being replaced by younger, more vital artists.

Though firmly focused on Bowness’s distinctive voice and musical approach, the album also draws inspiration from the period the concept covers and contains a notable 1970s Symphonic/Progressive Rock influence.

Mixed and mastered by Bowness’s No-Man partner Steven Wilson, ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ uses a core band comprising Stephen Bennett, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief), Hux Nettermalm (Paatos) and Andrew Booker (Sanguine Hum), as well as guests including Kit Watkins (Happy The Man/Camel), Steve Bingham (No-Man) and the legendary Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull). Andrew Keeling (Robert Fripp/Hilliard Ensemble/Evelyn Glennie) arranges for string quartet and flute on three of the album’s
songs.

Jarrod Gosling (I Monster / Cobalt Chapel) provides the fantastically detailed artwork, which includes a visual history of the career of the concept’s subject. Mixed and mastered by Steven Wilson, the special cd/dvd edition also features a 5.1 mix by Bruce Soord.

Tim certainly knows how to start things off with a bang. Opener Worlds Of Yesterday is hypnotic, immersive and mesmerising from the first note, a song that draws you into its soporific embrace to deliver its undoubted charms. The gentle background music has a plaintive guitar note overlaid before Tim’s distinctive vocals begin. His voice is calming and spell-binding at the same time and the beautiful strings that back the chorus work in perfect harmony. The music is full of refined grace and yet the probing guitar that you can hear throughout gives it a questing edge as well. The sedate, ambling keyboards are a delight and the flute just adds another layer of undoubted class, You just have to listen to the run out of this elegant track, it is a brilliant way to close out a song. One for late nights, lights turned down low and something full bodied and red to drink…

Moonshot Manchild opens with a laconic feel, typical Tim Bowness, all laid back vocals and subdued music that gets under your skin in an addictive fashion. There’s a subtle incisiveness running underneath though as the mellow and unhurried music washer over you. Classic 70’s keyboards give a real feeling of wistful nostalgia and a melancholy undertone to the ongoing tale. Tim’s voice has never sounded so good and he really has one of the most serenely relaxed vocal deliveries around. There’s a great keyboard interlude in the middle of the track, pensive and thoughtful asking you to reflect for a moment before the song blossoms out again with a wonderfully carefree and composed instrumental section. Once again we are treated to another impressive lead out, something that seems to be coming stock in trade for this great musician, it ebbs and flows brilliantly, demanding you follow it right to the end of the musical journey.

Wow! The next track is a real departure for Tim. All full of angst and pent up rage, Kill The Pain That’s Killing You opens with frantic drum beat and a caustic guitar riff. There’s a real nervous energy about this song, a pleading uneasiness that has a real catchy note to it. Tim’s vocal seems more direct and urgent and that acerbic guitar note really does make you sit up and take notice. The staccato chorus only adds to the offbeat tone, this is something very different and enjoyably so and, coming in at under four minutes, this frenetic song never outstays its welcome.

After that unexpected but thoroughly enjoyable onslaught, Nowhere Good To Go sees us return to the refined, simple grace of the first two tracks but there is definitely something evolved about Tim’s sound on this album. Soothing and tranquil, the music seems to lull you into a becalmed state and then open up into something just a little different with the dulcet tones of a Hammond organ combining with the strings to add subtle sophistication to what is already quite an imposing sound. Again the vocals are delivered with silken finesse and the ethereal flute adds a winsome feeling to this lissome song.

There is one of the best openings to any recent progressive song on You’ll Be The Silence. All pastoral with a lovely piano sound and the delicate heavenly flute, it really did impress me on first listen and left me transfixed with its rarefied quality. Tim’s voice has a little catch to it, an almost sentimental regret at the heart of it and it gives the song a dreamlike atmosphere when combined with the simple charms of the wistful music. The longest track on the album at nine minutes long, you are enraptured throughout this unapologetically sentimental and yet slightly rueful piece of music. You have to take the time to listen to this song (and, indeed, the whole album) with a decent pair of headphones on and just become immersed in its spellbinding orchestral reverence. Music as good as this can take you to a place of calm reflection, where the world cannot harm you and everyone needs that now and again, an utterly captivating song that ends every bit as brilliantly as it begins, the guitar and flute leading you on a seductive voyage home…

Lost In The Ghost Light is quite a dark interlude with a menacing undertone. Tim delivers his vocal in a spoken word fashion and that adds even more suspense and uncertainty. The music is atmospheric and bleeds tension directly into your system.

That slight feeling of doubt can be felt at the start of You Wanted To Be Seen and adds to a cautionary tone to deliver a deliberately pensive and sombre tone to the song. Tim’s vocal is thoughtful and sad and the music has a plaintive and pensive edge to it. The violin that can be heard in the background is a fine touch and adds a longing, surreal edge to the track before things change tack with a restless and skittish air that adds tension and a disquieting unease. Another great song that has an imposing end with some great guitar playing.

Onto the final track of the album, Distant Summers, a mournful violin opens this mellow and cultured song and imbues it with a really plaintive plea for days gone by, Sepia tinged nostalgia drips from every wistful note and the exquisite flute playing is tempered by a trite ennui. The vocals have a touch of anguish at the core of them and the whole song has a fragile dignity deep at its core, one that is made up of beauty and remorse in equal quantities. Despite the forlorn mood that runs throughout the song, I still feel that there is hope emanating from Tim’s expressive voice and that is the overriding feeling that I will take away with me.

I’ve always been a fan of Tim Bowness and this new album has only exacerbated that. He has added something different and distinct to his music to evolve and progress it to something that, while recognisable as his work, has seen him mature into one of the best and most involving progressive artists that we have. There are added layers and nuances that just lift this album above similar fare on offer at the moment and I can see this being on my playlist for a long time to come.

Released 17th February 2017

Order ‘Lost In The Ghost Light’ from Burning Shed