Steven Wilson Thank you Steven Wilson


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New member
Apr 21, 2021
Oberhaslach, France
Firstly I'd like to thank Edison Baggins alias "Life in Surround" for turning me on to some great surround albums. Thanks to him I discovered the wonderful Rush "A farewell to kings" and that's what inspired me to create this specific post: because, once again, Steven Wilson's amazing music has set a very high standard of what a good surround mix can be. Recently, I sat down and attentively compared this album's mix with two other great Rush albums: 2112 and Moving pictures. I discovered what I already knew; that those two mixes just couldn't hold a candle to the SW mix. I love all three albums equally but the whole "experience" of the SW AFTK mix just lifts me up onto a new level of surround appreciation.

My observations were more or less as follows: the SW mix positions the instruments in such a spatial and discreet way that I can enjoy the music whilst also easily identifying the different instruments as they add to the musical story. Moreover, SW brings each instrument to the fore in a subtle but imaginative way (Neal Peart's drums: Wow !) as dictated by the music, rather than "showing off" his mixing abilities, although he likes to have a bit of "fun" now and again. I can always feel he loves the music and the mix is all about making the musical experience better for the listener. He creates an absolutely immersive experience (accentuated in this case, I might add, by Hugh Syme's wonderful vistas. The 2112 cartoons are great too, but that's another story...). On the other hand, if I take the Moving Pictures mix: such a great album but, I find it harder to identify specific instruments and instrumental passages. The overall mix is like a "wall of sound" that surrounds and envelops me; it's kind of exciting at first but, by the end of the album, I feel a bit "worn out" and I've had enough. With the AFTK mix I just keep going back for more :) It has it's intense "wall of sound" moments too, but they are fleeting and timely rather than being persistent and tiring.

"Thanks Steven Wilson" because he originally turned me on to surround sound back in the day of Porcupine Tree's amazing trio of albums (In Absentia, Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet) and everything he's done since (including PT's The Incident of course). But more than that, thanks to his mixes, I've rediscovered albums I already loved (All the King Crimson albums, The Yes albums, all the Jethro Tull albums, ELP and the list goes on...). Indeed, for me, his mixes are so good that I'm prepared to try out albums I don't know just because he's mixed them, like Tears for Fears "the Seeds of Love" for example... I was even considering checking out "Kiss Destroyer" (not so much my "cup of tea"...)

So with this thread I'd like to explore what makes SW's mixes so good, assuming that many of you agree with me and knowing that many of you are better qualified to identify just what it is that makes his style of mixing so amazing and original. A final thankyou to all of you for enriching my knowledge and appreciation of surround through all your interesting posts.
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