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Porcupine Tree - Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

2.75 | 130 ratings

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Tristan Mulders
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Porcupine Tree - Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape

I agree with most reviewers that this is a collection of (ambient) musical experiments and that therefore this is a substandard release when compared to the more familiar studio recordings by this British band. However, perhaps because of my liking of the sound of the older Porcupine Tree albums, I can enjoy this album too much to simply pass it of as being of horrid quality.

"Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape" is a collection of songs taken from the "On the Sunday of Life" era, but were regarded as not good enough to be allowed to appear on that debut album. The majority of these songs are ambient structures, borderline psychedelic music. These 'songs' are what seems to put most of the people off when it comes to this release. I, however, see this album as an ambient trip and it works surprisingly well as background music while reading a novel! So I've discovered.

There are however a few songs included amongst all these soundscapes. I have to admit that some are a bit tedious, but a few of these are actually really quite good. Opening track Mute has some good keyboards and decent guitar playing, yet the voice over ruins the mid section of the song (the music is muted a bit -how ironic?! - so we can hear mister Wilson's babbling more clearly. Too bad this "narration" ruins the built-up of the first part of the song.

No Reason to live, no Reason to die is a song alike It will rain for a Million Years which was the closing track of the "On the Sunday of Life" album. I can imagine this song being left off, because of its likeness in 'feeling'. Yet, it still is a rather excellent song! With its length of approximately eleven minutes it is the album's second longest track, and my personal favourite as well. I really like the improvised playing of both guitar and keys on this one. Very spacey and ambient as well, though this one show structure in its composition. Too bad it wasn't given a second chance.

The title track is also worth mentioning, though compared to the reworked and remastered version that ended up as a track on the "Staircase Infinities" EP (later included as a bonus disc to the re-release of the "Up the Downstair" album) it is of far lesser quality. This could be down to a decent job mastering and editing the song though, for many elements are identical. The extended introduction of this version adds something though (the narration in which instruments are introduced).

The other songs are a shortened version of Radioactive Toy, which is amusing as always, though lesser psyched-out; The Execution of the Will of the Marquis de Sade, which has a great rhythm section, but the "Hockey Pockey something" soundsample bit should immediately be deleted from the song! There are a few more tracks along these lines included, though they're not overly too special to mention.

I can imagine that as a whole this will probably never be reissued, yet there are several good works included here. A song like No Reason to live. is in my opinion better than some of the stuff included with the final debut album! Overal, a nice collection of early Porcupine Tree recordings, but I as a fan would not even consider paying the insane amounts of money for which this release sells on E-bay!

Tristan Mulders | 3/5 |


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