The music post redux

Back in February I wrote the music post and waxed lyrical about a few prog-oriented albums that had just been released, marking the year as a true vintage in barely two months. Well, things just got better and better…

When I wrote February’s post I was looking forward to Steven Wilson’s third solo effort, The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) which promptly came out and blew many of us away. A simply gorgeous recording, it is without doubt my album of the year. Together with two fellow reprobates (one of them you may know) I was lucky enough to nip along to the Royal Festival Hall to see Wilson and band in action in March, and it was wonderful (going again next month!)

However, there have been other excellent music releases this year, and in no particular order here are some of my gems from 2013:

  • Sanguine Hum, The Weight Of The World. The second studio album from this Oxford band, I loved their debut, Diving Bell so I had high hopes. They did not disappoint. Sanguine Hum are on the Esoteric Recordings label alongside other prog and rock luminaries such as Camel, Arthur Brown, Jack Bruce, Hawkwind, Tony Banks, Tangerine Dream and Squackett. Impressive!
  • Sound Of Contact’s debut, Dimensionaut. Sound Of Contact are a British-Canadian / American band, with lead singer and drummer Simon Collins at the helm (yes, Phil Collins’ son). Dimensionaut is a cracking album, described as a cross between 70s Genesis (Simon particularly sounds like his dad on “Beyond Illumination” and “Closer To You”) and Porcupine Tree, which is good enough for me—in fact, John Wesley has been one of their live guitarists. A corking start with a lot of promise for the future too.
  • Admittedly I’m cheating with Marillion’s Sounds That Can’t Be Made (it came out in 2012), but I only got it this year, and it’s such a good album it most certainly warrants a mention. From the stunning opener “Gaza” to the closing “The Sky Above The Rain” this is an album that bears repeated listens and really draws you in. Thoroughly thoroughly recommended.
  • My old favourite Nick Beggs has been extraordinarily busy in recent years (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Lifesigns, and many more), but he managed to release a solo album this year. The Darkness In Men’s Hearts is a mix of re-mastered material from his first two solo releases, Stick Insect (2000) and The Maverick Helmsman (2004), with a couple of new tracks thrown in for good measure—well worth the purchase price. Hear the Chapman Stick played by a true master!

So there you have it. I’m off to have a listen now :-)

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