Tag Archives: Steven Wilson

Diurnal Aural Experiences: Steven Wilson’s “The Raven that Refused to Sing” Live.

Enjoy; this is a stunning performance of this song.

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Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Art, Music


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Nocturnal Ruminations: What I Think Music Is and Can Do.

Ultimately, I realized that I had been writing reviews for albums (hopefully successfully) that inspired me to create, write, or otherwise disconnect from my current modality of thought for its course.  So, therefore, I decided, as I continue to discuss these things, what I think music is and can do and my own personal history with it.

Those of you that have read any of my reviews will note that generally I am fairly positive with my writing.  It’s not because everything to which I listen is perfect or amazing or even good for that matter.  However, most of the time when I commit to purchasing an album, or listen to a sample that I’ve been sent, I’ve fairly convinced it will be something that I enjoy.  This is why most of my reviews are positive.  Ten bucks notwithstanding, but the time commitment away from my family is equally important to me.  Combine that with the fact that I’m writing this to exercise my cultural critique muscles and use it, as written earlier, to explore emotions, thoughts, and stories as inspiration for my own works, I’m fairly happy with the response thus far.  When you read a review that is negative, it is doubly so because I did want the album to be good.

Currently, my favorite bands and musicians are, in no particular order, Opeth, Alcest, Steve Hackett, Steven Wilson, Nick Cave, Ihsahn, and Cynic.  I feel that, again for no particular order, the best musicians are Neige from Alcest, the crew from Opeth, Steven Wilson, Levon Helm, Roger Waters, Devin Townsend, and a few others.  These are important as progressive music has become my love and my favorite music genre.  I’ve always been fascinated by it, especially in listening to Rush, Yes, Jethro Tull, Genesis, and many others when I was younger.  To this day, I will buy any Rush album that is released, period.  In regards to specific genres at this point I’m a very large fan of the progressive blackgaze movement as experimented by Neige from Alcest while still yet I find myself attracted to Opeth’s particular brand of melancholy (as evidenced by my love and admiration for the new Fall of Every Season album).  Devin Townsend and Steven Wilson are the most varied musicians to whom I listen and I’ve yet to really get to a point that their offerings are old to me.

As far as how I grew into this?  I’m not entirely certain (except for the whole pretentious asshole thing).  Growing up, my brother was older than me by nine years.  His musical taste, while still lacking, was focused on Guns and Roses, Duran Duran, Sisters of Mercy, INXS, the glam metal bands, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer, &c.  This was my introduction to this brand of music.  I took a shine to Guns and Roses, and will still ardently defend Axl Rose’s political songwriting ability.  It wasn’t long that I began tabletop RPGs during which we would listen to a mix tape or an album of a particular individual’s choosing.  This introduced me to Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Pantera, and any variety of punk bands we could find (not limited to, but including Sex Pistols, Anti-Nowhere League, Black Flag and later Rollins Band).  Combined with the local radio station, we’d rock out to all sorts of classic rock.  My mother, who often against her better judgement, would allow me the leeway to listen to this, but would play Marvin Gaye and other R&B and her beloved folk musicians (something that sticks with me to this day).

So, why music?  I don’t know why it is so important to me, personally, except to consider that a large number of good memories and terrible memories are made more understandable by listening to music that reflects my mood.  I enjoy it, regardless of time of day or energy spent on listening to an album.  I guess to a great extent it appeals to my academic background: I hold a Master’s Degree in Anthropology (emphasis in archeology).  While I view myself as very much an archeologist, I’m working in Applied Anthropology now and further still I’ve always loved the science of anthropology.  During my coursework for my undergraduate degree, I studied Medical Anthropology for a semester, during which I read a number of books regarding the topic of the healing qualities and properties of anthropology.  I helped research Delta Blues culture at one point as well.  In graduate school, this came back to me as I got further and further into Performance Theory.

I’ve always compared music to fire.  It is a great human universal (if there ever were such a thing).  Each culture in the world has a style, a set of instruments, has traded instrumental styles, brought in different sounds, and created their own voice that soothes and sparks its member’s imagination.  Music can heal, it can harm, it can make you cry in catharsis, or internalize and meditate.  Like Shakespeare’s boast, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” the song is mightier and more powerful still yet.  We have transmitted our culture and our values through our words set to music.  The Ghost Dance was a powerful, percussive beat through which the Siouan world would be headed, white men would disappear, and the buffalo would return.  Look at all our culture’s Christian hymns.  Apply the cultural temple to this music, and you find that here still.  That is why music is powerful and to me why the current (read: continuing trend of dumbing it down, further and further, and bringing more and more vapid themes to lyrics is such a problem).

As I end this ramble, I think back to one of my favorite albums and a trend I’ve noticed here: Ihsahn and the disappearing visits.  Every time I run Ihsahn on this site, we see a 25% drop in visitors that day.  Yet, above a large number of musicians, I believe he truly gets what I described.  “The Adversary” feels like a darker, self-deconstructionist sermon regarding nihilism.  It is an amazing piece and one that I recommend highly.  Tomorrow, I’ll describe my typology of music.



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Weekly Music Stuff: Steven Wilson, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the Key and the Crook.

I don’t have the time to write a review this week; it’s bound to happen from time to time and now is one of those times.  So, instead, I’m going to show you what I’ve been listening to over the previous few days or so.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Push the Sky Away”

A wonderful collection of songs that never really seems to strive to develop a character rather than discuss specific situations.  Perhaps that’s the point, but I’ve not had the time to listen to it enough to determine which it is.  I posted Jubilee Street’s video, possibly the only character on the album is this street, last week.  I’m still stunned with the approach to it.

Steven Wilson – “The Raven that Refused to Sing and Other Stories”

Again, Wilson offers us a collection of songs seemingly inspired by his fixation on electronic, drone, and retro styled rock.  What I’ve heard this far sounds great.  I really enjoy Luminol after the jazzy intro fades away, and the title track is simply a stunning approach to storytelling in multimedia.  That said, I’m wondering if the ideas are getting a bit fatigued, because while I love retro rock, Storm Corrosion was a bit drab and overwhelmingly droning at points.  Grace for Drowning seemed like a funeral dirge at points and Insurgentes was great, but was probably his most purely prog inspired work by this point.

Key and the Crook

An American Rock band from the Richmond, VA area.  I enjoy their music which seems to be inspired and separate from the mainstream rock channels.  A bit like Radiohead meets PT’s soft moments, in my opinion.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Art, Geek, Music, Reviews


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Diurnal Aural Experience: Steven Wilson “The Raven that Refused to Sing”



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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Art, Music, Surrealism


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Diurnal Aural Experiences: Orphaned Land – Sapari (2010)

This is the best song off their 2010 album “The Never Ending Way of the Owarrior.”  Plus, it’s a song that gives hope and a band that is forward thinking and appealing to a wide audience.

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Posted by on December 10, 2012 in Inspiration, Music, Philosophy


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Hey Prog Fans, Steven Wilson is releasing a new album next year.

Called “The Raven who Refused to Sing and other stories” this marks Wilson’s third solo album in the past four years.  Its lead song is Luminol and is a wonderful jazz approached rock song.  Enjoy the following promotional video of the DVD “All You Deserve” from his world tour.

For more information on the album, refer to the Steven Wilson Headquarters.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Art, Geek, Magic, Surrealism


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Music Review: “Storm Corrosion” – Storm Corrosion (2012)

What happens when two progressive music stalwarts join together to create music?  Often “supergroups” make reflections of the members’ respective bands; however, Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield, Steven Wilson, &c) and Mikael Akerfeldt (Opeth, Bloodbath) chose to move down a different path on their project.  Storm Corrosion is an idea that existed in their minds since they first worked together on Opeth’s Blackwater Park (2001).

The album, a loose concept on witch trials, is atmospheric and incorporates various different soundscapes and never broadens into metal. It is well produced and mixed and is often driven by vocals.  At really no point in any of the six songs can it be said that either of the musician’s primary bands are represented here.  This is an expansive project that borders solely on the progressive and nearly steps past rock music entirely.

The songs feel as if they have been placed in reverse order, allowing the first song “Drag Ropes” to explain the climax of the drama that unfolded before the listener begins hearing the story.  As the album’s single, its music video explains the story in which a young man, disgusted with religious zealotry, flees from his community into the woods wherein he meets a young witch.  After returning to his community, the truth is found and the witch is caught and killed by hanging.  The music of the song is aptly melancholy and at times choral.  The song builds, growing in energy, through its run before ending as it began and fading into “Storm Corrosion.

“Storm Corrosion” is one of the most experimental songs off the album; it has no percussion, is atmospherically melancholic without ever truly being dark, and is predominated by Wilson’s soft voice.  Approximately six and a half minutes into the song, its gentle melody falls apart and the sound of a train coming down the track grates forebodingly.  Once it passes, the music returns changed and curious though still focused on melancholy.

“Hag” opens in a very curious way with an almost call and response guitar and piano section that serves to demonstrate the rhythm of the voice.  To me, it is the closest song to an Opeth soft interlude of say Ghost Reveries; however, with its pulsing bass line reminiscent of a heartbeat and dancing melodies stands very much apart from this sound.  The sound of Wilson’s voice in conjunction with the guitar provides a richness of texture, and by incorporating metal elements into the song, containing some of the darkest moments on the entire album.

“Happy” is anything but so and returns the melancholic vibe of the earlier points of the album, relying off soft acoustic guitar with mellotron to create its feel.  Of all the songs, this is the coldest of feeling to me as the soundscape just seems oddly like a chilled wind.  “Lock Howl” bounds from the barren landscape of “Happy” with the most energetic bit on the entire album.  Three and a half minutes into the song it breaks into a nearly tribal beat, evoking a ritual scene in its sound, before just ending.

“Ljudet Innan” opens with Akerfeldt singing falsetto, which whilst interesting, is something I’m not certain is a great choice and feels like a hiccup in the direction of the album.  Like “Storm Corrosion” earlier, it is highly experimental, seemingly existing in a self contained universe of its own sound.  My favorite part in the song is when the guitar solo comes in about five minutes into its run time, and it ends beautifully with the guitar outro playing concert with drumming of Gavin Harrison.

Overall, this album is the work of two progressive music fanboys (Akerfeldt runs a radio show on P4 Sweden that focuses on the most obscure of the progressive).  While it shares similarities to Opeth and Porcupine Tree in that the musicians are the same, it is truly different from either of those bands.  This is near Genesis level art rock that does not feel old or retro.  Rather, they did a great job of crafting and exploring new soundscapes, focusing on the similarity of mood for their respective bands: melancholy.  That said, this album is not very accessible and can be off putting at times, especially in how little energy is in the music.  At times, it feels, if one is not in the mood perhaps, that the music meanders through a gray space.  This is an album for the progressive music fan created by progressive music fans.  It is a solid release especially when listened to 2011’s release from Opeth “Heritage” and Steven Wilson “Grace for Drowning.”

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Posted by on November 26, 2012 in Art, Geek, Idle Words., Inspiration, Music, Surrealism, Writing


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