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Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair CD (album) cover

UP THE DOWNSTAIR

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.92 | 715 ratings

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Bonnek
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
5 stars What I am listening to? The sound of genius!

For years my only option to listen to this album was using shabby bit rate mp3's. Then finally it got re-released in 2005. Luckily, the reissue was worth the wait. The music suddenly bursts from the speakers, clear and sparkling, with all attention to detail that Wilson put into it finally revealed. I must say it was quite a eye-opener. Until then I was quite ok with the album but not much more then that.

In fact the change in appreciation is quite logical. The sonics are an essential part of this space-rock experience so 160 kbps is more then just injustice, it's sacrilege.

A short introduction sets the tone. Sinister feedback fades into a hodgepodge of metallic sounds. One can't announce one's love for early Pink Floyd much clearly. Synesthesia is simply brilliant. A catchy synth sequence on top of bouncy beats. Wilson does a Porcupine Tree take on the Noman sound from that period and pulls it off better on his own then in the company of Tim Bowness. Reason being that I can so much more enjoy Wilson's dreamy vocals then those of his fellow Noman.

A short interlude prepares us for a trademark Porcupine Tree song. One of the first in a long series of love epics consisting with mellow acoustic parts and heavy rock riffing. (Well at least the riff is heavy, Wilson just didn't know yet where to plug in the distortion pedal). Again it is a stunning piece of music with beautiful Gilmour-esque soloing and an excellent climax. What a composition this is. Genius and nothing else.

Up the Downstair is the first long instrumental and a space-rock tribute of premier league quality. Wilson throws in one of his excellent bass lines on top of a slow tempo chill out beat. Again a heavy rock riff spices things up a notch. It's one big ode to Hawkwind and Tangerine Dream, with a grand Floydian Umma Gumma noise finale.

Not Beautiful anymore is another instrumental space-rocking ditty that would form the skeleton for long live improvisations. It flows into Siren which in turn serves as an intro for what must be one of Wilson most striking early ballads. Man, those melancholic harmonies and sweet layers of sound. They get to me every time again.

Burning Sky is the second extended instrumental piece. More rocking then the dance excursion that was Up The Downstair. Amazing composition. Again. And do I still need to say anything about Fadeaway? No I don't think so. It's what I call outclass your masters at their own game.

When it comes to listing my favourite PT album, I will always end up blurting out whatever album I last heard of my holy trinity: Up The Downstair, Signify or Fear or a Blank Planet. So at this very moment it's obviously...

Bonnek | 5/5 |

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