From the very beginning of his musical career, Steven Wilson has worked in a variety of genres. These include the classy experimentalism of No-Man, the classic rock approach of Blackfield, the indie, progressive, and gothic-heavy metal statements of Porcupine Tree, and the electronic explorations of Bass Communion, as well as his solo recordings that rely on prog and, more recently, sophisticated pop/rock. Transience is a limited-edition three-sided vinyl-only compilation (the fourth side contains no music, but a handwritten lyric etching for the song "Happy Returns." Wilson's intention was to create "...a more easygoing introduction to my music. These are mostly the shorter song-based tracks (some represented by edits) recorded between 2003 and 2015." With the exception of the seven-plus-minute final cut, "Drive Home," from The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories, the remainder rove between three to under six minutes. The set also includes a brand-new version of "Lazarus" released especially for this album. The title track is the single version from Hand. Cannot. Erase. and the edited versions of "Happy Returns" and "Deform to Form a Star" still serve the elemental flow, regardless of their original source: solo, Porcupine Tree, et al. The only complaint is format. In "trying to sequence an album that would act as a more easygoing introduction to my music" while choosing a limited-edition vinyl pressing, Wilson appears to be at cross purposes with his intention. Nonetheless, this is an excellent, if quirky, introduction to one (accessible) aspect of Wilson's multidimensional persona; it will serve fans -- and newcomers -- willing to take the plunge.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek