01
Aug
12

Music Review: Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning

By Karan Patel (Simple Complex Continuity)

Steven Wilson, the primary creative force behind progressive rock’s most iconic band, Porcupine Tree, recently came out with a solo effort called Grace For Drowning. To be more precise, it was out in September, 2011. I only heard it in April, 2012. I had heard about such a solo album to be out by one of favorite musicians and he had a show in LA in the House of Blues, Sunset Strip. I decided not to hear a single song and just go for the show. Here’s the reason: I went for a Porcupine Tree show some time ago when they were touring for “The Incident”. The band literally played each and every song that was on the album. It was the best concert I had ever been too. Yes, I am super biased because you just possibly cannot find flaws with the music they have made.

The live performance was better than expected. Like every progressive band, they utilized a lot of arts/visuals which were more than mesmerizing and perfectly synchronized with the songs in a way that there indeed was another band member playing an instrument to go along with the songs. The solo effort is more than incredible. Steven Wilson already has a reputation of contributing his talents in many a pool. Whether its Opeth/Storm Corrosion or Blackfield, he has only written good music. Period.

Grace For Drowning is definitely a masterpiece and well, bonus points for solo. A very big applause to all his band members. They all did more than a brilliant job. My favorite one being Raider II, an epic 23 minute song which takes me back to days when I was and still obsessed with Dream Theater‘s “Change Of Seasons”. As a writer myself, I am totally obsessed with his style of writing lyrics. It never ceases to amaze me. Be it Porcupine Tree, or his solo, he has a phenomenal talent with words and there is just no escape from it.

I am not sure if he was always a multi instrumentalist, but in the concert he was mostly on the keyboards and of course the guitar. It was definitely fun to see him on the keyboards. The album has all the Porcupine Tree elements embedded with electronica, ambient, psychedelic rock. Most interestingly, it has a lot of jazz elements (something I do not understand, and probably don’t want to, at least at this stage of my life). However, it was very interesting to hear a mix of all these sounds under the general progressive sound which I am completely nuts about.

The album is such a trip. The production is way beyond spectacular. The writing is incredible and the music is just so evolved in today’s times with the whole mix of genres, old and new, that it has had me listening to it since I went for the show. A must listen, especially if you have a taste for the progressive sound.

MORE POSTS BY KARAN PATEL: The Best Guitarist in the World | Film Review: Road, Movie | The Adventures of Tintin | Music Review: The Rosewood Thieves – From The Decker House


1 Response to “Music Review: Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning”


  1. August 9, 2012 at 01:05

    Porcupine Tree is a British rock band formed in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom in 1987. During the course of the band’s history, it has at times incorporated psychedelic rock, alternative, ambient, electronic, and, most recently, metal and post-rock into its unique style of progressive rock. Porcupine Tree started out as a “fake” band, the only real member being multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson . Wilson’s first two releases, Tarquin’s Seaweed Farm (1989) and The Nostalgia Factory (1990), were both released on cassette tapes. In addition to the band’s trademark psychedelic sound, these two tapes also contained heavy ambient and pop influences. Wilson’s favorite tracks were then compiled into the CD On the Sunday of Life… (1991), while the more ambient-leaning tracks were also collected in Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape (1994). The first of these two featured many new versions of songs. Wilson then went on to release Voyage 34 (1992) and Up the Downstair (1993), which refined the sound of the previous albums and removed the pop influences. Both of these were later re-released, the first as Voyage 34: The Complete Trip (2000), which included an extra two remixes (a total of four), while Up the Downstair was remastered at 2005 with real drums added in place of the drum-machine beats.

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