Steven Wilson – The harmony codex

8/10

Many fans were taken aback by Steven Wilsons previous solo offering “The future bites” (2021). Myself, I loved its radio-friendliness – even joy – but thousands didn’t. But its not to worry, ‘cos with “The harmony codex”, the Porcupine Tree leader is back on the difficult, un-compromising path. In fact, the new album resembles Porcupine Tree’s latest record “Closure/continuation” (2022) much more than “The future bites”. This is an evocative and truly experimental album filled with electronica, catchy rhythms, prog rock, melodies in minor and celestial voices. For instance, ten-minute semi-instrumental “Impossible tightrope” sounds like a jazzy spaceship with strings, ghost-choires and heavy metal riffs. Surely one of this years’ biggest masterpieces. “Rock bottom” is a gut wrenching piano ballad/duet with Ninet Tayeb. Very emotional indeed. “The harmony codex” (the tune) resembles a hymn, but to a new religion. Or a modern-day take of Ulf Dageby’s “Gallret”. And endnote “Staircase” brings us home on the wings of nine minutes heavy rock (not heavy metal!) with equal parts electronics, orchestrations and guitar solos. Even a bass solo gets thrown in, for good measure. Some will surely dismiss some of the more voluminous instrumental passages as a waste of time, but I enjoy them thoroughly and find them all essential to the very much grand whole.
The weakest point (beyond the rather lame rap of “Actual brutal facts”) is Wilsons own singing voice. The brit’s never been a master singer, but somehow his compositions are of such a kind that his limited vocal cords fit his songs prefectly, thus adding to this masterful web of a record.
…and the sound quality is top notch. I guess nobody believed otherwise.
Artist: Steven Wilson
Title: The harmony codex
Label: Universal
Date of release: 2023-09-29
Rate: 8/10
Stand Out Track: Impossible tightrope
Country of Origin: UK

Steven Wilson – The harmony codex

September 26, 2023

Many fans were taken aback by Steven Wilsons previous solo offering “The future bites” (2021). Myself, I loved its radio-friendliness – even joy – but thousands didn’t. But its not to worry, ‘cos with “The harmony codex”, the Porcupine Tree leader is back on the difficult, un-compromising path. In fact, the new album resembles Porcupine Tree’s latest record “Closure/continuation” (2022) much more than “The future bites”. This is an evocative and truly experimental album filled with electronica, catchy rhythms, prog rock, melodies in minor and celestial voices. For instance, ten-minute semi-instrumental “Impossible tightrope” sounds like a jazzy spaceship with strings, ghost-choires and heavy metal riffs. Surely one of this years’ biggest masterpieces. “Rock bottom” is a gut wrenching piano ballad/duet with Ninet Tayeb. Very emotional indeed. “The harmony codex” (the tune) resembles a hymn, but to a new religion. Or a modern-day take of Ulf Dageby’s “Gallret”. And endnote “Staircase” brings us home on the wings of nine minutes heavy rock (not heavy metal!) with equal parts electronics, orchestrations and guitar solos. Even a bass solo gets thrown in, for good measure. Some will surely dismiss some of the more voluminous instrumental passages as a waste of time, but I…

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