Band: Wilton Said
Band Website: www.wiltonsaid.com
Label: Independent Release
Release Date: 2011
It’s never totally clear if the band is called Wilton Said after its namesake founder or if Wilton Said is a solo artist with three musicians helping to craft his musical inspiration. It could be either…or neither…in the end it doesn’t really matter. Here’s what we know for sure; vocalist and keyboard player Wilton Said has been playing in bands in the Greater Toronto area since the early nineties and this is his latest musical incarnation. Consisting of Said (lead vocals, piano, keyboards) along with Richard Rizzo (drums), Frank Heisler (bass) and Chris Reid (guitars, ebow) and this is their latest recording entitled Half Life and it’s an odd collection of prog inspired pieces that never seems to land where you expect it to.
Half Life is a mere 37-minutes long, which in these days of 70-minute releases seems a bit light, until you remember that many of us were raised on vinyl where 40-minutes was the norm. It’s an eclectic set of tunes that’s easy to listen to in one sitting. There is quirkiness about the music of Wilton Said that comes from both the vocals and musical structures. The vocals hearken back to the heightened expressive style of David Bowie or Peter Hammill. While the music will meander along in one direction before taking unexpected twists and turns to wide up somewhere you wouldn’t expect. Its part symphonic prog and part Alt-prog. For example the opener, “Half Life” [9:50] begins with a series of distorted guitar riffs that build into a simple structure and then at the 3:00 mark the song transforms into something symphonic, then after a minute of that we’re treated to a long synth solo that hints at Rick Wakeman’s style. Then we’re back to the symphonic portion only played in a heavier fashion with more emphasis on guitar. Some songs like “Endorphin Crash” [3:35] tend to be more straight-forward rock pieces while a track like “Simple” [14:35] becomes more epic in scope taking us into more traditional prog territory.
The music of Wilton Said is quite unique, both in terms of composition as well as performance. As I say it never goes where you expect it to and that’s really what we like about the prog genre, isn’t it? If you are looking for something that’s a little out of the ordinary and yet manages to touch on some familiar proggy notes you’ll want to investigate Wilton Said. Half Life has much to recommend and it quite an enjoyable listen.