Blackfield - Blackfield

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Snapper Music
Catalog Number: SDPCD199
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:42:00

Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen do just about everything right in this release...

The arrangements are absolutely astonishing. The production is picture perfect. The songwriting is simply superb. The melodies demonstrate marvelous musicianship. The harmonies are hardly anything less than heavenly. The lyrics tell a story that is challenging to comprehend while being equally engrossing. What more can someone say? Blackfield is impressive.

The music is similar to Porcupine Tree. If Blackfield hasn't been in your sights and you liked In Abstentia, I strongly suggest you take notice. Pound for pound, Blackfield is better. It's in a class of its own.

Here is the blueprint to project Blackfield:

"Open Mind" - The album has a sublime starting point like lying in bed and enjoying a deep and pleasant dream. You're abruptly awakened by acute and random noises. The noises fade. You're tiresome and quickly slip back into a snooze. At the moment consciousness is lost, the noises return in full force. You're awake for the day. As the fog begins to clear, a yawn and a short stretch send you on your way.

"Blackfield" - The title track is a prime selection for a radio single. Reminds me of Goo Goo Dolls' huge hit "Name."

"Glow" - The song is a simple ballad. Midway through, the music makes a sharp turn. Sporty suspension makes the maneuver as smooth as silk. It is fun being a passenger, seeing the scenes, and not knowing exactly where you're going next.

"Scars" - Diversity is demonstrated on this track. They continue to use the teeter-totter effect. The song follows one beat with another. One rhythm sounds like something from a Kevin Gilbert album. The other is more like Sigur Ros.

"Lullaby" - The piano's melody is similar to No Doubt's "Don't Speak." However, the song is soft and slow like the lullabies emitted from a baby's mobile. While the song is quite tame, there is an irony to the lyrics. The words speak of sadness and abuse. There is an innocence about it. While bad occurrences have seemingly taken place, small children are obviously oblivious to the rationale behind the circumstances.

"Pain" - This is a smart and classy piece. The main theme is simple, however, there are subtle instrumentals muted in the background. Details will ascend the closer you listen. An inspiring guitar solo appears towards the end.

"Summer" - The album elicits a vibe much like RPWL in places. This track comes closest to impersonating their sound.

"Cloudy Now" - This is the slowest and gentlest track. Crosby, Stills, and Nash and Simon and Garfunkel come to mind. Blackfield shows us how to make romantic and thoughtful music with a few simple chords. It seems a lot bigger than it might really be. The formula is similar to the earlier tracks, "Glow" and "Scars." After heading in one direction, an alternate route is taken on a mere whim.

"The Hole In Me" - This track is an interesting combination of ideas. In one part, the guitar is madrigal while the singing is performed like a chant. It sways towards something more commercially accessible. While this technique has emerged a number of times on the album, it still hasn't reached a point of overuse.

"Hello" - There is no monkeying around with hidden tracks or fluff. The album is lean and full of flavor. Rarely is something so great tasting while being so less filling. The last song recaps a splendid effort by two gifted artists.

Steven and Aviv must have locked themselves in a room until every note, riff, and melody was made flawless to their ears. They are artists molding a piece of clay. The possibilities are endless. While most artists give their art shape, they take it a step further. Using the sharpest tools, the finest details are engraved. Every angle and layer, even the slightest pinprick, has been given thorough thought. When light is cast upon the object, elusive details emerge. Shadows give the sculpture dimension and context.

Every aspect of the music is magnificent. Blackfield is an essential album that is both higher art and highly accessible.

Also released by Snapper Music (SMACD880) in the UK and Gates Of Dawn (GOD 008) released 2LP version

Open Mind (3:49) / Blackfield (4:06) / Glow (4:00) / Scars (3:57) / Lullaby (3:29) / Pain (3:47) / Summer (4:12) / Cloudy Now (3:34) / The Hole In Me (2:47) / Hello (3:09)

Bonus EP (EU/US version): Perfect World (3:53) / Where Is My Love? (3:01) / Cloudy Now (Live) (3:44)

Steven Wilson - guitars, keys, vocals
Avid Geffen - guitars, keys, vocals
Chris Maitland - drums
Gavin Harrison - drums
Illusion Quartet - strings (conducted by Daniel Solomon)

Blackfield (2004)
Blackfield II (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin VA

Added: August 22nd 2004
Reviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner
Artist website:
Hits: 1096
Language: english


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