Friday, 6 March 2015

steven wilson's hand cannot erase

Earlier this week Steven Wilson's latest album 'Hand. Cannot. Erase' was released. Always much anticipated, the Wilson catalogue grows into a formidable piece of modern sound production and 'progressive' music exploration. That's progressive with no hint of 1970's over indulgence by the way. And just like his previous albums there lies a theme of almost Gothic story telling arranged with the usual Wilson lightness of touch that belies the subject matter.
This time he enters an urban world not of fantasy but stark reality that most of us have either read a similar story or heard of one.
It is the grim tale of how the death of a young woman went unnoticed, and despite having friends and a career, lay undiscovered in her her flat for 3 years, with even her own family assuming she'd moved away. A very modern story then, of isolation and neglect.
You have to hand it to SW, the man does not take an easy route with his subject matter. Yet from the grimness of the tale the music and words never sink into maudlin morbidness. It is reflective and thoughtful with an empathy to how this nightmare of an urban nightmare could exist.
In a recent interview with Record Collector Wilson remarked how he "thought of an album in the same way as creating a film or a novel".
And with that comment the entire Wilson approach to recording is more than clear.
It does have one drawback in the contemporary world of downloads and random play-lists, he's asking the listener to hear the entire album in one go.
"I'm fighting against the prevailing trend.. bottom line is music I make is still outside of the mainstream.. it's still underground"
Wilson is more than aware of the difficulty his music has in wider acceptance but his "war of attrition" continues. Where and what this modern composer eventually ends up producing will be a fascinating story in itself.
This track, "A Perfect Life", from the album is unusually more in the Wilson 'pop' mode. The clip below is a teaser for the album. Available in all sorts of exotic media from Burning Shed