Snapper Music, 2004

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


On the surface, it looks like Blackfield shouldn't work because of the disparity in its collaborators. It's not quite the most unusual thing I've ever heard, but the mixture of British progressive rock instrumentalist Steven Wilson (the driving force behind Porcupine Tree) and Israeli pop singer and peace activist Aviv Geffen seems on paper to be an odd mix.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Sometimes, I rather like being wrong. Because Blackfield is a dreamscape of an album, a rich interwoven tapestry of melody and harmony that is at once ambitious and well executed. The sound is somewhat reminiscent of Porcupine Tree, but with a very strong folk-pop influence with heavy emphasis on minor keys; it sort of reminds me of Duncan Sheik with a heavy progressive rock influence.

The production is crystalline; not surprising, since Geffen and Wilson produced the CD themselves, with help on the mastering side of things by Alan Parsons-protégé Chris Blair at Abbey Road Studios. Strings are provided by the Illusion Quartet and add a wonderful depth on tracks like "Open Mind" and "Lullaby," but are neatly countered by the more stripped down sound of "Pain" -- which could, if one wasn't listening too closely, remind you a bit of alternative metal like Staind -- and the funky percussion-driven sound of "Scars." Blackfield manages to touch on several genres and sounds without every being limited by them, a mistake way too many progressive rock-influenced acts make.

Other tracks to take note of include the acoustic "Cloudy Now," with what I sweartagod is steel guitar in the intro; the goth carnival darkness of "Hole In Me"; the grand triumphant close of the CD, "Hello"; and my favorite, the chilling title track. I was hooked on "Blackfield" -- the aforementioned title track -- from the first time I heard the simple twelve-note piano intro. Powerful stuff.

Blackfield has created music that at once defines and transcends genre, class, and style. It's challenging listening at times, but well worth it.

Rating: A-

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© 2005 Duke Egbert and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Snapper Music, and is used for informational purposes only.