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Porcupine Tree

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Porcupine Tree Octane Twisted album cover
3.65 | 252 ratings | 5 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2012

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 - The Incident - Chicago
1. Occam's Razor
2. The Blind House
3. Great Expectations
4. Kneel And Disconnect
5. Drawing The Line
6. The Incident
7. Your Unpleasant Family
8. The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train
9. Time Flies
10. Degree Zero Of Liberty
11. Octane Twisted
12. The Seance
13. Circle Of Manias
14. I Drive The Hearse

1. Hatesong (9.57)
2. Russia On Ice / The Pills I'm Taking (15.02)
3. Stars Die (5.57)
4. Bonnie The Cat (6.11)
5. Even Less (14.28)
6. Dislocated Day (7.05)
7. Arriving Somewhere But Not Here (12:59)

DVD - The Incident - Chicago (On Special Edition only)
1. Occam's Razor
2. The Blind House
3. Great Expectations
4. Kneel And Disconnect
5. Drawing The Line
6. The Incident
7. Your Unpleasant Family
8. The Yellow Windows Of The Evening Train
9. Time Flies
10. Degree Zero Of Liberty
11. Octane Twisted
12. The Seance
13. Circle Of Manias
14. I Drive The Hearse

Line-up / Musicians

- Steven Wilson / vocals, guitar, piano
- Richard Barbieri / keyboards, synthesizer
- Colin Edwin / bass guitar
- Gavin Harrison / drums

John Wesley / vocals, guitar

Releases information

2CD+DVD (November 2012, Special edition, includes bonus DVD video of Chicago show)

2CD (2012)

CD 1 (and DVD) recorded on 2nd May 2010 at the Riviera Theater, Chicago

Tracks 5-7 of CD 2 recorded at the Royal Albert Hall

Thanks to Lister for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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Buy PORCUPINE TREE Octane Twisted Music

PORCUPINE TREE Octane Twisted ratings distribution

(252 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(48%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

PORCUPINE TREE Octane Twisted reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Octane Twisted' - Porcupine Tree (8/10)

On September 15th 2009, I got to see Porcupine Tree. Driving down to Seattle to see them perform at the Moore Theatre, it was an incredible experience to see one of my favourite bands play live. Moreover, it was the first time Porcupine Tree had ever played "The Incident" before a live audience, making the experience even more significant. Listening to "Octane Twisted"- Porcupine Tree's latest live offering- I recall vivid memories of that experience. With that context, and hundreds of listens to "The Incident" now under my belt, this double album was an instant pleasure for me. Now with a fairly extensive catalogue of live recordings, there are few surprises here that fans of Porcupine Tree wouldn't already expect. That aside, it's "The Incident" in a live setting, and that's more than good enough for me.

If you haven't listened to "The Incident" already, I would humbly suggest you check it out at the nearest convenient time (or horribly inconvenient time, it still might be worth it!). Essentially a fifty-five minute epic split into fourteen parts, it's an abstract conceptual piece with plenty of atmosphere, self-contained pieces and studiobound beauty that the band is famed for. Talking about the music based on its own merit might end up feeling like a review of "The Incident" rather than for this live record however. Although the second disc draws upon songs throughout Porcupine Tree's career, the first disc is dedicated solely to their 2009 masterpiece. Something that I recall surprising me was how well Porcupine Tree managed to reproduce the sound of the album in a live space. Barring Steven Wilson's decidedly rawer vocal approach here, the performance is incredibly similar to the studio release. Even particular sounds, samples and effects have been brought to bear. It may have been nice to hear Porcupine Tree take parts of "The Incident" down new, fresh routes for this live recording, but the fact that the band are able to so beautifully recreate the album live is a testament to their brilliance as a musical act.

The second disc feels less necessary than the first, but the songs are well chosen and the quality of performance is maintained consistently. Absent are the overplayed "Trains" and "Lazarus", replaced instead by some of Porcupine Tree's longer, proggier material. "Hatesong" is a brilliant showcase for Gavin Harrison's precise style of playing, and Edwin's bass groove is a real crowd pleaser for the live setting. "Russia On Ice" starts off fairly true to form, before diving into an excerpt from the middle of the incredible epic "Anesthetize" (off "Fear of a Blank Planet"). Of course, the highlight of the second disc is "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here", although I could have probably guessed that just by looking at the tracklist. It's a wonderfully composed and performed tune, and it translates into the live realm perfectly.

The recording is up to par with what one might expect from Porcupine Tree- there's an attention paid here for the sake of audiophiles, and any listeners using a high-definition sound system. At the heaviest moments of the set however, the mixing seems to rely on the bass a tad much, which tends to drown out some of the details in the performance. For the most part, "Octane Twisted" focuses in on the atmospheric, progressive side of Porcupine Tree, and in this respect, the recording is sublime. I'm not sure that this could compare to the near-perfection the band achieved in studio, but for the sake alone that it gives a slightly new light to "The Incident", it's worth a listen. It's a solid live album, and though Porcupine Tree will always be best heard in their studio form, "Octane Twisted" goes to show how meticulous they are as a live performing act.

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Incident bonus DVD edition

One of our best reviewers Conor Fynes has already documented the live CDs wonderfully so I will direct you to his early review of the CDs. I just wanted to tack on my thoughts regarding the bonus DVD of the Chicago performance which is what got me excited (I love turning the living room into a concert parking BS and easy access to the beer fridge.) To cut to the chase, if you're wondering whether it's worth it to spring for the deluxe edition just to get the bonus live DVD, the answer is a resounding Yes - in fact it may be the main reason to move quickly (as I believe it is limited). The DVD includes a one hour performance of The Incident material and nothing from other albums.

Seeing the band perform The Incident in one graceful swoop brought the album to life- a vigorous yet loaded band absolutely at the top of their game from a performance perspective. They took a concept album I'd previously appreciated but felt a bit dry and pumped some nice humidity into it. It breathes and sweats while maintaining the album's structure and mystery. Every key track on the album sounded better to me with the stage's mingling of sounds and extra personality coming forth. Wilson's voice has never sounded more confident. This is probably the most emotionally involving the band has been for me. As much as I really love many of their albums, there is a certain frost and distance to their songs, only rarely do they move into my personal space or moisten my eyes. The live presentation of this material gets a bit closer though they will always lack in that department.

The visual experience is key and PT had a tough act to follow in Anesthetize. While clearly a more humble, laid back video presentation, it works perfectly given the attention here is the music, not the showiness. There is a slightly soft, grainy and dark look to the footage, with hushed reds and the expected black edges, while the flesh tones cut through with a golden light. Really nice ambiance to the shots and kudos to those who worked on "the look". I read one complaint out there about fast edits which is something that usually bugs the [&*!#] out of me, but the issue was overstated. Yeah,I'd hold things longer and move slower, but it's no problem honestly. There is a video screen with images from the story but little else in the way of distraction from the music. With regard to the sound quality itself, I thought it was very good although I'm not much of an audiophile.

The crushing angular guitar riffs and controlled intensity of Harrison provide great thrills while the gentler sections lull you back to earth. The piece effectively marries the earlier long, spacier PT with the melodic, catchy recent songs. And it's a chance to really become absorbed in one long ride as opposed to feeling like you're moving from song to song ala most shows. This fact leads me to the only tragic downside I can point out: Wilson's denying this performance the stature and possibility it offered for a full stand-alone DVD release. This should have gotten the full ride, a release of the entire Chicago show in it's full glory. I can't imagine why he chose not to. When we finished watching the disc we looked at each other thinking the same thing....we should be watching the second set too dammit!!!

Octane Twisted (CD/DVD edition) is an essential document for fans of this band, and in my opinion it the single best way to experience the material of The Incident. I won't be playing the studio version much anymore, and usually I prefer studio albums to live ones. This edition comes in the dual-digipak book with lots of color photos from the gig.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars There didn't seem to be much in the way of fanfare when this live PORCUPINE TREE album was released. Usually it's big news but i've talked to people who didn't even know about this one. Maybe it's because "The Incident" just didn't go over well with most PT fans and this live double album is from that tour. Maybe it's because Steven Wilson has been concentrating solely on his solo project and therefore so have most PT fans. Who knows ? I read an interview with Wilson recently and he didn't evven want this released because he felt it wasn't there best performance on the tour, but he says he was out voted by the other members.

The music here is from their Chicago show except for the last three tracks on disc two which were from Royal Albert Hall in London, England. I must say that I love this recording. Now like Conor I too am a big fan of the studio version of "The Incident" and also like him I saw them on this tour so it brings back good memories. I saw them in Toronto and it was an amazing show. In fact the pictures in the liner notes even bring back memories even though these pictures were from a different venue. It's because it's the same stage setup and light show. These photos are fantastic by the way. So clear and vibrant much like the sound quality.

Man it's hard to pick out highlights because everything was done so well. A big suprise for me at the concert was hearing "Stars Die" for the first time in concert as well as "Dislocated Day". Two amazing tracks from "The Sky Moves Sideways". Also in my opinion the versions they did of "Hatesong" and "Russia On Ice / "The Pills I'm Taking" were the best i've heard. They did the long version of "Even Less" from the "Recordings" album which was cool. I admit i'm not a big fan of "Bonnie The Cat" but "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here" more than made up for it.

As for the song-cycle known as "The Incident" i'm still blown away by this and will never understand the negativity towards it. The heaviness that comes and goes on "The Blind House" is incredible. Love that tune. "Great Expectations" is emotional and so is "Kneel And Disconnect". Gulp. "Drawing The Line" is one that still hasn't completely won me over but "Time Flies" sure has. "Your Unpleasant Family" is funny. "Octane Twisted" kicks ass while "The Seance" always has been a track i've really enjoyed. More emotion on "I Drive The Hearse".

So overall this is probably closer to 4.5 stars for me. PT now have an extensive live catalogue that covers most of their material, and they are great in concert !

Review by Neu!mann
2 stars Spoilsport alert! I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but sometimes it's better to hear the sad truth about an album from an acknowledged fan, instead of from an antagonist with an axe to grind.

I had high hopes for this two-disc live package, especially after learning it was recorded (mostly) in Chicago, just a few days before I caught the same act at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, New York. But good memories don't always equal a good CD, and this one sounds like a perfunctory effort, hastily thrown together after the band went on indefinite hiatus at the end of the tour.

Disc One was reserved for a complete performance of the band's '09 album "The Incident", still inexplicably boasting the lowest average score of all their primary albums on this site. Apparently I'm in the minority of listeners who regard it as the strongest Porcupine Tree studio effort to date, but that's an argument for elsewhere. Here was an opportunity for Steve Wilson to reinterpret the album in a concert setting, and maybe win back some of the more reactionary naysayers.

Instead, what we get is a strictly Xeroxed performance, matching the studio version note for note, almost verbatim. Aside from the initial greeting ("hello, Chicago!") there isn't any departure from the original worth mentioning: even the tempos are identical, as anyone can see by comparing the running times of each segment.

If the intent was to prove how well the band could reproduce a daunting 55-minute song cycle without edits or overdubs, then the album succeeds handsomely. I still recall the dexterity of Steve Wilson while swapping guitars in mid-performance: a triumph of player / roadie choreography. But as an alternate stage reading of an already full studio piece (and why re-record it otherwise?) the album can only be called a failure.

The second set offers a little more variety, including the extended version of "Even Less" and rare airings of the PT oldies "Stars Die" and "Dislocated Day". Some of the songs were recorded in London, but the sound in either venue is somewhat lacking in depth and presence, curiously for a band whose leader is renowned for his mixing skills. Perhaps Wilson's attention was already preoccupied by his impending solo career; certainly his normally clear singing voice was suffering some distress during these gigs, noticeably so on Disc Two.

The playing is typically dynamic, in particular the efforts of drummer Gavin Harrison, who shoulders a lot of the performance load here. But let's hope the album won't be a valedictory statement from the dormant group: this isn't how I want to remember Porcupine Tree.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars PORCUPINE TREE have released quite a number of superfluous live releases in their career but this one tops them all. Spread over 2 CDs we find a note for note live rendition of 'The Incident' followed by a selection of tracks they played after the break in this tour.

I did attend the Brussels live gig of this tour and I found the first set to be an improvement over the studio album. Not that anything was much different but the live ambiance breathed some life into the thing and also made it more coherent. I don't find that here. It sounds a slight bit rawer and less polished then the studio album but it still feels like a flat and uninvolved performance to me. And besides, 'Drawing The Line' and 'I Drive The Hearse' prove that even in a live setting they are still the most annoying two songs Wilson ever penned.

'The Incident' isn't exactly PT's best offering but this live release is more problematic then just that as also set 2 is a disappointment. With the exception of 'Hatesong' which enjoys some well played instrumental sections, it all suffers from Wilson's urge to make it sound heavier and grittier then these songs were supposed to sound. 'Even Less' in particular is completely wasted by Wilson's inadequate attempts to strain his voice. The other songs fails as they don't add anything to their studio counterparts and the 'Russia On Ice / Anesthetize' medley doesn't do justice to any of the participating songs.

Live album are mostly a hit and miss for me but with 'Coma Devine' and 'Arriving Somewhere' Wilson managed to deliver some outstanding exceptions to the rule, and they are nothing less then essential items in the PT catalog. Not this one, this is for hardcore fans only and chances are even those will be disappointed just like I am. Watch out for this one, especially if you already didn't think too highly of 'The Incident'.

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