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Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.95 | 536 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This is no rehearsal

Porcupine Tree do not do sub-standard material. If a song or songs are left off an album, it is probably because the band feel they do not fit in rather than because of any quality issues. So it was with these tracks which were written during the sessions for the "Fear of a blank planet" album. While space could probably have been found on that album for one or more of the four tracks on this EP, it is fair to assume that in the band's view they simply did not work in the context of that album as whole.

"Nil returning" may be a 29 minute set, but it is generally regarded with much the same reverence as a full Porcupine Tree album. It was released in the same year as "Fear of a blank planet", the album coming first. The EP title was coined by Steve Wilson as a light hearted paradox.

The title track, which opens the set, is a 6 minute instrumental which takes us back to the early space rock days of the band, around the time of "Voyage 34" or "The sky moved sideways", but altogether heavier. Robert Fripp makes a guest appearance as a second lead guitarist on the track. "Normal" alternates light acoustic sounds and soft vocals with louder passages. The mellotron like backing offers a nicely retro feel, while emphasising the strong melody on which the song is based.

"Cheating the Polygraph", which was included on LP versions of "Fear of a blank planet", is the most complex track of the set. The EP concludes with "What Happens Now?", probably the lightest of the four tracks. It features electric violin played by Ben Coleman, who had previously associated with Wilson in NoMan. The closing chiming guitar section is reminiscent of the Beatles "Abbey road" album. This is also the longest of the songs here, running to around 8 minutes.

"Nil returning" is a fine if all too brief bonus release, complementing the "Fear of a blank planet" album which precedes it. It is clear throughout this EP that as much effort has gone into these songs as would go into any full album by the band.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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