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Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree

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Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Up until this album, Porcupine tree was a side project to his main group called No-Man, but apparently something was brewing in his plans. Although it's most likely that his idea to transform PT from a project to a group only materialized halfway through this album, he called his previous colleagues having worked on Up The Downstairs, PT's previous album. So whether the official formation of the group came with Sky moves Sideways or Coma Divine, nevertheless Sideways was easily the best album under that banner and would be IMHO, for some time to come. Coming with a superb and enigmatic telephone booth in the desert artwork, this album is really the start of Porcupine Tree, the previous works being relegated to foreplay.

Sonically speaking, this album has been slammed as a Floyd acetate, but this is rather unjustified if you don't mention Nektar and especially Ozric Tentacles in at least the same proportions. What is true however is that the double title track bookending this album is based on Floyd WYWH album, and the shorter (everything relative) and different-sounding tracks filling the in-betweens. The opening title track is a stupendous epic, hovering between the nightmarish Floyd, the happy-sounding Ozric and boast effects-laden vocals. Clearly the album's highlight and dwarfing the next few tracks to come. So it's not surprising that the tracks Wilson still had made in the solo mode were to come, one where he played all of the instruments himself .

So Dislocated Day is not as refined a track, where it's obvious a rum machine was used and rough guitars used to fill the space, it's nevertheless a good effort, something I wish I could say for the vacuous Moon Touches Your Shoulder, despite some interesting guitar works, which is exactly what the short Prepare Yourself : a guitar showcase. Moonloop is another heavyweight, drawing heavily on smooth gliding rework of a previous EP track Voyage 34, and it makes much more sense in this scenario than standing on its own. The closing part of the title track still can be called an epic by its length, but it lacks its counterpart's brilliance, sounds slightly more buried and less-inspired, but it remains brilliant.

Easily PT's early discography's top released (and for some time to come), this is the first glimpse of a real group, and it turns out to be quite a success.

Report this review (#9482)
Posted Tuesday, February 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars While many people might have first noticed PORCUPINE TREE through the release of "In Absentia" because that CD was released on some division of Atlantic Records (not sure, as I hadn't got that one yet), I was aware of these guys since 1996, when they were recording for Delirium. I bought "The Sky Moves Sideways", not on the Delirium label, but the American version on the C&S label. I remembered this CD being described as a mellower OZRIC TENTACLES. More like PINK FLOYD (you'll notice some similarities to "Dark Side of the Moon" and "The Wall" here), but it's when they move in to more "techno-like" territory is when they start reminding me of the OZRICS. And unlike PINK FLOYD, they often explore more spacy ambient territory that's very unlike what FLOYD was known to do (after all, you'll never hear them do somthing like "Moonloop"). "I Find That I'm Not Here" is a prime example of the PINK FLOYD comparison, especially the guitar work. "Wire the Drum" is that OZRIC-style techno-like experiment I mentioned. "Spiral Circus" finds them going in to spacy ambient territory. "Stars Die" is a mainly acoustic piece that segues in to "Moonloop". "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is by far the most stunning acoustic piece on this album. "Is...Not" and "Off the Map" is mostly instrumental, with some themes from other parts of the album that repeats here.

PORCUPINE TREE might be Steven WILSON, but by this time, he had assembled a full band to tour, and making recording in the studio an easier task. The music here is more exporatory than the stuff they did on Snapper Music or Atlantic, and I wish for a more powerful production, but still, this is one of the better albums from the '90s I've heard.

Report this review (#9487)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Porcupine Tree is one band that never stays put with one perticular sound. To be honest I'm glad of that. WHile I think 'The Sky Moves Sideways' is a really good album I wouldn't say it's their best. The title track (prts. 1 and 2) is really good. The same goes for 'Moonloop' and 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder'. 'Dislocated day' is good too but feels a little bit out of place even though I have no idea what other place it could be put in. It's a sold work but I know that Steven Wilson and the band don't like the Pink Floyd tag that came with it. I'm glad they were able to get past that to later make outstanding albums like 'Lightbulb Sun', 'Signify', and 'In Absentia'. Worth owning if you are a fan of the band.
Report this review (#9488)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I admire this group in their ability to produce "incredible sound" of their music. The first album that I knew this band the first time was a live album "Coma Divine". Considering it's a live performance, the sound produced is wonderful! If the live album they could produce good sound, what about this studio album? Much better!

It requires patience to enjoy this album. If I may suggest, don't try to listen to this album (first time listening) during daylight! You should start listening it in the evening around 10 pm when everybody home is asleep and use an earphone. Or you can use a stereo set, turn off the light, play it loud! You will experience something really different .. IMHO.

The intro of first track "The Sky Moves Sideways 1" consumes approximately 4:41 minutes before vocal enters nicely. In comparison of this intro, you may have completed enjoying one track of "Tom Sawyer" (RUSH) for example. So, you can imagine how long the intro is dwelling in terms of duration. But don't worry, it's a very relaxing intro. It may stimulate you with generation of great ideas to bring back to work the next day. Steve's voice enters the scene very nicely with his low and heavy voice "We lost the skyline ." (observe the sound production in this part, stunning!). I enjoy it very much. I feel like Steve's tongue is just one inch from my ears! The Floydian guitar style is excellently played here. "Ough ." I almost vomit when the track enters around minute 8:26 where the disco-like music with drum-loop and spacey keyboard dominate the background. But when the solo keyboard take the lead, followed then by percussion and guitar .. Wow!!! it's so nice. End of this long track (17 min.) is closed by an acoustic guitar.

The second track "Dislocated Day" is an upbeat track with bass dominating the play, accentuated by a nice drumming. It's an excellent track. "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" has a nice acoustic guitar and vocal in its intro. You may observe the inclusion of sound effect in this part as well. It's a mellow and beautiful track. The guitar part is extremely Floydian. (When I'm playing this tune now, my friend who never knew this band, thought that I am playing Pink Floyd album).

The shortest track "Prepare Yourself" (1:55" minutes) is an instrumental with guitar solo that sets the tune for the next track "Moonloop", another-17 minute piece. This is another sound exploration by the band. Everything is played at the same melody at its background music. It tends to bore the listener if we only listen to the background. But, the nice thing is at the lead guitar and percussion. The album is concluded with the long track "The Sky Moves Sideways part 2". The last track is really powerful.

Overall, it's an excellent album. You may call it's derivative, as it sounds like PINK FLOYD. To me these two groups are different and I love the two both. One thing unique about PORCUPINE TREE is their passion to explore sound effects. So, I would say that this group is a SOUND EXPLORER. And the result is terrific, like this album. I wish one day this group release the SACD or DVD Audio version of this album.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#9489)
Posted Wednesday, June 9, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me put my cards on the table right at the start - I like Epic tracks. The long and predominantly instrumental masterpieces that most Prog groups have produced over the years are the Hallmarks, the way in which many of us rate our groups. It may be a bit of anti-pop, but any track that is over in 3 and a bit minutes hasn't really had time to get going, let alone allow the listener to get to know it...

When Prog started to be recognised as a 'genre' in its own right in the early 70's, it was almost a 'Right of Passage' - either an Side long epic and / or a Concept Album.

'The Sky Moves Sideways' was Porcupine Tree's third properly released album and maked their transition from Steve Wilson solo effort to group, whilst also moving from the deliberately Psyschedelic 'On the Sunday of Life' to the deliberately Prog 'Sky...'

Apparently, the Album was originally meant to be just the one track running for 50 minutes, although a full length version was never actually recorded. As it say's in the track listing at the top, there have been a number of variants - the original Vinyl just having 5 tracks (no Moonloop). The CD had Moonloop, and US editions had other bits.

(By the way - If you've got a black vinyl LP it's actually rarer than the Special Edition blue vinyl versions!)

Anyway, back to the review. This is Epic stuff. You get 34 minutes of The Sky Moves Sideways (Parts 1 and 2), which on hearing I immediately christened as an 'Echoes' for the 1990's. THe comparison is inescapable even if mr Wilson doesn't like it - I DO! If you like Epics - get this!

The other tracks are really just fillers. Disclocated Day is a brutal assault compared with the rest of the album, and although disonant, is at home here - and has become the last remaining live standard from the album.

Anyway, PT have had a way of re-releasing albums with new mixes, etc. and Sky finally came up for the treatment. So is the new version any better?

IMHO it's TWICE as good !. A bold statement, but easy to explain - It now has TWO versions of the title track on the 2 disc set... Disc 1 is the original album as released on vinyl, but Disc 2 has an entire 35 minute Alternate version of 'The Sky Moves Sideways', plus Stars Die (possibly one of the best short tracks they have ever produced) and a full length version of Moonloop.

Perfection. Goes straight into my top 10 Albums of all time collection.


Report this review (#9490)
Posted Monday, July 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars There is one good way to listen to PORCUPINE TREE's music. By forgetting everything else and to not try to compare it with anything else, because that's what it is. "The Sky Moves Sideways" stands up for itself as the Most Explorative, Progressive, and Chaotic album of the 90's, even more than PT's "Signify" or any other release by Steven Wilson's band ever. The album starts with the majestic sounds of the first phase of the title-track, with the space atmosphere and the Indian Music-Driven bridge in the middle of the song, to the triad of "Dislocated Day-Prepare Yourself-the moon touches your shoulder", three songs that in my opinion should be one. Anyway, the next track is defnitely, the most experimental and commented song of PT, the 17-minute impro, "Moonloop", that has had lots of other versions (just check out "Transmission IV"), and ends with the second phase of the title track. In all forms possible, and from anyone else's point of view, this album remains a masterpiece for its integrity, and for the fact that works like this come from the soul, and come directly from improvisations, so, it remains a masterpiece, in any part of the universe.
Report this review (#9491)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I first heard this album about 4 or 5 years ago, borrowing the tape from a friend. I thought it was excellent, but never really went out of my way to buy the cd. Well, earlier this year, I decided to get it. To my surprise, it was a remastered version, in a slip case, with a bonus cd! So what do you get for your money? Well, The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1 starts things off in a very Floydian way. In fact, when I took this down to a friend and we were listening to it, his wife came in and he asked her who she thought it was. She immediately said, 'Pink Floyd'. This album is strongly influenced throughout by Floyd, but that doesn't detract from the superb compositions in any way. If you had never heard Floyd, you would still enjoy this as a damn good album! Anyway, the title track is a dreamy affair to begin with, Mr Wilson doing his best Mr Gilmour impression, before it livens up and slips into a snake-like rhythm, over which the guitar soars proudly. Vocally it is more than adequate too, Wilson being in no way inferior to Gilmour in that department. At the end, a lovely combination of keyboards and acoustic guitar finishes the track nicely. Then comes what is probably my least favourite track, not that it is a bad one in any way, just maybe a tad too repetitive. Dislocated Day still has a dreamy feel, but a more insistent and jarring guitar accompanies the chorus. Next is a wonderful track, The Moon Touches Your Shoulder. Very Floydian again, with excellent, gentle guitar work echoes seductively through the first part, before it turns a little heavier and plays out with a wandering solo. The keboards,as in all the tracks here, are mainly in the background, but add to the atmosphere immenseley, creating symphonic dreamscapes as a backdrop to the vocals and guitar. Richard Barbieri is not an obvious player; he is not a Wakeman or a Banks, but he has a very effective style and knows his stuff. His playing fills out the sound and is especially gorgeous when listening through headphones. I must say here that Chris Maitland is an unsung hero on the drums, as he is integral to the sound of the band, and his occasional backing vocals add to the sound too. Colin Edwin, on bass, is controlled and skilful, and again contributes quietly to the fullness of sound that PT have. Considering this band started out as Steven Wilson's brainchild, the band are tightknit, and work wonderfully well together. Next up is Prepare Yourself, a short, guitar dominated piece that serves to lead into The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2. This seems to roll round in your head at first, like a musical ocean before the guitar comes in with spacey atmospherics again. This is replaced in its turn by percussion and keyboards, drizzling like fine rain into your ears. As the end nears, a solid bass and drums heralds in more powerful guitar work, finally fading out to the sounds of an ocean. One's first reaction is to say 'wow' to oneself, and immediately play the thing again. This is classy, well produced prog, with no dull points, and very 70's in its approach. A modern day classic! On its own, that would make this a must-have. When you then consider the bonus disk you realise that you are only half way through a superb hallucinogenic trip, one that is an antidote to loud, fast, rock. We start off again with The Sky Moves Sideways, this time the alternate version, all in one movement. It is very similar to the original, but still worth listening to. Then comes a beautiful short song, Stars Die. Inspired by early Floyd, this has the traditional verse/chorus set up, accompanied by brilliantly understated guitar. The simple yet lush melody makes you want to play this track again and again. One of my favourites this one! Then comes a track that was on the original album, but is here relegated to the second cd - Moonloop. Another favourite of mine, the guitar and keyboards combine in a loose, almost improvised way to send your head soaring back into the cosmos. (That's if it has come down at all since beginning the first cd!) The the Moonloop coda finishes off the album in quiet, delicious style. This cd is a must have, and I for one enjoy it every time I play it. I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars. A contender for the classic 'desert island' collection.
Report this review (#9493)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
Dan Bobrowski
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If I could only keep one Porcupine Tree CD, this would be the one. Actually, I have the reissue that is two CDs and cost only a dollar more. While the tune "The Sky Moves Sideways" is in two seperate parts, combining them into one back to back journey is quite a positive aural experience. At over a half hour in length, it's quite an undertaking, but well worth the time. It's easy to lose track of time and ride the undulating waves. PT takes you through psychodelic daydreams and dance music rave-ups then traps you in a dark Floydian closet with understated vocals and pristine production.

Dislocated Day and the Moon Touches Your Shoulder could have been included on Lightbulb Sun or Signify. They are both short format, classic PT tunes. Lyrics of searching the celestial skies trying to find meaning. As a whole, the band performs at the top of their individual talents, creating a sonic jigsaw puzzle as each instrument fits into the overall picture. Steven Wilsons guitar cuts through with Gilmour like clarity, sharp and bluesy. Maitland and Edwin explore the foundation of the music, never static or dull. Barbieri's keyboard work fills up space without overwhelming the listener, very stealthy and unobtrusive.

This would be the perfect beginner CD for anyone wanting to try Porcupine Tree for the first time.

Report this review (#9496)
Posted Monday, February 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I wonder how many persons had heard this album and got marvelled by its simplicity, tightness and poetic resources... This is a forgotten masterpiece of the mid-90's, an album that had little promotion in the record industry, but made it in the underground levels as a "cult" record, beacuse it feature for the first time a "whole band", and that represented some live gigs for the regular fan. So, getting serious about it, the opening song is simply perfect, an 18 minute song with a lot of passages, but never felt broken, surrounding the main parts with a lot of textures, making you believe you're in a cloud, waiting to be moved!!!!, a very nice approach with instruments and improvistation, a jazzy attitude with a rock soul. The second piece is an agressive, "hard-rock" approach, a concert favorite, with a lot of energy and heart, leading the listener into a passage of mystery and ambient, with THE MOON..., PREPARE... and of course MOONLOOP, finishing with a closure of kings with the second part of THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, treating the "colors and textures" of the record as a very impresive story of notes and feelings. Now, if you bought the USA record, you will find some differences (as noted before), however, the most important change is the inclusion of STARS DIE, a great mid-tempo song. So, i suggest to buy the "special-edition" record that feature the whole singles of the original sessions. A must buy
Report this review (#9498)
Posted Wednesday, March 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Enormous !! The two parts of the title track just make me fly, it's one of the greatest epic I've ever listened to. They constitute a successfull blend of musical feelings, going from psychedelism to heavy guitar riffs, with some hypnotizing electro touches, and so on.... Dislocated Days is really catchy and announces the LP to follow, The Moon touches your Shoulder is just beautiful... so it's the first masterpiece of a long series of ones. PT just rules.
Report this review (#9500)
Posted Thursday, March 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars my god! that's the exactly words i have to say about this brilliant music. i bought the new version of this CD which went out to the stores at 2003. first, i thought i've cheated because the high price (143NIS!!!) but then i listened to the music and "my god" was the words that came out from my mouth. the beauty, the sound, the voices, the melody the music! it's so amazing, a brilliant that reminds "in the courte of the crimson king". i liked "stars die" especialy, maybe because it's so soft, smooth, easy going and clam song that would be nice to hear in a late night or driving in a car. i think, it's one of the best that PT ever did and a rock band ever did...
Report this review (#9502)
Posted Saturday, April 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, a 1995 effort from English psychedelic gloom prog darlings Porcupine Tree, is not a bad album, as such, but I just can't join the virtual "love-in" for this recording that I find here. "TSMS" is my third Porcupine Tree acquisition, and I'm coming to the disappointing realization that I got into the band with an atypical album. I still really enjoy what was my first exposure to the music of band leader Steve Wilson and company: 2000's terrific LIGHTBULB SUN. Yet, where "LIGHTBULB" was diverse in its scope, with shorter, more frequently melodic songs, "SIDEWAYS" (much like its successor SIGNIFY) presents a surfeit of psychedelic "atmospherics," morose lyrics and vocals, and extended, aimless down-tempo passages that simply fail to find the pleasure center of my brain.

The disc gets off to a promising enough start: The title track opens with synth sounds that are quite reminiscent of PHAEDRA-era Tangerine Dream, before the "song" proper starts at just before the two-minute mark with some moody guitar that is VERY Floyd-like, and almost begs the unflattering appellation "rip off." Perhaps the right drugs would help, but eighteen-plus minutes of this lachrymose stuff is just too much for me. (There is a six minute up-tempo middle section which incorporates some flute and pounding percussion, but I find it to be rather formulaic and cold, and certainly nothing that makes me want to pump my fist in the air.)

"Dislocated Day" gives us a clichéd ringing telephone intro, with the accompanying treble-heavy vocal treatment that makes it sound like Wilson is singing through the phone's receiver -- as if that tired old device hasn't already been done to death! Some heavy metal-ish guitar riffs help to make this number the most interesting piece on the album, for my tastes, and at just over five minutes, it's also of an accessible length, and doesn't overstay its welcome.

"The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" has some nice, sad acoustic, and still sadder vocals that deepen the album's overall atmosphere of bleak "oh, woe is me" self pity. Why get out of bed at all?

"Prepare Yourself" is a two minute instrumental passage that presumably calls for the listener to break out the tissues and put away the sharp objects, because "The Sky Moves Sideways, Phase Two" then enters the scene, dragging its musical heels, and staring down at the floor in drugged-out despair. Some sixteen-plus minutes later, it's finally over, and, if you can somehow still summon the will to move, you may want to put on some more cheery music -- perhaps some of the Cure's slower numbers -- as you finally tackle the dirty dishes. (But be warned: they'll only get dirty again. Sigh.)

Okay, THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS is not really as bad as all that (I've heard that root canals can be more painful), but it doesn't do much for me. Still, if you're a confirmed fan of the band, and/or the colours black and grey, you may want to add this one to your collection. Party on, Porcupines! (Or not....)

Report this review (#9503)
Posted Wednesday, May 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This PT album is a complexical mixture of several source of inspiration. First, exists a Pink Floy d remarkable influence by the way the instrument sounds and the voices from Wilson are very similar to Wright and Gilmour from PF. Second, the power of riffs from their own production are this album an excellent adittion to any prog collection.
Report this review (#9505)
Posted Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars this is an excellent album with one main flaw : It may be too slow which can make it boring at some moments. This is Porcupine tree at its most spacey and has the most pink floyd influences.

1. The sky moves sideways phase one 9/10 : Shine on you Crazy Diamond II ... well, not really, but the influences drawn from that song are obvious. This is a very enjoyable mellow track with great guitar work.

2. Dislocated day 7/10 : I like this track better live. It still is a good mean rocker with an instrumental section that allows time for solos.

3. The moon touches your shoulder 8/10 : I like the live version better because of the keyboard sounds it had. Here it is guitar dominated, the climax of the song is an electric guitar solo.

4. Prepare yourself : it is an instrumental short track used as a prelude to Moonloop

5. Moonloop 6.5/10 : If you like slow ambient spacey long jam, you may love this song if you like that kind of music, but It tends to bore me a bit. The coda is legendary though, with its lead guitar riffing.

6. The sky moves sideways phase two 8/10 : This is a strong finisher of the album, but like in Wish You Were Here, it does not come close to the brilliance of Part I of the epic. This section of the epic is heavier and not as spacy as the first half. There is excellent guitar work on this piece.

Rule of Thumb : If you like Pink Floyd's spacey music, you will like this.

My Grade : B

Report this review (#41781)
Posted Friday, August 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Strangely enough, I think that The Sky Moves Sideways is heavily influenced by KING CRIMSON rather than PINK FLOYD. I mean the approach to the music, feel and harmonies rather than sound. Even coda of Moonloop seems to me a homage to Fripp's coda on Sailor's Tale from immortal Islands. Basically if you take KING CRIMSON circa 1994-1995 and make its sound softer, you may have sort of The Sky Moves Sideways music.

Well, it might be just one of my crazy ideas, because taking into account that THRAK appeared the same year, it's hard to say how was influenced by whom and how.

Anyway, it is my favourite album by PORCUPINE TREE together with Lightbulb Sun. It isreally progressive and very innovative in terms of song structures, rhythm changesand marrying symphonic feel with very strong bass work. Unfortunately as years were passing, PT's music gets more commercial and less explorative.

Report this review (#45242)
Posted Friday, September 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars My first experience of Porcupine Tree and it's a good one. I'm reviewing the double digipack version with the following track listing:

Disc 1: Sky Moves Sideways (Part1) Dislocated Day The Moon Touches your Shoulder Prepare Yourself Sky Moves Sideways (II)

Disc 2: Sky Moves Sideways (Alternate Version) Stars Die Moonloop (Inprovisation) Moonloop (Coda)

I've read reviews making analogies between this album and the 'Floyd and I can understand why - "The Sky Moves Sideways" which bookends the first disc, in presumably its original version, has some similarities at least in structure with "Shine On You Crazy Diamond", and features some Gilmour-like guitar work on it from the project's creator, Steve Wilson. It's a dreamy, atmospheric track that was originally intended to stretch over the length of an entire (single) disc. My only criticism - which perhaps arises from the fact it is very much the work of one man - is that a few of the ideas on the title track might have got rejected as being too thin in a group project. It doesn't quite match the depth of some of the great prog epics, like the aforesaid "Shine On". But I'm being churlish. Overall it has a wonderful effect on this listener. It's well worth listening to on headphones, in the dark with nothing to distract your imagination.

The alternate version to my mind adds little to the album, other than combining both parts into a continuous piece of music - which you could easily do anyway with the aid of your stereo remote control. The differences between the alternate and the original only go to show - as with so many alternate versions - why the original ended up on the final pressing. The alternate version is not as far as I can tell, the "Director's Cut".

There are three shorter tracks with vocals; "Dislocated Day" has a great riff and a clever ending; "Stars Die" is a dream like track that leads into the excellent "Moonloop (Improvisation)", a long instrumental track; and the wonderful "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" - a beautiful song title, with sublime lyrics and a wonderful melody; the guitar break builds and builds but the track ends too soon, and too abruptly. More could have been made of this.

It's been a good first encounter for me with Steve Wilson and Porcupine Tree. He's clearly a talented guy. I look forward to hearing more of PT.

Report this review (#52540)
Posted Friday, October 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album stands out really well in the PT collection. This one has the more space prog elements than alt rock sounds, and is a rather epic album with 5 long tracks (no moonloop on my version). There is a good concept here which is similar to "Wish You Were Here", having the most epic track split in half and bookending the album.

This album interested me a lot more than most of the others, yet it also has quite a lot that bores me still. The big problem with Porcupine Tree is because each album follows their own style, there has never been anything to really hook me to their sound. Steve Wilson still has immense vocals and is a good guitarist. The production on this album is well developed but it is still nothing amazing. Still, this remains a highlight in Porcupine Tree's discography.

Report this review (#52842)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Sky Moves Sideways, the fourth album by Porcupine Tree is one of the best albums ever. Upon first hearing it, my thoughts were like many others...sounds too much like Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. There may be simalarities such as the bookending title track, but after that there is not that much in common. The title track opens with spacy keyboards and lulling guitar solo completementary of Steven Wilson. After the first seven minutes or so the epic totally shifts gears using synthesizers and what sounds like to be almost "cool" techno. Dislocated Day is a straightfoward rock song with a good guitar solo. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder and Prepare Yourself set up the mood for the darker phase 2 of the title track. The 2004 reissue has a second disc with an alternate 35 minute version, that in my opinion, is even better than the real version. This version has many more instrumental passages than the version on the firt disc. Stars Die is a mellow acoustic guitar track with real moonlanding recordings. After Stars Die, Moonloop, the next track is something completely out of this world. While an improvisation, this 20 minute song starts out with spacy keyboards and some amazing drum work by Chris Maitland. The second part of Moonloop (Coda) is a complete shift in tone, concentrating on the heavier direction the band would take with albums like In Absentia and Deadwing. This album is an essential album for an lover of space rock and prog rock in general. This album is a must have for everyone.
Report this review (#53994)
Posted Sunday, October 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
4 stars Porcupine Tree - The Sky moves Sideways (1995 Release)

For me this is the first turning point in the career of Porcupine Tree. Before this album it was mainly a mix of psychedelica and rock, whereas 1995s The Sky moves sideways is a step forward towards the progressive rock scene.

Musically seen I've often heard people say that this is what PINK FLOYD could have sound like when they played in modern times and I certainly cannot disagree with them. A lot of guitar playing on this album is reminiscent of David Gilmour at his best. The only big difference between Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd on this album is that the latter did not create as heavy a song such as Dislocated Day or the ending part of Moonloop. Or what about the inclusion of electronic music? Part three of the first segment of the title track, Wire the Drum is filled with electronics and flute playing.

The overall mood on this album is chilled-out and very atmospheric, but it can as said earlier on, from time to time be fairly heavy. Considering the fact that nowadays Steven Wilson is incorporating metal aspects into Porcupine Tree's music. it is a natural process so it seems.


Porcupine Tree - The Sky moves Sideways (2004 Re-issue)

In 1995 British space rock band Porcupine Tree released their most Floydian work up to date: "The Sky moves sideways". This album was re-issued in 2004, nine years after its initial release.

As a bonus this re-issue features all the songs that were included on the various original releases of the album in 1995, but what's most rewarding to this re-issue is the addition of the 'alternative version' of the title track The Sky moves sideways.

This thirty-four minutes and thirty-seven seconds lasting version combines the original phase one and two of the song, but with various extra melodies and changes in the composition, which eventually were cut from the album. On this version of The Sky moves sideways, Steven Wilson sings different vocals than on the final version of The Sky moves sideways Phase 1 on the first disc. I prefer this version to the split version on the first disc, although the ambient dance segment at around eight minutes into the first part of the title track, is more upbeat and 'in the mix' in the final version of the song, than in the Alternative work-in-progress mix.

What's also new is the addition of live drumming on the Dislocated Day and The Moon touches your Shoulder songs. On the 1995 release Steven Wilson programmed all the drumming on these songs, but now fulltime band member Gavin Harrison plays the drums on these songs.

The last new feature is the addition of a few extra minutes for the improvisation that is Moonloop. I have heard the full forty minutes version of this song, but think this mix is highly recommended over the full version, simply because it seems that several parts are present here that aren't in the 40 minute unedited version (see the Transmission IV album for more details on this version).

Overall I can say that this is a worthy re-issue. Unlike the addition of a non-album track as a bonus track this band decided to simply add a second disc which fits the mood and music on the first disc. Highly recommended!

Report this review (#54383)
Posted Wednesday, November 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album, like allot of Porcupine Tree's stuff, is more about production then composition. Steve probably spends more time hunched over his computer choosing what keyboard sounds they will use then they do choosing what chords they will play and how to use them. It seems he gets a keyboard or bass line repeating over and over then add some cool sounds and nice guitar solos over top, throw in a couple of breaks and dynamics and they're done. Not very impressive in the composition department. I'm surprised that this band does so well on a progressive site. However, they do come up with nice soundscapes, probably better suited for meditating, or getting stoned to. This band is compared to Pink Floyd allot, but I much prefer Pink Floyd as they compose much better and come up with good soundscapes as well.
Report this review (#54635)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Sky Moves Sideways is a completely different experience, It is a music space trip through textures of ambient vocals and guitars, backwards drums, flutes. Sometimes Sky Moves Sideways has been characterized as a Pink Floyd sound. I used to do the same,but I felt ashamed of myself after stumbling along one of Steve Wilson's remarks:

"People always HAVE to compare things. In some respects I understand it. I mean, how do you explain to your audience what you're writing about? But the whole concept of writing about music is an absurd one anyways. It's like Frank Zappa said, "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." It's using one artistic medium to talk about another one. So often Journalists are very lazy in the way they write about music and they will fall back on the same old things.particularly in regard to Porcupine Tree as being the new Pink Floyd. That REALLY annoys me. I spend so much time trying to be unique and distinctive and to have our own personality. And then to be dismissed in a single sentence like that is so upsetting."

1. The sky moves sideways phase one - The first part features a sporadic approach to progression that leaves you wondering what change will happen next and the flow is magnificent. Superb music! 5/5

2. Dislocated day - It's a very fast paced percussion track with some very aggressive guitar sounds. 4/5

3. The moon touches your shoulder - A dark moody ballad. The lyrics keep their poetic surrealism, and are harmonious with the instruments. Turn the lights out, lay on a soft, flat surface, and drift away with the soft synthesizers and the acoustic guitars as they take you away into the black of the night sky. 5/5

4. Prepare yourself - is a short musical interlude to "moonloop" 4/5

5. Moonloop - One of those ambient emotive long tracks . 4,5/5

6. The sky moves sideways phase two - This second part is a further exploration of sounds and spacey guitar sequences of part one. Its a amazing end to this album. 5/5

Final Note : The Sky Moves Sideways" is a beautiful album ,that need to be examined with the headphones.It´s another classic mind trip from Porcupine Tree.

5+4+5+4+4,5+5 = 27,5

27,5 : 6 = 4,6

Essential - A masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#54710)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars After listening to this record, there is only a word that comes into my mind to describe Steve Wilson: genius. Out of his solo efforts, this is the best one without discussion, and I think it is one of best from the whole Porcupine Tree album set. Although in "Voyage 34" we could see a glimpse of the space rock and psychedelic melodic tendencies of Wilson put in a set of lengthy 'quasi-instrumental' tracks, in this case, the composer goes a step forward in order to achieve perfection. And he clearly succeeds. As other reviewer mentioned, listening to this album with earphones is an incredibly amazing experience.

This record is full of rich, relaxing and atmospheric textures performed using a wide variety of instruments, either guitar, synths, drums, etc. Even voices could be considered as instruments here, either Wilson's or the female choirs that you can listen in some passages. So, this album might be considered basically as an epic instrumental work. I have to admit that before checking out this site, I wasn't much into this kind of musical compositions. Now it is a different story, and I am delighted listening to the best Floyd's pieces, as well as from other artists, including Porcupine Tree. I'm not going to compare this with any other work performed by more aged musicians like Pink Floyd, because I think that Steve Wilson's works have a very personal touch in them.

To sum up, anyone who is a fan of space rock, relaxing music with some complexity or prog in general must get this album, at least in my humble opinion.

Report this review (#57011)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Sky Moves Sideways" was never one of my favourite Porcupine Tree achievments (I still really like it however), but the bonus disc presented in this re-issue is a real treat. To be honest, I thinkthat alternate version of the title track is better than the one that eventually ended up on album. Well, Phase One is comparable with the "finished" piece (it makes a good alternative for sure, I especially like these theme variations on "Wire The Drum", the lyrics are weaker though) but Phase Two is a real improvement. First of all, these Floydian keyboard solos at the beginning are accompanied by an electronic beat which really fits the general atmosphere here. Subsequently, there is a female vocal at the end instead of this pointless, irritating Gilmour-imitating guitar solo we know from the album. Overally, a very nice surprise!

Stars Die and Moonloop together form the "Moonloop E.P." which was released at the same time as "The Sky Moves Sideways" but quickly became out of print, so it's quite a rarity too, even though these compositions are well known among PT fans. Steven Wilson once said that Stars Die is his favourite piece from the entire session and it's easy to see why. The song is simply magnificient. Unfortunately it lacks the presence of Richard Barbieri and his subtle electronics, but we've got two drummers here and a fantastic touching vocal performance. Moonloop was previously included in remastered edition of the Sky Moves Sideways from 1997 but it was clearly out of place there. It works much better in context of this mini-album. It's also worth noting that the piece here is 21-minutes long (4 minutes longer than album version and 3 than original EP version).

To sum up, it's definitely a worthy release. Even if you are not a big fan of this album it's good to get it once again, just for bonus disc with the brilliant Moonloop EP.

Report this review (#58065)
Posted Saturday, November 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What an incredible album! The sheer beauty of the title track, with its dreamy drumming/percussion part in the beginning, verse-chorus section, harsh and aggressive sounding techno segment, and textured spaceyness toward the end, always draws me in and leaves me amazed. And if you can, pick up the new double-CD edition that has a 34-minute version of the title track, Stars Die, and both a short version (5 minutes) and a long version (16 minutes) of Moonloop, a breathtaking intrumental PT classic. Both the moody Moon Touches Your Shoulder and the fast- paced Dislocated Day add extra flair to the album, as does the little Pink-Floydian guitar piece Prepare Yourself. Overall, The Sky Moves Sideways is a work of brilliance that should not be passed up. Pick up TSMS, it's a classic for any fan of prog!
Report this review (#60602)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars So I got a 2 CD which goes as follows:

Disc 1: 1.The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1 2.Dislocated Day 3.The Moon Touches Your Shoulder 4.Prepare Yourself 5.The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2

Disc 2: 1.The Sky Moves Sideways (Alternate Version) 2.Stars Die 3.Moonloop (Improvisation) 4.Moonloop(Coda)

And this is really, solid gold. A very good CD, all the tracks are enjoyable. It's so good I even feel like listen to it now. I recommend you buy it, unless you completely detest the following:

1.- Effects on vocals. These are a lot. Phaser, delay, so many effects on the voices it's not funny. It adds to the atmosphere, but it bugs me off a bit.

Mh. That's about it. In it's genre (psychedelica), this is one of the best.

Report this review (#68992)
Posted Friday, February 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Porcupine Tree does their version of Wish You Were Here. With such a talent as Steve Wilson who has already rolled in Pink Floyd soundscapes for years, one would think this album would kick all sorts of ass. Well, it almost does, almost. However, sometimes, when YOU'RE supposed to get lost in the soundscapes, the soundscapes get lost in themselves, and it becames a meandering mishmosh of semi-well developed ideas thrown together in an almost pleasing way. The first phase of the title track is perfect proof. It starts out and takes four minutes to actually start up. Four minutes. It's moderately pleasant to listen to, but it's way too long. Then Wilson starts singing, and it's again pleasant enough, but not very memorable at all. Techno dance time is good fun, and Wilson shows off his excellent guitar skills here which is always fun (since I've known his solos to single-handedly save a song). Then it relapses and meanders more for four minutes.

The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is slow and unremarkable. Dislocated Day shines only because of the sick soloing all throughout and great guitar parts. Then the title track phase two is pretty similar to part one, except even more slow and laid the beggining. Then in the end, it really picks up soem steam and this probably the best one to get lost in. I don't why the first phase doesn't work as well, but this is where it's at. This is what Wilson wanted to do. Four stars for great soloing, some great soundscapes and nice ideas, repeated a few too many times.

Report this review (#72083)
Posted Thursday, March 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Since this album doesn't really need much explaining, my review is relatively short, but don't take that as a negative at all. This is a straight 5/5 in my book, as it is strong the entire way through although Dislocated Day is a bit of a setback and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is better live on Coma Divine. I have to admit that the only two tracks I listen to regularly are the first and last tracks, The Sky Moves Sideways (Phase One) and The Sky Moves Sideways (Phase Two), but Moonloop is a great psychedelic jam, and Stars Die and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder are great filler between the mammoth 10+ minute tracks.

This album is often compared to Wish You Were Here (but you can here Ozric influences interspersed with in the two phases of TSMS), and I think it deserves that comparison, mainly because TSMS parallels well with SOYCD. Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree being my favorite bands, I really can't pick a superior album; they both reach perfection at their high points and they both bring out different moods for me. TSMS takes the psychedelic/space/electronic components even further away from mainstream rock, leading to the more intense musical voyage (probably climaxing a few minutes from the end of Phase 2 with Wilson's trippy guitar solo).

The sparse vocals are ethereal, the soundscapes are brilliant, the solos are outstanding, and like always, the production is top notch.

5/5, without a doubt!

Report this review (#78799)
Posted Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Porcupine Tree's 1995 album The Sky Moves Sideways is an album that typifies and fully explores their space rock roots and ideas. This album, bookended by two largely extended pieces of music that take the listener to another world, is probably the best album Porcupine Tree has released thus far, and it may be one of the best albums of the 90's at that. Steven Wilson has a knack for creating engaging and exciting music, and this album is no different. From the ethereal and other-worldly The Sky Moves Sideways to the hard rocking riffing of Dislocated Day, this album is an eclectic and involved album throughout the entire journey. The drums are dynamic and are well placed, the bass is thumping and moves along nicely with the drums and other instruments. The keyboards are lush and create soothing atmospheres to lift the listener off of their feet, and the guitar is varied and the effects and emotions that are conveyed are just utterly superb.

The album opens with The Sky Moves Sideways Phase I, which essentially to any fan of Pink Floyd will remind them of Shine on You Crazy Diamond with a long synth based orchestration that is soothing to the ear and is a great introduction. Soon, gentle and very phased guitar chords are played over a steady bass/drum beat for the next few minutes. Steven Wilson's vocals on this track are very echoey and very other-worldly. The extended outro has very electronic overtones, and the flute solo fits very well over that. In short, this is 18 minutes of progressive nirvana. Dislocated Day starts off as a gentle piece but turns into an all out rocker that shows the definite future base of Porcupine Tree's sound with powerful riffs and strong keyboard and guitar interplay.

Dislocated Day is an acoustic based piece that has soft and gentle vocals as well as a definite Floydian feel to it. It's the softest piece on the album and it fits very well as the middle piece. Prepare Yourself was intended as a short interlude that preceded the extended instrumental piece Moonloop, but Moonloop didn't make it onto the album. It's a short little guitar solo that in the context of the album acts as a prelude to The Sky Moves Sideways Phase II. Now the 16 minute instrumental (except one questionable sequence when a celestial sounding voice) has a terrific jam feel to it, with rocking bass, thumping drums, spacey and well timed keyboards, and guitar solo after guitar solo. Wilson is superb on this song, with strong guitar sections that add a layer of dissonance to the mix at one point. The track ends essentially as it began with celestial and spacey keyboards giving it the final goodbye.

In the end, this is my favorite Porcupine Tree album. The "modern Pink Floyd" have struck a chord and made their name with the space rock fanatics with this album. There are no weak tracks, no meager pieces of filler in a feeble effort to fill more space on the album. Every song here is well arranged, well performed, and most importantly, well written. I recommend any fan of Pink Floyd in the slightest bit get this album immediately to hear a modern take on that classic sound. Now, this album isn't just a rip-off, though, it's also a really creative and original sounding album as well. Recommended to all. 5/5.

Report this review (#82270)
Posted Friday, June 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The sky Moves Sideways" is Porcupine Tree's first substantial step into the realm of psychedelic music. Porcupine Tree is heavier than most other space rock bands, and not necessarily in the scene of using overdrive guitars, but due more to the thrumming intensity of their music. The music on "The sky Moves Sideways" is intense in many parts and the atmospheres created are thunderous. Coincidentally there are also quieter parts to the album which are usually complemented by a slow synthesizer which creates a beautiful floating feel to the music. The best example of this is the intro to "The sky Moves Sideways part 1" which opens the album superbly. Sad though it may sound, this is probably my favourite part of the album.

After the intro the music moves into one of the few vocal passages on the album, the lyrics in this section are very fitting for the album. Every thing up to this point carries a distinctly Pink Floyd style to it, particularly the intro to the album. Porcupine tree is a little more textured than Pink Floyd as there is more happening in the music, usually. The music gradually builds intensity in this section as the crescendo builds until the psychedelically simulated sub-metal breaks out. There is a repeated flute line in this section and a couple of guitar solos. This sort of music carries on until about the 14th minute where it dies down to sublime sounding music not dissimilar to the beginning of the song.

The next few songs are very reminiscent of Pink Floyd and they all follow similar paths as the opener "The sky Moves Sideways part 1", with guitar solos and atmospheric synthesizers the whole way. "Dislocated Day" is quite a tedious song and it can really get on your nerves, the way Steve Wilson sings the lyrics is annoying. "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is a mellower song compared to the rest of the album and it is more a vocal based tune. "Prepare yourself" is an prologue to "The sky Moves Sideways part 2" and it is basically a 1 and a half minute guitar solo.

"The sky Moves Sideways part 2" stars off very similar to part 1, but this time it moves into louder section a lot faster. Ultimately there are several more changes in the second part and yet again it follows a similar sound to the first part. There is more of a psychedelic feel to this part and the tape effects are more prominent. There is a fantastic guitar solo around the 12th minute, which follows a section of tape-effects. "The sky Moves Sideways part 2" is ultimately a better song than the first part as it is more interesting and varies more.

The packaging of the special edition version of "The sky Moves Sideways" is among the best I've ever seen. There are two segments which fold out and in each segment there is a picture of a rocky cliff and when these sections are opened there is a CD in each, for the special edition comes with a bonus CD. On the bonus disc there is the original version of "The sky Moves Sideways" which runs for 34 minutes, for the songs were originally joined as one long epic. There is also an extra set of lyrics on this version, and some of the instrumentation is different. There are three other songs, stars die, "Moonloop" (improvisation), and "moonloop" (coda.)

This extra disc is very interesting to listen and any hardcore Porcupine Tree fan would enjoy it. I take my hat off to Steve Wilson has done a fantastic job in the production department and I also congratulate the band on the quality of the music. The instruments used in the recording of "The sky Moves Sideways" are genuine prog-grade devices.

(not including bonus disc as it isn't part of the original album) 1.of The sky Moves Sideways part 1 (5/5) 2.Dislocated Day (2/5) 3.The Moon Touches Your Shoulder (3/5) 4.Prepare Yourself (3/5) 5.of The sky Moves Sideways Part 2 (5/5) Total = 18 divided by (number of Songs) = 3.6 = 4 stars Excellent addition to any prog music collection

"The sky Moves Sideways" is a sonic experience and, like prog albums it takes the listener to fantastic far off worlds. "The sky Moves Sideways" is a very good album and it is the best Porcupine Tree album I've heard so far. I would recommend "The sky Moves Sideways" to all Psychedelic fans, young or old, everyone can enjoy this album.

Report this review (#85521)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Porcupine Tree has put out some great music lately. Deadwing and In Absentia are great, but a definite swing in the opposite direction from where they used to be. The Sky Moves Sideways represents a masterpiece in the melodic, Floydish type of music they used to play more of. It's easy to get lost while listening to Sky Moves Sideways. It's by no means boring, but if you've never heard some of their earlier stuff you may be surprised. The music is heavy and melodic and of course very Floydian. For those who've only heard the last couple of albums you should give this a try :)
Report this review (#92653)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
5 stars I have the double cd version with the second disc consisting of a 34 1/2 minute alternate version of the song "The Sky Moves Sideways", as well as the amazing song "Stars Die" and two versions of "Moonloop". It's hard for me to put into words how much I love this spacey, soundscape music. The music drifts often in a dreamy and spacey way that just transcends me to another plane.There are also many violent and aggressive sections as well. This is such a trip ! Steven says that the original plan in making this album was to make one long 50 minute self titled track, but when that didn't happen they decided to include as a bonus this alternate version which is closest thing they have to it.

"The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1" is such a psychedelic ride. It opens with spacey sounds as some brief processed spoken words come in.Then spacey waves start to roll in at 1 1/2 minutes.Guitar, drums and bass join in as well. Great sound ! Vocals after 4 1/2 minutes as the waves stop. It's so moving when the sound gets fuller before 6 minutes. A nice relaxed guitar solo follows. A beat kicks in at 8 1/2 minutes and we get some ripping guitar before 11 1/2 minutes. Amazing sound ! Travis Smith adds some flute 13 minutes in as the sound settles briefly then kicks back in hard. It settles again after 14 1/2 minutes to a spacey soundscape and acoustic guitar joins in. Just brilliant. "Dislocated Day" opens with the phone ringing before heavy drums and processed vocals lead the way. Lots of synths in this one. It gets fairly powerful with guitar becoming prominant. This contrast continues. Ripping guitar 2 1/2 minutes in that goes on and on. It ends with someone leaving a message on an answering machine.

"The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" opens with strummed guitar and reserved vocals. Gorgeous. It starts to build before 3 minutes until it's pretty heavy 2 minutes later. "Prepare Yourself" is a 2 minute song with some crazy distorted guitar. A beat comes in after a minute as guitar continues to light it up. "The Sky Moves Sideways Phase II " is dark to begin with as different sounds come and go. A spacey atmosphere takes over 2 minutes in. Loud synths come and go as does strummed guitar. In fact this song features some insane guitar, soaring guitar and scorching guitar, yes Mr.Wilson is busy. Female vocal melodies come in before 6 minutes then organ.The guitar is making some noise.The song then drifts along until guitar kicks in before 12 1/2 minutes. Love that part. You can hear the sound of water after 15 minutes when the guitar stops.

On the second disc, the alternate version of "The Sky Moves Sideways" is dark and spacey for the first minute then these beautiful waves of sound roll in. Very FLOYD-like. The guitar starts to solo after 3 minutes until we get a dead calm before 5 minutes. Fragile vocals come in followed by a fuller sound as the guitar solos tastefully. Drums and organ support. Vocals are back before 7 1/2 minutes. A beat kicks in before 9 minutes as synths join in. The beat stops after 16 minutes as we get a spacey calm. The song continues to change and evolve and we get female vocal melodies after 25 1/2 minutes. The guitar is back with some raw sounds. She's back after 32 minutes to the end.

"Stars Die" is such a beautiful, spacey and dreamy song.This is one of my favourite tracks by them. Pure bliss. "Moonloop (Improvisation)" is spacey with birds chirping as the song drifts along.The guitar starts to make some noise after 5 minutes until it's scorching a minute later as the sound builds. Guitar is lighting it up before 11 minutes. Spoken word samples 13 1/2 minutes to the end. Cool. "Moonloop (Coda)" features those birds singing again. Lots of atmosphere. Vocal samples after a minute. The tempo starts to pick up until we get a full and intense sound after 3 minutes. Raw guitar follows as it winds down.

My favourites on here are "Stars Die" , "The Sky Moves Sideways Phase I" and ""The Moon Touches Your Shoulder". A must for space cadets and PT fans.

Report this review (#94994)
Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Like a thundercloud.

An outstanding artistic achievement, I pinpoint this album as the moment Steven Wilson becomes assured of himself and his musical abilities. Wilson is able to captivate us with powerful and intense landscapes without going overboard into a realm of pretentiousness that is often the plague of many talented bands. Wilson has a certain knack, a certain taste, for choosing the correct notes and not delving into the unnecessary "art" as some would call it. This is one of his finest achievements in music.

I can't help but form pictures in my head while listening to this, as I feel I am provided as much a listening experience as an atmospheric one. Listening to this outside in a wooded and clouded area only adds to the visual nature I believe this album evokes. Time seems to float by effortlessly, and you find yourself halfway through the album in what seems like 5 minutes. One can not also help but be reminded of the Pink Floyd classic 'Shine On' in the nature in which this album is presented much like WYWH, with the disconnected epic at the beginning and end of the record. However, the music has much more to offer than a mere Floyd clone.

The closer is my personal favorite, especially when the distorted guitars first come in at around 4:30 and we have something that somewhat resembles a chorus, a jangly bit with powerful drumming, some inspiring lines of creativity for myself. Wilson really displays his artistry thoughout the album, even the shorter tracks like Dislocated Day, which is a compact piece that shows PT's more aggressive side.

If you are a fan of space rock or any form of psychedelia, this is a must have, an outstanding achievement that I look at as one of the essential pieces of the genre, and one of Porcupine Tree's finest, if not the best. Add a half star, this one's quite excellent.

Report this review (#98730)
Posted Tuesday, November 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Sky Moves Sideways" was my first encounter with PORCUPINE TREE and what an encounter it was! Since I already loved PINK FLOYD this seemed to be PT's perfect album to kick off with!

SW combines a Floydian guitar style with some almost whispering psychedelically lyrics and the result is mind blowing! If you like(d) PINK FLOYD you will certainly appreciate if not LOVE this album as well!

Just a hint: if you would want to purchase this album make sure you get your hands on the 2004 re-issue because this re-issue contains a bonus disc with some great songs on it like: The Sky moves sideways (Alternative Version), Stars die (One of my all time favourite PT songs!) and two versions of Moonloop. However: If you want the best version of MOONLOOP you should listen to the unedited improvisation lasting just over 40 minutes now (still) available at

Over all a breathtaking album that takes you away on a trip as you were laying on your back, just watching the sky move sideways.

Report this review (#99771)
Posted Tuesday, November 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This was the new beggining. Half band - half solo. Realy good mix. And the 'Sky Moves Sideways' masterpiece... Long liquid-aerial prog rock including some rapid moments of rock ecstasy. Moonloop - what a title! Perfectly chosen title! We have some space music with loop technology :). This track grow from the begining to the end... The final is some kind of improvised explosion. And for the last word: Stars Die....
Report this review (#101892)
Posted Wednesday, December 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars British space rock on the best,when i listening to the album i feel something,is very difficult too explane .something like old Pink Floid on 68 whit Roger Keith Barrett.

Early Barrett song recorded on the first demotape late 1965. The band did not yet have the name Pink Floyd and guitarist Bob Klose was part of the band at the time. The song has not been officially released. The demo version is released with an italian book from 1996.

Porcupine tree is right there

Report this review (#114134)
Posted Saturday, March 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Sky Moves Sideways was the last Porcupine Tree studio album I acquired, and like In Absentia (the first I acquired), it is an absolute masterpiece. There are few albums I like more than this one.

The album starts with "The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1". This epic songs starts out with a very dreamlike intro. Then, the song settles down and becomes more serious. The third part of the song really picks up, a very spacey and high tempo part. A beautiful flute eventually comes in toward the end of the third part. After the third part of the song, the fourth part becomes very quiet. The outro of the song is absolutely beautiful, it almost sounds sad. Overall, Phase 1 is an epic masterpiece, and one of the best songs I have ever heard. The next song, "Dislocated Day", is the hardest song on the album, but it is an excellent song. The guitar in this song is great. "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is a soft, beautiful song, starting out with a soft guitar pick up the pace by the end of the song. "Prepare Yourself" is a segue into "The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2", and is aptly named. It is an all guitar song if I'm not mistaken. "The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2" is not right away a continuation of Phase 1. Unlike Phase 1, it is completely instrumental (well, there's some singing, but no lyrics). Phase 2 starts with a very soft and spacey intro. It builds up toward the end of the intro until the guitars come alive. Around the 10 minute mark, it slows down into another spacey section. At the 12 minute mark, the song picks up from Phase 1. The songs builds on the part from the refrain (minus the singing). Finally, Phase 2 slows down and ends to the sound of flowing water. Phase 2 complements Phase 1 perfectly, and together they are a masterpiece. Since I got the 2004 version, I'll add a little bit about the second disc. The highlight here is probably "Stars Die", a beautiful song originally left off of the album. The alternate version of "The Sky Moves Sideways" is also very good, with some different sections and lyrics from the original two part song, definitely worth listening to. "Moonloop" is a very spacey improvisation, and "Moonloop (Coda)" is a great end to the song.

Overall, The Sky Moves Sideways is a flawless album, and it is a must-have album. Highly recommended to everyone!

Report this review (#114585)
Posted Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Fight Club
5 stars Well for some reason I can't log in as bionicfog which I used for my other reviews, so w/e...

Wow! This is one of those albums that just immediately hits you as something remarkable. Like the first time listening to Dark Side of the Moon as a kid, then hearing it again years later and still thinking to yourself "wow this is just one of the most unique sounds an artist has ever achieved" The Sky Moves Sideways is exactly like that. Possibly the essential masterpiece of PT's early era. There is so much to enjoy on this album and as long as some of the songs are, it keeps your attention all the way. Few albums allow someone to forget everything and float away as easily as this one does. From the beginning synth of TSMS Phase One until the end of Phase Two the listener is completely entranced. The title track offers some really trippy sections that just swirl your head around, eventually leading to a beautiful melancholy outro section in which you just feel your thoughts swimming out of your head. The rest of the album is no different. There are some very crunchy riffs, but they only add to the ethereal quality of the album. Each track serves as an aid linkin each section of the album as a whole, because keep in mind this is no collection of songs, this album is an adventure in itself. One highlight might I add is the highly improvisational Moonloop. This track is a whopping 17 minutes, but IMO does not bore for a second. It's one of those things that you can listen to on a nice summer day and it surrounds you in the fascination and appreciation of the life energy all around. One of the greatest ambient tracks ever created, really stunning. The album closes with TSMS Phase Two which offers quite some epic moments leaving you with the conclusion that you have just experienced near enlightenment. This is album is what some may call a "lightbulb moment" for me. After hearing In Absentia I thought nothing could come close to those feelings again, and the PT stunned me again. Essential: a masterpiece of ANY music.

Report this review (#114826)
Posted Saturday, March 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars "The Sky Moves Sideways" is the most Floydian influenced piece of work that I have heard from a band(other than Floyd that is...)and I mean that in a positive way. While the album has some very strong tracks it also tends to be a little short on musical ideas and instead takes several main themes and draws them out into longer space jams which border at times on being ambient music. The title track( I prefer the longer version on the bonus disk) with it's trance like snare drum used very effectively, is a wonderful song full of ambience and feelings of disorientation and alienation. Of course there are three editions of the title track totalling almost seventy minutes when added up. With "Moonloop" which I feel is the weakest of the tracks at a little over 17 minutes, it really excels with the "coda" which is the next four minutes of the song and the last four minutes of the song, which is a shame because it is the most interesting part. That leaves three other proper tunes on the album and of those both" Dislocated Day" and "Stars Die" are excellent. In fact "Stars Die" in my opinion is a classic Porcupine Tree tune. Overall two stellar tracks on this one and a must buy for Porcupine Tree fans but not an essential buy for the Progressive Rock collection
Report this review (#118755)
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I give this album five stars on the strength of the title track - it really is incredible, especially the 34 minute version, as the ending is a bit less vague. The instrumental prepare yourself, moonloop and stars die are all great songs (although i don't listen as much as the title track), and the other two songs have better versions on Coma Divine, but they aren't bad, so i will still give it a five star rating - it is an epic that I can listen to all the time, which is not often something I find (Anaesthetize on the new album has unfortunately lost its charm for me).
Report this review (#126481)
Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree offer an acutely melodic, fluid, harmonious excursion into the realm of expanded-consciousness with this one. The Sky Moves Sideways is Wilson's first album with a faithful 'official' band. Two years before this one, Up The Downstair was recorded featuring future band-mates Richard Barbieri and Colin Edwin. It was still largely a Steven Wilson solo project. This is the first band collaboration, I believe.

There are numerous similarities to be noted between this release and Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Even the song format: a lengthy piece, followed by three shorter tracks, concluded by a second part of the longer track. There are many Floydian keyboard voices, with Gilmourian guitar played on top. Much of the guitar work is steller, and much different than Pink Floyd's. The acoustic guitar that appears is the most hypnotic thing on the album, and when a melodic electric guitar plays alongside it, completed by a constant humming of soothing keyboard, there is no doubting that this is genuine spacey prog. The album is mainly passive and light, with the exception of Dislocated Day, a faster, aggressive psychedelic trip, which shows the beginnings of Porcupine Tree's harder side. This first step into that world is polished and atmospheric, with powerful and clean riffs. More acoustic guitar is to be found on the beautiful The Moon Touches Your Shoulder, with some of Porc Tree's most compelling psychedelic guitar in their catalog.

After a short ambient piece, Prepare Yourself, the albums picks up once more with a very Pink Floyd-influenced, but somewhat simpler phase of the title track. At times, a somewhat dissonant melody appears, but it is generally rather good besides that. The melodies of the first phase are infinitely superior. Depending on what version of this album you've acquired, you may have a 17 minute edit of Moonloop, or the 16 and 4 minute edits. This is some genuine electric jamming. It's not at all droning, but extremely hypnotic. Tree perfect their jamming skills with the Metanoia release, if you ask me. Stars Die is a great song, featured only on some versions, I believe. The alternate version of the title track is basically phase one and two combined.

The overall image this album creates is extremely melodious and smooth, and yet still very spacey and experimental. This is one of Porcupine Tree's better releases, and it is very accessible and an excellent starting point. This is a masterpiece of psychedelic music, a great prog album, and an essential album for Porcupine Tree fans. Some sections are a bit uninspiring, but overall it is great.

Report this review (#128919)
Posted Monday, July 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Prognaut
4 stars More than a "must" in every Prog Rock collection, "The Sky Moves Sideways" is without a doubt, one of the most significant records that'd describe and suit the genre perfectly. Evidentially, this exercise of wonderful music gives us that certain flashback to the beginnings of crossover prog intertwined along the scent of a renewed formula that happens to be quite appealing. This masterpiece resembles to me a well illustrated novel, presenting a dazzling prologue and a ravishing epilog with some chapters in between that turns the trip into some magical dream and this never-ending story.

Phase One: You can almost feel the presence of a Floydian spirit wandering around through the first couple of chords and this upbeat drum that creates an eyes wide shut paradise depicted in beautiful colors, images, scenes and unknown whereabouts in your mind. The song takes its time to let Steve WILSON's voice chirp in a burst of poetry. The lyrics are as smooth and comfortable as the music running in the background. The blend is just unbelievable. This opening scene will carry on flowing through unpretentious passages for a while, making your skin crawl slowly just to the point where you unconsciously realize time and space have become second because your senses have already been abducted by the rhythm and the suffocating ambiance. Strangely how, almost nineteen minutes of your life have turned into a déjà-vu that'd leave you a little numb and unease from the inside out. Just amazing.

The disturbing noise of an unanswered ringing phone suddenly appears nervously in the act. Tension is right away shattered by the thundering sound of compassed strings and a low tuned spoken voice drawing the musical canvas. "Dislocated Day" is certainly a straightforward rock piece that fits delightfully within the record. It has no fluidity on the arrangements but surprisingly, it catches your attention into wondering just to promptly figure out the ending has just shut your ears. Its transition far from elaborated, is rich in its powerful impact and practical to the means of the whole album.

Right after, "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" reveals the inner peace and the quiet falling drops of a landscaping ballad that ends up flooding your insides. Neither touchy nor mellow, the song fulfills expectation out of complex simplicities and evocative words. The righteous soulful side for such a humongous record.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I happen to own the Digipack reissue which presents "Moonloop" in its "Improvisation" and "Coda" versions. I haven't had the chance to listen to the original track of the LP, but I can picture it's got almost the same nomenclature described on Disc 2 of this special edition. This song to me reveals the psychedelic warp from which the band came out in the very begging of their prominent career. The instrumentation is harmonious yet it could be erratic depending from which side of the glass you are standing on at the time you're spinning the record.

Phase Two: The closing section of the battle within. It's not only the second chapter to the most astonishing epic by the band, but the missing jigsaw to complete the puzzle. The Floydian-like act remains throughout sliding guitars and space passages that underlines the ambiance of the record. Despite of being the sequel to Part One, it's so unique and unlike at the same time. The musical revelation goes further on through whimsical arrangements and unexpected composing. The lyrics here turn out to be less punchy and only subsequent instead of giving away a proper closure. Still, the purpose is mesmerizing and convincing.

Definitely to many progheads, this may be their favorite album by the English band and to others like me, the most Progressive record PORCUPINE TREE has given birth to among their promising discography. The musical conspiracy perpetuated in here goes far from eloquent to be defined as brilliant. Deservedly, a masterpiece of Prog Rock. Nothing left for me to say.

Report this review (#136364)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Little by little, PT matures. When I listen to the opening number, the mood is of course Floydian, but not only. The entry part is fullly "Tangerine Dream" oriented (which is fine with me BTW). It is a long journey across the universe, leading you to far away planets in a quite, yet beautiful atmosphere. The beat will increase somewhat after the first half and becomes really hypnotic. It almost gets hard-rocking for a while, just before being brought as the song has started. In the tranquility seas...

Since this track is rather varied, it flows nicely and you just don't notice that it lasts for about twenty minutes.

The mood is drastically different during "Dislocated Day". A good rock song with upbeat rhythm, nothing quiet here. The band reveals his harder side. It is rather nice to feel the different atmospheres of this album. When you'll reach "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder", as you could expect, it is a real soft song, fully "trip" oriented. It catches up some rock speed at the end.

"Mooloop" is a song already released as an EP in 1994 in exactly the same format. To my ears, it sounds as an almost fully improvised theme. It's a kind of "Echoes" (middle part) that lasts for just over seventeen minutes. A bit longish, I must say.

Phase two of the title track is almost as long as the first one (yes, like "SOYCD"...). This is the perfect song to calm you down or completely relax. Ambient and soft spacial sounds for almost five minutes before it lifts off very nicely. I like very much the short interlude which features some beautiful and almost celestial vocals. It is definitely a good space-rock song. A bit adventourous maybe, but not that much after all. "Floyd" paved the way already a long time ago.

It is very difficult to speak about this album without referring to Floyd. Because they are a major source of influence. The great guitar solo at the end of "Phase Two" is a nother perfect example of this fact. I would rate this album with three stars, mainly because of "Moonloop" which is too uniform and too much improv oriented to my taste.

Report this review (#138697)
Posted Sunday, September 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I bought the 2004 double CD release only because it was a better deal, but I'm sure glad I did, because the extra disk contains my favorite material. I enjoy the alternative version of the title track more than the original, and Moonloop is so much better when the coda is tacked onto it. Many reviewers have noted the obvious Floyd influence, but fewer have noted the just-as-apparent dance/club music influence. Throw in some Middle-Eastern flair, and you have a serviceable (though still quite imprecise) way to describe this album. You have to be patient, but this album will slowly grow on you.

The Sky Moves Sideways (alternate version). The run-time suggests that this would be one beast of a track, but musically it's much more tame. The basic progression is straightforward: a Floydian intro, a simple main theme, an extended upbeat dance section, mellow die-down, a spacey guitar/synth section, and a creepy vocal outtro. It's that simple. There are some captivating soundscapes and guitar tones (though not many solos) along the way as well. The alternate version generally has more percussion and guitar lines, though unfortunately the final guitar solo on the original didn't make the alternate--I prefer the alternate, though these distinctions aren't great. There's certainly some padding to be found here, but not so much to keep me away.

Moonloop (improv and coda). Again, you have to be in the right mood for this one. Also, if I don't have the coda to look forward to, then it seems a lot more pointless in my mind. As far as spacey improvs go, you can do a lot worse: cool guitar, and the bass, percussion and keys are on the same page, which keeps thing coherent. And then comes the coda: an awesome, raw, and powerful groove that builds to a classic freak-out. I wish Porcupine Tree could harness more of this intensity!

The rest of the album is rather forgettable--not bad, but not especially captivating either. I guess I have yet to discover what some others have regarding this album: it seems rather slow, padded, and uninspired in places. If you're in the mood for ambient music with a little bit of an edge, then this may be right up your alley, though I rarely find myself in that mood.

Report this review (#140787)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although this was not PT's first album it was the first I bought by this band. It made me want more because I really liked it but if I look back now at their impressive career I have to conclude that this first acquaintance was the ultimate highlight. This album was at that time the leader of psychedelic/space rock. Everything you may expect from this department in progressive rock is to be found on this album: long-drawn-out compositions with "spacy" impressions, great build up especially of the two title track songs. They are amazing compositions to me, great classics. To a lesser degree this is the case with Moonloop but there's not as much happening in this song as in the two other epics. Dislocated day is of a different calibre, a short song, nice, quite catchy even but more of a normal, regular song. The Moon touches your shoulder and Prepare yourself are to me the lesser songs of the album.

This album is great but not an absolute classic worthy of 5 stars, so it has to be 4.

Report this review (#141641)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars This celebrated release by Porcupine Tree is also one of the group's most distinct, in that it features lengthy, sprawling compositions with rich sonic soundscapes punctuated by uniquely intense and memorable builds. All in all-- an oustanding early release.

The group's early reputation for being similar to Pink Floyd is most defendable with this album. While I disagree with this comparisson as a general thing, it's hard to deny that the long, slow builds and airy keyboard textures bares a resemblance to "Wish You Were Here", but that's about it. "Sky Moves Sideways" feels very calculated, precise, and-- when the tempo picks up-- very exciting. These heavy moments are the highlight of the album, made so thanks to expert composition by Wilson, who uses them with great emotional and musical effect. The group's playing is oustanding, with Barbieri's keyboards almost stealing the show from Wilson's lengthy guitar solos. To top it off we're given wonderfully cryptic lyrics and a memorable vibe to carry us away.

I imagine "Sky Moves Sideways" as having a much broader appeal than PT's more divisive recent works; it is very easy to listen to and offers something for everyone. A great release!

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#149279)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars No man could sustain creative input into two bands, surely. Yet by 1995 STEVEN WILSON was the creative heart of both PORCUPINE TREE and NO-MAN. Something had to give.

It did. The early commercial promise of NO-MAN had gradually slipped away, and their 1994 album 'Flowermouth' saw them striking off in a genuinely progressive direction. Thus WILSON was able to bring his pop hooks and commercial sensibilities to bear on this and subsequent PORCUPINE TREE releases. The clamour for PT music to be played live resulted in his forming a band - the 'joke' was over, and PORCUPINE TREE was now a reality. 'The Sky Moves Sideways', more than any other PT album, is the fruitful result of his ear for a tune meeting his atmospheric space rock gift. More tuneful than 'Up The Downstair', it still has enough space rock for everyone (including WILSON himself, subsequently) to cry 'FLOYD'!

Fair enough. 'The Sky Moves Sideways' reeks of PINK FLOYD. But who said originality was the prime concern of music? This album works because it feels so familiar the moment the synths of the title track start sending chills of primordial delight up your spine. I care far more for musical quality than originality, and this has quality enough to power a small galaxy. After a gentle opening full of promise, Part 1 of the title track delivers with lyrics and a chorus redolent of - and easily as good as - 'Shine On You Crazy Diamond'. 'Sometimes I feel like a fist' is a monster hook, and he uses it to maximum effect. Finally his confidence in his own voice allows him to assign melody to the vocals, with stunning results. Then the track explodes into a techno-OZRIC extravaganza with a pulsing beat, wonderful funky bass and squealing guitars, followed by a rhythm workout of incredible energy. The sky has indeed moved sideways. The comedown to finish the track is exquisite, the fadeaway just right, a great end to a memorable track.

Part 2 of the title track concludes the album, another nod to 'Shine On'. The track has another stellar riff, though the music itself is perhaps a little long for the depth of ideas sustaining it. In between these two enormous bookends is an eminently listenable album. 'Dislocated Day' is a song with a strong hook, and 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' showcases WILSON's growing songwriting ability.

Now things get complicated. Depending on what version of this album you have (UK, US or 2004 reissue), you might get any combination of tracks. They're all good. In the case of 'Stars Die', inexplicably left off the original, genuinely great. And then there's 'Moonloop', the single most obvious pointer to WILSON's interest in ambient techno. This is redolent of THE ORB and STEVE HILLAGE's SYSTEM 7 - in fact, the ORB track 'The Back Side of the Moon (Underwater Deep Space Mix)' must surely be WILSON's inspiration here, with sustained-note guitar overlaying lush synths, building slowly to a genuine climax (the 'Coda' on the reissue). It's beautiful ambience is one of the best things WILSON has ever done.

WILSON is on record as retrospectively dismissing this album as too FLOYDian. I do wish musicians wouldn't do this. Why not let the punters just enjoy the music? (Though I understand how he might have wanted to distance himself from the commerically suicidal prog-rock label.) It would be a serious mistake to regard this as a knock-off. It is a heady combination of extended compositions and pithy musical moments, and every moment is of a high standard. This is a must-listen. I can't imagine any serious progressive rock collection without this record.

Report this review (#151844)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars The sky moves sideways is basically passable space rock, and not too much like Porcupine tree's current output. Most of the songs here are very nice in parts, but overlong. The opening minutes of the title track are excellent, for instance, but the final section stretches on for too long. The 2 disc rerelease seems to be more effective than the original, one disc package, with moonloop being moved to the end, which makes for a good climax. Overall, though, there are too few ideas here to justify the length of most of the songs.
Report this review (#153215)
Posted Friday, November 30, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One of these days? we'll change our direction

"The sky moved sideways" was the first album to be recorded by Porcupine Tree as a band, as opposed to a vehicle for the solo work of Steve Wilson. Make no mistake though, this is still very much a Wilson project, the other band members playing their parts in the way Wilson prescribes. Even then, three of the tracks ("Dislocated day", "The moon touches your shoulder", and "Prepare yourself") are 100% solo efforts by Steve. On the 2003 expanded remaster, Gavin Harrison substitutes real drums for the programmed ones which were used on the first two of these tracks.

The title track is in two lengthy parts, in total occupying well over half of the album. It was originally conceived as a continuous 50 minute piece but never completed as such. A 34 minute alternative version can be found though on the 2003 expanded edition. Going back to the original album, "The Sky Moved Sideways (Part one)" is by far the strongest, and indeed is the best track on the album. It builds from a soft start featuring Hawaiian guitar and whispered vocals to a louder chorus. As the pace changes a long section reminiscent of Pink Floyd's "One of these days" takes over. This twists and weaves through loud and quieter, but constantly hypnotic guitar chords embellished with colourful effects and washes of sound. The piece has developed into a wonderful live track, where the dramatics of the soft and louder sections are emphasised even more. There is also some fine mellotron here, for those who yearn for the tones of that legendary machine.

The rest of the tracks on the album have little chance of measuring up to this excellent start, and in truth they do fall short. That said, "Dislocated day" is a powerful dirge with distorted vocals and some thrusting guitar chords. "Moonloop" moves into the ambient territory of "Phases" 3 and 4 of "Voyage 34", the spacey sounds and relaxed mood of the track being far removed from the Porcupine Tree of today.

"The sky moved sideways (Part 2)" is entirely instrumental, apart from some vocalising by Suzanne Barbieri. While it has many of the dynamics of Part One, I find it to be less satisfying and rather muddled. At times, it breaks down into a cacophony of sound which comes across as unfocused rather than appealing.

"The sky moved sideways" is an honest attempt at making a coherent album. The quality of the results is variable, but overall, it is an enjoyable listen. I must confess though, I do usually tend to move on to something else after playing track one.

Report this review (#154921)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have a strange feeling about this album because of its different issues. And even if I also bought the 2003 remaster, I still prefer, by far, the first US version wich is for me more equilibrate. Star dies merges well at the end of The Part 1 of Sky moves and a shorten version of Moonloop avoids it to be annoying...
Report this review (#154940)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars By the time Porcupine Tree's third studio album, The Sky Moves Sideways, was released, Steven Wilson had put together the core of the band by adding Colin Edwin on bass, Chris Maitland on drums, and Richard Barbieri on keyboards. Wilson had assembled this band because there now was a need for Porcupine Tree to perform their music live. All three new members had worked with Wilson on various projects prior to this (Maitland and Barbieri had been part of No-Man's touring band), so they were keen to the sound and direction of Porcupine Tree. Recording for The Sky Moves Sideways actually started before Wilson added the new members, so the album has some songs featuring the whole band and some in which Wilson performed all the musical parts.

The Sky Moves Sideways was Porcupine Tree's most successful release at the time, often hailed as the successor to Pink Floyd and even suggesting that this was what Pink Floyd should have been doing in the 1990s. The Pink Floyd influences are clearly heard on this album and even Wilson himself admitted that he tried to maintain that Floydian vibe throughout the album because it was attracting Pink Floyd fans, although he regrets it. Regardless of Wilson's comments, the album is amazing and I would go as far as saying that although it has such a Floydian feel to it, there is still a good deal of this album that isn't like Pink Floyd, such as the extensive sections of ambient soundscapes and melodies. I think many listeners that hear something that sounds spacey, ultimately invoke the Pink Floyd name without ever actually giving it much thought. Some even make the comparison with Wish You Were Here because the title track was divided into two and placed at the beginning and ending of the album like the Shine on You Crazy Diamond suite. That's about it for the comparison for me though. Musically it is quite different from Wish You Were Here with the only exception being the use of lush synthesizers in places. Like its predecessor, Up the Downstair, The Sky Moves Sideways is the perfect marriage of psychedelic rock, ambient experiments, and contemporary rock.

There were three different releases of the album, a European release, a US release, and an expanded edition released in 2004. My review is for the European release, but the track listings from the other two releases would not effect my overall rating of this album in anyway. This is clearly a masterpiece to my ears and is still in my mind the best Porcupine Tree album ever released (even with parts of it recorded before Wilson formed the core of the band). An essential purchase that should be in every prog rock fan's collection. Five stars.

Report this review (#157636)
Posted Friday, January 4, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Here we have one of my favorite recordings from one of my favorite progressive rock bands. The Sky Moves Sideways and it's precursors Up the Downstair and Voyage 34 make up the majority of Porcupine Tree's most psychedelic music, and this style of space prog is just what I want from the genre. Obviously Pink Floyd's work from Dark Side of the Moon through Animals was a huge influence for Steven Wilson at the time, evident in the Gilmour-esque soloing and evocative atmospheres. While some older prog fans may this this is simply idol worship or tribute, I strongly disagree. Perhaps it's my generation, but I think music from this Porcupine Tree era, especially this album, takes aspects of the Floyd's sound I love, leaves behind those that I don't like, and throws new influences into the mix. We have the spacey soundscapes with a clear Floyd and 70s-80s Tangerine Dream influence and more of an overt psychedelic influence (as opposed to Pink Floyd's move away from this area during their classic albums from which I detect influences in the compositions on TSMS. There is also an electronica/trance influence that crops up from time to time in this era (think Ozric Tentacles and you're in the right direction). It's hard to summarize this era of Porcupine Tree's sound--I don't think I'll make another attempt at it for reviews of Up the Downstair or Signify--but I suppose the simplest summary would be Pink Floyd, replacing the blues influence with an electronic influence in a modern setting.

I'm writing this review using the reissued digipack of The Sky Moves Sideways, which looks like such a better buy than the original (though I'd be surprised if you found a copy of the original now even if you wanted to). We get an decent length version of "Moonloop" and its coda, as well as "Stars Die," which I am very surprised to see wasn't on one of the original pressing versions. Such a shame for an amazing song--glad it's here now. There is also a version of the title track not split into two parts, but seeing as I often don't have the time to listen to the full version on the go, and that I often love to skip to the second part because it has one of my favorite segments on the record, I don't bother much with the long version. So I suppose I'd rather have gotten more unreleased tracks instead of the long version taking up 35 minutes on the second disc, but I certainly won't detract from the rating for this.

For the two or so years I've had this album, I have associated it with certain things which might help one understand its significance for me. This also happens to apply to most Porcupine Tree and Pink Floyd as well. The spacey atmosphere always reminds me of driving along the countryside in Indiana. If you are not familiar with my state, we have cornfields, silos, and not much else in the country. I couple spacey atmosphere with the rather blank landscape and the overwhelming blue sky above. At high speeds, the sky really does move sideways. When driving on an empty road with only el cielo above above me, I tend to become very peaceful and let my mind take me beyond the sky into space, or sometimes to memories from my past which are much more grounded in the earth and countryside. On reflection, it seems this album and this type of music is enhances time I have to myself, to fill the gap in what otherwise might be a lonely situation. It is the soundtrack to a personal journey.

On to the songs:

The title track is unique in Porcupine Tree's discography for its epic length, and though it has various movements or shifts in atmosphere, it is certainly far away from something like Close to the Edge. Perhaps a more apt comparison would be to Shine on You Crazy Diamond, though there are numerous shifts in atmosphere that wouldn't make sense to me if divided into parts. That so many shifts and ideas are packed so well into this song to keep it interesting with only a few verses at the beginning is a testament to Wilson's ability as a composer. The music flows perfectly, and this is perhaps the song that best showcases the atmospheric side of Porcupine Tree. The second part also has one of my favorite Porcupine Tree riffs as it jumps from relaxing to nervous and chaotic in a heartbeat. This moment almost requires a headbang or two. Definitely a top Porcupine Tree track!

It took me awhile to warm up to Dislocated Day. It is the most tension-persistent tracks inPorcupine Tree's discography, along with Footprints from On The Sunday Of Life and The Creator Had a Mastertape from In Absentia. It is easily the heaviest song on The Sky Moves Sideways, and would not be out of place on the later, heavier Porcupine Tree albums like In Absentia and Deadwing. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder and Stars Die are more typical rock songs, with a very spacey and melancholic edge. Stars Die is definitely a classic song from the earlier era, and certainly worthy of having Porcupine Tree's box set compilation Stars Die: The Delirium Years named after it. Prepare Yourself is a short little interlude which serves only to add to the atmosphere of the record. I don't really look forward to hearing it when I play the album, but I don't skip over it either. It is good, no more, no less. Moonloop (Improvisation) is an improvisation (go figure) relying on a rather constant bass and drum groove, with intermittent guitar soloing with different keys from time to time. Compared to the improvised material on Metanoia, the 1998 live album by Porcupine Tree, I prefer Moonloop, as it just seems more cohesive and less stretched for ideas. I suppose that it was recorded at a time of inspiration. Moonloop: Coda is a short little...coda...for the song with a guitar riff now as the main frame for the song. These are again songs that I love to listen to while on relaxing drive in empty spaces.

Did you like that track-by-track brakedown? I don't usually do that so enjoy it if you did and rejoice that it won't return for awhile if you didn't!

Summary: I love this album, 5 stars. :)

Report this review (#162591)
Posted Sunday, February 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Porcupine Tree - The Sky Moves Sideways 4 stars

Steven Wilson seemed to be hunting for an epic song, after a decent attempt at 'Voyage 34'; he took 'The Sky Moves Sideways' to another level.

This album marked new heights for the No-Man side project. Wilson started to take this as a serious band by adding some members, Colin Edwin on bass guitar and double bass, Richard Barbieri on synthesizers and electronics and finally, Chris Maitland on percussion. Edwin and Barbieri were previous session musicians for the band. Other guest artists include Theo Travis on flute and Suzanne Barbieri on vocals. Regardless of the new members, the music is written by Steven Wilson.

There is a radical change in terms of the overall composition of the album. The previous albums seemed to be collections of some short pieces, wrapped up and compiled into an album. 'The Sky Moves Sideways' has the title track, a massive epic, split up into two 'phases', and just three songs in between (on the re-mastered version, which I am basing my review off of). The effects and trance music are just right in this one. They give more leeway to other instruments like the guitar, keys and drums which give this a more 'band' sound. This is one of the big transitional albums in the Porcupine Tree career.

'The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1' - This track starts out with a spacey that eventually brings in some bass and drums. The bass just comes in at the beginning of every measure and the drums are very minimal just to get an idea. Some spacey chords on the synthesizer forms a transition in the piece and Wilson begins to sing. The singing style is different from any of the previous works, there is no effect on them and instead of 'singing', it is more like 'talking' very soothingly. The drums come back in and play the same beat from before. When the chorus comes into play, it is mostly guitar driven, a clean sound. About 8 and a half minutes the sound changes into some trip-hop that was evident in 'Up the Downstair'. For most of the remains, the trip-hop continues and a guitar solo is almost prominent for a few minutes, sans a few breaks. The tone is very violent; a very dirty effect is put in for measure. An extended flute solo is also done here, making this a very expansive track, a true epic. When the trip- hop is over there is a little bit of silence, and then an acoustic guitar comes in and plays beautifully, going all the way to the outro. This song was indeed up there regarding epics, and it is only part one!

'Dislocated Day' - This is one of the three tracks thrown in the middle of the two phases. Unfortunately the title track just made them look amateurish, but they still weren't that bad, except for this one. This track shows Wilson's bit of hard rock tendency. The track mostly consists of the same beat over and over with the occasional guitar rhythm and solo thrown in. It is very repetitive; I did not find this song to be that great.

'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' - This was the best of the three middle tracks. This was really Porcupine Tree's first slow acoustic track. It has that 'Dark Side of the Moon' vibe to it with the acoustic guitar strumming and some lead notes gently hit. The lyrics also make it feel like this should have been in the title track. The track moves very smoothly and crescendo's into a wonderful clean solo. The crescendo continues and the hard rock guitar rhythm comes back and repeats a small riff till the end. This song was great.

'Prepare Yourself' was an intro for 'Moonloop'. The first disc on the re-master lacked the latter track so it was certainly a strange choice to be kept on this disc without 'Moonloop'. It's just a short guitar solo. Again, it was just serving as an intro; the purpose on the re-master was very minimal.

'The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2' - This starts in a similar fashion as the first one. The intro is again a spacey atmospheric one. The heavier intro comes in this time with no transition preceding it. After the heavier intro, a wonderful extended guitar solo runs for a near 3 minutes. By this time the song is already more than halfway over. The trip-hop comes right back into place, followed by atmosphere. Then another guitar solo comes in to close this large masterpiece.

I'll be very brief about the second disc, since this is what most people will find today anyways. The alternate version of 'The Sky Moves Sideways' doesn't differ significantly. There is a little bit more music added a scarce amount of vocals from Suzanne Barbieri and a few more lyrics. 'Stars Die' is an excellent track that would heavily influence Porcupine Tree's music from Signify to In Absentia. I was not to fond of the 'Moonloop' improvisation or coda. While I appreciate the talent and effort put into it, it just seemed directionless and way too open ended.not to mention the length either.

All in all, this was an excellent album. The reason being is for mostly the title track, which is worthy of the purchase alone. 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' is also another track that ranks up there with Porcupine Tree's best. The two in the middle could be dealt without; the only reason this why this album isn't 5 stars. Highly recommended. The second disk is a bonus; just don't expect it to be as great as the original album.

Report this review (#164175)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Neo Progressive Hard Rock at PEAK levels ....... Porcupine Tree , what can i say about this creature and never been said . Like the porcupine , you can see it occasionely but cannot touch it or follow it . The right name to the right team . Between Hard & Soft there's a path you should follow to enjoy their trips . Trippy , YES , by all means . In fact many reviewer tried to compare between Floyd's Dark side , the wall , and The SKY ... but surely i felt that nothing in common between these works . You can easily as a progger , to have the feeling that something new & enjoyable going on . So , i got the chance to taste their music in 1997 , but it was never too late , i got both Signify & the Sky ... at the same time . What a superb creativity , both albums are signifying indeed . A bout the Sky Moves ... One of the best CD covers , ( i still don't know up till now if there's a special meaning behind the cover ) and as i have the old version contains 6 tracks , i will review the tracks taking into consideration the new one , i've got it lately . But i believe no major changes . The Sky moves ... phase one , A very well crafted 18 minutes track , divided into 4 parts , the entrance , too long but it must be there to give you the feeling and prepare you for the next , A spiritual communication starts after 4.15 mnts between you and Steve Wilson , he's in fact whispering in your heart not at all singing , Beautiful Guitar settings by Steve ,and amazing keyboard touch by Richard . the second part of the phase get to your mind & heart easely , without permission . Also the last part is acceptable , a real prof team work , and beautiful percussions & drums . 5 Stars . Dislocated day , my bridge to cross to P.T . in fact i love this track , my second favourite after arriving somewhere , i've never heard such beauty since Gypsy's Uriah , & hello of lies ( alice cooper ) in fact it's much more catchy . A Progressive Space Hard Rock by all means . 5 Stars . Here comes the soft piece in this album , The moon touches .. , full of acoustic & spacy touch , i simply love it . 4.5 Stars . Sooo , why don't you Prepare Yourselves now for the MOONLOOP , a 17 minutes full of caracteres and a symbolic phase by all means . It gives the feeling that yu're really in space . real measured steps by all instruments involved in this piece , Steve & team did an excellent job in this track . not to mention it was too long for me at the beginning , but not anymore . 5 Stars . this very well established work ends with the Sky moves phase two . Acceptable entrance to put you on the mood of the phase , too long also but a must in this work . Then the rocket will fly you to the space with a beautiful female backing vocalist Suzanne Barbieri ( i believe she's Richard 's wife ) the voice is right on place , distorted guitar riffs from Steve in wonderful globe . The presence of keyboards as well as percussions & bass are clear every where around . So , for now yu're swimming in space , having a nice dinner with alliens , and have to get back home to mother Earth , the last part of The Sky moves .... will hardly do that in fact , because i don't simply want this album ,not even the trip to be over . I'm not going to say more about this album , except that , IT WAS MORE THAN ESSENTIAL in my own life , so , why don't give it the same attention dear proggers ............ Sincerely Yours ........ Tracks Toni .........

Report this review (#166594)
Posted Monday, April 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Prepare yourself

Porcupine Tree's third studio album and first attempt as a full fledged band. What's clear in this album apart from it's predecessors is that this is really where the Heavy Prog tag starts to stick. The music is heavy and yet it retains a very large amount of the psychadellia from the band's first two albums (especially it's older brother, the fantastic Up The Downstair). Long songs run rampant, although some shorter more typical ''songs'' are included in between the book ending title track. With a great amount of variety and exceptional performances, this is Porcupine Tree's first essential album.

The title track, The Sky Moves Sideways (Phase 1 & 2) runs at a colossal 35-minutes, and is, luckily, the standout of the album. Starting and continuing with some very Pink Floyd inspired space rock riffs and a kind of pseudo-eclectronica feel to it this is a song which is driven by heavy moods and wandering instrumental sections. Indeed, the entire Phase 2 of the track is entirely instrumental, spare some voices (not with any words, mind you) from an amazing female performer by the name of Suzanne Barbieri which fits the piece very well. Though it may increase in volume and seeming focus from time to time this track is still one which demands attention and will certainly take you for a ride as so many fantastic prog-rockers have been able to do since the genre's conception.

The middle tracks are all also worth mentioning, as they're also incredible. Dislocated Day is a heavy, bass-driven piece with Wilson's modified and haunting voice filling the small amount of room not already taken up by the enormous sound of the music on it's own. Quite dark and semi-eerie, this is a song that reflects where the band would later take the project. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is a song that follows up the previous rather strangely, as it's a very mellow track geared more towards the Floydian influences with its soft guitars and vocals.

Different versions have had modified track listings, for some Stars Die, the dark and brooding track which would later become the title of a compilation, and Moonloop would be included on the album. The version which I have only includes those tracks on the bonus disc which was the Moonloop EP. These tracks are also very good, but more for the PT fans. People of all (progressive) musical backgrounds will very much appreciate the studio album as is, despite the tracklisting, however.

A fantastic effort from Porcupine Tree worthy of 5 dying stars. Versions vary from place to place and master to master but despite the confusion this is a marvelous product of the Psych/Space Rock/Heavy Prog genres and is recommended to all.

Report this review (#168032)
Posted Saturday, April 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Porcupine Tree's last hurrah as a non-band. The music is quirky and druggie-esque still, but the sweeping wall of sound certainly justifies a bit of oddity here and there. The title track features some of their most amazing patterns of sound, and always seems even more fun to me simply on account of its length. This is not modern Porcupine Tree at all. They are still somewhat in retro-mode at this point. Also of note is the song Dislocated Day, which makes for a pretty crazy rocker in there, albeit with rather mellow vocals.

An album worth checking out, but if trippy and mostly instrumental space rock passages aren't your thing, it probably will take a while to grow.

Report this review (#168631)
Posted Thursday, April 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Porcupine Tree´s third album The Sky Moves Sideways is a step forward for the band. Their sound has matured and the songs are much better than they were on the two first studio albums. The music style is very psychadelic, slow and at times a bit too dragging if you ask me.

The Sky Moves Sideways phase one starts the album and the first part is very good with it´s almost Pink Floyd like groove. The last part which is almost the last 10 minutes of the song is more ambient without vocals and I can´t say I like this part of Porcupine Tree´s sound. I usually get bored during this section. Dislocated day is a pretty good song which is more vers chorus orientated while The moon touches your shoulder starts very subtle but ends with a climax. A great song that one. Prepare yourself is just a short instrumental without much relevance really. Moonloop which lasts for 17 minutes is a very ambient song which I find a very trivial and the same can be said about The sky moves sideways phase two which is a very long song too ( almost 17 minutes) that drags on a bit too long for my taste. It´s a bit more exciting than Moonloop though and one of the better songs on the album.

The musicianship is very good and atmosphere is the key element in porcupine Tree´s sound on The Sky Moves Sideways and then dynamics.

The production is good and it makes the album an enjoyable ride.

This is not my favorite Porcupine Tree album. It´s a bit too ambient for my taste. I prefer the shorter tracks to the long ones and that´s always a bad sign. It is a good album though just not excellent. 3 stars is deserved for The Sky Moves Sideways. People who enjoy the Italian band Nosound should listen to this Porcupine Tree album as there are many similarities even though I think Nosound is a bit better.

Report this review (#171430)
Posted Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is incredible. It is the third studio album by porcupine tree. The album opens and closes with The sky moves sideways. This track is truly incredible and s one of the best ever recorded by porcupine tree. Dislocated day is a shorter and more heavier track but is still incredible.The moon touches your shoulder is another great shorter track. the next track prepare yourself is basically just filler and is just 2 minutes of wasted space. Moonloop is a great instrumental track which will deffinetly keep you entertained for all 17 minutes. This album is incredible and is a must for fans of Porcupine Tree. 5 stars out of 5.

Report this review (#171459)
Posted Sunday, May 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Blow me Sideways

Opening sounding something like The Orb, phase 1 of the title track has some quite nice spacey sounds - but what happens? There's a bad edit, where the music stops, and then it goes into something resembling WYWH Pink Floyd - you can hear what PT are trying to achieve, but it's like the rock and roll feel has been surgically removed - everything sounds a bit too pristine and somewhat unmusical.

It's not Prog Rock either - it's a slowly shifting pattern of two chords, over which not a lot happens in sumptuous instrumentation. It's not involving or journeying, like a Hawkwind album, not mesemerising like The Orb, and has none of the feel of Floyd (but then, who has?). It's kind of nice, but not engaging or interesting, musically, and there's no feel of composition or improvisation. In fact, it's downright boring.

After a mere 7 minutes, I'm edging closer and closer towards the Skip button, as the endless-feeling dirge continues on and on and on... it's like Barclay James Harvest on mogadons. But I stick with it, and lo! There is finally a change at 8:30ish to a pop/disco kind of thing with wooey noises - like a kind of disco Hawkwind or Ozric Tentacles, with a terminally repetitive bass line and quite the most horrible guitar tone I think I've ever heard. I am seriously not digging this pop music or its vulgar, sterile, derivative sound.

Fast forward, and there's a kind of floaty flute thing going on around 12:45ish - but if you dig floaty flute music, then Gong would probably be more your cup of tea (sic). This is an extended jam that increases in intensity for a couple of minutes, then strips it all back in time for a reprise of the opening material - but does not ever develop the music progressively - hence not Prog Rock. As for heavy - well, it's hardly heavy considering what else was around in 1995, so methinks this is miscategorised.

Continuing the Pink Floyd theme, specifically with The Wall in mind (there were a lot of nods and winks to The Wall in the previous piece), Dislocated Day starts off with precisely the same musical idea - a pair of chords. This is followed by an Eastern-sounding riff that someone will probably tell you is based on some mode or another - but from listening to the compositional qualities, I'd suspect that this is an accident not by compositional design. There is little compositional design at work - this is the work of the modern day bluffer, and the end result is 1990s psychedelic rock, for this is the same compositional method as that revered genre.

This stays in the same ballpark for the remainder of its time, and does not progress.

Moon Touches Your Shoulder is in a slightly different vein - the two chords are now picked. OK, make that 3 - E, A and D, the simplest chords on the guitar, even if notes are left out to modify them slightly. Still reminding me a bit of Wall-era Floyd, but not as interesting. This drags on until 2:40ish, where the keys join in to make a new texture, but this is real wrist-slitting stuff. It kinda reminds me a bit of OK Computer Radiohead - but obviously not in a good way. It's like Radiohead might have been familiar with Porcupine Tree and decided to do it properly. The only new material left in this piece is a dull as ditchwater riff around 4:50 that's used to burn out.

Prepare yourself is mercifully short - but seemingly pointless. A delayed acoustic/electric guitar duet based around a single chord with a descending bass line, filled with bluff. A kick joins in, and I'm preparing myself that this might be the intro to the last piece... well, sort of.

When phase 2 of the title track insinuates in (it doesn't kick!), it's a let down, and any potential feelings of continuity are lost. If you've heard phase 1, you know what you're in for - more Floyd, Hawkwind, Orb and Ozrics, more floaty keys, but thankfully, no more disco, from what I can tell.

However, it's pure psychedelic rock, not Progressive Rock - so don't get your hopes up for some Heavy Prog, coz it ain't here.

This album also consistently bores the hell out of me, so I'm rating it as poor - I couldn't find anything to like except some of the sounds, and I'm quite capable of making those on a synth or guitar myself.

Report this review (#189744)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Porcupine Tree is already band, instead of just side project by Steven Wilson. It's already professional act, instead of amateur. But it's not quite obvious with the music. This means the transition will be very hard... After so pleasant Up the Downstair, we have to listen to such a exhibition made by Porcupine Tree. What we have here? An interpretation of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd I think! The structure is almost exactly the same; but regretfully, it's not only the structure. Of course, there is something different moments - I cannot understand what are these techno (or house) moments here. They are combined with some inappropriate folk moments. I thought we speak about progressive rock music or I am wrong! This album make me nervous not because of admiration, but because of irritation. The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 1 begins with the same slow saturated sound like Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part I - V) and then continues with this stuffs (techno or house) I mentioned above! The second song is the most awful on the album - Dislocated Day - it begins like Welcome to the Machine and then we ought to listen to constant repetition for 5 minutes. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder - oh this is homonymous Wish You Were Here song, isn't it?The last one The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 2 is the second Shine on You Crazy Diamond or part VI - IX. But it contains some themes from homonymous Wish You Were Here song. Somewhere around the album you can feel themes from the Atom Heart Mother suite - just awful! Here comes the moment I want to tell something to all readers of this review - the music is not exact the same, but it's structure and correlation to each other is exact the same. If the moment in The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 1 is in one way, in The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 2 it's correlation to the first one is like in Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part VI - IX)'s correlation to Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part I - V). The other direction of my review is the sound. It's too spicy. It's converted to the other way. I have the feeling that it's the opposite to Wish You Were Here! I fell that if we have a recording tape we can find some themes upturned if we led the tape play on the other side. On most parts of the album the sound is like upturned. The majority of the people would say it's great album, but not someone who's favourite album is Wish You Were Here (like me). The sole album by Porcupine Tree I can't listened to! I like the recording tape to be playing on the wright side! Sorry, 1 star!
Report this review (#196981)
Posted Saturday, January 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Truth
Post/Math Rock Team
5 stars In my opinion the best Porcupine Tree album is, not Deadwing and not Fear of a Blank Planet, but The Sky Moves Sideways. From the epic title track it starts with to the improvisation Moonloop this album is amazing. Dislocated Day is where they show they can do heavy prog to me the first time (Other attempts weren't very good) and Moon Touches Your Shoulder is a song reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Prepare Yourself is actually a nice acoustic break that eventually turns into Phase 2 of Sky Moves Sideways which once again is amazing. Stars Die is also a highlight, this really good song sounds like it were done in a coffee shop yet it still has the rock taste. Definately a masterpiece!
Report this review (#212100)
Posted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars The sky moved sideways! It really did when I truly listened intently to this unique recording. "The Colour of Air" instantly seduces in vaporous caresses, assorted sonics spew a dreamy electronic horizon, far ahead into the wild blue prog yonder where certain musical heritage lessons were well learned and most of all, the spirit soundly understood. Pink Floyd's legacy is unparallel in music as thousands of bands worldwide were spellbindingly enthused by the psychedelic bliss, at times even with a "religious' fervor that verged on fanaticism. "I Find That I am not Here" where the suave vocals appear at the perfect time, building like a Mason, far from the murky Waters and on the Wright path, alluring, cosmic, floating like a fantasy blow up doll in an new swimming pool, where Time and Money mean really very little and one can Breathe again , finally! "Wire the Drum" chugs along like a monstrous derailed train , Colin Edwin's bass bopping uncontrollably , Wilson unleashes a guitar foray with laser-guided menace but the bass is still conducting the charge, savvy percussion work adding spice to the brew. A mega PT track this is! A tortured chaos ensues with devastating audacity, guitars slashing with flair, the dastardly bass still cajoling almost insidiously, swiftly veering into another illuminated vector-sector as Barbieri squeezes out some insane keyboard electronics, more Eno than Rick Wright . "Spiral Circus" bathes in surreal swaths of effects, heavily ambient until the acoustic guitar strums into the spotlight , showing the sheer musical knowledge that Wilson so clearly possesses, a master of discovering new twists on an old scene that many had thought arrived at an inspirational dead end. The gentle symphonics are spellbinding, audaciously attractive, fondling the beauty in a deep synthesized embrace. From this point on, the level of musical luminosity only increases but by quantum leaps and bounds as "Stars Die" is a thing of agonizing splendor catered to lovingly by a melody that eschews all the agony and ecstasy of life and sadly, death. Wilson has the detached timbre in his passionate singing that only further enhances the lyrical depth of his craft, disenfranchised to a degree but nevertheless astutely mirroring the apathetic society we now see self-destructing around us. Well, Wilson knew then (in 1994) what we know now! That proves that he is a "thinking" artist as opposed to a mechanical musician, experimenting with moods and atmospheres, as espoused on the mindblowing "Moonloop", a concert favorite where Wilson soars into the most far-flung psych-drenched furrows one can possibly conceive, a lesson in controlled insanity, wrenching wretched passions, again there's the hypnotic Edwin bass intertwining sinuously, pointing ahead .A mood change halfway, directs into a more sinister chill out, doom-laden riffs, swarthy synth tapestries draping the way, progressively (did I say that?) increasing in volume, breadth and width, foreshadowing their future harder direction. How can anyone not be enthralled? Again, Wilson knew! "Dislocated Day" provides a return to the bass infested groove jungle albeit in a more upbeat tempo, raging yet again, a Wilson fret solo winking at old Carlos Santana, howling some semi-blissful pain. "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is pure unadulterated psychedelic ennui that would have made Syd smile , sort of a dreamy disturbance with detached determination, sonics galore. The Sky Moved Sideways again with a second part suite beginning with the longest track "Is.Not" , a 12 minute space-rock adventure that would easily compete against all the Gong/Hawkwind/Eloy/Grobschnitt/Floyd/TDream catalog, forging into new textural territories that even have strong classical structuring, a "galactic symphony" as some would like to better call it, yet still spicing it up with some devious sections such as "The Great Gig in the Sky" style aria refrain sung here so briefly by Suzanne Barbieri but adroitly passing the torch to an incendiary guitar solo that sizzles in phosphoric euphoria , a Wilson pedigree moment, I assure you! The man is a phenomenal axe slinger, powerful, technical and extremely gifted in diversifying his palette of sound (Fripp has been around in No-Man, so Wilson again, knew!). "Off the Map" is the final "au revoir", a brooding Gilmouresque escapade into large slabs of bluesy redemption, a whirlwind storm that has no shame, no ego, no fear of any blank planet or any deadwing in the skies, ominously foreseeing no in absentia while the fans await the "next big thing"! Wilson will keep them coming!!!!!!!! The sky did move sideways , it did, I saw it! I heard it and I felt it !5 firmaments askew
Report this review (#213478)
Posted Sunday, May 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Porcupine Tree ? The Sky Moves Sideways (2CD Remaster, released 2007)

Porcupine Tree's "The Sky Moves Sideways" is truly a special album; here we see Porcupine Tree fully coming into their own as a prog band. More complete than the two albums which preceded it, here we see Steven Wilson developing as a guitarist and a vocalist. The album is spearheaded by "The Sky Moves Sideways", both phase one and phase two. Although the main attraction, the space between is filled with lovingly crafted tracks. My favourite album from Porcupine Tree so far (I'm still missing a few), The Sky Moves Sideways is a true masterpiece of prog.

--- DISC ONE ---

1. The Sky Moves Sideways [PHASE ONE]

Beginning with Tangerine Dream-esque ambient psychedelic keyboards and drums, many complain that this into lasted far too long. Clocking in at around four minutes before the track proper starts, they aren't wrong. Don't get me wrong; what leads in is a lovely space-rock odyssey, and really does build up excellently for the track. Once the proper track begins, you'll be greeted by the unmistakable vocals of Steven Wilson. Strongly followed by melted guitar chords and the same drum pattern, the track is beautifully overlayed by Richard Barbieri's first truly excellent use of synthesizer ambience. Eventuating into a short guitar solo, this is but a glimpse of the technical prowess Steven Wilson developed years later. Its important to mention that during the chorus of this track, Steven Wilson's vocals are stronger than they've ever sounded, and by stronger, I mean heavier and deeper.

This is a nice change from Steven's usual soft vocals, which I am also a fan of. At around the 8:30 mark, this track completely changes pace. What could be described as techno follows, and is incredibly different to most of what Porcupine Tree produce as a band. The bass lines here are great, and once again, it's the synth work that makes this track. Indian drums also supply this track a beat for a short amount of time. Soon after, the track is filled with complicated synth and guitar work, which works in tandem with the continuing bass line to create something truly special. Another guitar solo follows, although in a much less controlled, and much more distorted manner.

Continuing and leading into a synth-produced flute riff, this track continues to build in volume and intensity, reaching a climax at around the 14:40 mark. After this, ambient noises flow for another minute, leading into a repeated acoustic guitar chord riff, which is also amazing, and somewhat reminiscent of the middle section of Pink Floyd's "Dogs". The stereophonics here also create a wavy, confusing effect as the guitar chords flow from side to side in a quick, yet slow manner.

Truly an unmissable Porcupine Tree track, this is nothing less than amazing and should be heard by every PT fan, and indeed, every prog/space rock/psychedelic fan.

5 out of 5.

2. Dislocated Day

A massive change of pace from the track which came before, "Dislocated Day" opens in a stereotypical phone ring, and is followed by Steven Wilson's voice as if through a telephone. Far heavier than the opener, this track has insane guitar chords and heavy drums. Somewhat tedious in its repetitiveness, this is by no means a bad track, although a little hampered by its continuity. Another disorienting guitar solo fills in this track, fleshing it out and giving it a very chaotic feeling. Featuring great lyrics like most of Steven Wilson's work, this is another quite good track if listened to in moderation.

4.5 out of 5.

3. The Moon Touches Your Shoulders

An excellent track, this is a small glimpse of the sound Porcupine Tree fully adopt for their future albums such as "Stupid Dream". Dynamically perfect, Steven's echoing vocals are perfect in contrast to the softness of the acoustic guitar work. Eventuating into a louder track, followed up with background electric guitar chords, this continues in a similiarly excellent fashion all track. Picking up around 2/3 of the way through, this proves itself to be another excellent odyssey into the world of Porcupine Tree. Another guitar solo fattens this track up, making it a full-fledged masterpiece. Closing in a heavy guitar riff, this track feels as if it was building up momentum for this moment over the past five minutes, and it was sure as hell worth the wait.

5 out of 5.

4. Prepare Yourself

The shortest track on this album also gives hints to the power Porcupine Tree will develop in years to come. Slowly acoustic and electrically brutal at the same time, this contains a signature guitar SW guitar solo, and is quite a good lead into Phase Two. Nothing special though.

3.5 out of 5.

5. The Sky Moves Sideways [PHASE TWO]

The second part of this prog epic is every bit as good as the second. Beginning in an even more slow and ambient, this eventually leads into another Barbieri keyboard overture, and these overtures really are what made this album. Part two is much slower to reveal itself than part one is, although just as good in every way. Also coming into shape at around four minutes, this track becomes much more direct than part one with its heavy rock riff. Also featuring some vocal work from Richard Barbieri's wife and a truly magnificent guitar solo, this Phase stands very well on its own. The bass adds a hypnotic feel to the softness of this track, although it is loud at the same time in an odd way. At around 12 minutes, this track picks up into the album's best moment in my opinion; the truly majestic guitar solo Steven Wilson lays down with complete ease above the crashing drums which began the album and similar keyboards. A truly epic ending to a truly epic album, this is where Porcupine Tree fully came into their own. An unmissable track, and the closer to the album, you simply have to hear THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS in full.

5 out of 5.

Closing comments: This is a rare find; a mathematically perfect album. Fully measured out, the two phases are perfectly spaced by the three central tracks, which provide an interesting mid-section amongst the two phases of the epic. Perhaps Porcupine Tree's "Close To The Edge", this album is as lovingly played and produced as it is experimental, and that is saying a lot.

--- DISC TWO ---

Feel free to stop reading here if you are only buying the one CD version. Although unnecessary to enjoyment of this album, CD2 features some great extras for a PT fan. This includes the original version of The Sky Moves Sideways, Stars Die (A track previously only available in Porcupine Tree's compilation "Stars Die: The Delirium years"), a 16 minute improvisation and another great track, this is a great extra and will give listening value to the album, but don't break your back (or the bank) trying to get a copy of this extra disc.

1. The Sky Moves Sideways [ALTERNATE VERSION]

The first recording of The Sky Moves Sideways is interesting none the less, although unessential unless you are a completionist. Featuring the original lyrics, the vocal tempo is also different during the first phase, and the only other real difference is the ending, but this is nothing to write home about. Perhaps more interesting to a PT veteran, I personally didn't find this to be necessary, although still an interesting listen.

4 out of 5.

2. Stars Die

A great track, it's a shame this was never released as a regular album track and only available either here or on the compilation I mentioned earlier. Truly fantastic, you really should here this track if you haven't already. Opening in a typical Porcupine Tree acoustic guitar fashion, this track continues lovingly with an undertone of independent bass harmonies and signature PT vocals overlays. Continuing in the same fashion, this track was composed for the fans and it's easy to see that careful consideration was taken into its writing. Bridging with a small silence and then re-opening in a fully-fledged version of the opening complete with synths, bass and great drum work, this track closes with a soft bang. Its there ? you just have to be listening. A short guitar solo helps conclude a truly excellent track. Make sure you hear this one!

5 out of 5.


A 16 minute improvisation, this has its moments, although they are buried in the (obviously) unrehearsed mass of music. Semi-enjoyable, not a really good track though. Also only for completionists/massive PT fans.

3 out of 5.

4. Moonloop [CODA]

An instrumental, this is a good track. Repeating the same riff the entire way through, this was the product of the improvisation which preceded it. Building up quite slowly like most Porcupine Tree songs, it eventually picks up into a metal-ish riff and continues to gain volume and tenacity over its five minute lifetime. Once again, nothing to write home over, good none the less.

4 out of 5.

A very solid package, as a 1CD, this deserves a 5 out of 5. as a 2CD package, this also deserves to, if only for the DIGIPAK presentation and inclusion of "Stars Die".

Whatever format you buy it in, just make sure you do.


Report this review (#226084)
Posted Sunday, July 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet, as it was for a long time, the only Porcupine Tree album I had listened to consistently. I have since become something of a fan, finally connecting to most of their other material.

However, this was my first encounter with this band, back at the beginning of the current decade. I had never heard of them, but the heavy Floyd and Tangerine Dream elements found on this album appealed to me greatly at the time as I was in a big space rock listening phase. The album I heard then was the one shown first at the top of this page, released in 1995. The one I own now, is the two CD version, released in 2004. Since the latter is the one the reader is most likely to be able to purchase, I'll focus on that one.

The album was the first one to actually feature the band, Porcupine Tree, as opposed to the solo project of Stephen Wilson called Porcupine Tree (though both Barbieri and Edwin had guest appearances on the previous album. Still, only the lengthy tracks feature the new band members, with the shorter tracks still being solely the work of Wilson (with the single exception of Stars Die). The title track is a monster of a song, originally intended to be 50 minutes long and take up the whole album by itself (it seems Wilson decided to follow through on that idea more recently with The Incident). As it is, I think it's more than long enough in it's current form. Actually, Phase one from the original album is a very satisfying listen to space rock leaning prog lover, despite its reliance on middle period Floyd. Particularly the atmospheric beginning, and entrance of the full band sections brings the beginning to Dark Side Of The Moon very clearly to mind. But this small quibble aside, the song does feature some very modern sounds (for the time), such as the rave-like dance section halfway through. There are Gilmore-esque guitar solos throughout as well, and Rick Wright type keyboard sound washes as well. But on the whole, this is a very satisfying piece.

Dislocated day hints at the heavier and more lively material coming in the future for the band, with a heavier, guitar driven song. It doesn't change much throughout, with louder dynamics being the main driving force, but still a decent and interesting track.

The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is a typical melancholy PT song, with a simple and compelling vocal melody contrasted by a heaver instrumental bridge section with frantic soloing from Wilson. A favorite of mine, mostly for the mellow vocal sections, but a good track all around.

Prepare yourself is a short psychedelic interlude that leads us into Phase 2 of The Sky Moves Sideways. This repeats themes from the first phase (such as the vocal sections, without vocals) and introduces a few new themes. It works slowly towards a driving conclusion, which peters out with psychedelic swaths of sounds to fade out. On the whole it's a bit heavier than the first phase, and has some enjoyable parts, but for me tends to drag a bit, especially in the second half. Perhaps just too much of the same sort of music. In any case, I think it was wise not to try to pad this out to 50 minutes long.

The second CD begins with a complete version of the title track, clocking in at 36 minutes, basically the same length (a bit shorter actually) than the released version. This is really not all that different, with only some lyrics and the mix being noticeably different. I originally thought that this would be preferable as it's the whole song in one go, but I think it actually worked better splitting it into two phases. Still, just as good as the originally released version.

Stars Die is a lovely mellow song in typical PT style with a beautiful, if understated, chorus and melancholy verses. A favorite of mine.

This brings us to the Moonloop improvisation. This was culled from a much longer session of improvs featured later on the Metanoia release. This is pure PT; spacey, driving guitar, dexterous drumming, nimble bass playing, and satisfying washes of keyboard sounds. Being a improv, melody is not exactly key, but it is present. Again, if you enjoy a heavy dose of space rock in your prog, this is for you. The Coda is a more toned down outro and extension of the main Moonloop track. On the original release, only a minute or so of this coda was featured.

All in all, a solid and satisfying album for the space rock lover in me. Some of the Floydisms are a bit blatant, but mostly it is a fairly original and interesting work. I have come to actually prefer some of them more recent PT releases to this one, but in fairness they are really quite different and can't be compared really. This was my favorite for a long time, and is still ranked highly by me. Not quite a masterpiece (especially in the re-release version), but 4 stars at an absolute minimum. I'll go with 4.5 rounded down. A good place to start with this band, especially if you are a fan of mid period Floyd. A must own for every PTree fan.

Report this review (#241192)
Posted Thursday, September 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Sky Moves Sideways is my favourite Porcupine Tree album along side Fear of a Blank Planet. The reason i brought the 2004 re-master edition was from the recondmmendation of people from this site. As soon as i listened to it, i was blown away. There is not much i can say that has not already been said about this album from other reviewers. The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1 & 2 are quite simply a work of art. Dislocated Day is a complete change from the first track. I enjoy the lyrics and the guitar work in this song. The Moon Touches You Shoulder is another great song, sound very much like Pink Floyd. Well the whole album has a very Pink Floyd feel to it. Prepare Yourself is the shortest track from the album. It just shows how good of guitar player Steven Wilson is and serves as a good intro to Phase 2. The second disc also has great song including Moonloop and a personal favourire Stars Die. The Sky Moves Sideways is a fantastic album and is a true essential for anybody's prog music collection. 5 Stars
Report this review (#255796)
Posted Saturday, December 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars When it comes to reviewing this album, the first thing necessary to point out is which exact version is under inspection. In my case, that's the lavish 2003 2CD reissue.

My history with this album has taken quite a journey. It's been a 10 year trip starting with a lukewarm appreciation of the original CD, going through growing approval of the 2CD version, and then getting a real boost 2 years ago when the misses pointed out that this album contained some of the most moving music she had ever heard. The voyage has come to a provisional stop with the 5 dazzling star quote at the moment of this review.

The first part of The Sky Moves Sideways is one of Wilson's longest and most beautiful compositions ever, covering the whole range of lavish space-rock, melancholic vocals, dreamy Pink Floyd slide guitar chords coming right from the Dark Side of The Moon, and plenty of influences from ambient electronic music, dance and kraut rock. Not a moment is wasted and it's hard picking highlights, though the dance middle section that starts with the groovy bass guitar loop and ends in an orgy of sound is a fine candidate. Even after countless listens to both this track and Shine On from PT in decades past, I fail to see the resemblance that is so frequently referred to, Of course there's the general structure of the album, but Kraut rock, Tangerine Dream, Hawkwind and the Ozrics seem much more obvious comparisons. Of course all those are either directly or indirectly influenced by the Floyd. But then almost everybody is.

Dislocated Day walks around Middle-Eastern music flavours, both in rhythm and in melodies. Given that Arabian music often thrills my feelings even more then prog, metal or post-punk do, this track always sends shivers down my spine. I think there must some sort of direct connection between the power of Arabian scales and rhythms and my deepest emotions.

The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is a slow grower, as much in its structure as when it comes to recognizing the value of it. It starts as a moody ballad with blue musings from Wilson and gentle minor chords on the acoustic guitar. First keyboards and spacey guitars join in, then the bass and that lingering pace of the drums, similar to the dragging beat in the first part of the opening track. It ends in a noisy battle of sounds, led by a majestic and very proggy guitar riff.

Prepare Yourself is a nice little kraut excursion and serves as an intro for part 2 of The Sky Moves Sideways. This is the only piece on the album that goes through some ups and downs. It opens attractively enough in lush ambient fashion, but then there's the main section dominated by the electric guitar. The guitar has clearly been recorded through the sound output channel of the amplifier (instead of using mikes in front of the speaker) and it gives that typical brittle crispy sound that results grating on the ears here, even though the actual riffs and solos are fine.

The second CD offers an alternative recording of The Sky Moves Sideways that has some alternate guitar takes and arrangements. A fan bonus really. The real value comes from the addition of the beautiful space-pop song Stars Die and the two edits from the Moonloop improvisation that I will rave about some other time. Both tracks are the only ones that have the entire Porcupine Tree band of that era in place, featuring Chris Maitland on drums and percussion.

The second CD more then evens out the rare dips at the end of the original release. And as an entire 2CD package this could deserve 5 stars. 4.5 for the original album.

Report this review (#260352)
Posted Monday, January 11, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!

PT here arrives at their second masterpiece, preceded by On a Sunday Of Life... and followed by all their latter albums from the 00's. 'The sky Moves Sideways" is a true classic, which is strongly influenced by Pink Floyd and the whole Space Rock genre in general. The structure is very similar to "Wish You Were Here", in fact, like the essential prog masterpiece, it starts and ends with a very long song, both of the same title. "The sky moves Sideways" however, is very different: many electronic moments as well as Heavy Prog ones, which an unusual touch of mystery, both the beginning and the end of the album (phase 2 however is inferior to 1, in my opinion). is a journey through a parallel universe and/or space, a journey towards the point of no return of man. But the album is not only the two epic title tracks: "Dislocated Day" is a fascinating song, with mystery and true prog combined. "The moon touches your shoulder" is a fantastic "ballad" very spacy in some moments and haunting whatsoever. Not to forget the 17 minute "Moonloop" an improvised piece that flows perfectly, together with spacy(yes, again) moods, and true psychedelic rock.

An unforgettable album, essential to whoever wants to try PT and space rock generally speaking.

Report this review (#279792)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Perpare Yourself" for The Sky Moves Sideways

The Sky Moves Sideways is classed as Porcupine Tree's third studio album. There are 4 versions of the album: 1) 1995 European release, 2) 1996 US release, 3) 2004 expanded & remastered edition and 4) 2004 3LP edition.

Here I am reviewing the 2004 expanded & remastered edition on CD. This album is compared many fans to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album because of their similar structure; both albums have extended pieces at the beginning and end, which are halves of a single song. This album was also the first to be released in the US and also the first album that was created by the band rather than just Steven Wilson.

Now for the songs:

Disc 1

1) The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 1 - This is the first half of this song which is one of my favourites and the whole song was created by the band which includes Steven Wilson on Guitars, Keyboards, Programming, Flute and Vocals. Richard Barbieri on Synthesizers and Electronics. Colin Edwin on Bass Guitar and Double Bass. Chris Maitland on Percussion. Suzanne Barbieri on Vocals & Theo Travis of Gong fame on Flute.

2) Dislocated Day - This track is a remastered version with Gavin Harrison playing Drums which replaces the Programmed Drums from the original. This album was made while the transition of the band took over so this track is like previous albums just a sole Steven Wilson production. If i was to listen to this track on its own i would have to rate it as one of my least favourites, it just dosen't gel as well with me if i listen to it on its own.

3) The Moon Touches Your Shoulder - Again this track is remastered from the original with Gavin Harrison playing Drums and Steven Wilson playing Guitars, Keyboards, Bass & Vocals. This song is a track you can chill to quite easily and sits perfectly between the two halves of The Sky Moves Sideways.

4) Prepare Yourself - This track again is done by Steven Wilson on his own and features him playing Guitars. This album version is the first version to have both Prepare Yourself and Stars Die in the track list.

5) The Sky Moves Sideways Phase 2 - This is the second half of the song and the track that ends the original album. This together with the first is easily a track you can listen and let time fly by.

Disc 2

6) The Sky Moves Sideways (Alternative Version) - As the title says this is a different version from the original and runs at an impressive 34.43 minutes. Throughout most of the recording sessions for The Sky Moves Sideways the plan was that the album would contain only the title track as one 50 minute long piece of music. A version of this length was never completed, but the alternative version here is a work in progress mix that contains some music that was eventually cut from the final album, as well as an earlier set of lyrics.

7) Stars Die - This is a beautiful track to listen to and hope Porcupine Tree will come back to playing this live a few more times. This is also the first track of Porcupine Tree's to be played on the radio probably due to its length and commerciability. Steven Wilson plays the Guitars, Keyboards, Tapes and Vocals. Colin Edwin plays the Bass. Chris Maitland plays the Drums & Rick Edwards plays the Percussion.

8) Moonloop (Improvisation) - This track is a different version again to the previous 2 releases of the album and includes an additional three minutes material that only was available on the Moonloop EP. Again this track has the same credits as Stars Die and is an easy listen with which you can dream away with.

9) Moonloop (Coda) - Again this track is part of the hybred version and is a small addition to the previous track that has now been seperated into 2 tracks.

Overall this i feel is a fantastic album that compliments their previous album Up The Downstair and sets the band off in a fantastic direction that will continue to evolve and progress over the years. This album was my second introduction to the band and i found myself dreaming away on many a sunny days and for me it is an essential album that i would be lost if i did not have it after listening to it the first time.

Report this review (#288820)
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Sky Moves Sideways was the first album by Porcupine Tree to break away from the solo efforts of the previous two albums, and it definitely shows.

The title track opens and closes the album, which is very similar to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. The song itself takes many listens in order to appreciate it. Not only Steven Wilson, but Richard Barbieri (keyboards/synths), Colin Edwin (bass), and Chris Maitland (drums) also show off their skill and talent. While the song is divided into part one and two, they are subdivided into even more parts. Part one opens up with "The Colour of the Air" which starts off with Richard's synths which leads into the band members giving us a space rock jam. "I Find that I'm not There" is the only section in the entire song which features vocals. "Wire that Drum" is an almost apocalyptic sounding piece. Part one concludes with "Spiral Circus", a wonderful piece with a simple acoustic guitar and synths. Part Two begins with Is Not...., which is a more powerful piece while "Off the Map" concludes with a quiet apocalyptic sound.

Stars Die is a fantastic piece with a hint of jazz and Prepare Yourself is a fine instrumental that prepares you for the album's finale. Moonloop is an instrumental jam that can best be described as a miniature version of the title track.

The two tracks that bring this album down from five to four stars are the two tracks done entirely by Wilson himself: Dislocated Day and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder. The former is a more energetic piece but is forgettable. TMTYS is a more quiet piece, but like the former, it is rather forgettable. The live version of TMTYS off of Coma Divine is far better than the studio version.

For fans of Pink Floyd and space rock, this album is great. To those looking to get into Porcupine Tree, try In Absentia or Stupid Dream instead, then check this album out.

Report this review (#375388)
Posted Friday, January 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Sky Moves Sideways ? 1995 (2.4/5 almost 3 stars) 8 ? Best Song: Dislocated Days

And here gives way to fullblown ambient, and I don't enjoy it very much at all. The two phases of the title track drift in and out of time-delayed weather channel pussyfutting at nearly all times. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Welcome to my Daymare, this is not your regularly adjusted television demon. We're going to kill you. My that's a dashing red dress you're wearing. It compliments your sterling green eyes, now prepare to be disemboweled, human scum. We in the eighth vector of panoramic psychogenesis prefer you be brutally massacred with the least of pain and resistance, so we've devised The Sky Moves Sideways, an aural journey to help accompany you through your rapid, and hopefully unperturbed demise. It features chilly psychedelic beat waves for several minutes, before becoming aggravated techno ? all part of the emotional rollercoaster you're about to enter. Then comes the 'music', which will transmit messages into your psyche for acceptance. Please ignore the masturbating man behind the curtain. But that's just the HALF HOUR of boring rot, the rest of the album's pretty good. 'Dislocated Day' is a heinous guitar maelstrom, best thing they've done yet, and 'Moon Touches Your Shoulder' was almost pretty. Other than that, you're facing fifteen minutes of fine songs smacked between half an hour of indulgent, unnecessary ambient. Two full songs and nothing else? That's not a good deal, O'Neill.

Report this review (#459147)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars "The Sky Moves Sideways" was one of the first pieces of music by Porcupine Tree that i heard, and quite recently actually. i was introduced to PT by a "sounds-like" suggestion by a music website which recommended this album alongside Deadwing (this was just before the release of The Incident, though i cant quite figure out why they didnt choose Fear Of A Blank Planet as well).

and boy, am i indebted to them for introducing me to PT. since the 70s version of Pink Floyd, this is the most mesmerising and innovative group i've heard in this genre. while several other bands have been credited with creating a new genre for themselves, most often this turns out to be a niche of a pre-existing genre. but with Porcupine Tree, they just dont care about genres or categories of any sort - they play whatever kind of music they like.

nowhere is this more apparent than "The Sky Moves Sideways" which, to be honest, i didn't really "get" when i first heard it. being the first full-band release, it seems PT themselves, as much as anyone else, were figuring out what they wanted to do. and, by sheer accident it seems, they stumbled upon this masterstroke of improvisation.

when you listed to the album (not just the title track), it very much seems that they were searching for something beyond just the music and towards the end of the 4th or 5th play, you understand that they nailed it! even considering that its now almost 16 years since The Sky Moves Sideways, you can never tell whether this was from the 70s, 80s, 90s or even more recent.

personally, i prefer this version of PT to the more album+song oriented approach (e.g The Incident) even though the latter is also a brilliant composition.

i would recommend new fans to start with this one or Voyage 34 and then work their way through the later stuff...

Report this review (#476042)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Thundering guitars

The Sky Moves Sideways was the most impressive PT release to that point. Wilson created a 1990s space-rock opus rivaling the Ozrics and Djam Karet's best works. Full of gargantuan guitar space stations and pulsing beats, riveting effects, quiet interludes and Floydian leads, it is an unqualified black-light classic. My favorite part is the slow, melancholic guitar leads of the first 8 minutes of the title track, while some of the louder chaotic and repetitive parts drive me nuts more than they impress me. Frankly I think the guitar and drums are overly plodding/obnoxious in some spots. I have slowly warmed to it over time but there is one important thing which keeps me at arm's length. People reference Floyd often with 90s PT as I just did myself, but there's always been a flaw to that reference in my view. Floyd albums connected effortlessly with me on an emotional level both musically and in the themes. Those albums could reduce me to tears at times and the melodies and writing were timeless. Sky Moves blows me away in it's scope but it really moves me very little in any emotional way which is a problem. Some compare this to "Wish You Were Here" but comparing the two track for track in my mind, it's just not a contest. It's a nice long feast of heavy riffs and solos, well played and suitably epic in stature, but I can only count on a "good" and occasional spin from Sky. Impressing me alone is not adequate. On later albums Wilson would connect emotionally with me and the results would be more rewarding.

Report this review (#587495)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 8/10

Hey, this is where Porcupine Tree finally get it right, huh?

Although the band's last album under the banner of a simple project of Steven Wilson The Sky Moves Sideways already has future members - Richard Barbieri on keyboards and electronics (although he has since made ​​an appearance on Up the Downstair), Colin Edwin in bass and double bass (the latter in the second part of the title track) and Chris Maitland on drums and percussion. The reason why this album is not considered to be a 100% group effort is that there are two songs here that are interier performed by Wilson (The Moon Touches Your Shoulder and Dislocated Day).

I think the album's first phase of the PT that was what I was most curious about. And I'm not disappointed. The Sky Moves Sideways is widely regarded as the Wish You Were Here of the 90´s, and not without reason - the title track is divided into two parts that open and close the album, similar to what happened in the classic of Pink Floyd. Actually you can call me crazy, but I consider this work better than WYWH!

The music found here is not very different from previous albums - a fusion of ambient music, with electronic and psychedelic experimentalism. Do not expect the progressive metal of In Absentia or pop rock of Stupid Dream. SSTs is by far the most complex album that Porcupine Tree has released. And one of his best, too. It's even hard to tell which are my favorite here, though my attention has been on the first part of the title track, The Moon Touches Your Shoulder and Prepare Yourself.

4 stars!

Report this review (#587980)
Posted Wednesday, December 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars 20 Years On: Porcupine Tree's The Sky Moves Sideways

The Sky Moves Sideways, like so many albums in the atmospheric art-prog umbrella, suffers so hard by being filled to the brim with absolutely unnecessary filler. There's about 16 minutes of solid, well-written early Porcupine Tree material here, the rest is just nonsense. And I'm not even including the snoozefest that is "Moonloop" (because on my edition of the album that one's on the bonus disk), a 'song' that takes Wilson's self-indulgent Floydian noodling to near nauseating extremes. There's so much here that just feels like Wilson trying to get as little material into a studio album as possible, because let's face it, what we have here is three songs, and about half an hour of low-effort nonsense.

The title track, or at least the part of it that's actually a song, is pretty fantastic. In fact, if "Phase One" got cut off at around the 8-minute mark and the second half was thrown immediately in the garbage, I would call it one of Wilson's best 90's tracks. Sure, the intro is very Pink Floyd, but in a good way, like the best long-winded Gilmour tracks. The vocal melodies are truly iconic. Simple, memorable, and to the point, this could have easily gone down in history as the first moment Porcupine Tree made something timeless. But we all know what happens next. The fact that there are people who actually call Phase One one of PT's best songs just makes me so confused. Are they just ignoring the 6-minute disco synth solo? It's honestly one of the corniest and least inspired things I've heard from Wilson, even inexperienced 90's Wilson. Taking the worst parts of 80's synth music, and mixing it with the worst parts of 70's space rock excess is one of the worst ideas I have ever heard, and it continues on for six whole minutes after what would have been PT's best song at the time. And thus begins the filler problem of The Sky Moves Sideways, which is something that all the early Porcupine Tree records seem to have trouble with, but I really feel this is the worst.

There is still good stuff here. In fact, there's some really good stuff here. "Dislocated Day" is the necessary break the album needed after the psychedelic ambience of the opener, and in the remastered edition with Gavin Harrison on drums, even sounds a bit like the songs PT would come up with in their metal era. It's punchy and quick, but doesn't lose the atmospheric ambience that this entire album carries. It's not an amazing song by any distance, but in the context of the album it's a necessary shift. "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" is much better, and is the best overall song on the album, although falls short of the first half of Phase One, if we count that. It's a similar style of song to that first half, being Floydian and acoustic-driven and melancholic, but fortunately there's no disco synth solo and it ends within a reasonable time.

But then there's the rest. Firstly, "Prepare Yourself", a pointless little two-minute ambient piece, and then Phase Two, which is a pointless very very long 17-minute piece of utter garbage. It's no worse than any other Wilson ambient/psych tracks, but it's just so utterly unnecessary and self-indulgent. The first 10 minutes goes for a similar jaunt to the disco synth solo in Phase One, but with a bit more restraint and a bit less cheese, which then resolves into a very very Gilmour-esque solo over the same chord progression as the opener. I personally wouldn't mind if about five or six minutes of this were used to bookend the album, like an enormous thematic reprise, but 17 minutes of nonsense is just not on.

The Sky Moves Sideways is an album with three songs, all of which contain pretty basic chord progressions and melodies, and would have taken Steven about a week to write. The rest of the album (about 30 minutes, or 47 minutes if you include Moonloop) is filler of the most obvious kind - meandering psychedelic nonsense. This album is probably worth hearing for most people given that it has a couple of quality songs, but three songs on a studio album of this length is just weak. Not bad on the whole, but doesn't deserve any praise as a classic album in my opinion.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Report this review (#615423)
Posted Sunday, January 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars On The Sky Moves Sideways Porcupine Tree is in the midst of its transformation from Steve Wilson solo project to fully-fledged band - and in doing so, the group produce an absolute classic of tranquil, relaxing space rock. Incorporating carefully-chosen influences from the dance music and indie rock of the era whilst keeping the Floydian space rock approach central, Wilson, Barbieri, Edwin and Matland produce vast soundscapes which prove that proggy space rock albums don't have to be about nostalgia or retro-prog revivalism; though this music is clearly descended from the likes of Pink Floyd, it is very much of its era and takes that musical style forward as opposed to wallowing in the past.

When you set this against Pink Floyd's The Division Bell from around the same time, the extent to which the predecessors had fallen behind the times and lost touch with what was happening outside their bubble becomes strikingly obvious; Porcupine Tree, conversely, demonstrate on this album an awareness of a range of popular music forms - rock, pop, dance, trance, etc. - beyond the genre niche they perform in, and yield music which does not spurn the occasional connection to the wider world beyond prog whilst being comfortable in its identity as prog. I heartily recommend the 2CD version of the album; it is extremely unusual for me to bother listening to "alternate versions" of songs at all, let alone be in the mood for listening to one immediately after listening to the second half of the standard version, but in this case the possibilities explored in the title track are so compelling that I'm glad to.

Report this review (#617597)
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "The Sky Moves Sideways" is the psychedelic era of Porcupine Tree glorified with lengthy jamming spacey explorations. The remastered digipack double CD features 2 extreme psychedelic bookends on CD 1 of the title track that will really test the patience of some listeners. They build gradually with spacey atmospheres, Tangerine Dream textures, and psych prog ambience. I had heard these before on the "Stars Die" compilation, but in context they take on a new life. This is some very dreamy music with Vangelis tones and soundscapes of classic Pink Floyd or Camel.

The album features a number of shorter length tracks that are more accessible, 'Dislocated Day', 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder', and 'Prepare Yourself'. Really they are not the drawcard though as the more lengthier pieces are incredible by contrast. The dreamy Floydian soundscape of 'The Sky Moves Sideways Phase Two' is the masterpiece with extended soaring lead guitar work, gorgeous vox from Suzanne Barbieri, and gorgeous swathes of divine keyboards.

CD 2 has the epic monster length 'The Sky Moves Sideways - Alternative Version' which is an unedited version of the title with extra vox, and different structure, no waves, heavy percussion, and not as spacey, and the wonderful melodic 'Stars Die' follows that I have heard many times on other releases. 'Moonloop ? Improvisation' clocks 16 minutes of very dreamy music to sleep with, and is followed by 'Moonloop ? Coda' to close a very solid Porcupine Tree album.

I am still a bigger fan of the more recent PT but this is nevertheless a mesmirising album with a relaxing spacey atmosphere throughout.

Report this review (#847397)
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Majestic journey through the skybound bays

Porcupine Tree, in the late 1980's, started as a small project of Steven Wilson's whose objective was to simply play good psychedelic-influenced music. Quite a noble task, if you ask me, since the genre has been decaying since the mid 1970's (even though some say that true psychedelic music died to never come back in the late 1960's) and enjoyed little to no appreciation among the general public. Regardless of those challenges, Steven pushed onward and kept his project going, eventually getting together with former Japan keyboard player, Richard Barbieri, whose combined love for psych, krautrock, sonic experimentations and other such things made come into being a more mature Porcupine Tree sound with their 1993 album Up the Downstair.

Downstair, however, although already having some of PT's most striking characteristics (imposing keyboards, dreamy guitar lines, inspired compositions and a new outlook to psychedelia and psychedelic rock), was not quite as fully developed as it could be, musically speaking.Yes, it is a strikingly good album (specially the 2005 re-release), but still the record wasn't as good as it could be; the band's next release, The Sky Moves Sideways, came to both fill all the gaps in Up the Downstair and take their music way beyond their 1993 opus ever was.

Indeed, wile in Up the Downstair the band (still mostly a one man's band, with Richard still on the side) focused on both the experimental (with songs like Up The Downstair, Small Fish and Burning Sky) and accessible (with songs like Synesthesia and Always Never) side of psych (which eventually divided the album in two parts; the firsts songs were more accessible and the lasts had a more experimental edge), in Sky Moves Sideways Porcupine Tree switched to their full- blown prog gears.

In spite of the musical excellence achieved on this album, it gets some considerable criticism from some for the direction Steven and Richard decided to take on Sky. Here, they went for symphonic and atmospheric soundscapes, a side of space rock made famous all around the world by Pink Floyd with the albums Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here; the latter in particular is seen as the album's main source of inspiration, specially due to its song organization. Some even put Sky Moves Sideways as a plagiarism of Wish You Were Here, but I disagree. First of all, Pink Floyd was not the only band that made that kind of music during the 1970's, they were simply the most famous (other big names of psychedelic prog who also went down that road are Nektar, Eloy and Hawkwind); second of all, other bands managed to renew this kind of space rock and could have been (as I believe they are) influences in this record (the biggest name here is Ozric Tentacles); third of all, Pink Floyd's music is much more melodic and simple than the music presented here, which is stylistically more similar to German artists such as Neu! and Ash Ra Tempel, even though Sky is not as experimental.That said, I would also not go so far as to say there is not influence whatsoever from Pink Floyd, but the only part where it is clearly visible is in the first few minutes of The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 2.

Now, to talk about the music more directly, it would be important to note that the version I have is the 2000's re-release, with two CDs. Starting with the album proper (the first disc), the whole thing sounds like as if it is one whole piece of music, with one song melting and merging into the other perfectly, even if they have different tones, which is the case with The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase 1 (where the keyboards and synthesizers are in the forefront and the song develops slowly, adding electronics, percussion and flutes) and Dislocated Day (where the guitars take the lead, playing eastern/Indian melodic lines and the atmosphere is heavier). It is as if Dislocated Day is the aftermath of the title track's first phase.

The other three songs, however, build up towards having the album's conclusion with the title track's first phase. Actually, Prepare Yourself sounds much like an introduction to the final song, with Moon Touches Your Shoulder being the bridge connecting both ends of the album. maybe because of that, Moon Touches Your Shoulder is so diverse, having both the dreamy motifs akin to the album's main song, the heavier guitars similar to the ones in Dislocated Day, plus some samples from God knows where.

I should also point out that the original versions of The Sky Moves Sideways has considerable influences from German artists like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schultze.

The second disc is also really good, though not as good; it also has the only sub-par song in the whole album: the alternate version of The Sky Moves Sideways. Starting with the alternate version, I do not think it does justice to the original for many reasons. First off, the keyboards lose most of their place, now serving merely as something to hold all the band through the song. Secondly, there is too much guitar; now there are some parts where that works out great, like in the beginning, where they overlap each other, complementing their melodies, but for the most part they replace the keyboards and can't create the same mood the keys did. Another negative point about it is that it seems that some parts have been changed, cut or discarded and replaced with different musical ideas, mostly in the song's second phase. Lastly, and this may be because the keyboards have been diminished, the whole song sound flat, as if the whole body of sound lacked depth. Don't get me wrong here, the song IS NOT bad, it's just not as good as the original version, which I consider to be perfect as is.

Stars Die is the odd one out here. It does not sound like any most of the album for being a more straightforward song, being more similar to something that would belong in Porcupine Tree's next album, Signify, being stylistically similar to that album's epic Waiting, phases one and two. However, Stars is also not as depressive and dark as Signify is and it also has the space-sounding guitars and keyboards as the rest of the album.

Lastly, the album's most experimental song in the original version has been relocated to the last places of the second disc, divided into two songs and profoundly changed, what can be clearly seen if you compare it with the original version. In spite of that, I view this as something very positive for two reasons: 1 - it allowed for the original album to maintain its flow and be as coherent as possible; 2 - it made possible to change some parts of the song that were unnecessary, although it would have been great to have both new and old versions. Nevertheless, I feel that Steven Wilson, nowadays, is not as happy with the end result in the older version of Moonloop, because it has been changed two times, the first in the American release (where the song was cut down by half) and the second in the re-release (where the song was completely remade).

The remaster of this album also made it possible to vastly improve its sonic proprieties, much like it was done with Up the Downstair. In Sky Moves Sideways, however, there was not such an extensive re-recording, with most of the work being made with already existing recording material.

Rating and Final Thoughts

Psychedelic rock is one of rock's oldest genres and, for being around for over 50 years, it is hard to innovate, to make something new or to reinvent something that has been done to death. Even though they tried just that in 1993, it was only with their 1995 album that PT would accomplish that. Sky Moves Sideways in an impressive piece of space rock that manages to impress even the most experienced listeners and amaze those in search of some deep experience in the field of progressive rock and beyond. A perfect album nobody should miss.

Report this review (#866456)
Posted Sunday, November 25, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Sky Moves Sideways represents the band's attempt at Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here. It has a very similar album structure, with the title track in two parts which bookend some "shorter" songs. The songs themselves are incredibly atmospheric, which is indicative of most of the material of that album, especially Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Unfortunately this just it doesn't quite measure up. This album finds itself too far in ambient land and doesn't focus nearly enough on melodic, and well, good music.

I will say the opening title track is easily the strongest piece on the record. It has a very deep, lush atmosphere with some decent, slightly more upbeat bass parts. Yet much of it is still draggy and overlong.

The rest of the songs are, well, overlong. 'Moonloop' and the second part of The Sky Moves Sideways' especially.

This is an example of an album that is probably far too reliant on atmosphere and directionless wankiing, but then again, maybe that's the whole point. Regardless, Porcupine Tree has done much better.


Report this review (#880096)
Posted Friday, December 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Porcupine Tree's The Sky Moves Sideways is an awesome album to have come out in the 1990s. It's more of a throwback to the great 1970s prog, especially Pink Floyd.

On the original release, the title track AThe Sky Moves Sideways is split into two tracks, one on each side of the album. This track is very reminiscent of Pink Floyd from the time of Dark Side of the Moon to Wish You Were Here, with an added section that sounds north African.

Dislocated Day is similar to their earlier material found on Up the Downstairs, and would also fit into their next album Signify. The Moon Touches Your Shoulder is another prog related piece. Prepare Yourself is a short ditty that seems to be nothing but a placeholder on the album

The album really comes into its own when you look at the 2-disc extended version. The second disc contains the entire mix of The Sky Moves Sideways which is nice to have without the fadeouts. It also contains Moonloop,as well as the Moonloop (Coda), an extended jam in an almost acid rock kind of way. It also contains the albums best song, Stars Die (which would later be the name of their retrospective compilation of their Delerium years.

All in all, a fantastic collection of progressive music that should be in everyone's prog library.

Report this review (#912616)
Posted Monday, February 11, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This review is for the 1995 release . . .

The third full release from Porcupine Tree, see some lengthy tracks in the form of The Sky Moves Sideways - Phase One and Two, also the 17 minute Moonloop. After the bands' first two releases, I'm still waiting for that critical moment, when I can truly say, that I'm being moved by the music on offer. I might just add, that it's slowly getting better. . .

Phase One has it's moment near the end. Moonloop sets a nice tranquil mood, while Phase Two is probably the best track on offer here.

Maybe this is a notch up from 'Up The Downstair', but a small notch, a small one. . .

I see a lot of reviewers here liking this to the Floyd's Wish You Were Here. Don't even come close in my opinion, sad to say'but again, if you listen to this enough times it will grow on you and you'll be able to appreciate the individual moments of greatness when it presents itself.

Report this review (#1091315)
Posted Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars As much as I love Wish You Were Here/Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree, I cannot really find myself enjoying this album as much as I hoped. For me, Porcupine Tree's really amazing material comes from Stupid Dream onward, with quite a few outstanding tracks coming from the period before then. Perhaps the Radiohead (a band I like, but don't listen to often) influence was simply the cherry on top of Porcupine Tree's sound for me.

Here, the music and melodies just don't seem as strong as they are on Wish You Were Here. While the entirety of Wish You Were Here may be a bit to digest for the average rock listener, it still contained fantastic melodies, transitions, and instrumentals that solidified it as an incredible album. As good as Steven Wilson is at songwriting, The Sky Moves Sideways just doesn't really cut it, for me at least.

That's not to say that I don't find some of this album particularly outstanding. Tracks such as the first part of the The Sky Moves Sideways and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder are particularly great. But as a whole, I just can't enjoy this album as much as I would have liked.

Report this review (#1285948)
Posted Monday, September 29, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well I decided to move to porcupine tree's earlier stuff and I thought I would start out with "the sky moves sideways" their well known album in the early 1990's. And the first thing that came through my mind when finishing this album is "Pink Floyd ripoff". I'm not a huge fan of pink Floyd but I do enjoy their album "wish you were here" and "the sky moves sideways" is basically a clone of wish you were here. Sure there are some porcupine tree originally (aka Steven Wilson's originally) in this album but the pink Floyd influences are much more noticeable and that what ruins the album for me. It's hard to listen to this album when you listened to "wish you were here" first and you enjoyed the album. But if I hadn't listened to wish you were here first. then this album would be rated 4/5 stars but instead it's going to be 2 stars. It's not that I hate this album. But everytime I want to listen to the album I usually end up listening to something else after the first 2 tracks. I believe that their newer stuff (from stupid dream to fear of a blank planet) is much more original and more tolerable rather then the earlier stuff. But I guess I cannot really say that because I haven't listened to much of their earlier stuff but so far. I'm not impressed.
Report this review (#1312296)
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams
4 stars A dramatic space rock filled with heavy, crossover elements. This grand sound theatre "The Sky Moves Sideways", released in 1995 as the third album of PORCUPINE TREE (PT), should have got apparently influenced by Pink Floyd (Waters' era), and launch space rock-based striking fantasia including repetitive dreamy melody lines mainly composed by Steven and impressive, technical plays by all of the combo and collaborators. Actually this is my first PT acquisition (after my experience in some Steven's) recommended by my prog mate Caio aka CCVP (many thanks!), that could spread my knowledge for psychedelic prog / space rock via another interpretation of a creator of genius.

Interesting is Steven's method and assumption (in a sense) for Space Rock ... his flooding musical expression strategies would have completed this sweet "The Sky Moves Sideways" suite "without any breath", inspired with some masterpieces by the Space Rock Giant. On the other hand, Steven squeezed his obvious originality seasoned with heavy but catchy parameters, that gives this album fine variation and keen modulation. Various sound essence, whether organic or inorganic, artificial or natural, is heard here and there ... pity that his musical intention is a tad too refined to bring the whole suite to a fruitful production perfectly, though.

Via some short tracks, their easygoing play (and this sounds more matured and polished) can be heard. Beautiful chord, cynical discord, and mystic improvs ... every effect notifies the audience they have eclectic intelligence (and strongly understandable for all pop / rock fans). And another premature (and impressive) item of theirs is "Moonloop", let me say, that has spacey texture and obvious systematic movement during such an improvisation-oriented loose session. This methodology might be heard via their productions I imagine ... would like to listen to other material in near future.

This album filled with novel explanation of Space Rock awoke me favourably with no doubt.

Report this review (#1559074)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2016 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars Although it all began as a joke, by the time Steven Wilson and his now official band called PORCUPINE TREE made it into the 90s, the popularity of their Floydian inspired space rock was taking off like a rocket ship to the moon. After a number of demos and two fully fledged space rock albums to get their feet wet, the band was really more of a solo project but starting with this one, a real band was in play with a style that reached the culmination of the psychedelic space rock sound on the third album THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS. Your listening experience for this one may depend on which side of the Atlantic you reside because of the fact that two different versions exist. THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS was the debut album in North America and showed the band mastering their full potential as they also unveiled various aspects of the different styles they would take on future releases. The European version which came out first contained the seventeen minute track "Moonloop" as the second to last track whereas the US release nixed it in favor of a shorter running time. Since the US version is the one i've grown attached to, it is the one i prefer so all my gushing admiration for this album is based on it.

It was never any secret that 70s Pink Floyd was the biggest source of inspiration for Wilson and company and that was never more true than on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS which has been compared to "Wish You Were Here" for having two sprawling tracks that begin and end the album with shorter tracks sandwiched in between, however a careful listen will yield all kinds of influences from the Floydian world up to "The Wall". Likewise, all the tracks flow together relatively smoothly making it in reality a long series of movements that culminate into larger suites and extended musical motifs. Although Steven Wilson remained ringmaster and creator in chief even at this point, this was very much a real band effort on album number three which allowed a blossoming of musical expressions to make a much richer album than the previous two. Most importantly added to the lineup was ex-Japan keyboard wizard Richard Barbieri who deftly mixes his best Klaus Schulze styled progressive electronic backdrops over the hypnotic space rock grooves. Likewise, Wilson's alter ego in the art pop outfit No-Man found him a steady drummer with Chris Maitland filling the spot. With all musical spots freshly manned with eager talent, PORCUPINE TREE was ready for prime time and THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS shows them honing their chops into highly addictive seductions of sound.

THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS starts off rather chaotically with sputtering electronic effects that belie Floydian space groove that soon steals the show. A false flag to throw the listener off? Not sure, but once the Floydian rhythmic flow begins, it grooves with a vengeance. While the "Phase 1" of the title track gently rolls on with a sensual rocking groove as "The Colour Of Air" movement strives to lull the listener into a hypnotic state, it does however evoke a call and response that makes me want to scream "Hello, Is There Anybody In There?" at times. Perhaps too comfortably close to "Comfortably Numb," but even with such brazen Floydisms slapping the listener in the face, somehow the electronic wizardry derails any cached earworms from the past and keeps PORCUPINE TREE sounding like distant cousins of the Gilmour and Waters team rather than mere imitators. The near nineteen minute suite churns on into a gentle space rock groove with Wilson belting out his unique fairy tale narrations before the track goes into an upbeat psybient and psytrance mode that summons a high intensity percussive drive and multidimensional atmospheric turbulence in the "Wire The Drum" movement. Tribal drums meets staccato keyboard sequences while a bouncy bass illustrates spaced out blissful melodies. The suite finds resolution with the "Spiral Circus" finale which drifts off into the clouds and exits with a soft acoustic guitar riff with a fluttering flute run flapping around like a pretty butterfly in the breeze.

Sandwiched in the middle of the lengthy title track suite that begin and end the album are three shorter tracks (plus the "Moonloop" jam if you have the European version). "Dislocated Day" debuts a more familiar sound heard on future PORCUPINE TREE albums and the first of the band's career to demonstrate heavier rock with hefty guitar riffs, biting percussive drive and much increased tempos. This also provides the gateway into their progressive rock leanings that would culminate on albums like "In Absentia." "The Moon Touches Your Shoulder" on the other hand is a totally chilled out acoustic guitar on codeine type of track with a catchy melody and poetic lyrics from Wilson's most chilled singing style. "Prepare Yourself" is nothing more than a short spaced out bluesy soloing sequence that serves as a fluffer for the the "Phase 2" of the title track, unless of course you have the European version with "Moonloop" inserted between. This track is my least favorite and i'm happy to have the edition without it (or at least thrown onto the second bonus disc). It is nothing more than a drawn out spacey sequence of synthesized loops and effects.

The final "Phase 2" is begins much like "Phase 1" with non-committing electronic atmospheric effects only finding stability after a drum roll coaxes them down to Earth. The opening "Is?Not" segment displays more love of classic Pink Floyd as it generates a heavy connection to tracks like "Have A Cigar" with restless electronica and eventually a banging bass. Once a melodic development is allowed to form, it bursts onto the scene with a dramatic guitar riff which calms the atmospheric presence into an obsequious counterpoint. Nice guitar work on this one for a while but eventually as "Off The Map" continues the suite, an estrogen filled siren seduces a rambunctious guitar to come out and play. As it arrives it begins to perform a rather spunky blues workout around the ostinato bass line. It performs all kinds of tricks yanking every emotional heartstring with a mere bending of a note or two. It gets wild and woolly before the track slowly wends down as it reprises the initial Floydian bass dominated riff that began it all, not after more bizarre excursions into ambient electronica however.

On THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, Steven Wilson and PORCUPINE TREE not only joined the ranks of the progressive rock revival that was unfolding alongside bands like Anglagard, Opeth, Dream Theater and the neo-prog bands like IQ and Arena but were also fundamental in the revival of good old fashioned 70s psychedelic space rock alongside other space tripping bands like Ozric Tentacles. While Pink Floyd was still around in name only, it was really just a David Gilmour solo effort milking of the enterprise and tarnishing of the name with mediocrity in the form of albums like "The Division Bell". PORCUPINE TREE on the other hand were uploading an entirely new operating system into the space rock paradigm by adding all the relevant 90s influences of neo- psychedelia and chilled out electronica such as trip hop and as well as bass heavy stoner rock in tandem with the tried and true chill pill elements of 70s psych and electronica.

While never really intentionally wanting to steal the baton away from the great Pinksters, somehow on THE SKY MOVES SIDEWAYS, they did just that and created one of my personal favorite albums by the group and the absolute best of the 90s output. The 2 CD re-release is well worth the time as it has a brilliant alternative mix of the title track suites as well as the "Moonloop" tracks that went missing on the US release. I've been holding off on reviewing this one since i couldn't decide if the Floydisms are too derivative or not but when all is said and done, they are no more derivative of Pink Floyd than Floyd was of the blues artists who came before them and this is one of those rare albums that i literally never tire of because Wilson's brilliant mixing and production skills weave such a massive sonic web around any similarities that it keeps them in their own unique musical territory while respectfully conjuring up warm fuzzy memories of the past. This is where PORCUPINE TREE came to fruition as a band and a trend that would only continue to develop into a more distinct musical entity.

Report this review (#1866468)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2018 | Review Permalink
The Crow
4 stars This is a brief review about the 2004 remastered version of The Sky Moves Sideways, from the much-missed Porcupine Tree!

And this was a very important album for Steven Wilson, because it supposed the transition from a solo project to a full time band which would make progressive music even bigger through the 90's and 00's. Because despite having recorded two songs on his own (Dislocated Day and The Moon Touches Your Shoulder) in this record he had the collaboration of all the musicians which made the first official line-up of Porcupine Tree: Colin Edwin on bass, Richard Barbieri on keyboards and Chris Maitland on drums.

And what can I say about the music? The Sky Moves Sideways was in my opinion a personal homage from Steven Wilson to their beloved Pink Floyd. The album has an structure similar to Wish You Were Here and despite having some similarities with Up The Downstairs, this record is much more psychedelic and space rock oriented, specially in the two marvelous long sections and the classic Stars Die, which are also the best songs of the album, mixed with the typical groovy and heavy riffs of the band.

The result is a truly excellent piece of work!

Best Tracks: The Sky Moves Sideways (I especially like the alternative version, which is 34 minutes long!), Stars Die and the coda of Moonloop.

Conclusion: despite a pair of forgettable pieces (Prepare Yourself and the improvised part of Moonloop) and the fact that is clearly a transition album, The Sky Moves Sideways is an excellent example of the best psychedelic-space rock imaginable.

Moreover, it served as the start of one of the most important band in prog in the last decades.

My rating: ****

Report this review (#2082967)
Posted Wednesday, December 5, 2018 | Review Permalink

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