Steven Wilson – Grace for Downing (2011)

Grace for Downing Album Art

Hi there guys. Here am I, sick, at home and alone but I could not have chosen a better companions than Steven Wilson’s latest solo album and a new review for the perfectprog community.
    Grace for Downing was released last year around September and it is double CD (there’s also the Deluxe Edition with a third bonus CD but I haven’t got the chance to find it): The first part is called Deform to form a star and contains the title track, and the second part is called Like dust I have cleared from my eye and contains the truly amazing 23 minutes long track Raider II which might be consider the main track of the entire album since it has a prelude on part I and because it concentrates on itself almost all elements of this masterpiece.
    Nevertheless, I have to say that in order to fully comprehend Steven Wilson’s message through music, arrangements and a full list of emotional sensations you HAVE to listen to it all – track after track – with concentration (at least the first time). Before I started to work on this album many of my colleagues and friends told me that Grace for Downing was a good CD but not more than that. Well, I did not believe them (maybe because at this time I have learn to understand Steven Wilson’s intentions) and dedicated a full immersion hearing session. Do you want to know the result? Let’s just say I was happy not to believe those friends and after that I have also managed to convince them (a few were reluctant) that this was not only a good album.
    As you might see on the personnel session on this review, Grace for Downing can count on many famous musicians (Jordan Rudess for instance) and on many new talents. The Clarinet and Flute’s passage are marvelous not to mention the Sax parts.
    Well guys, that’s a must have we are talking about here. All that a progressive album should give us is findable on Grace for Downing (experimentation, arrangements, insertion of non-conventional instruments, good lyrics, emotion through music, etc) and off course my vote for it is a perfect 10/10.
    I am not going to stop here on this work, since I will the chance to see Steven Wilson live here in Europe around May. I am trying to contact him and his staff for an interview but if that will not be possible I will be writing about his performance the next day. So stay tuned on perfectprog.com for news. Bye and enjoy.
Tracklist:

Disc 1: Deform to Form a Star
No.    Title    Length                            
1.    "Grace for Drowning"     2:06                            
2.    "Sectarian"     7:41                            
3.    "Deform to Form a Star"     7:51                            
4.    "No Part of Me"     5:45                            
5.    "Postcard"
4:29                            
6.    "Raider Prelude"     2:23                            
7.    "Remainder the Black Dog"     9:27                            

Disc 2: Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye
No.    Title    Length                            
1.    "Belle de Jour"     2:59                            
2.    "Index"     4:49                            
3.    "Track One"     4:16                            
4.    "Raider II"     23:21                            
5.    "Like Dust I Have Cleared from My Eye"     8:01                            



Personnel:
•    Piano - Steven Wilson, Jordan Rudess
•    Electric guitar - Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Mike Outram
•    Acoustic guitar - Sand Snowman
•    Bass guitar - Steven Wilson, Tony Levin, Nick Beggs, Trey Gunn
•    U8 touch guitar - Markus Reuter
•    Drums - Nic France, Pat Mastelotto
•    Warr Guitar - Trey Gunn    •    Soprano Saxophone, Saxophone - Theo Travis
•    Clarinet - Theo Travis, Ben Castle
•    Stick - Nick Beggs, Tony Levin
•    Strings - London Session Orchestra, Dave Stewart
•    Flute - Theo Travis
•    Keys, autoharp, harmonium, percussion – Steven Wilson

review by logan lee