22nd January will see the release of a new Steven Wilson album 4 ½, so titled because it forms an interim release between Steven’s recently released fourth album Hand. Cannot. Erase. and the next studio album.
4 ½ comprises 6 tracks with a total running time of 37 minutes. 4 of the songs originated during the sessions for Hand. Cannot. Erase., and one from the recording sessions for the previous album The Raven that Refused to Sing.
Whereas with his previous work Wilson had explored different layers of sophistication, 4 ½ could be defined as crepuscular album filled with dreamy moods and relaxing atmospheres, as if immersing into a limbo that is a bridge between the old album and the next one. The opening title My Book Of Regrets though offers a classic progressive rock track with fresh arrangement and catchy melodies that evolve into more jazz/blues atmospheres. With the second (fully instrumental) track Year of The Plague we are taken back to the more melancholic Wilson, the one I personally fell in love with. Violins merry acoustic guitars and pianos here to give life to a dance of ethereal melodies for the soul.
The pattern is repeated with the two following songs, where Happiness III reprises the melodies and arrangements of the first track and Sunday Rain Sets In offers another instrumental moment of introspection. The cinematic Vermillioncore gives finally way to more heavy guitars and a more metal approach that will make progressive metal purists rejoice.
The final track is a version of Don’t Hate Me, a song originally recorded by Porcupine Tree in 1998, and is based on a live recording made on the recent tour of Europe with additional recording later done in the studio. The vocals on this new version are sung as a duet between Steven and Ninet Tayeb.
Also appearing on the album are members of Steven’s band over the last few years; Adam Holzman, Nick Beggs, Guthrie Govan, Dave Kilminster, Craig Blundell, Marco Minnemann, Chad Wackerman, and Theo Travis.
4 ½ will be released by Kscope on CD, 180 gram vinyl, and blu-ray, with all formats housed in a beautiful die-cut sleeve photographed by Lasse Hoile and designed by Carl Glover. The blu-ray (audio only) edition includes high res stereo, a 5.1 mix of the album, and a bonus 5.1 mix of the new version of Lazarus (recently included on the Transience vinyl compilation). The vinyl edition will include a download code for the album in a choice of FLAC or mp3. The album will also be available digitally on 22nd January from Itunes, Amazon, Google Play & Apple Music.
4 ½ is again the proof that Wilson never ceases to deliver top level music, his talent as composer, singer, musician and producer make him one of the undiscussed top progressive music artists of the last 20 years.
Steven Wilson – “4 ½”
My Book of Regrets (9.23)
Year of the Plague (4.15)
Happiness 3 (4.31)
Sunday Rain Sets In (3.50)
Don’t Hate Me (9.34)
With sold out shows around the world including his 2 recent performances at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, Steven Wilson will continue to tour throughout 2016. Starting in Germany on January 12th, the 2016 European tour takes Steven to Belgium, Holland, UK, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Hungary, Italy and Greece – for full tour details see http://stevenwilsonhq.com/sw/tour-dates/