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Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring CD (album) cover

NIL RECURRING

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.93 | 455 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 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*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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