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PORCUPINE TREE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Porcupine Tree biography
Formed in 1987 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire - Suspended activity since 2010

PORCUPINE TREE are incredibly hard to describe because their music doesn't fit into any one genre. I like the description on the back of the album "Signify" (one of my all time favorites). It says "Porcupine Tree have managed to defy genres and blend together numerous ambient, rock and avant-garde styles to create a musical landscape that is both refreshing and compulsively seductive". The great post-GONG revival which gave birth to OZRIC TENTACLES now brings us PORCUPINE TREE. The hypnotic rhythms, spacy synthesizers, glissando guitar and crazy voices which made the style successful are all contained here.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2007 ⭐

The band started as a solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist STEVEN WILSON who, back in the early nineties, released a series of increasingly spaced-out ambient excursions. PT is one of the most innovative bands in prog today combining intense musicianship, unconventional composition and superb studio production. They are unquestionably one of the UK's most inspired and inventive rock groups.

The bands 4th studio album from '96. "Signify" saw Porcupine Tree truly gell as a studio band producing a blend of psychedelia, heavy rock, melancholic pop, kraut rock, and wild experimentation that brought the best out of each band member. Their latest two albums ("Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun") move the band further away from their influences and into their own catagory, by which other bands eventually will be compared. But if you are a fan of progressive, thoughtful, briliantly executed and flawlessly produced music, you will do no better than PT.

PORCUPINE TREE's eighth studio album, "Deadwing", was released in March 2005 by Lava Records / Warner Music. Less rock-oriented than the previous album "In Absentia", "Deadwing" is partially based on a "surreal ghost story" screenplay written by Steven and sometime PORCUPINE TREE / NO-MAN art collaborator Mike Bennion. The 60-minute, nine-track album contains material varying from short airplay-friendly songs such as 'Shallow' to lengthier pieces like the 10-minute-plus 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here'. Most of the music was written by Steven but the album features the largest amount of full-band com...
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Buy PORCUPINE TREE Music


Arriving SomewhereArriving Somewhere
KSCOPE 2018
$12.99
$14.88 (used)
In AbsentiaIn Absentia
Kscope Import 2018
$9.34
$9.33 (used)
Fear Of A Blank Planet (USA Only)Fear Of A Blank Planet (USA Only)
KSCOPE 2017
$11.21
$10.90 (used)
DeadwingDeadwing
Kscope Import 2018
$12.08
$39.00 (used)
Nil RecurringNil Recurring
KSCOPE 2017
$8.77
$6.95 (used)
Stars DieStars Die
KSCOPE 2017
$10.15
$5.70 (used)
AnesthetizeAnesthetize
KSCOPE 2017
$13.99
$9.00 (used)
On The Sunday Of LifeOn The Sunday Of Life
KSCOPE 2017
$9.35
$9.96 (used)
Lightbulb Sun (Clear Vinyl)Lightbulb Sun (Clear Vinyl)
Kscope 2017
$23.07
$31.39 (used)
Up The DownstairUp The Downstair
KSCOPE 2018
$9.29
$6.95 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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21h 59m
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PORCUPINE TREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PORCUPINE TREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 782 ratings
On The Sunday Of Life.....
1991
3.88 | 911 ratings
Up The Downstair
1993
4.06 | 1233 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1101 ratings
Signify
1996
3.98 | 1243 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.03 | 1386 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.24 | 2331 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.10 | 1877 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.25 | 2373 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.66 | 1450 ratings
The Incident
2009

PORCUPINE TREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 435 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.72 | 88 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.69 | 139 ratings
XM
2003
3.38 | 16 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.93 | 302 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.02 | 143 ratings
XMII
2005
4.21 | 163 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.46 | 190 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.41 | 233 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.65 | 127 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.24 | 195 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.55 | 198 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.57 | 520 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.68 | 535 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.14 | 78 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.55 | 116 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.25 | 368 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.19 | 359 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.21 | 250 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 -1997
2002
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Delerium Years 1994 - 1997
2016
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Delerium Years 1991-1993
2017

PORCUPINE TREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 64 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
1989
3.21 | 53 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini (K7)
1990
3.00 | 45 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory (K7)
1991
3.34 | 29 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
3.71 | 111 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
2.92 | 54 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.29 | 66 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.81 | 177 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.87 | 49 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.30 | 89 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
4.04 | 34 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
2.90 | 48 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.90 | 51 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
2.97 | 54 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
3.79 | 20 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
4.00 | 35 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
3.38 | 8 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
3.08 | 65 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.25 | 60 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
4.07 | 102 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.96 | 208 ratings
Metanoia
2001
4.31 | 16 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.33 | 15 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.60 | 15 ratings
Trains
2003
3.67 | 33 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.46 | 144 ratings
Futile
2003
4.00 | 1 ratings
Men of Wood
2004
3.60 | 120 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.67 | 12 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.55 | 11 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.89 | 9 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
3.91 | 11 ratings
Normal
2007
3.78 | 9 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.93 | 468 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.93 | 6 ratings
Novak
2008
2.72 | 65 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.96 | 68 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
3.86 | 7 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 XMII by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Live, 2005
4.02 | 143 ratings

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XMII
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a well-recorded live performance for XM satellite radio done on July 21, 2003. This is the second XM recording done by Porcupine Tree, and this one is slightly better than the first in that the set list is better and you have the entire band, including John Wesley who was considered a session musician, but should be considered part of the regular line up because he was always there for studio and live performances. There is no audience noise, because this was a recording for the airwaves, no audience involved.

The recording is exceptional, giving the listener alternate versions of songs that had already been released from the studio. That is the main draw for the album, in that the performances are as they happened, and the songs are given that live-as-it-happens feeling. The songs are not much different from the studio versions except you are missing the polished feeling, the songs are a little more raw. It's always great to hear songs of this caliber in live settings though, and when the recording is this pristine, it gives you a new experience with older but tried and tested songs. Five songs are from "Lightbulb Sun", "Trains" is from "In Absentia", and "Pure Narcotic" from "Stupid Dream" are more acoustic-based songs, but the entire band is involved in each, and "Fadeaway" from "Up the Downstair", this one in this case is sung by John Wesley where it is normally sung by Steven Wilson, and it's nice to hear his take on it.

The two epic songs are "Hatesong" and "Russia on Ice". Both are excellent performances, as to be expected, and as are all of the songs. Nothing is really new here, except for the vocal by John, but as I said, the draw for this recording is the chance to hear alternative versions of the excellent songs. The album was only sold at live shows and on the band's "Burning Shed" website, so it is rather rare. But it is still possible to find, just difficult to find. If you do find it or get a chance to download, do so, it is worth it. But you don't have to overexert yourself unless you are a collector, these songs are readily available elsewhere, just not in these versions. Seeing as this is an excellent performance and recording, it is an album that would be great to have in your prog rock collection.

 Ambulance Chasers by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1997
4.04 | 34 ratings

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Ambulance Chasers
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This hard to find gem is a collection of most of the tracks in demo form from the album "Stupid Dream". The release of "Stupid Dream" was delayed because Porcupine Tree was trying to find a new label to get signed to. This collection somehow got released inadvertently while the public was waiting for the new CD. It is now very hard to find. The demos included from the album proper are "Even Less", "Piano Lessons", "Baby Dream in Cellophane", "Slave Called Shiver", "Don't Hate Me", "Tinto Brass", and "Stop Swimming". That accounts for 7 of the tracks on this collection. The remaining are other demos of songs previously not available on the original "Stupid Dream" album. These are "I Fail", "Ambulance Chasing", and "Disappear".

For being demos, these are still excellent versions of the originals. They are less polished, but in some cases, just as good and sometimes a little better, as in the case of "Even Less", which is on this collection as a 15 minute track, where as on the "Stupid Dream" album is edited to 7 minutes. This is the best version of "Even Less" as far as instrumentation is concerned in my opinion. The lyrics are different, and admittedly I do like the lyrics better on the version more people are familiar with, but the actual instrumentation is more raw, more intense and much more enjoyable. Now, a full length version would become available on other collections, and it is also great, but it's still not the same version as what is on here. I'm not sure if this version is available anywhere else.

"Piano Lessons" is also great as a demo, again not as polished as the official version, but a little harder. "Baby Dream in Cellophane" is not so great as a demo however and is still underdeveloped here. "I Fail" comes next and as far as I know, this is not available anywhere else. It is pretty straightforward and decent enough, but nothing special really. It sounds like an outtake which is what it is. The overall sound of rawness and less polish continues for "Slave Called Shiver" and "Don't Hate Me", the latter actually coming off better than the former. Many bands probably would have been happy calling these takes finished product.

"Disappear" was not on the "Stupid Dream" album, but a more polished version of it would show up on the official outtake release "Recordings". This version is somewhat finished, but the instrumentals are top notch while the vocals are not quite there yet. Steven's vocals on the last chorus to go up an octave though and this creates more tension at the end of the song. Again, it's interesting to hear it in this unrefined version. "Ambulance Chasing" was exclusive to this collection for quite a while and did become available on one of the reissues of "Stupid Dream" as a bonus track, but since I haven't heard that reissue, I don't know how it compares to this version. It was also released on the "Piano Lessons" single, but in a more finished version. It is all instrumental. It starts out with some atmospheric sounds from the instruments and heavy on percussion. This develops into an great sounding instrumental with a lot of atmospheric sounds and tones, but not in a psychedelic way, because it is melodic, but it is also quite heavy at times. It ends with some nice, treated wordless vocalizations.

"Tinto Brass" is about 10 minutes long on this version where as the official version was around 7 minutes. This is also an instrumental. This version takes more time to develop by having an atmospheric section at the beginning of the track with interesting noises and a longer development section involving percussion and bass. Either way, this is an excellent track in either version, a very driving instrumental with an amazing level of intensity. I do like this longer version though, because this track with more time added can only make it even better. "Stop Swimming" again is an unpolished version of the official recording, still a great song, but not much different except for the rawer sound and a bit more ambient.

This is a tough one to rate. Since it is a collection of demos, it is rather hard to find and can't be considered essential. If you are not familiar with the official versions of these songs, you wouldn't appreciate the difference, and that is the biggest draw to this collection, but it would only apply to those familiar with PT's music. I have to say that the unfinished feeling of the recordings is very nice to hear and it gives insight to the development of the songs. But this would only be appreciated by fans. It's hard to just give this a 2 star rating, but only collectors and fans would understand the difference in the tracks. The best tracks here which even come close to surpassing the official versions are "Even Less" and "Tinto Brass". These alone make this collection worth having, it you can find it, but if you can, I would consider it an excellent addition to your collection. There you go, 4 stars!

 The Incident by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.66 | 1450 ratings

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The Incident
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

4 stars This is a fine Porcupine Tree album. It's not one of the handful of their best, but it's still an entertaining release. There's an enjoyable performance/interview on YouTube called "Mhz" from 2003. In it Wilson discusses how much he loves the traditional idea of an album, as an entity. He believes CDs have taken away the enjoyment of listening to a whole album as an immersive experience.

Unlike most people it seems, I actually prefer the second disc of THE INCIDENT. The variety in these four songs makes for an excellent 21 minutes of listening. The songs on the first disc aren't as enjoyable as individual pieces. They seems like parts of a whole, rather than finished songs, which requires more time and attention. However, I'm sure that's exactly how Steve Wilson intended it. If you can devote some time to extended listening, THE INCIDENT is definitely worthwhile. I'm bumping this up the half star to 4.

 Staircase Infinities by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.81 | 177 ratings

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Staircase Infinities
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

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 Infinities. Since this music is performed by Wilson alone, I miss the brilliant playing of his PT bandmates.

My favorite songs on this release are "The Joke's On You" and "Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape". The songs overall tend to sound similar to each other. However, even Wilson's lesser material is compelling. It's a testament to his considerable talent that he makes Floydian psychedelic rock this enjoyable. Many bands try & can't pull it off. I'm going to consider Staircase Infinities an "excellent addition." It's an enjoyable half hour for fans of PT/Steven Wilson.

 The Sky Moves Sideways by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.06 | 1233 ratings

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The Sky Moves Sideways
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Novak by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2008
2.93 | 6 ratings

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Novak
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

3 stars This single is somewhat hard to find. It was available earlier this year on Discogs and on EBay for $35, which is a lot of money for two songs. Transmission is a London-based independent label. These songs fall into the calmer, spacier end of the PT spectrum. Of the two tracks, I like "Buying New Soul" more than "Novak". Its length allows the band to develop the basic material more. Without any vocals, this single is background, not center stage, music. However, Wilson shares a common trait with Bach and Beethoven. He seems almost incapable of putting out music that isn't at least thoughtfully put together. If you're a PT fan & you can get it, this is a worthy single.
 Recordings by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2001
4.19 | 359 ratings

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Recordings
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by axeman

5 stars I think this might be one of the best releases the Tree has made. I started listening to them during their grunge period, which for the most part remained my favorite period, although I enjoyed the atmospheric period, past Sunday of Life, while I find tolerable and Voyage 34, which is mainly trip-trance stuff, and less enjoyable.

But recently, I've almost got Stars Die and Sky on a loop. I've really started to get into the gently winding, evolving tones that Wilson seemed to love during the time. And Maitland's drums, especially the brush work on the excellent Stars Die.

That atmosphere is what this album offers. atmosphere, soundscapes, accompanied by some jangly acoustic guitar. It's kind of fitting that in a release filled with shelved pieces, a track named Untitled.

I think the feat that the Wilson achieves here is he's made a compilation album that's worth something.

 Transmission IV by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
4.07 | 102 ratings

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Transmission IV
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Luqueasaur

4 stars Porcupine Tree's Planet Caravan: 8.5/10

PORCUPINE TREE's metal phase shadows its earlier psychedelic phase, which, in my opinion, was much more accomplished (albeit heavily influenced by PINK FLOYD, or so they claim). Said epoch's magnum opus was THE SKY MOVE SIDEWAYS, which presented many solid and mature psychedelic tracks. One of them was a four-minutes version of Moonloop. Little did we all know of its true nature as a song as tenfold as big until PT decided to release, under scarce numbers, the entirety of the improvisation. Such releases are, by now, a rarity and roughly a collector's item, which makes its status as "essential" hard to agree with.

Moonloop is terrifically atmospheric. From the very beginning, the droney synthesizers coupled with Rick Edwards' eerie percussions (a psychedelic, less aggressive counterpart of LARKS) sets the mood of the track as an immersive track. The electronic and ambient moments are deeply vivid and build several environments, from the vast emptiness of space (when "astronaut voices" mutter random words) to still and murky jungles (thanks to the zoomorphic rattles that sounds like insects). There are some moments Moonloop border the realms of acid fusion, especially after the guitar solo, where the cosmic organs jam in a jazzier fashion; but after a while, the warmth eventually fades and the track return to its initial stance - of immense placidity. In others, Wilson's overly distorted guitar, similarly to David Gilmour's, strikes at full force. However, in no moment the band sounds like a PINK FLOYD copy (the styles are similar, but that's how far it goes). First, because melodic, long and distorted solos were not trademarked by that band - which so seems to be the excuse of many to dismiss PT as a PF wannabe; second, because PT creates a chill, almost entropic ambiance, whereas PINK FLOYD is intense, regardless whether they are playing serenely or agitatedly.

Superb songwriting, given the fact a 40-minutes-long jam never gets old even with its calmness. Really recommended for all space/psychedelic rock fans who like to trip on music (check this on YouTube if you can't afford to pay $200 on a limited edition LP); for those more mistrustful of ambient music, tread cautiously - unless you like PINK FLOYD (for some reason), in that case, you'll certainly dig this as well. For neither of those, take a shot. Submerge into PORCUPINE TREE's world and voyage through their surreal landscapes.

 Nil Recurring by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.93 | 468 ratings

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Nil Recurring
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 127

"Nil Recurring" is an EP of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. This mini-album is composed only of four tracks and was written during the recording sessions of their ninth studio album "Fear Of A Blank Planet" and it was completed over the same year of 2007. Of all the four tracks on it, all were composed for "Fear Of A Blank Planet" album. However, later they were dropped from the final track list. So, these are leftover tracks from that album.

When the group met in 2006 to work on the new material for their new studio album "Fear Of A Blank Planet", at the time, two songs were already written, "My Ashes" and "Normal". Those musical sessions produced all the album's songs except "Way Out Of Here", plus four more songs of which three wouldn't quiet fit the concept. The only track that the group thought that could make the way into the album at that moment was "Cheating The Polygraph".

However, later the band decided that none of the four songs were up to the standards needed to the album. As they weren't properly developed yet, and there was a policy not to make the album with more than fifty minutes long, they weren't included. So, the four tracks were mixed to make the "Nil Recurring" EP. "Normal" was entirely composed by Steven Wilson. Later he reworked it, simplifying its musical structure to transform it, into the song "Sentimental".

The line up on the album is Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards), Richard Barbieri (keyboards and synthesizers), Colin Edwin (bass guitars) and Gavin Harrison (drums, percussion and tapped guitar). This mini-album has also the participation of Robert Fripp (lead guitar) and Ben Coleman (electric violin).

"Nil Recurring" has four tracks. The first track is the title track "Nil Recurring" which was written by the four band members. This is an instrumental track, quite heavier, so don't expect the return to the days of "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbulb Sun". As Porcupine Tree thought, I also think that this is a track which wouldn't really fit in "Fear Of A Blank Planet". This is a more experimental track that has more in common with some of the work of Fripp, whose his trademark's sound is present on it. This is the most original song on the album, seemingly using no material from "Fear Of A Blank Planet". The second track "Normal" which was written by Wilson could fit easily on "Fear Of A Blank Planet". This is in reality a reworked version of "Sentimental". However, don't expect this is the same song because basically only the chorus is copied. While "Sentimental" is an emotional ballad, this energetic rendition is a lot more adventurous with an acoustic riff intro and a heavy middle section before moving into a closing section with acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies. The acoustic guitar performance on this song reminds me the style of Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth. I must need to say this is a wonderful song and I probably prefer the structure and production of this new version. The third track "Cheating The Polygraph" which was written by Wilson and Harrison is a more experimental song. Although, it opens in a relatively conventional way, with strident power chorus, a marching drums beat and Wilson's vocals. However, the song soon veers into a more avant-garde musical territory with sparse electric piano, some atmospheric sound escapes and crunchy riffs. It was one of the songs that was originally part of "Fear Of A Blank Planet", and the group played it live during the Arriving Somewhere 2006 tour. It eventually was replaced by "Way Out Of Here". The fourth track "What Happens Now?" which was written by the four band members has some of the lyrics from "My Ashes". It's another different song, more of a slow burner that builds up to a splitter and distortion effects. It starts with some native rhythms and dark moody synthesizers. Slowly it builds in tension and finally all the band kicks in. The last five minutes are instrumental, including an electric violin solo. The song continues to be building with guitars and bass lines to a heavy climax guitar, in the end. It finishes these set of songs in a very competent way.

Conclusion: All in all, this EP makes an essential addition to any Porcupine Tree fan's collection. Especially because it represents an essential addition to their album "Fear Of A Blank Planet". But, this is not merely a collection of inferior songs. These songs stand up in quality and can easily match the material on any of the band's albums. For reasons of style and concept and in order to keep the length of that album bellow one hour, Steve has decided not to include them. The overall mix of the EP is a little rawer with a less polished sound than is usual on any Porcupine Tree's recent full lengths. The EP differs from "Fear Of A Blank Planet" in a few ways. It's less claustrophobic with some songs moving more toward jam sessions and flowing a lot better. The constraint put on songs like "Sentimental" isn't found here at all. Because all the songs are reasonably long, they seem to have less emphasis on conventional rock structure than on "Fear Of A Blank Planet", and this allows for a more varied feel to the EP. If you are a fan of Porcupine Tree's music you will find "Nil Recurring" a worthwhile addition to the collection of a band that is constantly experimenting new things.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Fear Of A Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.25 | 2373 ratings

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Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Review Nº 126

"Fear Of A Blank Planet" is the ninth studio album of Porcupine Tree and was released in 2007. Steven Wilson has mentioned that the album's title is a direct reference to Public Enemy's album of 1990, with the same name. Public Enemy is an American hip hop group and they're better known for their politically charged lyrics and criticism of the American media, with an active interest in the frustrations and concerns of the African American community. However, while Public Enemy's album was about race issues, Porcupine Tree's album was about coming to terms with the 21st century technology, the technology which is generally used massively by all Western world civilization.

The concept of the album was heavily influenced by Bret Easton Ellis' novel "Lunar Park". The novel is told from the perspective of a father, who bears the name of the novel's author himself, whereas the album is mostly from his son's perspective. Many of the lyrics of the album are lifted directly from the novel. The lyrics deal with two typical neurobehavioral development disorders affecting teenagers in the 21st century, such as, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder, and also with other common behaviour tendencies of youth like escapism by drugs, social alienation caused by technology and a feeling of vacuity, a product of information overload by the mass media.

The line up on the album is Steven Wilson (vocals, guitars, piano and keyboards), Richard Barbieri (keyboards and synthesizers), Colin Edwin (bass guitars) and Gavin Harrison (drums). It has also the participation of Alex Liefson (guitar), Robert Fripp (keyboards and synthesizers), John Wesley (backing vocals) and the London Session Orchestra.

"Fear Of A Blank Planet" has six tracks. All songs were written and composed by Steven Wilson, except "My Ashes" with music by Wilson and Barbieri and "Way Out Of Here" with music by all four band members. The first track is the title track "Fear Of A Blank Planet". The clacking of a computer keyboard leads the album's opener into a haze of an aggressive song writing and slightly discordant ambience that immediately characterizes Steve's concept. The lyrics clearly condemn the mesmerizing effect of video and the computers on a child. Musically, we find heavy guitars, processed voice, great keyboard working and catchy choruses. The second track "My Ashes" is the opposite of the first track. It's a fairly retro ballad, driven by a quiet and unassuming synthesizer riff. It does get a tiny bit epic towards the end, but it's a lower key counterpoint to the opener which immediately demonstrates to the listener the real breath of the sounds that Porcupine Tree is capable of achieving and, more immediately, how cohesive they can make them seem. The third track "Anesthetize" is the epic song of the album. Unlike other Porcupine Tree's epics this isn't really one piece of music with a start, an instrumental middle piece and the return to the original melody. Instead of that, this new epic has three songs joined together. All three combine perfectly. This is indeed one of the best pieces of music that the band has ever recorded. The fourth track "Sentimental" is a very beautiful ballad with piano and drums accompanied by acoustic guitar, voice and a grand piano. The song is a typical emotional Porcupine Tree's ballad that even contains a very beautiful Spanish guitar solo. This is the kind of songs that wouldn't have been out of place on "Stupid Dream" or "Lightbuld Sun". The fifth track "Way Out Of Here" is a very good track that explores many different musical ideas with seven and a half minutes. It's the only full band's composition on the album and it also features a musical section with some of the loudest metal riffs on the album. This is a very tasteful song with a very mysterious musical ambience enhanced by some characteristics Fripp's soundscapes. The sixth track "Sleep Together" is a strange song that starts with subdued vocals, very electronic and many synthesizer effects. After some time, the drum beat comes in and the song eventually builds to a climax with a massive use of orchestral strings. This is a very interesting and inventive way to end this magnificent album and that leaves the listener eager for much, much more.

Conclusion: In many ways "Fear Of A Blank Planet" is one of the best Porcupine Tree's albums and is also my favourite studio album from the band. Lyrically, it's a lot more understandable and I like very much the concept used for the lyrics. Musically, the album seems like the accumulation of everything the group has done before, thereby creating a total that's greater than the sum of the individual parts, I think. I sincerely think that it's rather difficult to find any fault and any lack of cohesion on this album. It's very strong in all aspects and doesn't have a dull moment on it. Of course it has its quiet moments but none of them are dull. Steven Wilson demonstrates once again why he is considered one of the best sound engineers at the moment and one of the best producers too. So, I really can't find any reason not to give 5 stars to this album and considered it a masterpiece. It should be in every progressive rock lover's musical collection, because it shows Porcupine Tree at their best. It's due to albums like this one, that progressive rock is still alive today.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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