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Porcupine Tree - Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1 CD (album) cover

PORCUPINE TREE SAMPLER 2005 - TRANSMISSION 3.1

Porcupine Tree

 

Heavy Prog

3.00 | 2 ratings

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TCat
3 stars The 'Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005' is not a collection of Porcupine Tree music, however it is a collection of tracks from various projects, both solo and group projects, from the individual members of the band. This collection was made for PT fans to introduce them to other projects that the band members were involved in, and it really doesn't sound anything like Porcupine Tree music for the most part. So, the first thing you need to do before listening to this collection would be to clear your head of any PT expectations.

The first 4 tracks on this collection are from Richard Barbieri's solo projects. Since Barbieri is PT's keyboardist, what you can expect is some electronic style music. The first two tracks, 'Drops of Mercury' and 'Medication Time' are from his solo electronic album 'Things Buried'. They are both quite beautiful tracks but have computerized percussion, but it is fairly minimal, so it's not too annoying. The electronic music on those tracks however, is quite interesting and dynamic, with more complexity than you might expect. The next two tracks, 'Sun Trap' and 'Everything Ends in Darkness' from the album 'Stone to Flesh' are taken from a collaborative effort Barbieri did with Steve Jansen, who he was a band mate with in the 80's band 'Japan'. I find both of these tracks less interesting. There are more drum loops involved and the tracks are more repetitive with very little development across both 9 minutes and 7 minutes respectively.

Colin Edwin, bassist, is the next featured PT musician. The next 3 tracks feature two different groups that he played for. First off, we get a track from 'Ex-Wise Heads' from the album 'Time and Emotion Study' called 'Don't Walk in My Baboushes'. This track is a decent rock/jazz fusion track with a lot of tribal percussion. Following this is a track called 'Demeath' from the band 'Random Noise Generator' from the album of the same name. This features a hard rap against synths and etc with heavy guitar riffs, bass and drums during the choruses. This is the first track with any vocals. 'Hydrahead' comes next and is another 'Ex-Wise Heads' track, again from the same album as before. It has an Israeli vibe to it with some traditional sounding instruments.

Gavin Harrison is the drummer for PT and also for 'King Crimson' and 'Pineapple Thief' currently. The next 2 tracks feature his solo project. The first track is 'Aim' from 'Sanity & Gravity'. This track is more of a jazz influenced track mostly driven by keyboards with some progressive quirkiness. It features an electronic wind instrument and a Sarangi plus a cool, squeaky trumpet solo. 'Witness (for Bobby)' is also from the same album. It is also along the same lines as the previous track, but this time is a slow, ballad-like track with airy, wordless vocals. It tends to meander a little too much.

The last 4 tracks center on 4 different Steven Wilson projects. 'Returning Jesus' is from the album of the same name by 'No- man'. It features Tim Bowness' excellent vocals and is a beautiful track from that band. The foundation consists of some strange tonal/percussive sounds and atmospheric synths later joined by Wilson's guitar stylings. Next is 'Arcadia Son' from the album of the same name by the experimental krautrock project 'I.E.M.'. This track is similar to the early PT sound with psychedelic improvisation featuring a flute and a repeating bass/drum line along with atmospherics. Later, it is all joined with heavy guitar improvisation. SW's collaboration with Aviv Geffin called 'Blackfield' is represented by the song 'Hello' from the self-titled album. This one is more PT-like out of all the projects represented on this sampler. It has that dark, yet lovely style that this project is famous for, but a bit more commercial than PT. Vocals from both Steven and Aviv are featured on this track. Last of all, SW's solo electronic/ambient project 'Bass Communion' is represented with 'Ghosts on Magnetic Tape, Part II'. This is a very ambient track that is quite representative of the electronic style of the project where source material taken from several sources is manipulated into some interesting soundscapes. It is not melodic, but it is very atmospheric and experimental.

This is a good way to explore the many different styles and sounds of the members of Porcupine Tree to see if there are other projects that you might be interested in. The collection itself has quite a variety of styles on it, which gives it the typical various artist type of feel. Any listener will be sure to find something they like from this collection that they would want to explore further, but will also probably find something else that they don't care for. But that is the risk you take with a collection like this. The selections are great as far as progressive rock fans are concerned and an open mind will definitely help while listening to this. Other than being an introduction to these projects, the entire album really serves no other purpose. But it is great as an intro, so it gets 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |

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