As we steer forth towards the years end, the ghastly call for votes to be cast, then to be counted up and woven into a end of year listing is upon us. Admittedly I hate polls, especially record related ones, I mean how are you meant to do this when your hearing several new releases a day, in all honesty I can’t recall what I was listening to last Wednesday let alone last January. that’s not to say that whatever I was listening to last Wednesday is in anyway lacking in the memorable department (strangely enough young folk – just in case you are taking notes – it was an expanded re-issue of Billy Bragg‘s debuting platter), its just the nature of the beast, your focused on the here and now not the last week, the last month or the last year. That said – and I’m suspecting a little game playing on k-scope’s part – one album that has sat with me these last few months being on and off the sound player and something which in terms of overall musicality, mood and poetic resonance is stealing a considerable march on its competitors – and here’s where the game playing comes in – is Steven Wilson’s simply divine ’the raven that refused to sing’. we might well have forgotten about had it not been for the appearance of this soon to be released single – a cut from said album entitled ’drive home’. now I’m not going to get drawn into the wherewithal of prog, is this prog, is it this that or the other – if you’re a little bewildered at this point just check the various message boards and the squabbling amongst critics and fans alike in relation to this album – I’m kind of gathering Mr Wilson himself is a little perplexed by it all. And with that to the single. As you may or may not be aware the album was possessed of a navigating thread, operating on a personal level to Wilson it essentially deals in death, loss and the after effects resulting therein, freed from the restrictive expectations of his charges Porcupine Tree, the album reveals Wilson’s artistry afforded free reign, the musicality choreographed with a cinematic sensitivity and surrendered in a timeless classicism no more so is this the case than on ’drive home’. free flowing in a richly alluring softly spectral symmetry, this opining and haunting heartbreaker tells the tale of a tragedy so effecting upon the protagonist that his memory has junked the details of the ordeal to save emotional collapse. The sound-scape attaching is delicately woven upon a deftly detailed quiet to loud dynamic whose purr like palette is dinked in pastoral florets and within whose 8 minute visitation gathers slowly in density and dimension with intensity shot through apace to reach a searing crescendo like conclusion wherein all the pent up emotions converge and collide. The single comes out released as a CD/ DVD or CD / Blue Ray package which aside featuring the Jess Cope directed animated videos for ’drive home’ and ’the raven that refused to sing’ also includes two previously unreleased cuts ’the birthday party’ and the full on orchestral version of ’the raven’ along with four tracks taken from the recent Frankfurt tour dates.
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