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Porcupine Tree - Voyage 34  CD (album) cover

VOYAGE 34

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.66 | 89 ratings

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russellk
Prog Reviewer
2 stars This is the often-neglected missing part of PORCUPINE TREE's 'Up The Downstair' sessions. My understanding is that this two-part track was to be the centrepiece of a double CD, including the material in 'Up the Downstair' and 'Staircase Infinities'. However, the record company intervened and the releases were separated. I, for one, am glad.

Publishers don't always get it right, but in this case they did. 'Up the Downstair' is a masterpiece of psych/space-rock, and 'Staircase Infinities' is well worth a listen. 'Voyage 34', however, isn't quite in the same league. In fact, it doesn't sit easily with the rest of their 1992/3 material, despite the obvious drug references they have in common.

'Voyage 34' documents an LSD trip gone wrong. It is very nearly a documentary set to music. It's difficult to work out the editorial slant here: does WILSON approve of LSD, does he disapprove, or is he being suitably enigmatic? It matters to me: I spent much of my teenage years drug-free but a spotter for my experimenting friends, and have my own opinion on the matter. Normally this would not be an issue: how often do you reject an album because of the lyrics? In this case, however, with the music serving as a soundtrack to the story, the story matters.

The music isn't really up to much. More than anything else he's written, this is WILSON's closest brush with pure trance. Trance, when done well, is invigorating, and is a close cousin to space rock. Done poorly, however (as it mostly is), it's simply boring. This is somewhere between the two. Making it less palatable is his fingering the PINK FLOYD riff from 'Run Like Hell' as his main theme for Part 1. This doesn't sit well with me: I adored the sample-theft of the late 80s and early 90s (KLF were geniuses), but only when the 'liberated' samples were used creatively. This is not.

Half an hour, then, of background music. Not what you want PORCUPINE TREE for.

russellk | 2/5 |

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