Wilson & Wakeman stands for Damian Wilson; former lead vocalist for Threshold, vocalist for Headspace and known for his energetic live performances with Maiden uniteD, Ayreon and solo. And Adam Wakeman who is known as the man behind the curtain; being Black Sabbath's keyboard player and rhythm guitarist during their live shows, but also he is Ozzy and Headspace keyboard player and off course he is known as the son of Rick Wakeman.
After two albums; Weir Keeper's Tale in 2016 and 2018's The Sun Will Dance In Its Twilight Hour and a number of intense live performances both Wilson and Wakeman returned to the studio to try to capture the raw energy they absorbed during those intimate shows. Initially they wanted to record just a few songs, but in the end Stripped became the result of a four-hour session and basically brings the live atmosphere back to life. Stripped turns out to be an honest and minimal recording that honours the songs of both musicians.
For the ones who had the chance to see Wilson & Wakeman perform live, they will be aware that the songs present on Stripped all have been played during their concerts. The songs are a fine mixture of songs of both Wilson &Wakeman releases, but also hold songs of their solo releases, the Headspace song Soldier, that originally was written as an acoustic composition for a Damian Wilson solo album and a truly impressive cover of David Bowie's Life On Mars, which opens the album. A song that remains very impressive is the instrumental piano part; Tapestries, which originally can be heard on the album Adam recorded together with his father, but is a lot more vibrant in the current version. For me personally, songs like Soldier and Written In Anger are, together with the aforementioned compositions the ones I prefer the most, but feel free to pick your personal favourites.
Although the album Stripped does not hold new material, the album is a monument for the minimalistic way a song can be captured, but still remaining the essence of the composition. Stripped is a real beauty in its simplicity; honest and intense, exactly re-creating the live atmosphere during the always pleasant live entertainment shows.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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