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View Poll Results: Rate the BDA of Steven Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING

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  • 10: Great Surround, Great Fidelity, Great Content

    46 64.79%
  • 9:

    13 18.31%
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    10 14.08%
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    2 2.82%
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    0 0%
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    0 0%
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Thread: Wilson, Steven - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray Audio]

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    Default Wilson, Steven - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray Audio]

    This Steve Wilson was released on Blu-Ray instead of DVD-Audio which was used for his first solo album. It was originally offered in a deluxe package with a book and 4 discs, as well as a 5.1 Blu-Ray w/stereo download package.

    Please post your thoughts and comments on this release.


    Steve Wilson Grace Book.jpg

    Steve Wilson Grace Disc.jpg
    :-jon

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    No reviews yet? I tried to listen last night, but couldn't get into it. Doesn't seem like he's done anything new or interesting with his music since FOABP... I hope I'm wrong and GFD is just a slow starter. Anyone?

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Only listened to the cds yet, and just a bit of the 5.1 mix. Sounds like it has to grow, as there are a lot of different moods in the songs. Will rate this after more spinning of the discs.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I've listened to it a few times. Sonics are great and the mix is solid. The dark, very moody tone of the album won't appeal to everyone. There are lots of images and several video clips as well which will seem a bit cliche if you've seen some of the other visuals that came with the various Insurgentes projects. You won't find many catchy hooks here. Still, I think this one deserves several listens from folks before they pass judgement. I'm going to give it a few more listens before I vote but I'll be giving it a high ranking.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Hello. This is a solid 10 for 5.1 mix and musical content. Still don't know how to get to navigate to the video/song extras (I can get to the 2 tracks in the BONUS section on the main menu), but I know I'll find the way via help from you all. A perfect companion to Insurgentes. I've played the disc around 10 times (in 5.1), and my favorite track, so far, is INDEX. Thanks.
    Last edited by patrick1; 10-03-2011 at 06:06 PM.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Quote Originally Posted by patrick1 View Post
    Hello. This is a solid 10 for 5.1 mix and musical content. Still don't know how to get to navigate to the video/song extras (I can get to the 2 tracks in the BONUS section on the main menu), but I know I'll find the way via help from you all. A perfect companion to Insurgentes. I've played the disc around 10 times (in 5.1), and my favorite track, so far, is INDEX. Thanks.
    Hi Patrick, you can find the video's and works in progress when you go to the song selection. When you hit the song titles there, with some you get the choice of video and/or demo mix. It's not so user friendly to be honest, but its all there.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    wonder why Steven approved a Blu ray which appears by all accounts to be so badly authored ?

    never had any problems with his DVDAs. i understood originally that there were going to be Videos for all songs so again not sur why this needed to be blu Ray and not DVDA as it turns out !!
    Cheers Fletch

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Would have been nice if Burning Shed offered a DVD-A only package for those with DVD-A's in their cars and without BluRay players at home.
    :-jon

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I agree the authoring is different and the navigation of the disc takes a little getting used to but after a short learning curve it's not bad. It seems that there is no standard approach for BD audio authoring yet. Blu-ray menu layouts for Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and this disc are inconsistent, only Tom Petty and Rush have been similar. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it challenging for push and play operation without a monitor.

    I have only listened from beginning to end once. So far stormchaser seems to have summed it up well.


    Quote Originally Posted by stormchaser View Post
    I've listened to it a few times. Sonics are great and the mix is solid. The dark, very moody tone of the album won't appeal to everyone. There are lots of images and several video clips as well which will seem a bit cliche if you've seen some of the other visuals that came with the various Insurgentes projects. You won't find many catchy hooks here. Still, I think this one deserves several listens from folks before they pass judgement. I'm going to give it a few more listens before I vote but I'll be giving it a high ranking.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisMabry View Post
    I agree the authoring is different and the navigation of the disc takes a little getting used to but after a short learning curve it's not bad. It seems that there is no standard approach for BD audio authoring yet. Blu-ray menu layouts for Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and this disc are inconsistent, only Tom Petty and Rush have been similar. That's not necessarily a bad thing, it just makes it challenging for push and play operation without a monitor..
    The navigation sucks on this disc. It would be nice if the menus collpased if you hit the arrows in the appropriate direction, but you have to go back to the close button with the "X" in the menu - painful. That and the track selection problems make it a real pain.

    I prefer DVD-A for the following reasons:

    1. Easier to play without a monitor - most players you can get to the first track easily...
    2. Great for those with car audio
    3. Plays on a DVD-video only player (less of an issue these day as most people have a blu-ray player)

    But I prefer Blu-ray for Hi-rez video (with Hi-rez audio), which is what he's done on this album. (Still need to get a better T.V. to fully appreciate the videos though ). So I think blu-ray was a good choice for this disc - because of the videos, but I agree that a DVD-A release also would be warranted.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I posted this on another thread but I guess it belongs here;

    I have to say, that I really don't get what all the fuss is regarding the authoring of this disc. It's not conventional but certainly not problematic to navigate. You choose play, you get the album with pretty much just the music (a small scribble at the top of the screen with the song title) - which I suppose would please those who only want the music. If you want to drill down further for images, video, lyrics and demos you select by title (albiet one at a time). You can also use the pop up menu button to escape or just use the next button on your remote.

    As far as the actual musical content of the disc - a typically spectacular mixing job from SW - the music composition is interesting and engaging - performances likewise. I realize that there are many here who prefer their audio discs to be just that and for artists to stop wasting time with superfluous imagery. For me, not so much a problem as long as the content (audio or video) is compelling. My only gripe with this project is that the Lasse Hoile imagery/videos are bordering on self parody at this point. When I opened the booklet and saw the doll in flames I had to chuckle to myself and the videos - well, to be kind their not very good - they are like that Woody Allen parody of the Ingmar Bergman funeral scene - except they reveal the efforts of a deadly serious first year film school student.

    So for the music and mix (which I bought this for in the first place) - I give it a 10. For the execution of the rest, a 6. I'd like to see someone really take advantage of the capacities of Blu Ray. SW could be that person but he needs to lighten up a bit and get rid of the dolls.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I've got to play it a few more times before giving it a proper review. My first impression was "it's okay," and I'm hoping further listening changes that. I really like most of what he does a lot, but the sometimes very obvious homage to King Crimson's Lizard/Islands era on some tracks puts me off a bit.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I've given this one 2 spins in surround, and 4-5 spins in stereo, and I am really enjoying it. I like it quite a bit better than Insurgentes. I enjoyed many of the tracks on Insurgentes, but there were parts that really annoyed me (the "noise" influenced parts). Those annoying parts kind of ruined it for me to the point where I don't play it very much.

    The surround mix is fantastic! Fairly aggressive, as is typical for a SW mix. The overall production, in both stereo and surround, is excellent.

    Grace for Drowning requires the listener to be patient, as it may not immediately grab your attention. It is slow, and very minimalist in parts. I really enjoy these parts, however. I think they are beautiful.

    At the other end of the spectrum, there are also some loud and aggressive parts. It is a very dynamic and dramatic album. It is one hell of a trip! The best thing SW has done since In Absentia IMO.

    Oh... and the special edition packaging is very nice. I like it even better than Insurgentes, although they are certainly very similar.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I gave it a 9. Great mix and sound quality of course. I honestly would give it an 8 right now, but I also know the non-pt music takes longer to grow on me and a month from now I'll probably be thinking it is a 9...

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I really liked it.
    It's the ultimate dark chill-out album!
    You can't compare it to anything he's done before, really.
    Nice, aggressive mix, great production as expected.
    Kind of a "Porcupine Communion" album!
    (or Bass Tree... whichever!)
    I give it a 10.

    -B
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    Someday we'll all sing together.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    During the Insurgentes film, Steve Wilson reminisces about having to carefully select the "right" album that his allowance would buy. It was certainly about the music but the packaging like the album cover and overall vibe mattered considerably. With Grace For Drowning, I believe Steven Wilson has recorded the album that he would want to pop down to the record shop, purchase, bring home and savor the details. By now readers know I probably buy most of what SW has to offer and some (Bass Communion - Loss) really don't get played. Thankfully I find Grace For Drowning is the polar opposite and I will attempt to explain why.

    Given his workaholic schedule and multiple band commitments, it is extraordinary that he had the time and energy to make such a record. I can say that I'm played the CDs in the car non-stop since the special edition book package arrived. To be sure this music has the menace and swagger you'd expect but it also has an inviting quality for repeat play that Insurgentes lacked overall. IMHO - Insurgentes has a "hang on while I figure this out" tentative experimental vibe whereas Grace For Drowning is more of an "I've got this figured out now" proposition which produces a more satisfying listener experience. Once I heard the album a couple times I committed to drive to Chicago for one of only 8 US dates so far. [I do not expect another tour leg but would be pleasantly surprised if he did so]

    Since most of us know of the tight axis (and shared mgmt team representing both bands) between PT, SW, & King Crimson personnel, it is now commonplace to expect hybrid offerings such as Gavin Harrison popping up on KC dates in 2008 (saw in 300 seater here in Nashville), JFC- A Scarcity Of Miracles, and of course the SW/RF mixing collaboration on the KC catalog albums, I had to wonder how this would influence Stevens recorded work. To date, PT was increasingly influenced by metal bands SW may have worked with and a few hints of prog elements showing up here and there. Insurgentes did include KC alum Tony Levin but never crossed into overt KC territory IMHO as tracks were more of an experimental nature or noise band influenced direction. One of the first times I really noticed it occured on The Incident where the high electric guitar notes carve a great riff in Great Expections (after "...So strange I forget her name, I wonder if she got out" etc.) which in mind recalls the first notes of Red from the KC album of the same name. Not a direct lift mind you, just enough of the essence and energy to make you notice. I believe that Porcupine Tree has a signature range that SW wants to maintain and he doesn't tamper with that very much at all.

    This brings us to the consideration of the music that populates Grace For Drowning. What we have here is two discs that are related and of equal value this time. In the past we have had the "2nd disc" of music from the same writing and recording session that was seen as lesser of the two. Please note that some of these tunes (notably Drown With Me from In Absentia sessions) are my very favorites while others are properly labelled leftovers, mind you very good ones that other bands should be so lucky to have. This time out, we have two true album discs with a third disc (42 min) in the special edition for non-album tracks.

    Allow me to address those first; 1) Home In Negative was released as a Sound Cloud right after I met SW at the NYC Insurgentes screening. It showcased a gorgeous alternate pop direction should he decide to pursue it and gave us something new to ponder for a while. Are those horns I'm hearing? Hints abound. [just discovered the CD tags for CD3 are wrongly displaying CD2 track names in Windows Media Player but iTunes had me select SW GFD bonus disc to be correct. Genre is Indy Rock!] 2) Fluid Tap is okay but doesn't really advance the narrative or hold up against the final tracks selected. 3) The Map would be right at home on Insurgentes with its experimental textures and drum programming. 4) Raider Acceleration instrumental must've been a fun jam riff to play; the wild sax work recalls KC or some German prog perhaps. It is heard to perhaps better effect in the track 6 demo. 5) Black Dog Throwbacks is a largely atonal texture he must've had a hard time setting aside. Other vocal arrangements that were used on the true albums are stronger than this one. 6) Raider II - demo version (21:08) is cool as it allows you to see the seeds (vocals before processing, etc) and what survived into the final 23 minute version or not. Sections change a bit; some disappear; a rapid bass riff was dropped; cool but conflicted with other instruments too much. Of everything on disc 3 I would listen to 1 & 5 the most.

    This leads us to the main materal which I'll address as a whole via the Blu Ray tracklist. 1) Grace For Drowning is a gentle piano & wordless vocal collage that signals something different is about to begin with its 40 vocal tracks. 2) Sectarian builds into a crunchiness with soaring horn lines and the early-mid period KC influence is felt. Other aspects feel like Kraut rock and together it is very cool. It's ominous, it's beautiful and it blossoms. 3) Deform To Form A Star - what can I say? If I have played this 50 times (at least), it has elicited a strong emotional response in 48 of those plays. I decided I would WALK to Chicago just to hear this one. It hits me like a latter day Mad Man Moon (Genesis) and IMHO also has some roots back to Baby Dream In Cellaphane (Stupid Dream). Some Joni Mitchell piano chords in there perhaps. Glorious, terrific, heartfelt. 4) No Part Of Me has a chill beat and some of his best breakup lyrics to date and the whole tune morphs nicely. 5) Postcard is a pleasant although downcast pop tune that could easily been done by Blackfield; has it's moments. Love the first line: "Guess it's time I got up off the kitchen floor..."

    6) Raider Prelude provides a keen teaser look ahead to the long centerpiece on disc two. 7) Remainder The Black Dog (seeing video now for 1st time!) is also a favorite. The off kilter piano riff and processed vocals are dreamy and the pace of progression in this tune is terific. SW has really figured out how to feature soaring horns, odd time signatures and melodic vocals here! Sound like anybody you know? The huge rhythmic shifts are handled with ease. The bass tone shifts to sound like Chris Squire - Fish Out Of Water for a bit, then the melodic swirl of perhaps Gentle Giant, not put a horn line on top of that. Now lay back before shifting to a 70's Euro prog groove. It's too dizzying to accurately describe! And now we're back to the piano figure that started it all. This is one of my favorites; end of disc 1.

    Disc 2: 1) Belle Du Jour provides a gentle opener as was done with the first disc. It builds beautifully and cinematically as SW allows it to be beautiful. The video depicts a seaside outing that may have never happened at all. Perhaps it is another dream as he runs away. 2) Index is about sorting, collecting or perhaps hoarding in a regular and vocoder voice; includes a video with the standard disturbing images we all know by now. [comments about this being cliche are noted] 3) Track One is very much enjoyed as it starts off enchanting then becomes etherial before mutating into a terrific menacing rhythmic roar (one of his best IMHO) that totally works to great effect. Then drifts away.

    4) Raider II is the big track, running some 23 minutes all told. It gracefully evolves thru sections only hinted at in the demo and the crucial pacing perfected here really sets it alll up nicely. Sidebar: I read all of the lyrics as soon as the box arrived to better absorb the music later. What struck me was that the lyrics (home invasion, fear, control, paranoia, implied violence, etc) didn't initially match up to the *massive* music in my mind. Then I came to realize a person's fear at being tied up and wondering what would happen to them is as tall as mountains on the moon if it's happening to you. Relax there are no details just subtle comments to let you understand the people involved and the increasing stakes of the event. Now I see it for what he intended me to see and hear. Some Keith Tippett style piano and some melodic turns reference KC's progressive nature; more a nod than a lift once again. Then we're onto the next section; say is that a two chord vamp from Deadwing, hold on here comes the Magma vocals and mellotron swooping down on us. That has to be Gavin providing the perfect underpinning to all of this madness. 5) Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye is a mostly mellow introspective album closer in the SW tradition. Catherine Wheel organ and some terrific vocal arrangements (as witnessed throughout this record). Now cue up that goofy sweet guitar solo in the center speaker. If the album must truly end now, this is how it should be.

    The stereo mixes are great but the 5.1 surround mixes are superlative in that they are clever, discrete and in full support of the material. Where there is a processed vocal in the stereo version that sounds like one track actually appears as dry vocal in the center with the processed version in the rears sounding very cool. The disc navigation is a little odd but not a deal breaker so far; I'm sitting far away from monitor so need to monkey around with the Blu Ray more. My mission today was simply to confirm the music is great and that for a solo album, Steven Wilson has treated this one as a primary event rather than an outlet for ideas that don't fit with the Porcupine Tree template.

    Grace For Drowning is Highly Recommended in any format, most especially 5.1 surround on Blu Ray disc!
    Last edited by timbre4; 10-27-2011 at 08:12 PM. Reason: clarity
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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Hello and WOW! Timbe4! Thanks for your copious efforts on the above post. I forwarded it to many friends of mine who are puzzled by my massive admiration for Mr. Wilson's works. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Thanks for the kind words, just wanted to get the word out that this is such a worthwhile album to have.
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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I'm still trying with this one. Some parts are already growing on me after a few more listens - I thought that would happen, and I think the rest will fall into place over time as well. The sonics on the album are very very good, and the 5.1 mix is definitely the best way to hear this opus.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Please forgive my oversight of not addressing King Crimson alumni and key progressive collaborators on Grace For Drowning. Tony Levin, Pat Masteletto, Trey Gunn, Theo Travis, Jordan Rudess, Markus Reuter, Steve Hackett (!), Nick Beggs, Dave Stewart (arranging) and other fine playes I'm not acquainted with (yet). [did meet Tony, Pat & Markus as Stickmen this past Friday night in Nashville; will post in new music section above.

    Correction: It is actually the extraordinary Nic France on the drums for Remainder the Black Dog and really the bulk of this album. Just sent him a thank you dispatch to his FB page.

    UPDATE 1: About the cover: "The front cover image is part of a series of photographs Lasse took of me in the same location using a pinhole camera direct onto Polaroid film. No computer manipulation was used, the orange glow is the result of how the film/camera captured the light coming from the twilight sun behind me. As soon as we took the exposure out of the camera and saw it developing in front of our eyes, we knew that it was the cover!"

    UPDATE 2: SW says of tour band: "I’m very happy to announce that following the release of my new solo album “Grace For Drowning” in September, I will be undertaking my first ever solo tour of Europe and North America. For this tour I am very fortunate to have the talents of an extraordinary line up of musicians to perform the music – Marco Minnemann on drums, Nick Beggs on bass, Aziz Ibrahim on guitar, Gary Husband on keyboards, and Theo Travis on flute / sax. And myself (not extraordinary) on vocals, guitars and keyboards."

    UPDATE 3: Gary Husband is out due to illness; Adam Holzman (The Fents, Miles Davis, etc) is the replacement!! SW says "I want to say a big thank you to all the people who came to the first 4 dates on the Grace For Drowning tour, it's been an amazing experience for all of us involved in the tour, band and crew. We are still fine tuning, as with so much going on in terms of the execution of the music, the surround sound, films, screens..etc... !!!
    Last edited by timbre4; 10-31-2011 at 12:08 AM. Reason: more news then more news
    Timbre4
    Moderator, Musician, Foole
    Daddeo 2016 Selected Songs link:

    http://www.acidplanet.com/artist.asp...=122027&t=3401

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    (Although it has nothing to do with the BluRay...) I was fortunate enough to be at one of the last European tour dates.
    It was really great. The sound was good and yes there WAS surround sound! The rears were mainly used for sounds from the backing tracks (like multiple harmony parts, sound effects). The whole show is preprogrammed, all except 2 songs are played sync'ed to videos and at the same time to the backing tracks and the light show.
    But that's just technique. The result is a great show with a theater like perfection.
    On condition you can enjoy this kind of music of course.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    This is Wilson somewhat dialed back in every way. The music is just as intricate as anything he puts his hands on, but more subdued. The surround mix is dialed back in places as well, with everything still where it should be in the mix, but a bit of vocal ambience creeping in the rears when appropriate. A 9 out of 10 for me simply because, as great as it is, I still found myself wanting just a bit more from Steven in the mix this time around.

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I wasn't real impressed with Insurgentes, but after reading all the praise here, decided this was one I need to get. So I ordered it and waited and it finally arrived last weekend. Took a couple of days to get time to sit and listen and my player won't read the disc. I take it out and blow on it even though I see nothing and then it plays. Great! I listen to most of it and then have to leave. Now I haven't been able to get it to load again. A replacement is on it's way. Anyone else get a bad one?

    From what I heard, I think I will like it much better than Insurgentes. I knew the surround mix would be great because he knows how to do it, but musically this one sounded much better to my ears. I can't wait to get the replacement disc and listen again.

    K

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    Saint Steven does it again ! Is there anyone out there trying to further the causes of hi-res stereo AND surround mixes ?? I can't find em if there are . I agree with Elmer that he should ' cheer up a bit and lose the dolls ' but he is very close with Lasse Hoile his danish visuals guy and feels that their work dovetails very well . A disappointing first listen for me has been followed by many BD listenings and the London live show and I have to say , if we're going to ( music ) war then this guy is my General and I will follow . A bit like Bowie , his bad still so comprehensively beats most others' good you can't help being won over . In parts , like the PT album ' Metanoia' , this could be filed under ' Self Indulgent ' but is so sublime elsewhere that each listening becomes like the beginning of a new journey .

    In a world that has been turned into every greedy buggers' playground , music like this is necessary yet very rare .

    Is this the world that we created ? Unfortunately , yea .

    Nice 1 Mr. Wilson , keep em com in'

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    Hey,you buggers can sing higher than I can !

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    Default Re: Steve Wilson - GRACE FOR DROWNING [Blu-Ray]

    I'm kicking myself a bit for holding off with buying this one. Insurgentes was the reason for that but my hesitation was not justified. $13.00 - Insane. 83 minutes of wonderful-sounding surround music. I'm in love with DTS-HD MA. It has such a natural feel to it. Sweet.

    GFD is great. This is exactly what I expect from SW, the solo artist. The album comes off with a satisfying sense of continuity. Whenever Steven figures out the vision for the album that he wants to make it all comes out right. My appreciation of his mastery of the .1 channel continues to grow. A definite 10.

  27. Likes timbre4 liked this post
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