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I.E.M. - An Escalator to Christmas CD (album) cover



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Mellotron Storm
3 stars This was the second recording from Steven Wilson's I.E.M. project. A short EP that included "Headphone Dust" from the first album.

The title track here is quite different from the debut as Steven uses a lot of samples and humour to go along with the great music. I guess you could say this is more experimental but it's a lot of fun too. It opens with a child saying the alphabet up to the letter "Q" then Wilson comes in talking (acting) as the leader of this "legendary alternative poetry band" called BORIS THE COW (haha). The music then kicks in and it sounds great as we get a heavy beat and then the guitar comes in ripping it up. A brief humerous vocal section takes over around 4 minutes.Then a change again as we get percussion with organ. Another change as what sounds like synths and mellotron flood the soundscape (nice). It ends with the child picking up where he left off at "R" as he finishes the alphabet to end it. Interesting to say the least. "Headphone Dust" is such a great track. As I said in my review of the debut it does have a PORCUPINE TREE flavour to it. I just love the synths and guitar on this one.

Report this review (#230236)
Posted Thursday, August 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars This is a short 12" single put out to promote another one of Steven Wilson's projects. The overall feeling of this is a lot like the space rock side of Porcupine Tree. There are two songs on this single/E.P. The first side is a multi-track suite called "An Escalator to Christmas" which overall lasts 10 minutes and goes by rather quickly. The suite is divided up into 10 short tracks, but only 3 of them actually have music on them while the other tracks have sound and voice snippets that tie it all together. I am not sure what the concept behind this is, but the sound and voice bits are somewhat humorous, yet tragic sounding also, almost what you would expect from Steven Wilson. The 3 parts of the suite that are actually musical are definitely short studies in spacey instrumentals. "Sign Language" is more upbeat with a strong bass line and a strong percussion throughout with spacey keyboards and an occasional strong guitar solo being the main focus. "An Escalator to Xmas" is a very minimal bongo-like sound with a psychedelic organ and sustained guitar notes floating around. "In Place of a Requiem" is more spacey and seems to be all keyboards playing sustained notes that fade in and out. These three musical sections are very short, not lasting more than 3 1/2 minutes each, so just as you are feeling it, the suite passes on to another track.

"Headphone Dust" is the b-side and is a +6 minute instrumental that finally lasts long enough for you to be taken away into the music. It is very mellow and spacey and again takes on the sound that you can hear on the early Porcupine Tree albums. If you liked PT's albums like "Sky Moves Sideways" then this might interest you, but this isn't long enough to really have much of an effect. As for "Headphone Dust", you can actually find that track on the CD version of the I.E.M. self titled album, so this particular release is only of interest for collectors, which would be happy to have this rare find as part of their collection. Otherwise, there really isn't a lot of value to this single.

Report this review (#1346040)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2015 | Review Permalink

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