THE HARMONY CODEX isn’t like other records you’ll hear this year.

Endlessly fascinating, endlessly revealing, endlessly beautiful, THE HARMONY CODEX is the seventh album from one of the country’s most singular talents.

Listening to THE HARMONY CODEX is akin to losing oneself in an Escher drawing made purely with sound. Over the album’s ten tracks, Steven Wilson navigates a tangle of memories and walks the listener down pathways where shadows cast by reflection, rumination and regret grow long.

This codex is a vivid tapestry conceived and pieced together by an artist working alone in a studio tucked inside the garage of a North London town house, with assistance called in from musicians from all around the globe (including long time studio partners such as Ninet Tayeb, Craig Blundell and Adam Holzman alongside a host of first time collaborators including Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto and Interpol’s Sam Fogarino). Each player was invited to add their individual stamp to the record. The snares, strings and sampled sounds each artist sent down the wires was woven in to make the music that starts the trip.

And it is a trip. Constantly evolving over 65 minutes, THE HARMONY CODEX starts with Inclination – a track built on the foundation of a precision rhythm that’s both mechanical and martial. As seemingly incongruous elements fall on top, the whole thing unfolds into with a swirl of mesmerising digital soul. From there, the record swoons on a wistful acoustic breeze (What Life Brings) before crunching through with bone rattling tribal drumming and a subsonic bassline (Beautiful Scarecrow). Elsewhere, stuttering drum loops are welded to spidery, scratchy gothic guitar lines (Actual Brutal Facts), fragile electronics open out like the night sky from behind clouds (Economies of Scale) and myriad instruments perform a mind bending, genre-flipping highwire act over ten minutes (Impossible Tightrope). Time and again, the lyrics return to that map of memory, and those long, long shadows.

While THE HARMONY CODEX nods to records from Steven Wilson’s recent past, at times echoing the paranoid rumble of 2008’s Insurgents, the crystalline electronics of 2021’s The Future Bites and the expansive storytelling of 2013’s The Raven That Refused To Sing (and Other Stories), here he has managed to create something entirely unique, a record that exists outside of the notion of genre. And although THE HARMONY CODEX is a record made in with spatial audio in mind, it’s not one that needs an elaborate sound system to lift you out of body – two speakers and an open mind will do just fine.

THE HARMONY CODEX was written, performed and produced by Steven Wilson.

Steven Wilson is an artist/producer based in North London. His last album – 2021’s The Future Bites – charted at No 4 in the UK and was nominated for 2 Grammys. He is also the founding member of Porcupine Tree, whose last album (2022’s Closure/Continuation) charted at No 2. Steven Wilson has also received multiple Grammy nominations for his spatial audio work, having recently remixed artists such as Chic, King Crimson, ABC, Roxy Music, A Ha, Suede, Tears for Fears and Guns N’ Roses.

Out now via Virgin on CD/2×12”/Deluxe boxset/BluRay/DL/streaming. Buy The Harmony Codex here.

Steven Wilson by Hajo Mueller.