Saturday, March 25, 2023

VA - Steven Wilson Presents Intrigue, Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979–89 [2023] (4 x CDs)


VA - Steven Wilson Presents Intrigue, Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979–89 [2023] (4 x CDs)

The collection explores the creativity, experimentation and progressive spirit of alternative British music from 1979-1989. 

Curated by Porcupine Tree guitarist Steven Wilson, the four-disc compilation Intrigue: Progressive Sounds in UK Alternative Music 1979-89 tackles the entirety of the 1980s with the mission of exposing the strangest, most inventive, and most abstract sounds coming out of the United Kingdom in a decade where music could often feel sterile or homogenized. That's hardly the case with the 58 tracks Wilson presents here, all of which are miles away from the blandness of the charts and commercial trends of the '80s and focused more on post-punk, new wave, art rock, goth rock, synth pop, and all imaginable intersections thereof. Intrigue offers a fantastic primer for independent music happening at a time when bands like U2 or Tears for Fears were what most people considered edgy. The comp kicks off with an especially moody Wire track, and quickly follows with submissions from Public Image Limited, Magazine, Gang of Four, This Heat, and the like. Wilson includes updated mixes of his own making with tracks like XTC's "Complicated Game" and Robert Fripp and the League of Gentlemen's "Cognitive Dissonance." Intrigue makes space for many different shades of sound that grew out of post-punk, ranging from the haunted ska of the Specials' "Ghost Town" to Joy Division's slow-moving funeral march "The Eternal" to Kate Bush's theatrical Hounds of Love fever dream "Waking the Witch." There's nothing but highlights throughout the several hours of deep cuts and more familiar tracks gathered on Intrigue, and the entire collection flows well regardless of the various wild directions it goes in. If Wilson's aim was to showcase the excitement and unconventional thinking that existed in the shadows of banal mainstream sounds throughout the '80s, Intrigue accomplishes that goal and then some. (AMG review by Fred Thomas)

        "This is my personally-curated attempt to redress the balance, and to perhaps introduce any '80s-sceptics out there to the idea that conceptual thinking and ambition didn't suddenly evaporate after '77... ambitious, weird and thrilling music was all around you in the '80s -if you looked in the right places." - Steven Wilson.

Steven Wilson has impeccable taste. This set is filled with fascinating tracks, many of which didn't trouble the charts, but are worthy of a listen. Every single recording sounds amazing! It's wonderful.


Pt.1     Pt.2 


Track lists


01 Wire - I Should Have Known Better 3:52

02 Bill Nelson's Red Noise - A Better Home In The Phantom Zone 4:28

03 Magazine - Back To Nature 6:42

04 XTC - Complicated Game (steven Wilson 2014 Mix) 4:59

05 Public Image Limited - Careering 4:34

06 Stranglers - The Raven 5:10

07 Punishment Of Luxury - Puppet Life 3:04

08 Ultravox - Astradyne (steven Wilson Stereo Mix) 7:12

09 Gang Of Four - Contract 2:41

10 Simple Minds - I Travel (extended Version) 6:14

11 Durutti Column - Sketch For Summer 2:58

12 This Heat - Health And Efficiency 8:01

13 John Foxx - Burning Car 3:15

14 Robert Fripp And The League Of Gentlemen - Cognitive Dissonance (steven Wilson 2022 Mix) 3:32

15 In Camera - Fatal Day 11:25


01 Sound - I Can't Escape Myself 3:54

02 Joy Division - The Eternal 6:06

03 Swell Maps - Big Empty Field 3:44

04 Art Nouveau - Enemies 3:18

05 Gary Numan - The Joy Circuit 5:12

06 23 Skidoo - The Gospel Comes To New Guinea 10:09

07 Echo And The Bunnymen - All My Colours 4:04

08 Specials - Ghost Town (extended Version) 5:59

09 New Musik - They All Run After The Carving Knife 5:53

10 New Order - The Him 5:30

11 Associates - White Car In Germany (single Edit) 4:53

12 Section 25 - Hit 2:53

13 Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark - Sealand 7:44

14 Japan - Talking Drum 3:33

15 Cure - Faith 6:42


01 Twelfth Night - Three Dancers (steven Wilson 2021 Mix) 2:55

02 Thomas Dolby - Airwaves 5:21

03 Crispy Ambulance - Are You Ready? 5:47

04 Rupert Hine - The Outsider 5:31

05 A Certain Ratio - Knife Slits Water 7:34

06 Tears For Fears - Memories Fade 5:07

07 Peter Hammill - Patient 6:14

08 Cocteau Twins - Donimo 6:18

09 Mr And Mrs Smith And Mr Drake - In A Waiting Room 1:30

10 Art Of Noise - Close (to The Edit) 5:28

11 Dalis Car - Dalis Car 5:13

12 Scott Walker - Rawhide 3:49

13 David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees 8:37

14 Propaganda - Dream Within A Dream 9:08


01 Kate Bush - Waking The Witch 4:19

02 This Mortal Coil - Ivy And Neet 4:51

03 Perennial Divide - Beehead (7 Inch Version) 4:13

04 Sisters Of Mercy - This Corrosion 9:32

05 O Yuki Conjugate - Ascension 5:57

06 Dif Juz - No Motion 4:51

07 Slab! - Gutter Busting 3:17

08 Momus - Murderers, The Hope Of Women 5:18

09 Dead Can Dance - The Host Of Seraphim 6:18

10 Cardiacs - R.E.S. 5:15

11 The The - Good Morning Beautiful 7:29

12 Shamen - Omega Amigo 4:47

13 No-man - Night Sky, Sweet Earth 6:39

14 Kitchens Of Distinction - The 3rd Time We Opened The Capsule 3:18




  1. I love these sorts of compilations. It takes some time to get into it. But when you do...there's no way back...

    1. Hi StonRose.
      Enjoy listening to this set. Steve Wilsons work here is wonderful.

  2. Lot of songs missing from what's listed....

    1. Like, CD 1 lists 15 songs but only 9 show up.

    2. Hi Rikker Mortis,
      I just downloaded the links and all tracks are there (as per track list)
      Not sure why you are experiencing that.
      Please try again.

    3. Not sure either. Just deleted it and re-downloaded. Same thing. Guess i'm just meant to have this one, lol.

    4. Hi Rikker Mortis.
      Try to shorten the file name or folder name. That should work.

  3. Sweet rack a tuneage here BB. thanks.

  4. Brilliant sounds her....Steven Wilson has had his mix desk on so many projects over recent years $$$$"s!

    Stephen (Not Wilson!)

    1. Hi Stephen,
      This a great set and yes, he is a busy man...

    2. Well looking at the track listing its very sad to see how many have left us, many who I had the fortune and pleasure to see play over the years....mainly far too young.

      It is wonderful to see how many are still producing great music and have the longeivity to keep thrilling.
      I for one am still listening and going along to concerts when I can.


  5. Excellent compilation ! It's a real work. And very pleasant. In another direction, I also dream of a compilation bringing together the most intriguing tracks from the most famous artists. Like "FX" from Black Sabbath.

    1. Thanks Herve.
      I hope you will explore your own compilation that direction.

  6. Thanks for this what looks like an interesting comp. Thanks for making it available

  7. It's too cold to swim right now. Thanks for providing a chance for my ears to swim far out to sea and back.

    1. Hi efredd,
      Wading in the water is just as good, whatever the temperature. If we don't try it we will never know how good it is.