Kicking off with the random improv noise jam of "Wreck," one and a half minutes of various instruments battling each other as they so desire, Arcadia Son readily shows that Steven Wilson's creativity was perfectly intact in a new century. Given Wilson's various band experiments and propensities, Incredible Expanding Mindfuck must act as his indulgence of tripped-out rock fun as much as Bass Communion allowed him an outlet for pure ambience. Arcadia Son is its own effort, though, rather than a simple way to kill time alone, especially given the amount of overdubs used to create all the tracks. The lengthiest blast is "Shadow of a Twisted Hand Across My House," which encapsulates everything from funky breaks to noise feedback solos and ambient drift over 20 minutes, Wilson jamming with himself more readily than might be thought. More than a few moments suggest Porcupine Tree's early efforts, particularly the quirky jam of "We Are Not Alone," which has a constantly sped-up and slowed-down sample of some UFO-believing prophet wending its way through the groovy freakout. Then again, the sample could be from the same guy from the Heaven's Gate cult used on Porcupine Tree's later Lighthouse Sun album, so who knows? "Cicadian Haze" might as well be an early Pink Floyd/Amon Duul tribute -- or possibly Ghost -- with its lead flute performance over steady tribal drumbeats and various sample-of-nature sounds, while the title track finds a steady, dub-echo-influenced beat, with more flute merrily piping along over the head-nodding drums. Random moments of entertainment: "Beth Krasky," which appears to be the snippet of a contestant in some sort of MTV/Ozzy Osbourne competition, and the porn funk jam, complete with orgasmic moans, "Politician." There's even a recording of Wilson from 1972 telling a fairy tale -- thus "Goldilocks Age 4."
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AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett