Steven Wilson — The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
(Kscope 242, 2013, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-12-14
Prog wunderkind Steven Wilson seems to have finally found his happy place. After years of guiding Porcupine Tree into what became a stifling democratic institution, and then producing two albums as a sole proprietor (albeit with talented guest stars), here he takes a page out of Frank Zappa’s book. Wilson often name checks Zappa, so it comes as no surprise that on The Raven That Refused to Sing he has assembled a crack group of musicians including Nick Beggs (bass and vocals), Adam Holzman (keys), Theo Travis (reeds and woodwinds), Guthrie Govan (guitar), and Marco Minneman (drums) to serve as his personal orchestra in bringing the songs to life. And what songs they are. Conceptually organized around the theme of ghost stories, Wilson has produced six of the strongest individual pieces of his already impressive career. He’s largely rid himself of the King Crimson bug seen on 2011’s Grace for Drowning and plies a more varied and personal path here. The results span the Yes-ish prog rock of “Luminol” to the orchestral ballad “Drive Home” to the pastoral “The Watchmaker.” Each song bears Wilson’s melodic and harmonic fingerprints, plus his penchant for immaculate production and engineering (Alan Parsons was even recruited to give the recordings a more organic vibe). It all culminates in the gorgeous title track, a masterful blend of melody, emotion and tension that easily ranks as one of Wilson’s best compositions ever. It’s easy to see why The Raven is making most prog fans’ Best of 2013 list.
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more