An underappreciated album: Steven Wilson – Insurgentes (2008)


When someone says “What do you think about Steven Wilson’s solo albums?”, you will probably hear conversations about the albums Hand.Cannot.Erase, Grace For Drowning, or The Raven That Refused To Sing… But, there’s also another solo album from sir Wilson, named Insurgentes. His first “sort of” solo album, that was released a year before Porcupine Tree’s last album The Incident, which is the year 2008.

I say “sort of”, because Porcupine Tree started as a solo project by Steven, and he also has other solo projects like Bass Communion and IEM. I never knew that Porcupine Tree would suddenly stop. I thought Insurgentes would be just a “one thing” only… But it actually became something else. Steven Wilson is now focussing on his solo career for several years, and also told in some interviews that Porcupine Tree probably wouldn’t come back together.

Let’s go back to Insurgentes. What can I say about the album. It’s really an “in between” album, and something that maybe could go through as a decent Porcupine Tree album even. I do believe Steven Wilson was already searching for a certain sound, but if you would compare Insurgentes with both Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson’s solo work you find out that can’t be placed in both the PT and the Wilson solo music. This is really a beautiful gem on its own. It does have the dark and dreary atmosphere that almost all Steven Wilson/PT albums carry along, but it’s also a light mixture of different music styles, contains a lot of dynamics and lovely instrumental passages.

Steven plays most of the instruments himself, and there are several guest musicians contributing on the album, such as Theo Travis (who later became part of the band for some years. I interviewed Theo last year, you can listen to the interview here), Jordan Rudess, and the lovely Sand Snowman (which I interviewed as well, check out the interview here and here). Gavin Harrison drums on most of the tracks of this album, so it does contain some sort of Porcupine Tree connection.

First track Harmony Korine is a strong track to begin the album with. The remix of that track is also very good, which can be found on NSRGNTS RMXS (Insurgentes Remixes), and I even prefer it over the original. I also recommend people to listen to the remix album, containing very interesting (re)mixes of some tracks. There’s also a special 2 CD version of Insurgentes, and the second CD contains tracks that didn’t make it on the album, plus a special live version of the title track Insurgentes. Too bad the instrumental track Collecting Space never made it to the original album, it’s a splendid track that really fits the rest of the music of Insurgentes.

What do you think about this album from Steven Wilson? Please let your comment behind in the comment section below!

A big hug, as always!

Iris, aka Ier!

PS: Don’t forget to watch the documentary named Insurgentes as well! A real recommendation!

Please feel free to read all my other Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree related reviews and blogs:

Album review: Porcupine Tree – Stupid Dream

Honourable Mention – I.E.M. 

Album review: Porcupine Tree – Lightbulb Sun

My introduction to Porcupine Tree

My introduction to Porcupine Tree Part II

My introduction to Steven Wilson

Album review: Porcupine Tree – Up The Downstair

Album review: Steven Wilson – 4½

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9 thoughts on “An underappreciated album: Steven Wilson – Insurgentes (2008)

  1. Love his solo albums as much as I love Porcupine Tree records! Seen Steven Wilson live twice here in Toronto and is one of the best shows I’ve been to in a long time! Every album he does is a new facet to his sound and he doesn’t limit what he does to one particular theme. Good call Lady Ier and awesome newly half buzzed head ya got going there! : ) XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnstout64

    You’re right Iris, it is an under-appreciated album. I skipped on it at the time because I was becoming a little bored with PTree, and it wasn’t until Grace that I realised SW was pursuing new music in a solo career.

    I picked up a nice little box set with Insurgentes on cd, 5.1 dvd and an album of remixes, but felt at the time that the album, along with Deadwing was mixed a bit too loud on the cd. Apparently SW agreed, because it’s recently come out again, remastered by SW, and it sounds much better on the ears.

    The movie is cool as well – probably your best shot at getting to know a little more about SW the person, as opposed to the musician. Loved that shot of him with the Mickey Mouse hat on outside Disneyland……ironic or what?


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