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Porcupine Tree - Nil Recurring CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.95 | 536 ratings

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4 stars Had Porcupine Tree cut "Sleep Together" off Fear of a Blank Planet and made Nil Recurring the rest of that album, they would have had, instead of a four-star LP and a four-star EP, one five-star masterpiece. As it stands, this is a reliable short album that serves as a continuation of the aforementioned album.

"Nil Recurring" Innovative guitar work saturates this frenzied instrumental. In a way, the piece is similar to recent King Crimson, and no wonder- Robert Fripp is in the studio on this one, and I find his work here is better than some of what he did with King Crimson. Speaking of Fripp's main creative outlet, the first two minutes feature the same repetitive but steadily built-upon structures that make up a good King Crimson instrumental. Throughout other sections, there is a static rhythm on distorted electric guitar that serves as a basis for the other instruments to create the dynamic aspects. The different guitars provide different textures: While one may be heavily distorted, another won't be, and yet another is laden with reverb.

"Normal" There is a frantic introduction that somewhat bridges the previous track into this, then things slow down with some soft instrumentation, distorted bass, and Wilson's voice. The first time I heard this, I was blown away with how the song is the separated twin of "Sentimental." Thematically, the two songs are bound together by the same cell phone chargers, mp3 player headphones, X-box controllers, and cold apathy, and the songs feature the same chord progression at times. The music and musicianship of "Normal" is better than "Sentimental," but I find the lyrics and vocal work of "Sentimental" to be superior. However, the sudden acoustic section- "Wish I was older and a little sentimental"- is superb. The counterpoint line, "You've got to see the waves, not the wine bottle" is particularly meaningful to me.

"Cheating the Polygraph" I initially found this to be the weakest track on the album, but it gradually became what was in my opinion an excellent Porcupine Tree song. Wilson does sound a bit nasal on this track, and his distorted vocals in the chorus in 5/8 make the words nigh impossible to make out. The clean guitar solo two minutes in is lovely, and the various effects on the other sounds are generally pleasant and compliment the composition. The heaviest parts of the song are fitting, even if though I don't always care for them. The weird instrumentation that bridges the heavy moments is intriguing and worth checking out.

"What Happens Now?" Otherworldly keyboard work and hand percussion begin the fourth and final track. The lyrics are a little cliché, and the singing is very close to that of recent Bono for some reason, but things pick up and get creative again. The lyrics reprise "My Ashes." There is some absolutely stunning music halfway in, and later, the music reprises "Anesthetize." Afterwards, the music temporarily has two distinct rhythms occurring just before some dramatic, heavy business and a lead guitar solo that brings things to an end.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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