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Porcupine Tree - Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip  CD (album) cover


Porcupine Tree


Heavy Prog

3.31 | 387 ratings

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4 stars Porcupine Tree's 'Voyage 34' is definitely one of the odd-balls of the PT discography. Although this is labeled as a Porcupine Tree album, it is in fact more or less entirely a Steven Wilson solo album, with assistance only on the final track with Richard Barbieri contributing some of the synthesizer moments. 'Voyage 34' is definitely a love or hate affair. Personally, I absolutely love this record and actually consider it to be one of Steven Wilsons absolute finest albums, and some of the most expressive and interesting instrumental music he has ever recorded. In fact, I'm amazed that Steven Wilson doesn't consider this album to be part of the main PT release discography - if I was him I'd be so very proud of this album, it is enthraling and, forgive the pun, such a wonderous trip for the listener.

I think the key to enjoying this album I think is two fold. Firstly, you probably need a bit of experience with ambient / experimental electronic music, and maybe even a bit of intelligent dance music (IDM). If you are a fan of early Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, The Orb and even artists such as Autechre you are much more likely to 'get' this album. The second half of the album in particular does remind me a lot of some of the spacier moments in The Orb's 'Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld' in it's ambience and soundscapes. The second key, I think, is simply to listen with an open mind. Drop any notions you might have of how Porcupine Tree should sound. In fact forget this is even a PT album, as I said in the opening paragraph I think of this more as an instrumental Steven Wilson solo album.

The first two phases of the album are more likely to appeal to the conventional prog-rock fan as they are rooted more deeply in that traditional style. There are guitar solos, bass lines and rock drumming in parts, along with spaced out ambient passages. The second two phases really are much more electronica based with little, if anything, which resembles prog-rock. One of the things I love most about progressive music (of any genre) are long insrumental sections, so to me an album like 'Voyage 34' is like heaven. There is structure in the music, but the four phases are so long and spaced out that you don't really listen to them as individual songs - they are just movements within the confines of the album.

The theme of the album is supposidly the musical representation of an LSD trip gone bad (the subject's 34th trip). Having never done acid I have no idea if this has any accuracy or not. What I do know is that I listen to this album far more than some of my other PT albums, and that 'Voyage 34' is pretty much one of my main go-to ambient / chill-out albums I like to unwind with. In terms of rating this is very much between a 4 and a 5 star rating. I'll officially give it a 4 star rating, but in truth its a 4.5 star effort.

"Is this trip really necessary?" - the answer is a resounding YES!

AndyJ | 4/5 |


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