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Porcupine Tree

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Porcupine Tree Staircase Infinities album cover
3.81 | 222 ratings | 31 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cloud Zero (4:39)
2. The Joke's on You (4:05)
3. Navigator (4:51)
4. Rainy Taxi (6:44)
5. Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape (9:24)

Total Time 29:43

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / guitar, vocals, keyboards, programming

Releases information

LP Lazy Eye 3094 (1994)(limited edition 10 mini album)
CD Blueprint BP 217CD (1995)

This material comprises unused tracks from the recording sessions for 1993 album 'Up The Downstair'. It has now been incorporated as bonus material on the 2005 remastered edition of that album.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PORCUPINE TREE Staircase Infinities Music

PORCUPINE TREE Staircase Infinities ratings distribution

(222 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (27%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

PORCUPINE TREE Staircase Infinities reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by MikeEnRegalia
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a very cool and laid back album (EP). It is out of print, but it is included in the recently published re-release of Up The Downstair. I think that it's very good, but not a masterpiece, because - apart from Cloud Zero and Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape - it is just too mellow and monotonous. A few occasional outbursts of more structured and focussed playing would have done wonders. The only uptempo track (Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape) is also the most repetitive one.

Cloud Zero: Very nice instrumental track, basically improvisations on top of sphaerical keyboards.

The Joke's On You: A Wish You Were Here like intro on the acoustic guitar ... nice mellow track, kind of depressive though.

Navigator: Very cool rhythmic intro - 4/4 with many anomalies, so it seems like a more complicated signature. On top of the rhythm, a Gilmour like guitar plays a melodic solo, backed by chords played on the organ. From the middle of the song, many more instruments are kicking in.

Rainy Taxi: Here a organ plays the introduction. Many effects like delay and even wah are used to expand the sound of the organ. This track sounds a lot like Chroma Key (Kevin Moore). After three minutes the acoustic guitar kicks in, and together with the new harmonic structure clarifies that it is a Porcupine Tree track.

Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape: This is a typical Procupine Tree track from their Floydian phase, building up slowly on top of a rhythm and a single chord. This really reminds of the Voyage 34 epics. After 3 1/2 minutes, a more decisive electric guitar kicks in and plays a Gilmoure like solo. For a while, the solo doesn't seem to go anywhere, then the tempo increases slightly and the song mutates into an outro (the kind of repetitive improvisation where you expect the volume to start fading). But instead the tempo keeps increasing for some more minutes. Then suddenly, the song comes to an halt (quickly decreasing tempo), and then fades out with some sound effects.

Review by Fight Club
5 stars 5 Words describes this album entirely:

30 Minutes of Musical Beauty

This is one of the more recent Porcupine Tree albums I picked up and lemme tell ya. It's worth taking the time to search for it. It's not like their later releases. 4 of the 5 tracks are instrumental (Joke's On You being the exception) and everything is based on solos with ethereal keyboards behind them.Steven Wilson solos off of himself quite well here O.o Cloud Zero starts off with a cool jazz guitar solo then continues with another nice solo flying over it. Incredibly nice song. Rainy Taxi and Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape are two more highlights off the album. Rainy Taxi has some nice spacious organ work while YHD has an incredible solo than goes on for a few minutes with some really surreal synth. This entire album is a space trip. It's not like In Absentia, this album focuses on letting your mind go free in space. Very recommended!

Review by evenless
5 stars Staircase Infinities gives us an additional 30 minutes of material from the "Up the Downstair" sessions and what a 30 minutes they are! Very atmospheric album which is showing the direction in which PT was heading with their follow-up album "The Sky Moves Sideways". .

Since this EP was initially released in early 1994 and PT is not particularly the kind of band who "stands still", but rather progresses it makes sense this album sounds very different from their later albums like "In Absentia" and "Deadwing". I love the way PT has progressed itself as a band over the years and like all their albums. For anyone who preferred PT in their early years (bigger influence of Pink Floyd is certainly noticeable) I would strongly advise to listen to and enjoy the 30 minutes of, mostly instrumental, magnificent space rocking music!

This EP has five tracks on it and each song is definitely worth one firm star, hence I am also rating it five stars like all the previous reviewers of this marvellous EP.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars Fortunately, for the PT fans, this EP has been integrated into the remastered verson of "Up The Downstairs". Not that this is a masterpiece but most of the songs are valuable.

The opening is somewhat weak : purely experimental during its starting phase; but it will nicely evolve thanks to some brilliant guitar riffs (but this will be a constant in this EP).

A fully Floydian "Joke's OnYou" follows. Slow and hard tempos are mixed. Acoustic / electric. Such a great combination. These guys are really amazing. Do remember that these tracks are only left-overs from the "Up The Downstairs" sessions ...

For those of you who are orphans of the early Floyd space music, "Rainy Taxi" will get you there. Nice keyboards, almost experimental music to start, and so beautiful after the first half. This is a song for all the "ASOS" lovers to which I damned belong. When you listen to this organ, it's almost like hearing Wright's ones. This is a brilliant song. A highlight. One of their most achieved song so far. IMHHO (humble and HONEST opinion). Sensible, full of humanity (?), wonderful.

I just can not understand that it didn't make the original album. Such a fantastic song ! By far the best one available on this EP.

The long "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape" will also transport you into some wonderful moment. I am just found of the middle section and the extraordinary guitar break. So passionate, even wild, hypnotic. Another fantastic psyche tune. I just love this type of music. The closing part is just incredible. Such a great rhythm. Another great PT song, no doubt.

This work is a great add-on to "Up The Downstairs". But even as such it is a very good snapshot on PT's music. Four stars.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Another hidden pleasure in PT's extensive library featuring the solid grooves and atmospheric class of "Up the Downstair". The instrumental introduction is a dreamy delight, while most of the other songs hearken back to Wilson's early sound on "Sunday of Life". As a whole they lack the punch heard of "Up the Downstair" and deliver their pleasures through heaping doses of well composed textures and ambience-- with the occasional cameo of a guitar solo to spice it up; not as memorable as "UTDStair" though.

A great companion piece now included in the re-release of "Up the Downstair", and worth tracking down in its own right for the completions.

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

Review by russellk
3 stars Anyone who buys the 2005 reissue of 1993's 'Up The Downstair' gets this album as a bonus. Unlike most bonuses, this is a genuine treasure, 30 minutes of space rock deliciousness. Until 2005 it was available on its own, providing perhaps a lesser value.

All five tracks are strong without being outstanding. 'Cloud Zero' opens with a light, almost funky beat, backed by sparkling synths and WILSON's busy guitar glissades. 'The Joke's On You' sounds like the demo for a more recent PORCUPINE TREE song, with its emphasis on acoustic guitar: it could, with some work, have occupied a place on the latter half of any late 90s PT disc along with the slower, more contemplative tracks WILSON tends to leave to the ends of his albums. 'Navigator' is all synths, guitar effects and an odd, jerky beat, an interlude piece. 'Rainy Taxi' is the undoubted highlight of the record and almost worthy of a place on 'Up The Downstair' had one been available. RICK WRIGHT-like keyboards suffuse your speakers, seemingly randomly at first, but building slowly into a magnificent soundscape that reminds you why you love this genre so much. 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape' is apparently a live reworking of a track originally from WILSON's first cassette, 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm', itself a shorter version of the full 20 minutes available on yet another PT issue ... confused yet? A suitable closer, with menacing bass and percussion added to the mix of synths and guitars, but I find myself a little annoyed by the way the beat is sped up near the end.

This is clearly a collection of leftovers. There's no real shape to the record, no special care given to placement of tracks apart from the placement of YHD at the end. It's certainly not essential, but like any unexpected present, very welcome as a bonus.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Staircase Infinities is in my opinion the best pre-Stupid Dream era Porcupine Tree release!

I've find it hard listening to long compositions like The Sky Moves Sideways nor have I ever managed to get through the entire Coma Divine in one take. This mini-album is more consistent, taking the element that I love the most and not making them feel too repetitive. That being said, I realize that this particular genre is not really for me, although I do enjoy occasional slip back into this territory on Porcupine Trees later releases!

The performances here are smooth and have something to offer for both a passive and active listening experience. The Joke's On You features a memorable melodic vocal performance which together with all the underlying music arrangement makes the song a real treat which will unite both the fans of the old and new Porcupine Tree in one big cheer.

***** songs: The Joke's On You (4:06)

**** songs: Cloud Zero (4:39) Navigator (4:47) Rainy Taxi (6:44) Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape (9:28)

Total Rating: 4,14

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Oh Steven... you love those eps, don't you?

With every Porcupine Tree [PT] album that's released there's a good chance that an ep will follow. Such is the case with Up the Downstair, Signify, and recently; Fear Of a Blank Planet. Unfortunately, eps such as this are usually impossible to find, but Mr. Wilson is a saint for packaging the eps with his remastered albums. Those of us lucky enough to purchase the remastered edition of Up The Downstair were treated to this Gem. A mostly instrumental piece that's a great child to it's parent releases, Up the Downstair and Voyage 34.

Catchy, spacey and all around wonderful this EP is a delightful bonus to an already excellent album. Those of you who actually have the EP on vinyl... cherish is for all eternity! 4 stars, likely the highest mark I'll ever give to an EP (see my other reviews for the reason to that), an excellent offering from the PT crew, just as good as a full album (and it's only about 3 minutes shy of that). Recommended for anyone who liked PT's early works or psychadellia in general.

Review by ProgBagel
3 stars Porcupine Tree - The Staircase Infinities 3.75 stars

This was a really good EP. It really only suffers from being more of the same from 'Up The Downstair' and because there was nothing on it that stood out really, although I have really come to like the track 'Rainy Taxi'. If you like 'Up the Downstair', then you're sure to have the same feelings about this one. All of the tracks are instrumental except for 'The Joke's On You'.

Wilson once again improves on the ambience and texture on all the songs. The samples and atmosphere on this EP are better than anything Porcupine Tree related, in my honest opinion. The guitar on this is once again, very Gilmourish, but Steve is ripping off David in his best moments, because they are quite good.

Not much to say then what has already been said about 'Up the Downstair'. This is a great EP but I am a little biased towards them. I find it hard to spend a decent amount of money buying a CD with 5 songs when just a little extra can get you a full-length album. A good EP by any measure, but I would still rather get a full LP.

Review by LiquidEternity
3 stars As far as EPs go, this one is alright. As far as music from the Up the Downstairs era goes, this one is only okay. Usually, I find myself blown away by the B side material from Steven Wilson, but in this case, I'm usually only somewhat interested. If you buy the double CD version of Up the Downstairs, this comes with it (said method being how I got ahold of the disc). Otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about having all of this. The music is average, the moods average, the production pretty good, but overall, not really a big deal in terms of Porcupine Tree music.
Review by The Sleepwalker
3 stars Staircase Infinities is an EP consisting of leftover tracks that just didn't make it on Up The Downstairs, but, on the 2005 remaster of that album, this EP is the second disc, I've got that remaster, but I will review the two discs seperate. First of all I don't really understand why most of these tracks were not included on the original version of Up The Downstairs, cause most of these tracks are better than several songs of Up The Downstairs.

The album starts with "Cloud Zero", a guitar based instrumental. The song sounds very experimental and trippy, the song gets heavier during the second half of the song, though this doesn't make it sound very different from the first half of the song.

The second song is "The Joke's On You", a song based around acoustic guitar playing, not neccecarily a very special chord pattern, but a nice one it is. The song has a heavier middle part, and ends with a short soundscape of let's say, fourty seconds, a decent song, not very special.

"Navigator" starts out with some powerful drums and organ and in fact, not much is going to be added to it, of course some synths in the background to create a nice ambience and some great guitar playing by Steven Wilson will take the lead somewhere near the half of the song. The song is pretty mellow and is overall a very nice track.

Next is "Rainy Taxi", a song which starts out with very smooth organ sounds, it will go on this way for about two minutes 'till acoustic guitar will join, the song isn't very diverse and does remind me a bit of "Celestial Voices", which is the fourth and final part of Pink Floyd's song "A Saucerful Of Secrets".

The most epic and by far the best track on this EP is the very powerful "Yellow Hedgegrow Dreamscape", that starts out with a powerful bassline, synths and radiosounds. This is the first of three parts the song is made out of, the second one being a guitar solo, a lengthy one, and a very agressive one, pretty good and really fits the song. Next the solo will make room for a powerful distorted riff, that slowly speeds up, after repeating the riff just a few times another great guitar solo comes in, during this solo the riff speeds up more and more, until it reaches it's climax, the song slows down again and synth comes in again to create a very calm ending, absolutely a wonderfull song.

I think this EP, though only lasting thirty minutes, is even better than Up The Downstairs, the songs are more experimental and much more instrument driven. This is really what I like Porcupine Tree for, their experimental soundscapes, it's great.

Edit: after discovering more music and more Porcupine Tree, i don't think this one is worth the four stars I rated it. For that reason, I will change the rating to three stars, which suits the EP much better I think.

Review by The Crow
4 stars What a great idea, to include this small EP in the remastered version of "Up the Downstair"!

Thanks to that, we can enjoy this curious collection of psychodelic beauty, with the original sound of the second Porcupine Tree album... This sound is, in the other hand, anything but bad. The drum machine is cool, not very artificial, and the dreamy guitars and keyboards they all sound in the right place.

The style of this five songs are even more psychedelic than "Up the Downstair", with longer and more minimalistic instrumental passages. Only in The Joke's on You we can hear the Steve Wilson's voice... Songs like Navigator or Rainy Taxy are little modern psychedelic classics. And while they had maybe not worked properly in "Up the Downstair", wich is more diverse and dynamic, like a separated EP they sound compact and coherent. "Staircaise Infinities" is similar in concept to "Nil Recurring"... It's related with the original album, but it works better separated from it.

Best tracks: the five tracks are similar in quality... They are all good!

Conclusion: if you want to hear the most psychedelic side of Porcupine Tree, and you feel bored hearing things like "Voyage 34", then give this little EP an opportunity... It's one of the best psychedelic releases of the 90's, in my opinion. Nevertheless, if you are a die-hard fan of the last Porcupine Tree's albums, maybe you'll dislike "Staircase Infinities".

My rating: ****

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Staircase Infinities' - Porcupine Tree (6/10)

While (from what I've heard so far) I haven't been a great fan of Porcupine Tree's earliest material, I do very much like this mellow EP. 'On The Sunday Of Life' gave to the listener, a dose of immature, childish yet catchy psychedelic music. While there was obviously evidence of Steven Wilson's indomitable talent early on as the debut, it was clear he was not yet using his skills to their best possible use.

This EP however, remarks a different, more musically direct Porcupine Tree. While (at the time of writing this review) I actually have not listened to the album that this EP is a companion to ('Up The Downstair,') I do know that this EP is only a collection of b-sides, much like a precursor to the band's more recent EP 'Nil Recurring.' However, despite it simply being a collection of songs that didn't make the cut, it flows quite nicely. From a jazz-infused instrumental jam at the beginning to a mellowed out space jam at the end, 'Staircase Infinities' works well not only as a companion piece, but as a work of it's own.

This makes me want to check out 'Up The Downstair' in a very big way.

Review by JLocke
3 stars ''Cloud Zero'' is a nice enough jammy tune, but I can already some effects and background effects are being recycled from previous PT material. Although Wilson's guitar work here is quite good, it doesn't quite match some of the other work he's done during the band's 'trippy' period , such as Voyage 34. Some parts of this remind me of Steve Howe's guitar style, with the stepping down of notes across the neck, creating really nice passages. Not a bad song.

''The Joke's On You'' Shows glimpses of where PT's music would go on the next album, The Sky Moves Sideways. Similar strumming patters, rhythms and chords as the song ''Stars Die'', but not as refined, and since the full band still hadn't formed properly by this point, much would be improved on later. Since I already know where the band went shortly after this, I can't help but feel like this song is a slightly unfinished of a better one that emerge just around the corner. The lead guitar on this song also sounds a bit recycled from ''The Nostalgia Factory''. It just seems like Mr. Steven Wilson is not pushing himself any further that where is already is musically, and as a result things on this EP come off as stale.

''Navigator'' has a really cool, tribal drum beat, enveloped by atmospheric keys and rattling percussion. Soon, Wilson comes in with what he does best: long, spacey guitar leads, adding more atmosphere to the already quite psychedelic track. It's a really good song, despite not having much technical prowess going on. The sounds here are big and open, glowing in the darkness that PT's mood often creates. I sometimes wish the band would still explore this type of stuff, rather than go completely dark and heavy like they seem to do these days, but oh well, that's why we can pull out these old records and reminisce, I suppose.

''Rainy Taxi'' takes a long time to get going, and when it finally does, it's more pre-''Stars Die'' type stuff. Same old same old, I suppose. Not impressive at all. If no other PT song had sounded like this, I may like it more, but it was done better later on, so this becomes just an unfinished idea in retrospect.

''Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape'' is the only song on this EP that I feel may have been good enough to make the final cut of the Up The Downstair album. It just sounds like it belongs on that record, to me. Very moody and atmospheric as always with early PT, but it feels more fleshed-out and complete than some of the other stuff on Staircase Infinities. I can understand why it wasn't included, though, given its length. It's the most Pink Floyd-like of all the tracks, which in this case isn't too bad. True, some of Wilson's guitar stylings in the early days would at times sound like blatant rip-offs, but this song doesn't feel that way to me-- I merely hear the influence.

So there you go. This EP is no longer made, but it actually included as a second disc with the more recent editions of Up The Downstair. When looked at as part of that album's set, it makes this EP seem more worth having, but if it were still only available on its own, I wouldn't recommend breaking your wallet searching for it. It's more or less a bunch of disjointed ideas and B-sides that didn't make the album proper. A could of really good songs surrounded by fragments of what Wilson would fully realize in the future when PT became full-fledged band.

It's an average release, nothing special.

Review by EatThatPhonebook
3 stars "Staircase Infinities" is a side EP of the album "Up The Downstair", PT's second album. The structure is really good, and the songs are as well; this EP is another one of those forgotten releases of this unbelievable band, that are now hard to find and listen to. Like all PT's early releases, SI is very influenced by atmospheric space rock, Pink Floyd, electronic, and Prog Rock generally speaking. If you prefer the crunchy, distorted latter style of the band, then you might as well put this aside. If you can appreciate it, then I promise you you won't regret it.

Some songs are really brilliant, like "The Joke's On You", a beautiful, melodic piece, really dreamy and haunting., or "Navigator" a great atmospheric song, with many elements that remind of the band's studio debut, "On The Sunday Of Life...". Te other three songs are good too, even though sometimes they get a little too boring.

Like I said earlier, for being just an EP this album is really good, with many memorable moments that if you are a fan of the band you must not miss. 3.5 stars.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The early releases by Porcupine Tree are highly valued by certain pockets of their fanbase, loved for their endless variety and unpredictability, covering a range of genres and styles. `Staircase Infinities' is a companion album to their early release `Up The Downstair' - they even share the same cover, just with different colouring - however this one stands perfectly well on it's own. The music is not particularly deep or complicated, but it's highly melodic and easy to unwind to. Still essentially a Steven Wilson solo project at this point, there's a real looseness and uplifting sound to his playing, and he fills the predominantly instrumental album with endless guitar solos and tasteful keyboards.

The improvised `Cloud Zero' begins with swirling disorientating effects and jazzy drumming. A lovely ambient piece, within seconds Wilson weaves a loose and tasteful guitar solo around shimmering glistening keyboard effects. I miss those old melodic Wilson solos, a lot of times these days he seems more interested in using distortion and noise! `The Joke's On You' is a semi-acoustic ballad with nonsense lyrics, but a dramatic chorus and big guitar moments turns it a little more serious. `Navigator' features a moody programmed drum and eerie organ backdrop behind some searing guitar work. It's minimal and simplistic, but still very effective and highly emotional. `Rainy Taxi' opens with a floating electronic section that reminds me so much of side B of the Klaus Schulze `Blackdance' album, perhaps due to the similar mournful organs. Wilson would later reincorporate this section into his first two Bass Communion albums and a No-man album to great effect. When the strummed acoustic guitar enters near the end it has a similar pattern to the final section of Pink Floyd's `A Saucerful Of Secrets'', but it's equally reflective as it is sad here. `Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape' has a great slow build, with plodding bass, ghostly unnerving synths and whispered fragmented voices, before a tempo increase mid-way as Wilson launches into grand and inspiring never-ending guitar solo, similar to P.Tree's later `Moonloop' that's completely joyful and unrestrained.

I have the original Delerium Records/Blueprint release, but this album is much easier to find now in the expanded 2 CD re-release of `Up The Downstair'. There was some slight remixing for the new version, though it's only slightly noticeable in a few brief moments, certainly not as extreme as replacing all the programmed drums on `Downstair' was. Essentially getting the album as a freebie these days is unbelievably good value!

Listening to this album again reminds me of a time when a new Porcupine Tree album meant something totally different from the last. From the quirky psych-pop of `On The Sunday Of Life', the trance elements of `Voyage 34', the moody dark prog of `Signify' and so on, there's a reason why the band is still considered such an important and exciting modern progressive act from their formative days. As much as the more recent releases and Wilson's solo albums have generally keep up the quality, I miss these early days of the band, when Steven Wilson was putting out records for the sheer joy of it, something that is completely obvious on this release.

`Staircase Infinities' is not only a reminder of how good Porcupine Tree were so early in their career, it's also another example of how anything released on the Delerium Records label was a sign of quality in inventive and unpredictable modern psych/prog/space artists.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars Originally intended to be released as a double album with the previous year's "Up The Downstair," the end result was that the material left over from those sessions was released as an EP in 1994. This 30 minute collection of five tracks is much in the vein of "Downstair." It continues the pathway that Steven Wilson chose to develop the psychedelic rock strand of his creative forces. Despite being similar to the previous album in spaciness, this material is a lot mellower as I don't hear as much Ozric Tentacle influenced electronic tendencies nor as many upbeat songs. These tracks are slower and trippier with long drawn out spaced out passages. There is percussion to be had but all is set on chill mode.

I actually find the five songs on this EP to be of slightly higher quality than "Downstair." I love the chord progressions. I love the tasty guitar solos and effects. It seems like Wilson had developed down his own path a little bit more so even this was created roughly at the same time of "Downstair" it really sounds like it could have been recorded a year later. It also seems like the gateway to the next album "The Sky Moves Sideways" where I hear all those rhythms, patterns and spacey electronic effects ratcheting up a few notches. Although this was originally released as an EP, I acquired it as a double album on the 2005 remastered version of "Up The Downstair." Spacey, relaxed and stimulating at the same time.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Porcupine Tree's second official album "Up the Downstair" was originally planned to be a double album. So, what happened to all of the music that was planned for this double album that never came to be? Well, one of the long tracks was an edited version of Voyage #34 I and II, which ended up being released in its full version on an earlier EP. But that still left us with 3 shorter tracks that was supposed to take up the rest of the double album. This is where the EP "Staircase Infinities", released in 1994, comes in. This five track EP contains the those three outtakes, and two other tracks that were recorded shortly after the release of "Up the Downstair".

The thing that most people don't know is that there was another EP, released only to radio stations (500 copies), that contained a few of those outtakes that were already recorded when "Up the Downstair" was still unreleased and those song were supposed to be on the album. That radio promo EP was called "Radioactive" (1992), and it contained 4 tracks: an edited version of "Synesthesia" (cut to 4:39) which would be on "Up the Downstair" album, "Radioactive Toy" (an edit that cut it to 4:06 from the version from "On the Sunday of Life"), and earlier versions of "The Joke's on You" (3:58) and "Cloud Zero" (4:18), which show up on the "Staircase Infinities" EP in finished versions. This explains why these earlier tracks sound more like the material on PT's demo tapes which make up the tracks on the first album "On the Sunday of Life" than they do from "Up the Downstair", because they were actually earlier songs.

Getting back to this EP "Staircase Infinities", the first track is "Cloud Zero", one of these earlier songs, but in a re-worked and slightly longer version. This is a nice instrumental starting out with jazzy sounding guitar work in a song that adds in intensity as it continues. This really sounds like a bridge between the bands 1st and 2nd official full-length albums. This is followed by the other earlier track "The Joke's on You", again reworked and a little bit longer than the radio EP. These tracks were reworked to be included on the "Up the Downstair" album, but then were left off when it was decided that it would be a single album. This track is a nice midtempo song with vocals that sounds somewhat similar to "Nine Cats", mostly acoustic with the band coming in later, and more of a ballad with a beautiful melody, the vocals soft and airy on the verses and much fuller on the choruses.

"Navigator" is really the rarest of the tracks on this EP as it is not available anywhere else that I am aware of. It was the 3rd track intended for the original "Up the Downstair" album, and it has all of the characteristics of earlier instrumental, very psychedelic with tribal sounding drums and organ with Wilson's signature guitar improvisations scattered throughout. "Rainy Taxi" is one of the tracks recorded after the release of "Up the Downstair" which ended up later being included on the "Stars Die: The Delirium Years 1991 ? 1997" collection of rare tracks. This will seem like a more mature track to the careful listener, mostly because it was recorded later. It has a very Pink Floyd sound to it with a slow organ meandering about and establishing a nice, plush sounding atmosphere. Later, things become more expressive as the organ continues with the lead but is underlaid by acoustic guitar strumming and slow percussion, which ends up actually making it sound more like Procol Harem than Pink Floyd. It is a beautiful and expressive instrumental.

"Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape" is the longest track at over 9 minutes. This is a different version that originally showed up on one of Wilson's demo tapes where it was included as a three part suite-of-sorts. It is also a different version than the one that would show up on "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape" album, another compilation of songs from the early demo tapes that were not included on the first album "On the Sunday of Life". This version did, however, end up getting included (along with the previous track) on the "Stars Die: The Delirium Years: 1991 ? 1997" collection). This version is definitely much better than the demo version, much better developed and suited as a stand-alone track. Layers of synth and guitar work together with bass and drums to build what turns into an intense and satisfying instrumental, less psychedelic than most of the instrumentals of the time by PT, and more heavy rock oriented.

Another thing to be noted here is that the 2004 LP version of "Up the Downstair" included a track called "Phantoms" which was recorded at the same time, but not included on this EP. It was, however, made available on the Stars Die collection.

This EP is a very strong collection of outtakes and it is still worthwhile to find if you haven't already got it. It was made available as a bonus CD available with later remastered editions of Up the Downstair, so it should be widely available. It definitely adds to that album, but by itself is a strong 4 star release.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Focusing largely on chilled-out psychedelic instrumental material, Staircase Infinities consists of off-cuts from the Up the Downstair session which were unable to be finished in time for the album's completion. In the long run, I think it's for the best because that album is pretty solid as a single album and might drag if padded out further with this material, but as a half-hour EP this isn't bad.

It reminds me of the sort of material which some of the jam-oriented space rock improvisational groups of the early Krautrock scene might have had access to with access to modern (for 1993) recording equipment; it clearly isn't totally improvised, there's enough later embellishments and samples slipped into make that unlikely in the extreme, but it does have the quality of material workshopped through such a process. A good thing to track down if you are very into the space rock side of Porcupine Tree; though the original release has vanished it has been recompiled elsewhere, such as on the expansive Delirium Years boxed set.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Late 1994 saw the release of Staircase Infinities, a 30-minute collection of songs Steven Wilson had wanted to include on Up the Downstair but was unable to complete in time for that release. Simply put, it's fine. Completely typical fare for this era of Porcupine Tree, and any of these songs would ... (read more)

Report this review (#2903272) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Friday, March 31, 2023 | Review Permanlink

4 stars One of the biggest reasons for the success of Steven Wilson's music is the variety of influences he presents. Of all of PORCUPINE TREE's music, the more space rock/psychedelic songs are the ones I usually like least. That personal preference affects my overall rating of Staircase Infinit ... (read more)

Report this review (#1888866) | Posted by thwok | Sunday, February 25, 2018 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ok, this was the bonus disc along with Up The Downstair, but I might as well do a review of this. This has an almost similar style than Up The Downstair, with the weird psych prog with long drawn out ambient like instrumentals. There is only one song with words on this, so this whole e.p i ... (read more)

Report this review (#275544) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars An amazing achievement in Wilson's then-young career. This is Wilson in one of his most inspired phases. Just listen to the opener, Cloud Zero, and lose yourself in the hypnotically soft sound of an almost jazz-like guitar backed by synth and scratchy guitar layers. Sure, it's a drum machine, ... (read more)

Report this review (#172121) | Posted by The Progmatist | Saturday, May 24, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This EP is a perfect directional statement between the LSD-laced Up the Downstair (during which album's sessions this half-hour was recorded), and the melodious The Sky Moves Sideways. Still with the hypnotic, psychedelic tricks, but a newly developed bright aura, hazy optimism as well. With very ... (read more)

Report this review (#129204) | Posted by Shakespeare | Wednesday, July 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have no other choice than giving another five stars. Generally I prefer heavier side of PT but I loved this album at very first listen. It has very subtle sound, beautiful psychedelic melodies, dreamy mood. It actually has everything. It's the album which never disturbs you. I only wish ther ... (read more)

Report this review (#122831) | Posted by Surreality | Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars You all know how I love Steven Wilson. His music can make me feel "trippy" with no additives need It. And this is an excellent CD, but otherwise It feels like a filler in a session (oops) but if You just let me say It: the last song It is a beauty, the guitar just soars and soars It reminded me ... (read more)

Report this review (#113895) | Posted by steelyhead | Thursday, March 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It should be the second CD for Up The Downstairs. But it wasn't. It's a pity... Although it is not as perfect as UTD ther are still two great tracks namely 'Rainy taxi' and 'Yellow Hedgerow dreamscape'. Altogether 16 minues of hipnotising psycho prog music with romanthic influances. My rating ... (read more)

Report this review (#101891) | Posted by adamB | Wednesday, December 6, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have to join those 5 star reviews, and give it 5 stars. It's very short but "seems to last forever" in a positive meaning of this :) Only 30 minutes, but what a 30 minutes! Absolutely beautiful. It's not exactly that Porcupine Tree known from 'In Absentia' or 'Deadwing'. It's very different, ... (read more)

Report this review (#89725) | Posted by Roman W. | Friday, September 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is not much of an official albums, as it is composed of outtakes from Up The Downstair (that in fact would be much more deserving of making the album than Synesthesia), but I simply can't find anything wrong with this album, except it is too short. Don't expect to get huge rushes from thi ... (read more)

Report this review (#78800) | Posted by floydisgod | Saturday, May 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars As far as singles and ep's go 5 stars (it's steven wilson). staircase infinites is the wounderfull leftovers from up the downstairs album it's great to put in when i don't no what to listen to. This album is avalible now with the remastered up the downstrairs... Buy it! ... (read more)

Report this review (#45525) | Posted by | Monday, September 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I haven't heard anything else from Porcupine Tree but this and In Absentia. When I heard In Absentia the first time I recall thinking 'this might well be the best prog rock band in the 21st century'. Now, as I've heard Staircase Infinities I'm certain about that (yeah yeah, they made the album ... (read more)

Report this review (#9469) | Posted by | Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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