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Insurgentes (CD & DVD)

4.4 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 24, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

2 Disc Set (CD + DVDA) with a 24 page booklet packaged in a Super jewel case with slipcase. Announcing Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson's debut solo album 'Insurgentes'. Acclaimed for his work with Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Anja Garbarek amongst others, Steven Wilson's debut album Insurgentes contains 10 new tracks that range from ballads and anthems to all-out industrial noise assaults. The dark, cinematic and richly textured album represents two years' worth of creative output and numerous recording sessions worldwide in studios from Mexico City to Japan and Israel. While Wilson is a member of several bands including Blackfield, No- Man and Bass Communion, he explains that "when I began writing these songs, I quickly realized that they would be best suited to an album under my own name. It was an intuitive, almost unconscious writing process that resulted in a kind of 'poetry of melancholy.'" Wilson recruited a stellar cast of guests to work on the album including bassist Tony Levin, Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison, and keyboardist Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), alongside Japanese Koto player Michiyo Yagi, British guitarist Sand Snowman, and jazz flautist and saxophonist Theo Travis. The final product inhabits a similar experimental realm as recent albums by Thom Yorke, Portishead, and Nine Inch Nails.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Harmony Korine
  2. Abandoner
  3. Salvaging
  4. Veneno Para las Hadas
  5. No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun
  6. Significant Other
  7. Only Child
  8. Twilight Coda
  9. Get All You Deserve
  10. Insurgentes

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 24, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Kscope
  • ASIN: B001O2ZW1A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,145 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Steven Wilson may just be the industry's best kept secret. Despite a multicontextual and multidirectional career which has delved into almost every genre imaginable, even Wilson's most popular of projects remain far-removed from the mainstream. He began his professional career with No-Man, in the sad vein of dreamy synth-pop, and has since gone on to form progressive groundbreaker Porcupine Tree, the dark and always irresistably catchy Blackfield, the psychedelic improv-based I.E.M., and worked with standard-setting bands such as Opeth and King Crimson. While anyone familiar with the above bands knows of Wilson's studio wizardry and multi-instrument proficiency, a solo career under his own name has been limited to a series of CD-R releases of acoustic material and cover songs only available through his web site and some random electronic instrumentals which remain largely obscure. Not anymore.

Insurgentes is his full-length debut, under his own name, and hits the listener as effectively as a well-aimed audio shotgun blast. It delves into every genre Wilson has explored while at the same time expanding on each of them, all the while attaining it's own unique sound with the focus and precision of a laser beam. This is a skill beyond the average musician, leaving the listener to always expect the unexpected. Indeed, the stylistic changes are often within the context of a single track, as Wilson begins "Salvaging" with a simple yet sinister guitar riff complemented by his snarls of "what was the point of making me trust...yeah you make me feel sick..." before dropping out the bottom into a soaring orchestral arrangement worthy of J. Ralph's approval.
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Format: Audio CD
This DVD-Audio 5.1 mix has become the new sonic standard by which all surround recordings should be measured.

From a music perspective there isn't much more to add (Hans Gruber review here is very good), it's Steven Wilson at its creative best - every song is beautifully conceived and executed. But also the music was conceived from scratch in a way that it could really exploit surround sound. I listened to the download of the album for about 12 times before I got this DVD-A. As usual, Steven's songs grow on you with every listen, and you start to understand and enjoy them more over time. However, what makes this album really shine is the 5.1 mix:

1. The sounds balance between the front, center and rear speakers is impeccable
2. The album explores the complete spectrum of the human capacity for audio, in many cases all sound frequencies (from very low to very high - almost as high as white noise) are beautifully displayed at the same time!
3. Really noisy passages are followed by very quiet and haunting passages, the contrast is mind-numbing and beautiful
4. When you play the album out loud, the workout that the subwoofer gets is unbelievable. You better not have glass or breakable objects within distance!

Steven makes a point that in today's iPod generation, the true enjoyment of listening to an album with the right sound quality and fidelity, and enjoying the accompanying artwork has been lost. Downloading individual songs can never transmit the ideas that the artist puts together when creating a concept album. And even though downloads are getting better in terms of better sound quality options, they will never equal the awesome quality that Advanced Resolution surround gives you.
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Format: Audio CD
Steven Wilson's 'Insurgentes' is a very dark, downbeat album with a black cloud of pessimism circling around it. It gets very bleak after a rather beautiful opening track 'Harmony Korine'. It is a blinding opener played in 8/4 and with Porcupine Tree nuances, and then the lights go out on 'Abandoner' that is so dark it is veritably chilling. The distorted sonic drones that emanate are disturbing but hold the interest. 'Salvaging' is a lengthy entrancing slow piece with Wilson chipping in on vocals with a downbeat monotone voice. The synth strings are very ethereal and take on a serene quality like music from a dramatic movie. There is a rather eerie passage of drones and effects at the end; perhaps as creepy as Wilson gets.

Following all this bleak atmosphere is 'Veneno Para Las Hadas', opening with a very slow vocal over patient spacey keys and a pulsating beat that pumps along and maintains a degree of tension. The incomparable Jordan Rudess is guest keyboardist on this along with 'No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun', a song with a King Crimsonish title and overall feel, that opens with Mike Outram's sporadic guitar bursts and an odd drum beat, perhaps a more progressive vibe than previous tracks. The fractured melody sounds like a King Crimson meets Porcupine Tree track. The proggish time sig is wonderful and it has a very long intro riff with Frippian squeaky guitars until it all cuts abruptly and Wilson whispers some reflective words. It builds to a louder chorus utilising the same shattered time sig. this may be the highlight of the album along with the opening track. It ends with backwards effects and then a shock of distorted riffs that begin unexpectedly until it all breaks down like a viny record slowing down to stop; a great track.
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