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The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) [Deluxe Edition]

Steven Wilson

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Album Review

Over the past decade, Steven Wilson's relationship with prog rock over has grown increasingly intimate. He previewed a killer new band on the live album Get All You Deserve — woodwind/multi-instrumentalist Theo Travis, keyboardist Adam Holzman, session bass and stick player Nick Beggs, drummer Marco Minnemann, and guitarist Guthrie Govan — put a diverse, sophisticated face on Wilson's 21st century brand of prog. The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories is their first studio outing. Wilson was also able to coax Alan Parsons out of semi-retirement to co-produce and engineer the effort, and he fully committed: the album's crystalline, detailed sound and spacious ambience reflect some of his best work behind the boards. The result is a collection of six new songs — three over ten minutes in length — that reflect the very best of what classic prog rock aspired to: skillfully written music with expertly arranged compositions of color, nuance, texture, dynamics, narrative, and artfulness played by a group of stellar musicians. The songs are based on short stories Wilson wrote or co-wrote with Hajo Mueller, which center around the supernatural — though this is not actually a concept record. While the album begins with a warning sign —- the first four minutes of opener "Luminol" are a knotty, driving, near-fusion instrumental workout that gives way to a complex, beautifully wrought mini-suite that draws on sources such as Pink Floyd, early Genesis, and King Crimson — the Mellotron was actually used on the latter's classic recordings. While "Drive Home" builds gradually with a near-majestic sweep of harmonic and lyric invention, it features wonderfully inventive guitar work by Govan. "The Holy Drinker" is a sprawling ride with excellent keyboards by Holzman, a smoking guest guitar spot by Parsons, and a dazzling soprano saxophone from Travis. It commences intensely with many angles simultaneously but never once loses its musicality. "The Watchmaker"'s intro of lilting, layered, acoustic guitars takes on heft as the ensemble enters with furious bass and drum work, and a gorgeous flute solo by Travis. The increasing drama includes death metal riffing, syncopated vocal choruses, and a flood of strings that never overdo it. The title track is the set closer, a lush, straightforward number about an old man speaking to his long-dead sister. His loneliness and grief are heartbreaking in Wilson's vocal expression, before strings, Mellotron, winds, and rolling drums build to a final, dramatic conclusion. The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories is the best of Wilson's three solo projects; let's hope this particular group stays together awhile. In terms of musical possibility, the sky is the limit with this bunch.

Customer Reviews

Must have. Amazing cd.

Steven Wilson is the best artist in the world today. The music is pure genius and everyone needs to listen to this. It is what rock music is intended to be.

WOW!

I've been collecting music for 40 years. There are only a select few albums in anyones lifetime that stop you in your tracks and make you say, "WOW." This album is one of them.

Alan Parsons and Steven Wilson. Wow!

Based upon hearing a live version of Luminol, I can say this is the new rock supergroup of our era. It takes me back decades to the music of bands like Return To Forever, Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Todd Rundgren's Utopia. I can't wait to hear this coolaboration!

Biography

Born: November 3, 1967 in Kingston-upon-Thames, London, Eng

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Thanks to a prolific work ethic that puts even Damon Albarn's extensive list of side projects to shame, self-taught producer, engineer, and multi-instrumentalist Steven Wilson has gradually become one of the U.K.'s most critically acclaimed cult artists. Born in Kingston Upon Thames in London in 1967, Wilson was inspired to pursue a career in music after devouring his parents' Pink Floyd and Donna Summer records, and by the age of 12, had already started to experiment with different guitar and recording...
Full Bio
The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories) [Deluxe Edition], Steven Wilson
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