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Porcupine Tree Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip album cover
3.33 | 446 ratings | 36 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2000

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Voyage 34 - Phase 1 (12:54)
2. Voyage 34 - Phase 2 (17:24)
3. Voyage 34 - Phase 3 (19:24)
4. Voyage 34 - Phase 4 (13:42)

Total Time 63:24

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / all instruments
- Richard Barbieri / synthesizers (4)

Releases information


Remixed CD reissue of all four versions of Voyage 34, with new Artwork.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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PORCUPINE TREE Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip ratings distribution

(446 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (11%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

PORCUPINE TREE Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marc Baum
3 stars Album story is based on a LSD-trip experienced by a guy named Bryan. There are several parts on the album which are familiar with some classic prog material out of the 70's. Once you have a effect of the epic piece A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers by Van Der Graaf Generator and for most part from Pink Floyd a famous guitar rhythm from The Wall, which continues throughout "Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip". These ideas may be stolen from these legendary bands, but they fit incredibly well to the trippy atmosphere of this psychedelic rock concept. Another note is, that this album is completely instrumental, beside the effects and the speaking of the story-guiding teller. Steven Wilson plays some really refreshing guitar leads on the uplifting moments on the record, specially on the best part, "Phase One".

I feel that this album is a love/hate relationship to prog listeners and Porcupine Tree fans. This album definitely has it's moments but sometimes it can be getting annoying very fast. Since I can't categorize it as a excellent album, neither a album which just appeals to fans only, I will give this good, but non-essential record 3 stars. For my part, I enjoy this album very much, but I really can't listen to it often, because it can get boring very fast.

album rating: 6.5/10 points = 64 % on MPV scale = 3/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Review by Eclipse
2 stars Unfortunately i don't feel a "trippy" effect while listening to this album. It gets boring after some time, as it is pretty repetitive during the four parts of the title epic (i don't even have to mention the guitar notes that seem to have been directly ripped from PINK FLOYD's "Another Brick In The Wall pt1"). In my opinion, the alternate version of "The Sky Moves Sideways" is perfect to have a space trip, but this one just doesn't work for me.

I wouldn't buy this one, of course i'd never would since it is pratically impossible to find, but i would spend time on more interesting albums like "In Absentia" or "Lightbulb Sun", both which despite not having the pure prog impression are still amazing works done on these last years.

If you want good spacey stuff, go for "The Sky Moves Sideways" and "Signify". Those two will lead you to an unforgetable trip through the universe of Steven Wilson's unique atmospheric arrangements.

Review by Zitro
3 stars Closer to 2.5 stars

What is it? A compilation of extended psychedelic compositions with strong electronica characteristics reflecting a drug-influenced trip.

Sound (3 stars) ? Steven Wilson is good at crafting soundscapes and arranging competent instrumental performances throughout this disc. The sound production is as strong, if not better, than 'On a Sunday of Life'. As usual, the keyboard sounds from any Porcupine Tree album never fail to disappoint, focusing on evocative imagery (especially on Phase IV) and avoiding a dated sound despite being nearly 3 decades ago. Drum machines are a better fit in the more ambient passages, but distract when providing a steady rock beat. The guitar soloing performances are some of the best from Steven Wilson, sadly hidden in this mediocre album. One major problem preventing a higher rating is the blatant copying of David Gilmour's guitar tones and motifs from 'Pink Floyd - The Wall' throughout the first two compositions. If that sounds distracting, wait until you get to hear it.

Song (2.5 stars) ? The ebb and flow compositional style is worth a higher rating than 2.5 stars, but none of the four compositions warrant such extreme song lengths. It is as if Steven Wilson wrote songs and stretched them to no end. There is also that blatant copying of David Gilmour's guitar riffs from 'Pink Floyd ? The Wall' that scream out a lack of inspiration during the first two tracks and thus are not enjoyable to go through, regardless of the good qualities that may be present in them. Phase III is less derivative (but overstays its welcome) while Phase IV is inspired, focusing on minimalistic ambient music to an extent not often heard by Steven Wilson. Overlong and could lose a few minutes? Sure, but after what came before, I'll take it at its current state.

Review by frenchie
3 stars This one displays an even larger Pink Floyd inspiration than their other albums and they aren't afraid to show it. This is a very epic project, but it falls flat by being very uninteresting. The songs here are played well and are quite interesting, yet they don't show much originality, or display a true PT sound.

"Voyage 34" is a very difficult album to stomach, and there are only a few interesting parts to this album. Very innaccessable compared to most of their other albums and definitely less variety. It's pretty much all trippy, space prog here and misses out some of Steve Wilsons more varied side of PT. This one is worth a listen, especially for big Floyd fans, though as far as PT go, this is a weaker album in their discography.

Review by micky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If I had to pick one 'modern' prog group that has really 'grabbed' me it would have to be Porcupine Tree. Someone sent me a sample once... happened to be Blackest Eyes off of In Absentia and I LOVED it. I was 'bit' not as much by the music, though really goood, as Steven Wilson's voice. Since then I have slowly worked on completing their discography. This album I bought instead of Warszawa, and I kicked myself later once I heard how good that was.. and of course.. I haven't seen it in a store since. So a quick review is in order for a modern prog giant.

A real pychedelic treat here is a 2004 edition of an earlier work from the early 90's. It's premise...hmm... lets let them explain it..

"This remarkable, sometimes, incoherent transcript illustrates a phatasamagoria of fear, terror, grief, exaltation, and finally breakdown. " In short a bad LSD trip.

The music, along with group of course at that time was obviously heavily influenced by Pink Floyd. You can here Van Der Graaf Generator in there as well. Listen closely and you can hear an homage to A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers in Phase 1. The album is full of many textures and moods and is a great album to just put on and vegetate to. You do not feel any need to ponder or consider.. in short like any psychedelic classic.. and I would consider this a modern one. You don't need to think.... only feel and experience. Very ambient. Phase 1 was my favorite and didn't really care much for Phase 3. All in all probably a bit of an acquired taste, but then again so is true psychedelia. I wouldn't start with this album in you are getting into Porcupine Tree... but fans of psychedelia should check it out and Procupine Tree fans should own it. 2.5 stars and will round to three since fans of psychedelic music might enjoy it and not just for Porcupine Tree fans.

Michael (aka micky)

Review by chessman
3 stars Ok, this is the musical equivalent of an 'expanded trip', and the album makes no excuses for that. Yes, the first part does almost rip off Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall'; the guitar riff is strikingly similar. The second part also sounds similar. The third and fourth parts are very repetitive and the narration running through it could doubtlessly put some people off. I, however, love the album! There is some wonderful guitar work from Wilson on both the first two parts towards the end. The distinctive PT atmosphere is omniprescent throughout and the keyboards (almost all played by Wilson too) provide a wonderful, sometimes eerie, backdrop to the narration, which I personally find very effective. What it lacks in diversity and melody it makes up for in - again that word - atmosphere! An album to listen to with the lights off, or at least down low. Also good through headphones. Production, as with all PT releases, is excellent. If you like ambient,dreamy soundscapes, and if you like PT, then this is definitely worth having. Three stars, though four wouldn't be out of the question.
Review by Kotro
5 stars Turn on, tune in, drop out

Let me start by saying that people used to Folk-Rock or Symphonic Prog probably will not understand this album. And they will hate it for it. I believe Mr. Wilson tried in this album to give the proper feeling of an LSD trip. And like any trip, its important to have what Timothy Leary described as an adequate "set and setting". If you have a lifestyle where you have to hear ten new albums per day, in order to reach two thousand reviews, you probably didn't care about finding a proper "set and setting". The trick here is to let your mind go. Once you do so, Voyage 34 becomes one hell of a ride.

Originaly released as two separate singles now combined, one has to say that this compilation works like an original concept studio album.

Phase I and Phase II alone are worthy of masterpiece status. Phase I begins with vocal introductions and soundscapes, and then a wonderfully hypnotic drum and bass driven rhythm highly inspired by Pink Floyd's The Wall. It is complemented by several distinct sounds. Narration comes and goes, setting the scene for the following change in music. Eventually Wilson gives a great kick to the song by introducing some distinct guitars and a beautiful electric guitar solo. More narration makes the transition to the next phase.

Phase II has an eerier beginning, filled with quoted from Timothy Leary and statements from LSD users describing their experience. A third into this phase, the music gains some more spunk by the re-introduction of the electric guitar and drumming, giving it a bit more of a rock edge. It tones down a bit, but then rises up again for the finale, complemented by yet another Wilson guitar solo.

Phase III and Phase IV are wonderful complements to a fantastic first half, toning down on the sensational musical bursts in the previous phases. The first time we listen to these pieces, we get slightly disappointed, as we are waiting for more of those "rockier" bursts that never arrive. But the second time, around, we get over it and enjoy them as they are. Less "musical" than the first part, more sound- oriented, their constant rhythm and beat serve their purpose as hypnotic pieces.

Definitely a different progressive rock album, with its tasteful use of trance and electronics to give it a hypnotic feel, and really making our mind travel. Music for the mind. The key question posed along the album, Is this trip really necessary?, the album answers itself - no, it isn't. You don't need to be high to enjoy this record: the music will suffice, if you set your mind to it.

Review by ZowieZiggy

This is one of the first "PT" work I was confronted to some three years ago. And I quite liked it. It is obviously the most spacey work from "PT". An LSD trip with some recommendations (!) and warnings. It reminds me "Tangerine Dream" a lot of course (but only during the quitest moments) and the early LIVE Floyd (Ummagumma or non-official releases).

Most of the "Phases" are deeply tranquil with the voice from the outer space explaining the effect of the LSD. I guess this type of songs would have been prohibited some forty years ago. Still, not all the music is sleepy. The lasts section of "Phase I" catches up very nicely with a good rocking beat and great guitar.

Phase II, also has its more complex part, but it will be keyboards oriented this time (after minute five actually). The final part is again full of gorgeous guitar. I like this part an awful lot. This Phase ends with horrowing question : Is this trip really necessary ?

Phase III is the longest one but also the least interesting. A monotone twenty minutes with the same beat. A repetitive keys sound with here and there some external "sounds". Totally dispensible.

Phase IV is very much "Ricochet" oriented ("TD"). The short instructional lyrics are truely limit : one million young americans have made the LSD trip part of their live. This should be the start of a "speedy" evolution. Some sort of a new religion ! and this stuff about commiting suicide is not very intelligent either. Anyway, these forteen minutes are quite pleasant if you would take these messages out.

If you are a true lover of space-rock music, this album is for you. If you prefer the poppier or the harder side of "Porcupine Tree", you might well be disappointed or irritated. Do not start with this piece of music by curiosity. There are more accessible "PT" work. Why not starting with a live effort ?

This album is not a masterpiece. A "trip" of about an hour which holds some very good passages. Three stars.

Review by Prog Leviathan
2 stars The "Complete Trip" is front-loaded exercise in the ambience and psychedelic which will-- without exception-- only appeal to die-hard fans or those coming from the minimalist sphere of psychedelic which is almost outside this site's area of expertise.

"Phase 1" is amazing, its introduction, samples, building/layered atmospheres and soaring melody are a instantly enjoyable... then it's over, and the record never quite gets its second wind. Successive Phases are empty, airy affairs whose chief goal seems to be delivering the ethics of LSD via various sampled voices, with nary a memorable musical moment to be found.

I do, however, appreciate the message contained herein, which is very ambivalent. There is no pro or con message to be found, although I think the one voice who asks, "Is this trip really necessary?" gets to the heart of the debate.

For serious fans only.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Tripping the light fantastic?

Originally released as two separate twelve inch singles, "The complete trip" brings the four phases of "Voyage 34" together for the first time. The tracks have been remixed and remastered, but are otherwise unaltered. It must be said straight away, this is not Porcupine Tree's most accessible work. Those who have only discovered the band in recent times, .i.e. since "Stupid dream", should approach this album with caution. The tracks are not titled as such, but are simply numbered parts one to four.

Part one, which has similarities to "The sky moved sideways - part 1", is probably the most commercial and the best of the four. The album relates the tale of a chap called "Brian", who has a bad drug induced trip, through various themes interrupted by newsreader- like narration. Part 2 is a slightly more ambient continuation, but it remains very much in the same mould.

Parts ("phases") 3 and 4 appeared about a year later, but are very much a continuation of the first EP. Part 3, which was remixed by Astralasia, is firmly rooted in trance, with little of the overt guitar work of parts 1 and 2. It is by far the most ambient of the tracks so far (but see part 4), and also the dullest.

Part four, which sees future full time band member Richard Barbieri guesting on synthesisers, was abbreviated from its full length for this release. As this was not for reasons of space, one can only assume it was to give it greater focus. The reality is however that this is the least focused of the four phases, containing by far the least music. Part 4 is a moody, ambient piece with occasional guitar, but mostly waves of atmospheric noise and unaccredited drug related propaganda.

In some ways, it is a shame that this album requires to be classified as a compilation. In reality, it stands up reasonably well as a bona-fide release in its own right. The best parts are towards the beginning, the focus being rapidly lost as we pass through phases 3 and 4. In all though, not a bad album.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars Voyage 34 was originally issued as a limited edition of two 12-inch singles in 1992 (known as Phase I and II) and Voyage 34: Remixes in 1993 (known as Phase III and IV). This is a remastered edition released 2000 of all four phases brought together under the title Voyage 34: The Complete Trip. Later it would be reissued by Snapper Music in 2004 as a digipak with new cover art.

Voyage 34 is basically the story of the LSD trip of a guy named Brian and consists chiefly of spoken words over long instrumentals that clock in between 12:54 and 19:24. Voyage 34 seems even more inspired by Pink Floyd then the first three studio albums Porcupine Tree released between 1991 and 1995. These influences are most noticeable with Steven Wilson's delayed guitar riffs (just like Gilmour's style from The Wall). In addition, there's a good dose of trance music fused with these progressive/psychedelic soundscapes.

The major problem with this release is that things become quite repetitive and similar very quickly as the whole listen seems like one long song that goes on forever, but never goes anywhere. The spoken parts don't add much to the whole either. Whether this is a good CD for taking a trip is debatable, but not an area of expertise I can comment on. I find brushing my teeth or picking my nose more entertaining.

Two stars. Collectors and fans only.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Underrated!

The lost single from Up The Downstair is definately one worth having. True to it's parent album, this collection is at its best with long-winded instrumental freak outs. 4 tracks, each bordering on 20 minutes, the entire song based on the LSD trip. Narration run throughout, even if a discernible storyline is hard to pick up. Pink Floyd influences are very noticeable throughout the cd, and Mr. Wilson almost borrows a few Gilmour riffs throughout the course of the song.

The song picks up and slows down throughout, with the two best tracks being Part one and Part four, the middle sections being interesting transitional periods. This cd is worth a listen or many and is likely the most underrated CD in all of the PT collection. 4 stars for freakyness, great space rock instrumentals.

(After reading my review for GS!BE - UXO, one would think that long instrumentals are not my thing... they just have to keep my interest!)

Review by ProgBagel
2 stars Porcupine Tree - Voyage 34: The Complete Trip 2.5 stars

Too long, way too long.

While it is pretty interesting to hear this trance music, 40 minutes of mostly repetition just doesn't give it value anymore in my eyes. There were obviously some good parts in this, but they were very scarce.

'Phase I' is the biggest Floyd rip off that has ever been recorded, as most reviewers have stated. The riff is taken from the intro of 'Another Brick in the Wall Pt.1' and is somehow spaced out into a near 13 minute piece. This one does include a great guitar solo though.

'Phase 2' takes the end of the first phase and extends it. Gone is the Brick in the Wall riff, and just replaced with a different one. This song is different from the first because there are more directions taken, making it a pretty expansive track. My favorite on this record.

'Phase 3'. I don't take too much of a liking to this track. I think Steve's effects weren't as convincing as any of his previous works. They seemed too dull and not fitting in the right spots.

'Phase 4'. This track is way too minimalistic for my tastes. It contains mostly a few samples here and there, drawn out noise and minimalistic drum work.not my cup of tea.

All in all, I would rate this a little above collectors. It is the reason why I have it, but it could be a good addition for fans of some spacey psychedelic music.

Review by LiquidEternity
2 stars This album gets a lot of funny reviews both ways. Some people can't stand the length and others the style. I personally am not much a fan, but every once in a while, this release does really click.

The thing is, like Metanoia, Voyage 34 is another really trippy release by Porcupine Tree. This thing hangs off the end of Up the Downstair, being the single series, if you will, written around the same time. You'll find the music here to be quite similar to the idea of Fadeaway or the title track off that album. Yes, there's a lot of Pink Floyd vibe (some say direct Pink Floyd quotes, but that seems like a bit of an overreaction). Yes, there is no presence of the latter day Porcupine Tree energy or songwriting. This album is simply something of a side project for the band, though in truth if it were made today it would not have the Porcupine Tree name on it, I don't think. The psychedelia is in full force here, discussing LSD and drug related things.

This album should be of interest to serious fans of the band's early works, but to people who don't really find Up the Downstair all that terribly interesting, this is really something that can be missed. A fun, terrifyingly trippy listen.

Review by Roj
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is nothing like the band that would later produce In Absentia, Deadwing et al. Far from the heavy prog of modern PT, this is a trippy, mesmerizing mixture of psychedelic space rock, ambient and techno. The album actually dates back to the early 90s, despite the relatively recent release of this edition.

Voyage 34 is a concept album, which tells the story of a bad acid trip which befalls the central character, Brian. It's completely instrumental, except for various recurring vocal samples and narration throughout the album. Incidentally one of the narrators sounds uncannily like Alec Baldwin!

Divided into four long pieces (Phases), it's a full-length album. Thanks to Steven Wilson's use of Gilmour- soundalike guitar, various sections of the first two Phases are reminiscent of The Wall-era Floyd. These though are the best two tracks, and there is much more to them than that. You will also find walls of dark and ambient industrial noise which remind me of Aphex Twin. In addition, both the first two pieces develop into uplifting rockier sections with excellent guitar solos from Wilson.

My favourite part of the album though is the first 4-5 minutes of Phase Two, which I find absolutely spellbinding, with a hypnotic rhythm over a threatening wall of synths. Superb.

Phase Three is easily the weakest, and regularly attracts my usage of the skip button. Phase Four is much better, in the same vein though not as good as the first two.

I have to be in the right mood for this album, however, if I want to listen to a trancey and ambient album with plenty of progressive input, this is always a very good option for me. Whilst it's not flawless it's an excellent album.

My rating is four stars. If you're a fan of early PT, it's a must-have. If you're into Floyd circa 68-75 and have not heard Porcupine Tree yet, you could do a lot worse than give this a go.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I have a soft spot for "Part 1" being familiar with it from the "Stars Die" compilation. Even though it's about a bad LSD trip it brings back good memories for me of taking my daughter Sarah back and forth from University with this song sometimes being played. Her favourite band is PT so it was usually our driving music for the 2 hour trip. Lots of spoken words or monologue I guess you could say.

The beat with guitar that comes in is too much like "Run Like Hell" though from PINK FLOYD, it stops after 6 minutes then kicks back in with vocal melodies at 7 1/2 minutes. Love the section a minute later. Pure bliss for me. Check out the guitar after 9 minutes. It ends in a spacey manner and with the words "This young man never had a bummer in some thirty-three LSD trips...but on Vayage 34 he finally met himself coming down an up- staircase, and the encounter was crushing".

"Part 2" is spacey with different people relating their LSD trips and promoting doing it. Not a big fan of this part at all. Just leaves a bad taste in my mouth for some reason. That FLOYD part is back with some good guitar and synths. I like that section a lot. It returns later too. "Part 3" opens with these psychedelic vocals that echo as spacey sounds wash in the background. A TANGERINE DREAM or Klause Schulze-like section comes in around 4 minutes. A beat follows a few minutes later. Cool track !

"Part 4" opens with spoken words and a spacey backdrop. It turns very spacey after 2 1/2 minutes. More spoken words 12 minutes in. I love the spacey soundscape.

So yes this is unique in the PT catalogue and it's an album i'm glad I own. Most i'm sure are more familiar with the first part from the "Stars Die" compilation or from the "Warszawa" live album than from this recording though.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ok don't look at the rating and think I'm crazy, instead, give the album another listen, you might find something you didn't see before. After the third time of listening to this I found that this album actually means something and is not just a bunch of ramblings about LSD. Instead it to me tells the story of a man who started the band this one is said to be most influenced by, I think Brian could very well be Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett. Phase One tells the story of how he lost his sanity and Phase Two explores it deeper. When you listen to some of the narrations you can see better what I am trying to say, "Brians trip ended 12 hours after it so innocently had begun, he was shattered by it... Brian was unable to snap his fingers and the trip continued..." I mean think about it! Phase Three and Four are remixes so don't look there for answers to the concept. In my opinion this can only be understood if you listen to it more than once which is a problem because after the first time it's hard to listen to again. I give it 3.8 stars.
Review by Conor Fynes
2 stars 'Voyage 34' - Porcupine Tree (3/10)

Is this trip really necessary?

Up until delving into Porcupine Tree's early catalogue, I did not believe that Steven Wilson could release something that I could consider 'poor' or even not great. As it is meant to be, 'Voyage 34' is cool to listen to in short spurts, but compared to the rest of the band's repetoire, it is indeed, highly unnecessary. It can be considered more of an electronic album than a piece of rock music, simply because rock instruments play a very small role in the overall texture of music.

It's not completely without merit, just boring. For the most part, 'Voyage 34' rests in the area of techno, or trance music which doesn't progress much so to speak, but rests on a single beat for the entire course of the song. The only song here that is interesting save for production's sake is the first track, which has some interesting guitar solo work from Wilson, despite the fact one of the main riffs is directly derived from Pink Floyd's 'Run Like Hell...'

An irritating work, but good for one or two listens.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is one of the few items in PT's catalogue that I wouldn't generally recommend. It can still largely appreciate it but I guess it will be way too lengthy, self-indulgent and pointless for many other people.

Phase I & II are extended space rock jams with fine guitar improvisations. Rather then a compelling listen by their own merit, it's a tribute to Floyd, Hawkwind, Neu! and Tangerine Dream. For most PT fans, these phases are the preferred trips because they are closest to the main PT sound of that period. I think they are ok but nothing special really.

As you may have noted from other reviews, Phase III is the most debated phase. Usually it's much criticized but it's probably the most relevant addition to your Porcupine catalogue. It stays clear of the rocking elements that made the previous phases a bit dragging. Instead it goes for a credible ambient techno flavour. It's the grooviest trip on the album, citing Klaus Schulze with its slowly building lush sonics. There are some spacey guitars in the background that remind me of Tangerine Dream's Edgar Froese.

Also Phase IV stays in cosmic dream stratospheres and elevates my enjoyment album another notch. Be warned though, for people that need constant flashing action in music, this will be another "nothing happens here" track, but if you can appreciate the art of abstract music, this is a 4 star moment.

Phase II was the very first track I heard from PT. It left me pretty much unmoved and it took me a few more years till I gave the band another try. Needless to say this shouldn't be the first album you should hear from the band. Of course it's still good enough on itself to deserve a 3 star average. Later on in his career, Wilson would reserve this kind of kraut tributes for one of his other musical persona called I.E.M.

Review by jampa17
3 stars Good trip, maybe too long but good, entertaining and some kind of catchy.

Surprisingly, I found this album more appealing than most of Porcupine Tree "official" discography. I love the good balance between synthesizers and guitars, the moods are good and some of the jams are really interesting, but, those vocal samples come quite boring at times.

I don't know why this is a PT album if only Wilson plays on it nor why this is an "EP" because it's way long to be an official album right?? But that is just for names and classification. At the end the music is good, most of the time. I have to say, some parts are boring you know, the parts that were made to make you fall into the journey sometimes gets really boring but when the music starts again the result is good. Surely, I won't spin this particular album too often, but I think it's a good album to check in isolated occasions.

Good but not essential is what comes to my mind listening to this kind of music. I can enjoy it for sure but don't be afraid to skip some space noise parts that don't add anything to the music. Worth for the good guitar work. 3 stars.

Review by JLocke
4 stars I am seldom moved to tears by music alone, although I consider it to be the finest and most majestic of all the arts. Perhaps that's because in my musical journey thus far, I sometimes feel as if I've heard 'damned near everything', as they say. While I never tire from any of it, the few times the music is so personal that it causes me to weep are times worth highlighting.

Such is the case with Voyage 34, Porcupine Tree's lost gem of Pink Floyd-inspired instrumentals. The soundscapes heard on this record are some of the most amazingly heartfelt pieces in modern rock I've ever heard. While at times the rhythms seem to be repetitive, the more conscientious listener will notice that the tracks never stagnate, and even if the additions are minute at times, the levels constantly build.

The first two tracks are the only real reason to own this recording, as I admit the latter half is more or less a throw-away collection of noise and sound clips (many of which have already been established previously). However, the first half of the album is so powerful, I somehow don't care that it loses me after that. Sure, some parts of the first piece (especially near the beginning) sound a little too much like Floyd, but it soon claims an identity of its own, leaving nothing to be snickered at. I think anybody with an open mind (and certainly anyone who enjoys trippy, soaring music) owes it to himself to give this album a spin more than once.

Steven Wilson does a dynamite job of creating the musical equivalent of a 'bad trip', but does it in a way (at least for the first two go-rounds) that is still bewilderingly lovely to the ear. You get a sense of dread and urgency as the pieces build, and yet never feel uncomfortable. You're somehow able to go for the ride. I think

By the time the first track reaches the climax and Wilson soars away with the guitar solo, I felt as if I truly had been transported to another state of mind. Not because the music itself was so terribly unlike anything else ever, but because I allowed myself to fall into the world the music was offering to me. If you choose not to surrender to the artist's vision, you'll never fully enjoy all the wonders music can bring you. So take a chance, and give Voyage 34 a spin, or two. It may not be as expected or typical as the band's other output, but that shouldn't be a reason to dismiss it.

The second piece is very similar to the first; almost a re-imagining (if I remember correctly, each piece of the collection was released separately at first). It's a little but longer than the first, and has a slightly darker edge. But the lead guitar work awaiting you at the end of this particular piece is twice as amazing as the first. I'm not speaking in terms of technical prowess (one of the most overrated aspects of so-called 'complex' music, in my opinion), but rather in terms of emotion. Both songs, the second one in particular, are full of heart, and anyone who appreciates that side of music should be able to recognize this immediately and appreciate it.

Forget the subject matter, for a moment: if there were no dialogue clips featured whatsoever, I still think the music would stand on its own as amazing, trippy tock music. Drugs are not even a small part of my lifestyle, yet I can appreciate this music. The album is not exclusively for trip-takers. It's universal, like all real art. And it's good-- not from a technical level, perhaps, but from an emotional one. The only reason you wouldn't like it is because you wouldn't allow yourself to. I have opened myself up to so many different styles of art and music, and my life has been made richer every time a new piece clicks with me. I'm not sure if there even is such a thing as 'taste' in the typical sense. I think it's a matter of allowing yourself to branch out and appreciate as much as possible. Voyage 34 is probably the most disconnected album in the Porcupine Tree discography, and yet I find it the most interesting, in many ways.

So try it out. If you hate it, blame me. I think it's a very underrated and overlooked album that packs a huge punch, if you're willing to let it do its job and envelop you within its ethereal soundscapes. Highly recommended, despite the less popular general consensus.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars 'Voyage 34: The Complete Trip' is considered a compilation album only because it combined two albums which were comprised of the first 2 phases on one album, released in 1992, and phases 3 and 4 on another album, released in 1993. All of the phases are collected in this album in a remastered version and released in 2000 and then again in 2004. The music is completely instrumental, except for some spoken word passages, some voice samples, and samples from Dead Can Dance's 'As the Bell Rings the Maypole Spins' can be heard throughout the entire album. It is all psychedelic and spacey. The music is not like most of Porcupine Tree's other albums in that it is more like space rock and more akin to Steven Wilson's earlier projects (Altamont, Karma) and some of his experimental projects (I.E.M., Bass Communion). The main thing is, don't go into this album thinking it's typical PT music, because you will be disappointed. SW even says this was meant to be experimental and trippy. All of the instruments are played by SW except for some of the keyboards in Phase IV, which also features Richard Barbieri, who would later become a permanent member of PT. Each phase takes up a complete side of the records in this two record set.

Another thing to note here, is that the first 2 phases are comprised of original music, while the second 2 phases are remixes. Phase III is remixed by the British electronic group 'Astalasia' and Phase IV is remixed by Wilson and Barbieri, with the original material being the source material in both cases. The first 2 phases were originally supposed to be released as a single 30 minute track as part of the album 'Up the Downstair' which would have made that album a double album. This music was also released towards the end of the 'ambient' movement, and SW feels that it fits in better in that trend of music than anything else. The music definitely has that ambient feel, especially in the third and fourth phases.

I was lucky enough to find this CD in a discount bin, and I couldn't believe my eyes at the time because I knew how hard it was to find. I also knew what the music was about because I was trying to explore everything Porcupine Tree at the time. So, I went into this album knowing what to expect. I still had a hard time listening to it at first, but it grew on me over time, especially when I was able to get more information about it. The booklet that is included with the CD has all of the words from the narration in the first phase and the words from the spoken samples in the 2nd phase along with some pictures that fit the music perfectly.

Phase I starts off with the spoken word passage that explains the nature of the music which illustrates a LSD trip experience by a person named Brian and his friends. After the short introduction, the foundation is established for the first section of Phase I, which some will recognize as being very similar to the foundation of the song 'Run Like Hell' by Pink Floyd. There are also atmospheric sounds and other vocal sounds which represent the people involved in the LSD experiment. This phase is somewhat similar to PT's 'The Sky Moves Sideways', which is also a long instrumental, but which is also more interesting music wise than this more ambient music. At 6 minutes, you enter into the second section of the track with another narration explaining the progress of the trip. You can hear singing from time to time, that is the Dead Can Dance sample. The foundation has changed now, no longer resembling Pink Floyd's song. At around 8 minutes, SW's guitar kicks in and things get more interesting as he begins a melodic solo. This is probably the most melodic passage in the entire collection as the rest of it remains quite space and ambient, and it also makes Phase I the best of the bunch, even if the narration is a little off- putting.

Phase II gets rid of the narration, but still utilizes voice recordings of Timothy Leary and other samples throughout the piece. It builds from atmospheric sounds and some exotic sounding percussive noises are introduced as different vocal samples swirl around with the music. At around 5 minutes, percussion and guitar come in with the repeating notes similar to the first foundation in Phase I, so there is that connection to Pink Floyd again. There is some sustained and psychedelic guitar chords and keyboards added, making things more interesting, but not as melodic as the first. The feel is more improvised than it was in the first phase thus making it more like Krautrock as everything is based off of one chord and a 4/4 meter. At the 10:30 mark, things turn more ambient and psychedelic as vocal samples continue. Then at 12:00 minutes, drums and bass kick back in with guitar and keyboards again.

As I said before, Phase III is a remix of the first 2 phases by the band 'Astralasia'. This explains why this track sounds more ambient and less like the first 2 phases. The samples used throughout the original material and chopped up and made into echoing noises. This is the type of music that you can easily meditate to or used as background music. It is built on a simple repeating 2 chord pattern with the small sections of the original looped and layered repetitively and the changes are subtle throughout. There is nothing melodic about it, just simple ambient music with a light beat. This goes on for more than 19 minutes. Yes, it is hard to sit through.

Phase IV is also a remix done by SW and Richard Barbieri. It is a foreshadowing of the 'Bass Communion' sound. It starts off with eerie sounding drones, atmospheric loops and vocal samples. Things turn more psychedelic at 4 minutes when things start feeling a little brighter with flute loops (sounds like a breakfast cereal). Atmospheric guitar notes swirl around with a subdued percussive noise in the background. This pattern repeats for quite a while as this track isn't in a hurry to get anywhere. Around 9:45, the repeating loops end and we are left with a subdued tribal percussion with bubbly, synth sounds and the return of vocal samples. Once again, a drone starts and echoing sounds begin and the eerie feeling starts again. At 13:40, there is silence. This lasts until 18:45 when synths fade in creating a final psychedelic atmosphere until the end at over 20 minutes. There is a little more going on in this phase than the last one, but it is still quite ambient for the most part.

So, the album is more of a curiosity for the more devoted fans of Porcupine Tree, or for the fans of Steven Wilson's more experimental music. The first 2 phases are the best and the last 2 are more ambient without a lot going on in them. Many have said that 'The Sky Moves Sideways' and 'Moonloop' are better examples of good psychedelic space rock in the PT discography, and they are right. However, we have to remember that this album was released early on in SW's and PT's career. Because half of it is good and the other half is more for background music, this will at least get 3 stars. But hopefully after reading this, listeners can understand the entire work a little better.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Voyage 34 is a half hour-long ambient space rock workout by Porcupine Tree, interspersed with audio extracts from a "Reefer Madness"-esque piece about the dangers of drugs. Laying the groundwork for later space rock escapades from the project like The Sky Moves Sideways and Up the Downstair (the latter of which takes its name from one of the aforementioned samples), it showcases Steven Wilson's ability as a guitarist, arranger, and all-around multi-instrumentalist, and does an interesting job of blending the approaches of 1970s freakout space rock and 1990s ambient chillout music.

The original EP is pretty solid, and offered up the entire half-hour experience (sometimes divided into "Phase 1" and "Phase 2"). What's more commonly available these days is various variations on Voyage 34: the Complete Trip, which adds on Phase 3 and Phase 4. These remixes I consider rather inessential, and risk belabouring the point, and when I relisten to the piece these days I just go with phases 1 or 2. I'd rate either release 4 stars, but on the understanding that Phases 3 and 4 are basically bonus tracks, and I don't incorporate bonus tracks into my ratings generally (either positive or negative).

Latest members reviews

3 stars As mentioned in Part I, Steven Wilson had originally intended for Up the Downstair to be a double album, with the 30-minute suite "Voyage 34" comprising the second disc. This ideas was dropped in the end, and "Voyage 34" was remixed by Wilson and Richard Barbieri to be a sprawling, 70-minute piece t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903281) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Porcupine Tree's 'Voyage 34' is definitely one of the odd-balls of the PT discography. Although this is labeled as a Porcupine Tree album, it is in fact more or less entirely a Steven Wilson solo album, with assistance only on the final track with Richard Barbieri contributing some of the synth ... (read more)

Report this review (#1539407) | Posted by AndyJ | Monday, March 14, 2016 | Review Permanlink

4 stars No matter what people say this Pocupine Tree EP should not be underestimated. People criticize this EP for using old progressive rock stuff especially main riff of Pink Floyd's Another Brick In The Wall and also for its long ambient parts. But in my opinion since its an EP Wilson tried to make ... (read more)

Report this review (#809708) | Posted by bill hicks | Friday, August 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I'm not used to write reviews, specially since I'm not a native English speaker but reading the reviews for this album I felt in the obligation of rising my voice in defence of it. Forget the normal conventionalisms about "progressive music" because these tracks are beyond that. This music was do ... (read more)

Report this review (#261135) | Posted by Urogallo | Saturday, January 16, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars There is not much to say about this album that hasn't been said, but I feel as if a review is a requirement. Terrible. That is my word to describe this less than trippy (or way too trippy) and repetitive PT album. I'm a huge fan of the band and have gotten a hold of everything that I can, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#185139) | Posted by InfiniteWake | Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Totally love this!!! What a fascinating idea - to have all this lush psychedelic music going on behind this peculiar American-voiced chat about LSD. It really rocks and phases 1 and 2 have these amazing liquid-rock guitar solos that you can really lose yourself in. As a single - a bizarre idea, ... (read more)

Report this review (#152610) | Posted by PinkPangolin | Sunday, November 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars One of the most psychedelic releases ever, no doubt, is Porcupine Tree's Voyage 34. I would suggest buying this edition, and avoiding the other 2, because this is a collection of the key moments from the entire Voyage 34 experience, to form the complete trip. In fact, there is very little that was ... (read more)

Report this review (#128629) | Posted by Shakespeare | Sunday, July 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I was little bit sceptical, when I looked the durations of this albums songs. So often songs are boring when songs are too long. This album suprised me, 'cause the all songs aren't rubbish. Maybe Wilson had could make this songs little shorter, but it's still very nice backround music. I = Re ... (read more)

Report this review (#75945) | Posted by Toomio | Sunday, April 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I had no expectations at all when I stumbled upon Voyage 34. I was looking for another Porcupine Tre album and I noticed that Voyage 34 had long songs. Being that it was earlier Porcupine Tree, I assumed they would be spacey, evolving trips of some nature. I was right, and while it isn't a mas ... (read more)

Report this review (#70177) | Posted by stonebeard | Tuesday, February 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Voyage 34 is one of the most Pink Floyd remarkable influenced album made by PT. Though almost all the music is a trip with special sounds from Barbieri's sinthesizers this album is excellent by the way that Wilson and his pal are conected to make a terrorific and psychodelic ambient that provo ... (read more)

Report this review (#9451) | Posted by Queno | Monday, May 16, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Porcupine Tree's first album, "On The Sunday Of Life...", was a chaotic collection of experimental tracks that Steven Wilson recorded throughout the years, just for fun, when he wasn't working on No-Man music (his main band at the time). This work IMO should be classified as real debut. It was ... (read more)

Report this review (#9450) | Posted by | Saturday, February 26, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A terrific album but slightly fades at the end. It is however beautiful and a wonderous piece of work. Steve Wilson's guitar work is magnificent as he plays around with textures and sonic movements. To me this is a cross of Pink Floyd and Massive Attack. Many electronica loops filled with guit ... (read more)

Report this review (#9449) | Posted by | Thursday, December 2, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I cannot rate this record as a 5 star because is not prog at all, is a very sutil, elegant record about ambient and moods. The first VOYAGE is a rememberance of Pink Floyd mixed with space age feelings, going through a very deep and quiet instrumentation, the second track is outstanding beacus ... (read more)

Report this review (#9447) | Posted by arqwave | Tuesday, August 17, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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