Sunday, 31 January 2016

Steven Wilson - 4.5 (decimal version)

Early year release for Steven Wilson's stop-gap mini album. Though at 37 minutes, this would count as a fully fledged album in the old analogue days. What we have is some odds and sods from his last few studio recordings which didn't fit the bill as they tend to say. The opening track "My Book of Regrets" has a distinctly XTC flavour to my ears. Wilson's vocals even take on a Colin Moulding accent! The other tracks are a mix of instrumental pieces, which are slight but effective none the less, especially "Vermillioncore" which hints at a more riffing, metallic direction perhaps. The final track is a remodel of Porcupine Trees "Don't Hate Me". Here is it has been given a splendid facelift, with chorus vocals by Ninet Tayeb, great Fender Rhodes playing by Adam Holzman, a blow-out sax solo by Theo Travis, all ending with a beautifully elegiac guitar solo by Wilson himself. Nice to see him play solo again! The whole thing sounds sumptuous on the blu-ray hi-res, though I would have liked the CD and blu-ray packaged together and why not include the blu-ray bonus Lazarus (2015) on the CD? That's a bit mean! But all in all this will do for now quite nicely!



Tuesday, 12 January 2016

David Bowie 1947 - 2016


This was the plan. First album of the year and first review. New Bowie album and it was a good one. Very good in fact! Received CD on Friday and played it over the weekend. Radio alarm goes off Monday morning, I am still half awake. I sort of wake up to the sort of memory that the radio presenter mentioned that David Bowie had died. Just a horrible dream. He only has a new album released a few days before and birthday. But my goodness it's true! Totally shocked. It's all over TV, twitter, facebook. Everyone mentions their disbelief at the news, such was the magnitude of his reputation. Even my wife's nurse mention this and people who normally don't talk about music mention it.

So a day has passed and it's still hard to believe. That he, his family, friends and associates kept the news of his illness quiet is staggering in this day of easy access social media. The new album and accompanying videos have taken on new significance in the knowledge that he knew his time was limited. We can now see different meaning to it all.

His death means that we all head to his catalogue to remind us of his songs. I am then reminded at what a legacy. He covered so much ground and even now there is so much there in those recordings that is still fresh and innovative. My period was from Low to Scary Monsters. After that I dabbled in and out. Loved Heathen and Blackstar promised to be a firm favourite.

Other people will say more about him and more eloquently than I can. But it all comes down to the fact we will never see the like of him again!