I have to admit to being a bit of a late comer with regards to Steven Wilson. His many adventures thus far have eluded me including the now legendary Porcupine Tree, who only ever recorded one album that actually caught my attention, The Sky Moves Sideways. Sadly this was an album that Wilson himself regrets ever being made, his view being that Pink Floyd fans were listening to it due to their idol’s lack of output. My interest in Steve Wilson began after watching the documentary included with his previous DVD release “Insurgentes”. I became intrigued and impressed with his personal ethos and listened with renewed fervor to his latest album “Grace For Drowning”. The majority of the songs that make up Wilson’s latest DVD/Blue Ray “Get All You Deserve” are songs from from the “grace For Drowning album.
“Get All You Deserve” is a fantastic document of Steven Wilson’s enthusiasm, skill and imagination. The dark, apocalyptic and sinister visuals so expertly directed and edited by Lasse Hoile used throughout the show are startling and thought provoking. The beginning of the show aptly titled Intro/Citadel is little more than subsonic drones recorded by another Wilson project Bass Communion taken from the album “Cenotaph”. As the eerie image of the grim reeper is projected onto a gauze screen draped in front of the stage ( a technique pioneered by IQ) the band make their entrance. First up was drummer Marco Minneman starting as he meant to go on. The German drummer adding some jazz licks to his metal background commands attention from the outset. He is joined by bass player extraordinaire Nick Beggs, pretty much known to many in the current Prog scene completes one hell of a rhythm section. In fact the whole band are an amazing unit. Quite how Steve Wilson put them together i don’t know but it was nothing short of genius.
As messrs Minneman and Beggs pound out the opening of “Twilight Within The Courts Of The Sun” They are joined by Bulgarian guitar virtuoso Niko Tsonev, woodwind ace Theo travis and jazz pianist Adam Holzman playing some astounding keyboards throughout the whole set. Adam Holzman is an American musician with a rich musical background having played in Miles Davis’s band for four years and being the son of Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra records. It soon becomes evident by the way that he effortlessly caressed the keyboard he was a seasoned musician with a immense musical dexterity. Last on stage is Mr Wilson himself. Picking up his trusty Les Paul he immediately introduces a little grunge to the dark jazz that preceded it. This heavy guitar outing is made sweeter by Theo Travis flute intervention. Moving on to “Index” a song about the obsesive side of our characters and the need to collect things, Nick Beggs swaps his bass for a Chapman stick whilst Niko Tsonev crashes out some black power chords creating a huge aural collage.
One of the best songs of the show is “Deform To Form A Star”. Adam Holzman’s piano intro to this song is a sheer delight and he is joined on keyboards by Steve himself sitting awkwardly on a very low stool at a piece of furniture with his instrument built in. The Mellotron sound is without doubt the best i have heard to date. Quite simply the best song i have heard in 2012. Niko Tsonev’s guitar cresendo really does get the hairs on the back of the neck standing up. Other songs of note from the “Grace for Drowning” album is “Sectarian” with lush yet powerful tones and nightmare soundscapes. Elsewhere on the disc songs from the Insurgentes album are well represented by “Veneno Para Las Hadas” sounding like very early Pink Floyd, and Abandoner. Extras on the disc include a road movie of the bands journey through South America by Adam Holzman who accompanied the film with Moog Voyager noodlings and the obligatory gallery.
Picture quality is very good as you would expect from Blue Ray, though i am not sure that the very nature of the filming or the fact that a lot of the show is filmed through the gauze screen is worth the extra money for the Blue Ray over the standard DVD. sound quality is excellent and the choice of DTS 5.1 master audio and 96/24 stereo LPCM should appease full AV or Hi-fi users. My review was based on the stereo setting and pretty good it was too. Fans of Steven Wilson will not have given the purchase of Get All You Deserve a second thought considering it as they will prerequisite. I would recommend to anyone who has not yet explored Steven Wilson’s solo work to buy this Blue Ray or the DVD with confidence. It may not have gone un-noticed that we rarely post reviews of DVD’s or Blue Ray discs not because we dislike the majority of them. It is because so many bands/artistes who like to release concert footage do so on a budget or without very little imagination involved. Steve Wilson delivers an experience, something with kudos and a pleasure to own. Many could learn from his artisic flare and imagination which along with one of the tightest bands i have seen/heard on a stage for quite some time make this visual document a must have.
As with many artists now, different options of Steven Wilsons latest package of artistry are available from www.swhq.co.uk