ARTIST:

STEVEN WILSON

(UNITED KINGDOM)
TITLE:

4 1/2

(2016)
LABEL:

AUTRE LABEL

GENRE:

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

TAGS:
Fusion, Melancholic
"Varied, surprising, largely instrumental and above all carried by his guitars, "4 ½" confirms Steven Wilson in his status as one of the best contemporary progressive rock artists."
CORTO1809 (04.01.2016)  
5/5
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New offering from Steven Wilson at the beginning of 2016, "4 ½" is an EP in charge of making the listener wait between "Hand. Cannot. Erase" and the fifth LP to come, hence its strange title. Although it is a respectable 37-minute EP, it contains six tracks, one of which is from the recording sessions of "The Raven That Refused To Sing" and four from those of "Hand. Cannot. Erase". The last track is a cover of a Porcupine Tree song from "Stupid Dream". We find the line-up of the two previous albums (why change a winning team?) increased by three new little ones: Dave Kilminster on guitar, and behind the drums Craig Blundell and Chad Wackerman, who had already made an appearance on "Hand. Cannot. Erase."..

Those who had found the last album a little soft will probably be reassured by the sustained introduction of the opening track. An energetic guitar riff, muscular drums and a deaf and humming bass accompany a song that the Beatles would not have disowned. 'My Book Of Regrets' will take advantage of its nine minutes to take us into a crazy spiral, along removed instrumental bridges where guitars and keyboards meet in very dynamic solos, an ethereal vocal barely having time to bring a dreamy and melancholic counterpoint to the power of the guitars before finding the introductory "beatlesian" theme.

As if to complement the first track, 'Don't Hate Me' closes the album with an almost equal length. The vocal parts in duo with Ninet Tayeb are deceptively soft and quickly give way to three long instrumental developments, the first on the jazzy electric piano, the second carried by Theo Travis' charismatic saxophone (very "Dark Side Of The Moon") before an atmospheric passage populated by distant sounds and diffused over slow guitar arpeggios makes the intensity fade. While respecting the structure and melody of Porcupine Tree's title, the addition of the female voice and the substitution of the electric piano and saxophone for the vaporous organ and guitar of the original version are all clever contributions that embellish it.

Stuck between these two pillars, there are four shorter pieces, three of which are instrumental: the sweet and dreamy "Year Of The Plague", contemplative with floating keyboards and delicate acoustic guitar arpeggios, endowed with a crescendo as beautiful as subtle, the equally atmospheric and "floydian" "Sunday Rain Sets In",  mixing vaporous keyboards, soaring guitar, synthetic violin and flute, and the much more turbulent "Vermillioncore". Let's bet that this track with its angular melody following a beautiful bass line is the one from the sessions of "The Raven", with its slightly discordant sounds and saturated guitars. It hovers there the dark and disturbing spirit of King Crimson mixed again with a very "Dark Side" floydian side (we think in particular of "On The Run"), Steven Wilson having never hidden the influence of this album on his compositions. Finally, 'Happiness' is a very simple, energetic song, with a large rhythm section and guitar walls, quite close to what Porcupine Tree offered.

Once again, Steven Wilson delivers a goldsmith's work with finely chiseled melodies. Varied, surprising, largely instrumental and above all carried by his guitars, "4 ½" perpetuates the tradition of excellence established by his two predecessors and confirms Steven Wilson in his status as one of the best contemporary progressive rock artists.


More informations on http://www.swhq.co.uk/





TRACK LISTING:
01. My Book of Regrets (09:23)
02. Year of the Plague (04:15)
03. Happiness 3 (04:31)
04. Sunday Rain Sets In (03:50)
05. Vermillioncore (05:09)
06. Don’t Hate Me (09:34)

LINEUP:
Adam Holzman: Claviers
Chad Wackerman: Batterie
Craig Blundell: Batterie
Dave Kilminster: Guitares
Guthrie Govan: Guitares
Marco Minnemann: Batterie
Nick Beggs: Basse
Ninet Tayeb: Chant (6)
Steven Wilson: Chant / Guitares
Theo Travis: Flûte (4,6), Saxophone (6)
   
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