Exposé Online banner

Steven Wilson — The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories)
(Kscope 242, 2013, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2013-12-14

The Raven That Refused to Sing (and Other Stories) Cover artProg 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.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Marco Minnemann, Steven Wilson, Theo Travis

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Haystacks Balboa - Detoxified – This one came out around 1970, a one-off by a New York based band whose members weren't even listed on the LP jacket, and were never heard from again, so far as this writer knows. For some unknown...  (1999) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues