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Porcupine Tree - In Absentia CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

4.26 | 2619 ratings

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5 stars A Great Space / Psychedelic Music!

My prog mates talked about this album long time ago and for some reason I could only get this album just last year when IQ released "Dark Matter". Because I got a lot of CDs to spin, I spun this CD only occasionally. It's an interesting album, especially I like the quality of sound produced because the version that I purchased is a DVD Audio with DTS surround 5.1 technology. I never regret to purchase this DVD Audio as it fulfills my expectation, you know ., Steven Wilson is a master in sound and recording technology; so any album of Porcupine Tree must have had excellent sound exploration. And when it is put in DVD Audio technology it would produce a remarkable sound. Yes! I'm extremely satisfied with this. The only problem with DVD Audio is that I can only play at home because it requires DVD player that I don't have it in my car or office or laptop (pity me, mine is the old Toshiba since 2002!). Fortunately, my good prog met mate, David, lent his hands to make a CDR copy of his double CD version. Thanks, David! Now, I can enjoy it everywhere I go; that's why my appreciation grows. But whenever I'm at home, I play it LOUD with my home stereo set. Ugh man .. What a superb sound! I still recommend you to buy the DVD Audio version because it's worth it: you get good music with superb sound quality! Buy it now man ...!!!!

About the Music ..

"Blackest Eyes" kicks off the album with an ambient guitar work followed with full stream of music when drum sound starts to roll! It shocked me with the fact that I turned my amplifier volume high in order to get great sound production of nice guitar opening. But when drum enters, the music sounds too loud. Never mind, I enjoy it very much. It's a very dynamic opening, I would say. The music flows in an up tempo style with obvious drumming sounds and guitar rhythm. Vocal enters very smoothly in a style of distance singing accompanied with and acoustic guitar rhythm and drum / bass guitar. In the middle of the track, there is a nice soft riffs that by way of beats reminds me to foxtrot style followed with a quieter passage. Excellent track and well positioned to open this album.

It flows almost seamlessly to "Trains" with a simple acoustic guitar work followed with vocal line and some augmentation of keyboard work. After two paragraphs of singing, drum enters the music with keyboard (soft) and bass guitar in medium tempo. Acoustic guitar solo fills in the transition piece nicely. One thing I like most and it's sort of unpredictable to me is the inclusion of short piece in the middle of the track where acoustic guitar solo takes place in a simple melody accompanied with a hand clapping - what a nice piece man! The music returns to its original form and melody until it ends.

"Lips of Ashes" starts ambient and spacey with a simple acoustic guitar sound augmented with keyboard effects in mellow style. The voice enters nicely in solo and followed with a duet; it's a very nice singing. Yeah, it reminds me to Pink Floyd - in a way. The electric guitar in a long sustain notes is very cool. No drumming in this track.

"The Sound of Muzak" has weird time signatures especially if you listen to the drum beats - it seems there is a gap between guitar rhythm and the drum beats. The voice enters with a main rhythm of acoustic guitar. The bass guitar sound that follows has become a trade mark of Porcupine Tree as it reminds me to their previous song "Waiting", for example. The interlude is filled in with a stunning electric guitar solo. Excellent track!

"Gravity Eyelids" opens with a catchy keyboard solo followed with a music sampling in the vein of Peter Gabriel's music. Very atmospheric and very nice! The voice line enters the music in a style of Radiohead singing style. The bass guitar line reminds me to Tony Levin's work in Peter Gabriel's albums. The keyboard department still plays its role as filler at the background and provides a spacey nuance of the track. When drum enters, it makes the music much more beautiful. In the middle, there is a soft guitar riffs augmented with piano touch and it flows in full swing with keyboard's sound effects. Oh man, this part is wonderful! It's killing me ... I have no problem if this track is made longer even though with the existing 8 minutes duration I'm already happy and satisfied. Wonderful track! Great sound exploration!

"Wedding Nails" brings the music into more energetic mood with an upbeat tempo music started with an electric guitar work. The music flows dynamically in relatively fast tempo with great drumming, guitar rhythm and solo, atmospheric keyboard. Each instrument produces various sound textures that enrich the overall composition of this track. It has a simple structure but the combination of various sounds have made this track enjoyable. Wow! This track is SUPERB!!! I cannot afford not to increase my amplifier's volume when enjoying this track. Fantastic!

"Prodigal" is a mellow and bluesy rhythm song composed in relatively flat melody but overall it produces an excellent music. Electric guitar provides its sound at background while the voice department shows his duty in singing. It has a stunning guitar solo and great drumming. What's interesting then is the follow up with the next track ".3" when simple bass line enters followed with a spacey keyboard and long sustain guitar work. Bass line is the key for the overall rhythm. Keyboard sound increases gradually and until it reaches certain point it stops and continued with an acoustic guitar rhythm. The vocal then enters the music accompanied with acoustic guitar work. The music then returns with bass line as main rhythm accompanied with simple drum beats. The orchestration at the end of the track provides an uplifting mood.

"The Creator Has a Mastertape" is probably the funniest song of this album. It starts with a combination of electric guitar effects and bass guitar with energetic drumming. It produces a funny music but it's very enjoyable. When the bassline and drum work together to provide rhythm for the vocal, the music seems so empty but it then followed with a blast of full music exploring the guitar effects, bass, drum and keyboard in a distorted fashion.

"Heartattack In a Lay by" is a mellow song with nice acoustic guitar and keyboard / bass guitar line. It has a nice melody and sung excellently. Keyboard sound provides a spacey nuance. It's a kind of break after upbeat tempo track.

"Strip the Soul" starts with a dynamic bass guitar work augmented with spacey keyboard sound followed with ambient singing. When drum enters the music, the mood lifted up and the music seems having a weird time signatures where the drum beats do not sound "in sync" with other instruments. It produces brilliant sounds to my ears, really! It reminds me to Bill Bruford drumming style. The guitar solo performed shortly and it alternates with rhythm section and spacey keyboard work. It's a great track.

The concluding track "Collapse the Light Into Earth" opens mellow with a piano work that features vocal line. Keyboard sound fills at the background and it provides an excellent sound textures. The orchestration with string section enters gradually at the end of singing part. It ends up the album in a sad mood.

The bonus contains "Strip the Soul (video edit)" and two bonus tracks.

It's a highly recommended album. It has a tight composition with excellent sound exploration even though the music itself is not very complex. There are elements of space and psychedelic in its music. So, if you like both, you will enjoy this album. - Keep on progging!

Yours progressively,

GW - Indonesia.

Gatot | 5/5 |


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