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 Insurgentes’ Harmony 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.