Blackfield- Blackfield (Helicon)
review by Joe del Tufo

Track Listing

1. Open Mind
2. Blackfield
3. Glow
4. Scars
5. Lullaby
6. Pain
7. Summer
8. Cloudy Now
9. The Hole In Me
10. Hello

I'm always a bit apprehensive when something hits me hard and fast- something that sounds like a masterpiece on the first listen. Usually these are the albums you burn out on quickly, ones that have little to reveal after the obvious hooks are revealed. I liked John Mayer's first one a lot when I first heard it, so...

Blackfield, the first collaboration between the ubiquitous Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No Man, Bass Communion, etc, etc) and Aviv Geffen is one zinger after another. 37 minutes of pop-rock bliss that lock you in from the get go, and refuse to relent.

Aviv Geffen is a mega-star in Israel. I understand he can't walk down the street without getting mobbed. I'm not entirely certain what his contributions are to Blackfield, because the entire CD sounds so tight it's often difficult to detect any influence other than its own. Geffen has a nice voice, with a slight non-distracting accent. Wilson's production is such that it is occasionally challenging to tell which member is singing at any given time.   Their harmonizing brings a new element to Wilson's repertoire, and works remarkably well on tracks like Open Mind.

With the decidedly harder edge Porcupine Tree have shown in their recent music, it is only natural that the more straightforward rock and pop tracks would need to find other homes.   Immediately Blackfield recalls Porcupine Tree's Lightbulb Sun, but only on a superficial level.   With its charms full revealed (something that requires headphones and a long weekend), each of the 10 tracks on Blackfield arrive as very different friends to a very interesting party- one with more new friends than old.   The timing on these songs is superb- stings sections wash over you as harmonies ride above them, guitars snap into place and your attention is held in place. For a relatively mellow release, this is the opposite of background music.

The track Blackfield has very interesting layers guitars and keyboards, and also contains the haunting line "when it gets dark, all the pale things under the earth- will reverse." It's a deep and creepy track. Big thumbs down on the fadeout at the end- how hard would it have been to bring this one to a big, grandiose halt?

If I had to choose two tracks that dig in to my psyche and refuse to let go it would be Pain and Hello. Pain has a very fragile Geffen on lead vocals--"all the angels praying for me, as I fall", a soaring Wilson solo on the chorus, and a wonderfully Coldplay-esque instrumental outro. It is at once euphoric and profoundly sad.  Hello is the album closer and perhaps that's why I find myself mumbling its chorus hours after I've listened to the CD. It's a very simple piano-driven pop song, with a swirling, windswept chorus that is almost viral in its composition.

What is really unique for a Wilson release is that each track clocks in at four minutes or less. More accustomed to a palette that has been known to stretch over 15 minutes, part of me longed to hear these tracks with full, self-indulgent solos and long spaced-out ambience. I know they exist, as I could hear them being restrained and tapered off on some of these tracks. I suspect there will be a 2 CD version somewhere down the road that better reveals these secrets.

Blackfield is certainly Wilson's most interesting lyrical work since the shadowy dusk of In Absentia. There is more of an emotional darkness here with lines like "The hole in me- I cannot reach- The one that bleeds- Please set him free" from The Hole In Me and "I show the scars of every fear and doubt- I hurt myself to let the darkness out" from Glow. Those last lines recall Reznor's Hurt and indeed much of Blackfield occupies the same sonic space as that classic song. "All I have left is my precious scars" is the chorus from Scars. Nuff said.   Emotionally raw, sonically complex, utterly memorable and slow to reveal its secrets.

After a dozen or so listens, the magic has only grown for this listener. I fully expect Blackfield to be among the 5 best releases this year. Steven Wilson is clearly "in the zone," and has been for some time now. What is really at the heart of why this CD works is that it contains some of the most subtle and powerful production you will find. The songs are strong, the lyrics interesting, but it's the way this package is wrapped that makes it whole.   Currently this release is only available in Israel, but I understand there is a spring release planned for the rest of the world- so keep your eyes peeled.

marillion- happiness is the road
tilt- million dollar wound
mickey simmonds- the seven colours of emptiness
ukz- radiation
pain of salvation - scarsick
icon- icon II, icon live
the pineapple thief- tightly unwound
planet p project- levittown (go out dancing part II)
nosound- lightdark
dengue fever- venus on earth
art of all- morgan
marillion- somewhere else
abigails ghost- selling insincerity
blackfield- blackfield II
damien rice- 9
the who- endless wire
the beach boys- good vibrations
the pineapple thief- little man
the killers- sam's town
tom petty- highway companion
hem- funnel cloud
emm gryner- the summer of high hopes
jeremy enigk- world waits
razorlight- razorlight
gps- window to the soul
iron maiden- a matter of life and death
thom yorke- the eraser
richard butler- richard butler
the flaming lips- at war with the mystics
ray davies- other people's live
david gilmour- on an island
nosound- sol29
jackson browne- running on empty 5.1
neal morse- ?
king crimson- 21st century guide to king crimson
shriekback- cormorant
depeche mode- playing the angel
pallas- the dreams of men
my morning jacket- z
riverside- second life syndrome
roger waters- ca ira
various artists- backs against the wall
riverside- out of myself
sigur ros- takk
killers- hot fuss
queen + paul rodgers- return of the champions
journey- generations
yes- the word is live
emmylou harris- heartaches & highways
van der graaf generator- remaster series
rob dickinson- fresh wine for the horses
annie- anniemal
dredg- catch without arms
foo fighters- in your honor
dream theater- octavarium
belle and sebastian- push barman to open old wounds
the go-betweens- oceans apart
porcupine tree- up the downstair (remaster 2005)
coldplay- x & y
nine inch nails- with teeth
aimee mann- the forgotten arm
van der graaf generator- present
christopher o'riley- hold me to this
glen phillips- winter pays for summer
new order- waiting for the siren's call
ben folds- songs for silverman
john doe- forever hasn't happened yet
trashcan sinatras- fez
adrian belew- side one
kaki king - legs to make us longer
longview- mercury
stereophonics- language. sex. violence. other?
for against- echelons
over the rhine- drunkard's prayer
kathleen edwards- back to me
kasabian- kasabian
porcupine tree- deadwing
the wedding present- take fountain
super furry animals - songbook
arena- pepper's ghost
snow patrol- final straw
rpwl- world through my eyes
tori amos- the beekeeper
kino- picture
monarch- the grandeur that was rome
spocks beard- octane
the wonder stuff- escape from rubbish island
richard barbieri- things buried
the pineapple thief- 12 stories down
the pineapple thief- 8 days later
the innoncence mission- now the day is over
zero 7- when it falls
pain of salvation- be
california guitar trio- white water
jelly jam- 2
tim bowness- my hotel year
van halen- the best of both worlds
glen burtnik- welcome to hollywood
charlie mars- charlie mars
porcupine tree- voyage 34 (2004 remaster)
saint etienne- travel edition
lanterna- highways review
hellboys- cha cha with the hellboys review
persona non grata- the fine art of living review
tegan and sara- so jealous review
guadalcanal diary- 2x4 reissue review
voices in the wire- signals in transmission review
roger waters- to kill a child/ leaving beirut review
luna- rendezvous review
jim white- drill a hole in that substrate and tell me what you see review
the drive-by truckers- the dirty south review
the blue nile - high review
lovedrug- pretend you're alive review
twilight singers- she loves you review
keane- hope and fears review
winds- the imaginary direction of time review
kristeen young- x review
asia- silent nation review
macha- forget tomorrow review
crystal method- legion of boom dvd-audio review
kevin moore- ghost book review
marillion- don't hurt yourself singles review
attrition- dante's kitchen review
rush- feedback review
tortoise- it's all around you review
division of laura lee- does not compute review
peccatum- lost in reverie review
iq- dark matter review
bass communion- ghosts on magnetic tape review
the push stars- paint the town review
virgin black- elegant... and dying review
marillion- marbles review
the streets- a grand don't come for free review
the veils- the runaway found review
all about eve- let me go home review
john young band- live review
mary lou lord- baby blue review
the divine comedy- absent friends review
pink floyd- the final cut (2004 remaster) review
prot-kaw- before became after review
jeffrey gaines live review
mocean worker- enter the mowo review
starsailor- silence is easy review
pineapple thief- variations review
lloyd cole- music in a foreign language review
david sylvian- blemish review
spock's beard- feel euphoria eview
guy manning- press pack sampler review
magellan- impossible figures review
the tangent- the music that died alone review
john gorka- live from grace church photos and review
hothouse flowers- into your heart review
charlotte martin- on your shore review
rasputina- frustration plantation review
stellastarr*- stellastarr* review
vast- nude review
sparks- lil' beethoven review
the damnwells- bastards of the beat review
dave gahan- paper monsters review
king crimson- power to believe review
fish- field of crows review
porcupine tree- in absentia dvd-audio review
new model army- great expectations review
antimatter- unreleased 1998 - 2003 review
catie curtis: dreaming in romance languages review
the gathering- sleepy buildings review
twilight singers play blackberry belle review
vienna teng- warm strangers review
opeth- lamentations dvd review
courtney love- america's sweetheart review
blackfield review
anathema- a natural disaster review
nearfest 2003 coverage
neal morse solo photos- metuchen, nj
porcupine tree broadcast
alpha- stargazing review
david sylvian at the tla
emm gryner at the point
barry andrews at the tin angel
tweaker:2 am wakeup call review
cure- join the dots review
fish live from the tla with john wesley
spearhead- everyone deserves music review
miles hunt (wonderstuff) live

full archives coming soon!


Studio M Live
818 North Market St, Suite 2R
Wilmington, DE 19801



Copyright © 1997-2004 Studio M Live, Inc. All rights reserved. All content on is owned by Studio M Live and may not be reproduced without written permission. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this policy. If you are looking for Custom Injection Molding you are at the wrong site, and should really be at Applied Tech Products.