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Grace For Drowning
LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Grace for Drowning
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Steven Wilson is a twice Grammy-nominated producer, writer and performer, best known as founder and front man of British rock band Porcupine Tree. He has also produced and /or mixed albums for artists as diverse as Swedish metal band Opeth, Norwegian chanteuse Anja Garbarek, and progressive rock institution King Crimson. Porcupine Trees latest album The Incident went top 30 in both the UK and USA.
Grace for Drowning is the second album released under Wilson s own name, and builds on the artistic inroads he forged with 2009s exceptionally well received Insurgentes. A double album ( two 40-45 minute albums in the same package ) Wilson has described it as my biggest project to date.
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Atmospheric, ethereal, moody, dark, progressive ... these are all words that come to mind listening to this two volume output of music from the prolific Steve Wilson. As always, it is hard to understand exactly what message Steve is putting forth - his words are more like another instrument emitting a tone of emotion rather than a message. Regardless, the music is as one would expect from this singer/producer/songwriter - engulfing and entrancing. Using a whole host of instruments - clarinet, flute, saxophone, strings, choir, in addition to all of the usual keys, synths, guitars and electronic and acoustic drums - it should not be surprising that the soundscape is lush, expansive and diverse. "Raider II" - the epic feature tune on disc two - incorporates all of these elements into one song. As with his previous solo release, the bulk of the music is instrumental, but this time around the music is more encompassing and requires a bit more time and patience to appreciate. While I prefer his heavier work with Porcupine Tree, this is the kind of music that is really good on a rainy day with a pair of headphones.
This is one of the greatest records of all time.
The album has a little bit of everything, jazz, rock, electronic, heavy bass lines and twists and turns that truly keep you engaged in the music. Try not to bounce in your seat during 'Sectarian' or roll with the clever bass lines in 'Remainder the Black Dog', I was loving every minute of Grace for Drowning.
A brief track by track run-down of Grace for Drowning (without spoiling too much):
VOLUME 1: DEFORM TO FORM A STAR
1. Grace for Drowning - A peaceful and calm piano/vocal opening to the album.
2. Sectarian - This instrumental track gets things going immediately and you'll be rocking out wondering what just happened, in a good way!
3. Deform To Form a Star - This is a great ballad, with some atmosphere to it.
4. No Part of Me - A very clever electronic track that takes a turn toward the heavy side at the end, amazing.
5. Postcard - A piano piece, very much Steven Wilson style. The ending is eerie.
6. Raider Prelude - Postcard flows right into this track, and I love Raider Prelude. It reminds me of a fantasy world, very beautiful track. It proves that Steven could write movie soundtracks (and I'm sure one day he will ;-), hint hint Steven!).
7. Remainder The Black Dog - One of the best tracks on the record, it encompasses just about everything that this album is about. I love the 2nd half, the bass lines are phenomenal. The title is also a great one.
VOLUME 2: LIKE DUST I HAVE CLEARED FROM MY EYE
1. Belle De Jour - A homage to Spanish Cinema, a short and entertaining instrumental. The Blu-Ray version comes with a exclusive video that really enhances this track, check it out if you can!
2. Index - Potentially my favorite on the record. I find it to be possibly the most unique track on GFD, it's got a catchy beat/vocals and w/ strings building up to an epic ending.
3. Track One - This track takes you for a ride, short and fun....you'll enjoy it.
4. Raider II - One of Steven Wilson's best songs. The track has a bit of everything similar to 'Remainder'. I love those two main notes (also found in 'Raider Prelude'), this track has a creepiness to it. Excellent vocal sections throughout, I've been singing the vocal parts for days now...."A player inside your home, I'm raiiiiiiiiiider".
5. Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye - The conclusion to Grace For Drowning, a very peaceful jazzy peace with an atmospheric ending. A fitting end to an extraordinary ride.
Pick this album up, experience true music, true art. Give it a few spins and enjoy the ride, then share it with your friends and your family. Music is more than just Nsync pop ballads with no flavor, it's an art and it's something that Steven Wilson has perfected. Music is beauty and this is music at it's best.