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Porcupine Tree - Recordings CD (album) cover

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Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

4.17 | 301 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars This is an utter enigma, a clear-cut winner from Mr. Wilson yet completely overshadowed by the more famous pre and post studio albums. One of those 'unfinished raw recordings" from the musty vaults, featuring a bevy of unsliced, undiced and unpolished tapes that, upon closer inspection, had more prog in it than the "real" discs. That is something peculiar to Wilson, is that his live albums are deadly jewels of burning sapphire (Warszawa, Coma Divine), his other tables scraps (the challengingly spacey Metanoia) and his No-Man work, are truly exceptional. The previously unreleased but found on the later DVD , "Buying New Soul" is a voluptuous excursion into the psychedelically sublime, as intense as the great masters. a savage introductory pleasure . "Access Denied" sounds like avant Brit-Pop, a quirky juxtaposition of oblique melodies and deranged contrasts that emit an eerie sense of foreboding , very "out there' , hence not making the "Lightbulb Sun" final tally. Things get even more bizarroid with "Cure for Optimism", a narcotic dose of synthesized paranoia that broods nevertheless menacingly within the wind chime effects. The echoing resonation of the e-piano are shimmering as Steve sadly croons some still burning agony, floating mercilessly into a pool of morose despair. Unthinkingly majestic, this numbing caress is beyond mere words. A perfect pairing with the A side masterstroke "Shesmovedon". The extended "Untitled" is a gentle space rock jam fest where Barbieri is at his most Tim Blake, deliberately wispy and translucent synths and everything improvised live in a Welsh studio. The Ummagumma style fiasco is extremely hypnotic and gives leeway to the players to let their minds and their hands fly. Wilson has stated that his guitar style is really a perfect combination of Fripp and Gilmour, and here you can hear why! The bluesy leads are David, the textures and tones are pure Robert. A true solo for the ages, long, hard and deep, just how some ladies should like it. I recently made the claim that Space/Psychedelia is the best soundtrack for lovemaking and here is more proof. No wham-bam thank you ma'am 3 minute Ramones spurts for us proggers! "Disappear" is a short, lyric oriented ballad, dripping in misery and another tragic soul has gone to the heavens. "Ambulance Chasing" is another whopping surprise that never made the album grade ("Stupid Dream", here), a powerful charge into the mind that weaves in heavy piston percussion, deep organ swells and a few blasts of mellotron, like an early Peter Gabriel track (Edwin doing his Tony Levin schtick!), laying down a sulfurous groove on which the spacy guitar floats, wah-wah pedal hitting the polymer hard , unleashing a sizzling solo that rages on and on , a delirious sax volley from the amazing Theo Travis all combine to complement the compliments. Thrilling progressive of the highest caliber; and it only gets better from here on in. "In Formaldehyde" is another classic PT, with the once mentioned lyric about "the car and the vase" , a flowery excretion on a gloomy affair that soured unwillingly (those are the worse ones). A full blown, orchestra-abated, nearly 14 minute version of the magical PT anthem "Even Less" is alone worth the full purchase price. It's simply demented, just like when it's performed live, what a bloody thrill! I have three versions of this piece on my PC (the Stupid Dream studio, the Warszawa live and now this monster). Need I say more, a perfect song with perfect lyrics, everything just "parfait" , an outright classic. It also showcases Chris Maitland's considerable drumming skills . "Oceans Have No Memory" is another brief ditty that closes this coffer of unprocessed marvels that didn't pass first inspection. Steve was wise to release (for the fans) , this as its as good as anything in the entire catalogue. 4.5 cobwebs
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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