Captures a sold out gig on Wilson’s solo tour in support of his ‘Grace For Drowning’ album.
The word ubiquitous appears to have been invented for Steven Wilson; if he’s not creating music with Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Blackfield, Bass Communion, Storm Corrosion, IEM or as a solo artist he’s appearing as a guest on other people’s albums or re-mixing classic albums for the 5.1 Surround Sound generation. Which begs the question, when does he sleep?
Many view Wilson as the Prog Messiah, I am less convinced. I appreciate his immense talent and that he’s very creative but a proportion of his work leaves me perplexed. Clearly he can create great music but often he’s ponderous (e.g. the opening of ‘Raider II’) and/or injects random and tuneless aspects. Nevertheless his disciples will drool over this DVD, others will enjoy the majority of what’s on offer but won’t be converted into unquestioning acolytes.
This DVD captures a sold out gig on Wilson’s solo tour in support of his ‘Grace For Drowning’ album; filmed in Mexico City, apparently a hotbed for his music. The crowd’s enthusiasm is evident throughout. Wilson has an eye for the dramatic; not content to just stand on stage and play, it’s his aim to present a full-on audio-visual experience. Consequently his long-time visual collaborator Lasse Hoile was heavily involved in creating films to support the songs plus the state of the art lighting; he also directed and edited this DVD. Wilson chooses to spend the first part of the gig performing from behind a translucent gauze screen which acts as another surface on which both lights and films can be projected and in truth it’s rather effective. Of particular interest to Wilson fans will be the inclusion of a new track, ‘Luminol’, which is destined to feature on his next studio album. It proves to be one of the highlights too, coming across as a hybrid of Pink Floyd, Steve Hackett, Spock’s Beard and The Flower Kings all drenched in Mellotron.
Musically he has surrounded himself with a band of considerable quality; Nick Beggs (bass, stick and backing vocals), Marco Minnemann (drums), Theo Travis (flute & sax), Adam Holzman (keyboards) and Niko Tsonev (guitars). The first track (‘No Twilight….’) literally unfolds with each band member taking the stage and joining in with Minneman’s initial drum pattern. I was concerned when Holzman arrived as his contribution is akin to a 70’s TV show soundtrack about Space and decidedly tuneless; and there’s the rub, the music is at it’s best when it’s tuneful and melodic rather than when the avant garde twists get thrown in from time to time. These include overtly jazzy sections (usually featuring the sax) and the generally atonal guitar solos from Tsonev, which can detract from an otherwise very pleasing track, such as ‘Sectarian’. An exception is the delightful ‘Deform to Form a Star’ one of my highlights along with ‘Index’, ‘Harmony Korine’ and ‘Postcard’.
When it’s good it’s very good indeed I just wish I could edit out the tuneless and ponderous bits.