Steven Wilson: Transience

Prog poster boy’s solo efforts collected on vinyl.

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This is a mid-tour, vinyl-only limited-edition summary of Steven Wilson’s solo work: the man may be a proggie polymath – this month also sees his remixes of Yes and XTC hit the town – but increasingly his solo iteration feels like his creative centre.

The music here, drawn from Insurgentes, Grace For Drowning, The Raven That Refused To Sing and Hand. Cannot. Erase, plus a bonus cover of Porcupine Tree’s Lazarus, has an intense melancholy that exists somewhere between Wilson’s quite ordinary voice – which he never strains or pushes – and the extraordinary quality of the music and musicianship.

It’s sequenced in a way that refracts new light on the songs: Transience, from Hand. Cannot. Erase, opens ahead of the white burn of InsurgentesHarmony Korine; The Pin Drop, from the gothic and mysterious Raven… album, begins the second side of vinyl, then comes the Floydian acoustics of Happy Returns (‘The years pass by like trains…’).

It’s a tribute to the depths of the music that Wilson is writing and performing that it can be so successfully given new context. For those who haven’t heard much of him and who relish the verdant sonic luxuries of progressive rock on vinyl, Transience would be a lovely way to start.

Classic Rock 215: Reissues

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Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.