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PORCUPINE TREE

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Porcupine Tree picture
Porcupine Tree biography
Formed in 1987 in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire - Suspended activity since 2010

PORCUPINE TREE are incredibly hard to describe because their music doesn't fit into any one genre. I like the description on the back of the album "Signify" (one of my all time favorites). It says "Porcupine Tree have managed to defy genres and blend together numerous ambient, rock and avant-garde styles to create a musical landscape that is both refreshing and compulsively seductive". The great post-GONG revival which gave birth to OZRIC TENTACLES now brings us PORCUPINE TREE. The hypnotic rhythms, spacy synthesizers, glissando guitar and crazy voices which made the style successful are all contained here.

⭐ Collaborators Top Prog Album of 2007 ⭐

The band started as a solo project of singer-songwriter-guitarist STEVEN WILSON who, back in the early nineties, released a series of increasingly spaced-out ambient excursions. PT is one of the most innovative bands in prog today combining intense musicianship, unconventional composition and superb studio production. They are unquestionably one of the UK's most inspired and inventive rock groups.

The bands 4th studio album from '96. "Signify" saw Porcupine Tree truly gell as a studio band producing a blend of psychedelia, heavy rock, melancholic pop, kraut rock, and wild experimentation that brought the best out of each band member. Their latest two albums ("Stupid Dream" and "Lightbulb Sun") move the band further away from their influences and into their own catagory, by which other bands eventually will be compared. But if you are a fan of progressive, thoughtful, briliantly executed and flawlessly produced music, you will do no better than PT.

PORCUPINE TREE's eighth studio album, "Deadwing", was released in March 2005 by Lava Records / Warner Music. Less rock-oriented than the previous album "In Absentia", "Deadwing" is partially based on a "surreal ghost story" screenplay written by Steven and sometime PORCUPINE TREE / NO-MAN art collaborator Mike Bennion. The 60-minute, nine-track album contains material varying from short airplay-friendly songs such as 'Shallow' to lengthier pieces like the 10-minute-plus 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here'. Most of the music was written by Steven but the album features the largest amount of full-band com...
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Buy PORCUPINE TREE Music


In AbsentiaIn Absentia
Kscope Import 2018
$7.64
$12.36 (used)
Fear Of A Blank PlanetFear Of A Blank Planet
KSCOPE 2018
$21.78
$26.66 (used)
DeadwingDeadwing
Kscope Import 2018
$7.62
$12.01 (used)
Arriving SomewhereArriving Somewhere
KSCOPE 2018
$12.99
$17.02 (used)
Lightbulb Sun (Sleevepac Cd)Lightbulb Sun (Sleevepac Cd)
KSCOPE 2017
$9.47
$14.02 (used)
AnesthetizeAnesthetize
KSCOPE 2017
$13.67
$14.83 (used)
Stupid DreamStupid Dream
KSCOPE 2017
$8.99
$12.58 (used)
Incident [Vinyl]Incident [Vinyl]
Ais 2009
$69.83
$52.03 (used)
The Sky Moves SidewaysThe Sky Moves Sideways
KSCOPE 2018
$7.52
$4.75 (used)
Signify (Sleevepac CD)Signify (Sleevepac CD)
KSCOPE 2017
$9.08
$12.44 (used)
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PORCUPINE TREE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

PORCUPINE TREE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.02 | 812 ratings
On The Sunday Of Life.....
1991
3.90 | 958 ratings
Up The Downstair
1993
4.06 | 1288 ratings
The Sky Moves Sideways
1995
3.83 | 1165 ratings
Signify
1996
3.99 | 1297 ratings
Stupid Dream
1999
4.02 | 1452 ratings
Lightbulb Sun
2000
4.25 | 2430 ratings
In Absentia
2002
4.11 | 1945 ratings
Deadwing
2005
4.26 | 2465 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet
2007
3.67 | 1487 ratings
The Incident
2009

PORCUPINE TREE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.45 | 459 ratings
Coma Divine
1997
3.72 | 90 ratings
Spiral Circus Live (LP)
1997
3.69 | 143 ratings
XM
2003
3.47 | 17 ratings
Live in Poland
2003
3.93 | 311 ratings
Warszawa
2004
4.02 | 147 ratings
XMII
2005
4.21 | 168 ratings
Rockpalast
2005
4.47 | 203 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
3.45 | 239 ratings
We Lost The Skyline
2008
3.66 | 130 ratings
Ilosaarirock
2009
4.24 | 202 ratings
Atlanta
2010
3.57 | 204 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.56 | 529 ratings
Arriving Somewhere...
2006
4.66 | 549 ratings
Anesthetize
2010
4.15 | 80 ratings
Octane Twisted
2012

PORCUPINE TREE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.57 | 122 ratings
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
1994
3.30 | 381 ratings
Voyage 34 - The Complete Trip
2000
4.19 | 376 ratings
Recordings
2001
4.22 | 261 ratings
Stars Die: The Delerium Years 1991 -1997
2002
3.00 | 2 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
Porcupine Tree Sampler 2008 - Transmission 8.1
2008
4.50 | 4 ratings
The Delerium Years 1994 - 1997
2016
4.40 | 5 ratings
The Delerium Years 1991-1993
2017

PORCUPINE TREE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.39 | 66 ratings
Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
1989
3.18 | 54 ratings
Love, Death & Mussolini (K7)
1990
2.96 | 46 ratings
The Nostalgia Factory (K7)
1991
3.33 | 30 ratings
Radioactive E. P.
1992
3.72 | 116 ratings
Voyage 34
1992
2.91 | 55 ratings
Voyage 34 : Remixes
1993
3.30 | 69 ratings
Moonloop E.P.
1994
3.81 | 185 ratings
Staircase Infinities
1994
3.71 | 53 ratings
Waiting
1996
3.31 | 93 ratings
Insignificance (K7)
1997
4.04 | 34 ratings
Ambulance Chasers
1997
2.90 | 48 ratings
Stranger By The Minute
1999
2.90 | 51 ratings
Piano Lessons
1999
2.97 | 54 ratings
Pure Narcotic
1999
3.79 | 20 ratings
Coma Divine II
1999
4.00 | 36 ratings
Stars Die - Rare and Unreleased
1999
3.38 | 8 ratings
The Rest Will Flow
2000
3.08 | 65 ratings
4 Chords That Made A Million
2000
3.23 | 61 ratings
Shesmovedon
2000
3.99 | 112 ratings
Transmission IV
2001
2.96 | 218 ratings
Metanoia
2001
4.31 | 16 ratings
Blackest Eyes
2002
4.33 | 15 ratings
The Sound Of Muzak
2002
4.60 | 15 ratings
Trains
2003
3.57 | 35 ratings
Delerium EP
2003
3.47 | 151 ratings
Futile
2003
3.67 | 3 ratings
Men of Wood
2004
3.60 | 123 ratings
Lazarus
2005
3.67 | 12 ratings
Shallow
2005
3.55 | 11 ratings
So Called Friend
2006
3.89 | 9 ratings
Way Out Of Here
2007
3.91 | 11 ratings
Normal
2007
3.80 | 10 ratings
Fear Of A Blank Planet (Single)
2007
3.95 | 481 ratings
Nil Recurring
2007
2.94 | 7 ratings
Novak
2008
2.72 | 65 ratings
Time Flies
2009
3.96 | 68 ratings
Transmission 10.1 - Ilosaarirock
2009
3.86 | 7 ratings
Acoustic Session Jan 2010
2010

PORCUPINE TREE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Coma Divine by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Live, 1997
4.45 | 459 ratings

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Coma Divine
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars In 1997, between the releases of the albums "Signify" in 1996 and "Stupid Dream" in 1999, Porcupine Tree released this live album "Coma Divine". It gathered together some of the best tracks from the four studio albums that come before it and put them in a live setting, with a full band, consisting of Steven Wilson (guitars, vocals), Richard Baribieri (synths), Colin Edwins (bass) and Chris Maitland (drums, percussion, harmony). The album was recorded live in Rome over a 3 day period (March 25- 27, 1997). The first night unfortunately had some technical problems, so the live album only includes recordings from the 2nd and 3rd days.

Originally, the band had decided to only release a single disc of the best performances. The recording was successful and so 3 other tracks were made available and given away as "Coma Divine II", but these were later added to the single album and re- released as a double album in 2003. The vinyl edition also included a 7" single which had two different demo versions of the track "Disappear" which was a song recorded around the same time as the concert. These different demo versions of the song, one recorded in February of 1997 (before the concert event) and on in April of 1997 (after the concert). The finished version of it included on the single for "4 Chords That Made a Million" which was released in 2000. There were several studio overdubs throughout the live album that were done to make the album have a better and more consistent quality.

This live album is excellent, a fitting document to the band that was quickly becoming a progressive phenomenon. It is an excellent album for both fans and for those wanting to explore the early work of the band, but don't necessarily want to sit through a lot of the early material just to pick out the best songs. The tracks on this album are some of the very best of the band, and the two very long studio tracks, "The Sky Moves Sideways" and "Moonloop" have been condensed down to their best sections for this concert, so if you don't like the psychedelic meanderings of those original tracks, this is the perfect answer as they don't meander, but showcase the band at their inventive best.

This also contains an extended version of the early fan favorite "Radioactive Toy" with an extended instrumental and rousing guitar solo. There are other excellent versions of their early songs here too, and they are done perfectly with perfect sound and minimal crowd noise. You get the heavy rocker "Signify", the psychedelic and Floydian "The Sky Moves Sideways", both parts of the excellent "Waiting", the rarely performed "Is?Not", and the best version of "Moonloop" with the rousing ending that will make you feel like you are there and without all the meandering parts.

I am not one to recommend live albums typically, but this one is amazing with excellent sound. The biggest draw of this album is the new versions (and quite frankly best versions) of their best songs of their early years, perfected by the band and performed live. This makes it an essential album for fans and the curious alike. I would also definitely recommend it for an album to start exploring the band with, right up there quality-wise with "Deadwing" and "In Absentia", it's that good. This is definitely one of my all time favorite live albums ever and a must have for prog lovers and fans, plus the best collection of their early work that is out there.

 Fear Of A Blank Planet by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.26 | 2465 ratings

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Fear Of A Blank Planet
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by DominicS

5 stars In the Porcupine Tree catalogue, this album impresses me the most in many different ways. The subject matter was so relevant for the time of its release, dealing with the typical behaviours of the youth in society due to technology, drugs and mental health problems. The album only becomes more and more relevant as time goes on as these problems seem like they are only going to get worse rather than get any better. To fit with this concept, the album is much darker and heavier than its predecessors yet what I love about this album is that it doesn't allow itself to be entirely dominated by metal. Wilson prefers to use metal in moderation so that it has more of an impact on the listener - it surprises you and that's what makes it so clever. This is an expertly thought out album in all aspects, it is musically exceptional and fits with a concept that will forever be an issue among the younger generations in society.

The opening track 'Fear of a Blank Planet', although not the highlight of the album, is awesome to listen to due to how angry but true it is. The lyrics focus on a child with bipolar disorder that seems to lock themselves away from the world and focus on technology as an escape, confused by the drugs they have to take. It sets up the dark tones of the rest of the album nicely, focusing on a riff based around the D minor pentatonic scale but with the addition of a dissonant sounding flat 5th which adds nicely to the notion of mental illness in this song. My favourite part has to be the middle section where a build takes place, focused greatly on the dissonant flat 5th and full of spacey embellishments from Barbieri. This then leads into an awesome drum fill by Harrison and a section in which a heavily distorted guitar rips out a crunching riff that sounds like it's been desperate to unleash throughout the whole song. 'My Ashes' offers an early contrast to the rest of the album, acting as a ballad that mourns the death of someone's inner childhood that was taken away from them due to the problems given to them by their parents. Barbieri's gorgeous piano parts are what make this song so beautiful yet mellow. It is not a ballad that is in your face with intense emotion, rather it is dreamy and laid back which is probably helped by Wilsons voice. The addition of strings in the chorus gives the song a slight increase in intensity but not so much that it takes away from the mellowness of the song.

This then leads into the masterpiece of the album: 'Anesthetize'. It's a song that has three parts too it and in short deals with the detachment felt from reality and from one's own self when taking too many prescription drugs. The first part of the song is full of agony; Wilson sings these depressing lyrics in such a drawn out and despairing manner on the words 'I simply am not here?'. Furthermore, the repetitive drum pattern conveys a relentless sense of tedium and monotony with life; the reliance on the toms in this section almost sound war-like, just like the internal war that the character is having. I always get excited when that menacing distorted guitar enters as you can easily anticipate that the song is about to explode. And that is exactly what happens, the surprise of being bombarded by such a heavy but brief section of the song is simply awesome - less is more in this instance. The guitar riffs in this second section are the best riffs I've ever heard from the band, they are full of meat and grit and I can't help but get goose bumps whenever I listen to this section. The section certainly has a more metal influence, yet it is used sparingly as to not completely alienate a hardcore fan of the band, but also so that it doesn't get too tedious listening to the same fragments of metal. The third section is a stark contrast to the two previous sections, it is much more reflective and meditative but with that drug-induced feeling attached to it as well. It's dream like nature reflects the narrative of the song, as the character creates a picture of the waves and the sea, a picture away from the harshness of reality conveyed in the previous sections of the song. However, part 3 is ambiguous in the respect that it could have taken place before or after the characters depression; this is such an impressive work of art, both musically and narratively.

My other highlights from this album are the final two songs. 'Way Out of Here' is an extremely sad song about suicide and trying to forget about something or someone whether that be a girlfriend or the thought of suicide itself. The volatile chorus that hits you out of nowhere is what I wait for every time I listen to this song, so full of emotion and passion. Wilson teases the listener again with a brief section of very heavy guitar - rather than saturate his songs with a metal influence, Wilson successfully makes the listener crave more of it as he only implements it occasionally. The chromatically ascending soundscapes at the end of the song create discomfort which can be associated with such heavy subject matter and discomforting thoughts that the character is having - such clever writing. 'Sleep Together', similar to that of 'Way Out of Here', also deals with suicide but the actual action of committing suicide rather than just having the thoughts. The synth sounds at the start are severe and brutal, and persistently feature throughout the song which makes them even more brutal in the context of the whole song. Rather than looking at suicide as an emotional and difficult decision to come to, this song seems rather determined and forceful on the notion of suicide. The vocals on the chorus are angry and very imperative: 'Lets sleep together right now?'. The second part of the song has no vocals and it finishes the album on an ambiguous note: does a suicide take place or not? I guess it's for the listener to decide.

 Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7) by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1989
3.39 | 66 ratings

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Tarquin's Seaweed Farm (K7)
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars The story of Porcupine Tree's strange and unique first recording starts back a few years before the album was recorded. It all starts with Steven Wilson, of course, who, when he was 15 years old and the year was 1983. Wilson recorded some music along with Si Vockings on keyboard under the band name 'Altamont'. Alan Duffy, who ran Imaginary Records, sent Wilson some lyrics inspired by the love both of them had for Syd Barrett, and wondered if Wilson could provide the instrumental and music background for them. Wilson says that the music on Altamont's first album was really a compilation, two tracks from Duffy and two tracks that he (Wilson) recorded on his multi-tracking equipment in his own home along with Si. (Another album was released in 2002 that had more Altamont music on it that was originally improvised live onto cassette tape from 1983 ' 1985). Although there weren't too many copies made, there were a few tracks that actually got put onto sampler albums, and these tracks started the underground following that became Wilson's first fans.

There was also another band that Steven helped form along with 3 of his friends in school called 'Karma'. In October of 1983, this band released a demo tape called 'The Joke's on You' which features the original 15 minute version of 'Nine Cats' which became a popular Porcupine Tree song. It also contains the original version of 'Small Fish' another track that was used by Porcupine Tree. Another demo tape was made by this band in 1985 called 'The Last Man to Laugh'. The psychedelic music produced by Altamont and Karma was circulated in the London musical underground and these tapes were creating quite a name for Steven, so even that early, he was on his way.

Finally, in 1987, Wilson formed two projects. One of these is the well-known 'No-man' who he formed with Tim Bowness and Ben Coleman as an art-rock trio, who, in the early years, remixed many of their songs to make them usable in dance clubs. The 2nd project he formed was done as a joke, or fake band, known as Porcupine Tree. Steven and a friend of his created a fictional band made up of non-existent band members with ridiculous names and backstories. The band was supposed to be a fake, legendary seventies psychedelic band. To back up this story, Steven recorded music and compiled it onto a cassette known as 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm' and a 2nd one known as 'The Nostalgia Factory'. Copies of these tapes were sent out to various people, including the magazine 'Freakbeat' which was run by an individual who was setting up a record company. A few tracks were used on some compilation tapes and that sparked even more interest in the London underground.

Steven continued to distribute these two tapes while the record company was being formed. He was eventually invited to be the first artist signed to one of the labels (Delerium) and they wanted to release the two Porcupine Tree cassettes on 2 different double albums. Wilson decided instead to compile what he felt were the best tracks and released what would become known as 'On the Sunday of Life'. That would become PT's first original album. The remainder of the material from these first two cassettes would eventually be released on the collection called 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape'. Both of these albums would be remastered and a lot of the music from YHD would be re-recorded.

So, there you have a brief history of the beginnings of Porcupine Tree, who would become one of the most influential and important progressive rock bands to arrive in more recent years. This review is for the first demo tape called 'Tanquin's Seaweed Farm' also sub-titled 'Words from a Hessian Sack'. This was originally an 80 minute tape released with a booklet of fake information about the band. It was reissued by Delerium in 1991 with a limited run of 300 copies. All of the tracks were performed by Steven Wilson (so in actuality, it is a Wilson solo album). The tracks were also all written by Wilson except for 'Jupiter Island' which was cowritten by Alan Duffy, 'Clarinet Vignette' cowritten by Tim Matthews and 'The Cross' which was written by Prince.

Side A of the tape is supposedly all studio recordings while Side B is the live recordings. Side A consists of mostly psychedelic music inspired by those bands from the 70's. Many of the songs from side A are on 'On the Sunday of Life' (hereafter abbreviated as OtSoL) which can still be found quite easily. There are a few of the titles that are changed, but most of the music remains the same. Starting with 'Music for the Head (Here)' we get a psychedelic instrumental introduction to the album. It is minimalistic and it creates suspense for the following track. You get woodwind effects and sitar over sustained synth drones. This leads into 'Jupiter Island' which has a real 80's sound to it, upbeat with high speed vocals. It is said that Wilson didn't think his regular voice was good enough, so he had it sped up, and that is the case with most of his vocals on this album. The percussion is programmed, there are a lot of spacey effects and the vocals come in. There is a guitar solo on the instrumental break. The tune is pretty basic leaning towards space rock.

There is a slight difference in the naming of the tracks here between the original and OtSoL. On this album, the track is called 'Nun's Cleavage ' Left' while on OtSoL it is called 'Third Eye Surfer', but the music is the same. The track is another psychedelic instrumental with improvised percussion overlayered by synth improvisation and effects. The 2 tracks on the original are 'Clarinette Vignette' and 'Nun's Cleavage ' Right'. These two tracks were combined on OtSoL and renamed as 'On the Sunday of Life', but again, the music remains the same. The former track is more ambient with a lovely clarinet solo that eventually fades into more psychedelia of the latter track.

At this point, OtSoL places the title track from the 2nd album 'The Nostalia Factory' as the next track. After that, it returns to the same sequence as Tanquin's Seaweed Farm with the scary, yet funny satirical track 'Space Transmission'. This one has spoken word vocals that have been processed through synths and is a first person telling of a strange prisoner trapped by an even more evil entity. This should raise the short hairs on the back of your neck. After this, 'Message from a Self-Destructing Turnip' is a short and silly track.

At this point, both this album and OtSoL have the popular track 'Radioactive Toy', but the versions are quite different. 'Tanquin's Seaweed Farm' has the original version which is much shorter and missing the amazing guitar solo that is on OtSoL. So if you are looking specifically for that song, I would suggest getting OtSoL. If you are a collector interested in the original version, then you will want this album. The remaining tracks on Tarquin's Seaweed Farm are not on OtSoL, but most of them are on 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape', but in slightly different versions. The remainder of the tracks on OtSoL are from 'The Nostalgia Factory'.

Most of the rest of the album is instrumental with a few sections with processed vocals. 'Towel' is the next track and it returns to instrumental psychedelia. This track is more guitar driven than previous instrumentals on this album. It is a bit more melodic with some wild percussion, at least up until the last 45 seconds when it gets quite haphazard sounding. 'Wastecoat' is more psychedelia with synthesized effects, warped and spacey sounds, very glitchy sounding. Finally, we come to a longer track at over 8 minutes, a mostly instrumental track called 'Mute'. Some very strange sounds start this off which sounds like it might have come off of The Residents 'Eskimo' album. Other than that, it has some ambient sounds with minimal drones and effects, some lovely synth improvisation and whatnot. It builds to a nice space rock style similar to the instrumentals on 'Up the Downstair' and 'The Sky Moves Sideways', so its very melodic and lovely, mostly produced by guitar. In the middle, the music fades needlessly into the background and the track gets ruined by some stupid spoken vocal effects. The music fades back in again later though. (The version of this track that appears on Yello Hedgerow Dreamscape is a different version than this one.) This side ends with another version of the beginning track this time called 'Music for the Head ' There' which is more psychedelia and ambience.

This is where Side B finally starts. There are only 3 tracks on this side, but they are all quite long. This is supposedly the Live part of the album, but I am pretty certain that the 'live' part is only pre-recorded crowd noises. This starts with the 11 minute track 'No Reason to Live, No Reason to Die'. This is pretty much an improvised instrumental music inspired by space rock and psychedelic bands with the guitar being the main instrument while everything else is support. The beat is moderately slow with synths playing sustained chords and notes. The keyboards help with improvisation later on and they alternate with the guitar for the lead instrument. As the track continues, the rhythm slowly picks up in tempo. Before you hit the 9 minute mark, the music becomes ambient and atmospheric for the remainder of the track. 'Daughters in Excess' is another psychedelic instrumental track lasting almost 7 minutes. It starts off minimal, but after a few minutes, it gets quite loud with screaming guitars and effects and wild percussion.

The final track is actually a combined track of 3 songs. 'The Cross' starts out the track which actually has vocals which were written by Prince (this is a cover). The 2nd part is called 'The Hole' and it is a short spoken word vocal that sounds like someone trying to get the crowd excited. This section is not available on any other compilation and is left off of Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape, but you aren't really missing much as it is part of the original 'joke' of the fake band trying to get the crowd excited. The last section is called 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape' and it makes up most of this 20 minute track. It is all instrumental and contains more space rock style music driven by the guitar. This finishes off the album.

This album will not appeal to a lot of people, unless they are already fans of Porcupine Tree. Remember, this is the band (or at least Steven Wilson) at the beginning of his career. It is not a recording you want to start out with if you are planning on exploring PT's discography. It is pretty much a document of where Steven's head was in the beginning and shows you where this amazing band started out. Nevertheless, for a young Steven Wilson, it is still somewhat astounding, especially considering that he taught himself how to play guitar and keyboards. If you are interested in this music, you would be better off searching for On the Sunday of Life and Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape, as you will most likely not find this recording. If you must hear it, your best bet would be to try to find the recordings that are on You Tube, but be aware that those recordings are not always the originals.

Since I am a rabid Porcupine Tree fan, I find this recording to be very interesting and entertaining. It definitely is not my favorite by the band, not even close, but I enjoy it for the historical aspects and being able to hear Steven Wilson when he was starting out. I find a lot of gems on this recording, and, since I am kind of a purist when it comes to SW, I want to hear it in the order that it was originally intended, with the untouched recordings. So it is important to me. But, I got to keep this all subjective, so, the actual recording is obsolete as far as most of the public is concerned. But because SW is so talented, and there are a lot of treasures here, I have to at least give it 3 stars. But in reality, to me it means a lot more than it would to others. As far as the length of this review, I just had to get it out of my system and hopefully add some insight into the beginnings of this amazing artist, and maybe it will help others understand Porcupine Tree's early music and the growth of the band.

 On The Sunday Of Life..... by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.02 | 812 ratings

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On The Sunday Of Life.....
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Zitro
Prog Reviewer

3 stars What Is it? The debut solo album of Steven Wilson (under the name of Porcupine Tree) is a compilation of tunes reaching back to his teenage years. A very diverse album with no common theme, other than frequent attempts at humor and a general 60s psychedelia sound. On The Sunday of Life is an immature and incoherent album, but with beautiful, eerie, arresting soundscapes and decent rock instrumentation that may surprise the reluctant listener.

Voice (2 stars) ' Steven Wilson's voice is generally subdued and does not dominate the disc. His singing ranges from talk- singing (Radioactive Toy is particularly boring on this front) to timid melodic singing, to high-pitched comical (sure ') singing, and the occasional dramatic bits that work quite well. Other than the attempts at comedy, the voice is neither distracting nor impressive ' just there.

Sound (3.5 stars) - I have to admit, this debut is rather impressive and shows incredible promise on the young artist. The pristine sound quality is unmatched until his first real band album (Signify), the guitar and keyboard instrumentation is often outstanding, the percussion is often trippy and competent when a drum machine is not used. It is hard to be bored musically with this album, other than Jupiter Island and a few comedy-oriented songs with inferior music. What is most memorable to me is the expert crafting of psychedelic soundscapes, instantly worth noticing from the very beginning of the album (music for the head). Some intriguing semi-acoustic instrumental work like in Footprints or Begonia Seduction are so memorable that it is head-scratching why he abandoned those styles. The more traditional psychedelia and space rock have a bigger presence and get explored deeper in later albums, but one of the best examples of this sound from Steven Wilson is here in the extended 'It Will Rain a Million Years' ' a standout in his entire discography.

Song (3 stars) ' The songwriting half the time is quite immature but leaves room for excellent instrumental work. The problems relate to poor melody-making (Radioactive Toy) or some songs being constructed upon ideas that don't quite impress (fortunately, a handful of tunes are superior on this front). It is thankfully relatively free of awkward transitions between songs, possibly because the songs are generally based on few expanded ideas. The technique of building upon a theme is therefore quite competent when he applies it. The best example is 'It Will Rain a Million Years' which pulls you in and develops so seamlessly over a 10 minute duration with a blend of subtle repetition yet progressive structure that never quite climaxes yet ends satisfyingly.

Best Songs: Music for the Head, Third Eye Surfer, Nine Cats, Footprints, Begonia Seduction Scene, and particularly It Will Rain a Million Years ? however, many other tunes have interesting moments.

 Nil Recurring by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2007
3.95 | 481 ratings

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Nil Recurring
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Glimpse

3 stars Porcupine Tree's sixth and final EP, Nil Recurring, was certainly a pleasant gift for many fans as it came out just a few months after the release of their fantastic album Fear of a Blank Planet in 2007. The EP featured four leftovers the band had piled up from the album's recording sessions as the group felt they would just bloat the record, resulting in Fear of a Blank Planet having a lot less fat on it than their previous albums. Ultimately, I would say it was a good thing these came out here rather than on the album itself, as this EP tends to be a bit of a mixed bag overall.

The EP begins with the title track, an instrumental piece featuring Robert Fripp. It's a pretty nice track, featuring the band's characteristic 2000s era heaviness with a few more psychedelic passages sprinkled in. However, unlike Fripp's feature in Fear of a Blank Planet, he brings a bit more to the table here as he actually sounds like Robert Fripp at times, especially towards the end of the track. Something that I could really appreciate, as if you are gonna bring someone on to feature on a track, it would be nice for them to actually bring something interesting to the party.

Then comes the second track on the album, Normal. This is the weakest track on the album, as it is just an early, bloated version of the track Sentimental. Nothing that happens here is really all that interesting. It also features some of Wilson's weakest vocal work that I have heard so far. Sure, Wilson has never been the most dynamic or compelling vocalist ever, but he usually does a much better job than he does here. Here he just sounds flat, like he is not really giving it his all, this is particularly noticeable in the "Sullen and bored the kids stay" section of the song as his vocals and harmonies here are just so hollow sounding. Really this track just makes me appreciate the Sentimental we got on the album a lot more, as it expresses the ideas found here much better with a shorter run time.

Next up to bat is Cheating the Polygraph, away from the dull Normal and back to heavy goodness. This is pretty standard Porcupine Tree fare, a moderate length track with plenty of heaviness and a bit of a quieter break about 2/3rds of the way in featuring keyboard and effects work. Really nothing all that special here, but it is still a solid track nonetheless, not much for me to say here.

Of course, the group saves the best for last with the track What Happens Now? It is not a very heavy track, instead the heaviness takes a backseat to the more electronic sounds and psychedelic effects throughout the track. It feels somewhat like a throwback to Wilson's earlier work with the group, and overall it is a pretty nice track. Probably the only track on this EP that I could legitimately see myself coming back and listening to casually.

Nil Recurring all-around is hardly anything spectacular, but being a collection of leftovers, that was probably not what the group was shooting for with this release. Sure there are interesting moments, but it is not really hard to see why most of this material didn't make the cut. I would give this anywhere between a two or three, but I feel like overall it is good enough to earn a three. Though it should be noted that if you are interested in listening to these tracks, there are plenty of newer editions of Fear of a Blank Planet that feature these tracks along with the regular track listing, so if you want to listen to these tracks that would probably be your best route rather than buying an individual EP just for these tracks. Unless you are a collector or already have it, there is not really much point in buying this release on its own anymore.

 Porcupine Tree Sampler 2008 - Transmission 8.1 by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2008
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Porcupine Tree Sampler 2008 - Transmission 8.1
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This is the second Porcupine Tree Sampler (this one dated 2008), and like the previous one released in 2005, this one contains tracks collected from various solo projects and non-PT projects that the members of the band were involved in during the time. Also, just like the previous sampler, the music does not resemble that of PT very much, and it was released to give some exposure to the other projects that Richard Barbieri, Steven Wilson, Gavin Harrison and Colin Edwin were involved with.

The sampler starts off with Richard Barbieri with a track called 'Hypnotek' from his solo album 'Stranger Inside'. This is a nice electronic based track with processed piano, a driving beat and a mysterious feel. What sounds like some heavy guitar effects come in later and some added intensity keeps the track dynamic. Throw in some indiscernible vocal loops and you've got an interesting track. 'Red Square' follows this from his solo album 'Things Buried'. This one has Tangerine Dream style synths with some cool bass effects. Some lovely piano is added in later.

Colin Edwin is represented by three tracks by his project called 'Ex-wise Heads'. The first track is 'Harmonic Chain' from the album 'Holding Up the Sky'. Percussion and a funky bass provide the back drop to this interesting track that features nice effects along with a flute. 'Another Spark' is a track from the album 'Liquid Assets'. This one has some jazz leanings with light percussion. It is driven more by the bass at first, but a sax has the main spotlight on this one. Later, a tricky flute solo takes over. Next is 'Exit Strategy' which has a more tribal, or world, flavor to it, driven by percussion and bass.

Gavin Harrison is the next featured musician. 'Sailing' is a tricky progressive jazz tune with some lounge-y vocals that I don't care for. 'Sometime' follows this with a similar sounding track. These tracks do little to show Harrison's talent as they are not very interesting.

Steven Wilson is highlighted with the next 3 tracks. The first is from his project with Tim Bowness called 'No-man'. The track is the lovely 'Truenorth' sung with Bowness' airy vocals that comes from the excellent album 'Schoolyard Ghosts'. It is an edited version of the track, the original was over 12 minutes. This is a beautiful, lush track. Next is 'Get All You Deserve' from Steven Wilson's solo album 'Insurgentes'. It features Wilson's vulnerable vocals against a minimalist piano. This later intensifies when heavy guitar arpeggios are introduced. At four minutes, drums come crashing in as tension builds through the track until it becomes quite noisy at the end. The last track is from SW's solo experimental and electronic project 'Bass Communion'. The track is called 'Glacial 1602' from the album 'Molotov and Haze'. The track is edited from 13:10 to 9:03 with some of the most prolonged ambience cut out. Even so, the music is minimal, yet beautiful. Effects seems to be processed guitar and probably synths.

Just like the previous sampler, this is a good way to try out the other projects that the musicians from PT were involved in to see if you would want to explore them more. The tracks are all great this time, except for Harrison's which is kind of surprising. However, as can be expected from samplers, the music is varied and works better when presented on a full album. At any rate, you can still get a good idea from these tracks as to what to expect. These samplers were my gateway into the further exploits of both Wilson and Barbieri as I love most of their projects, especially 'No-man' and 'Bass Communion'.

 Transmission IV by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2001
3.99 | 112 ratings

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Transmission IV
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars This recording was originally a limited release sent out to PT newsletter subscribers. Since then, it has been released on other recordings like "The Sky Moves Sideways" album, but in edited versions. This was the only way to get the unedited, 40 minute improvised track, which is a spacey and psychedelic musical voyage that really works well as trippy music or background music. Since 2001, it has been reissued a few times, because PT fans demand to have access to everything they record.

The band line up had not been completely established yet and SW plays most of the instruments on this recording. By this time, however, Colin Edwin had joined him on bass and would become a long-time member of the band. Chris Maitland, the early drummer for the band was also providing most of the percussion. Another guest percussionist for the recording is Rick Edwards and the harmonica is provided by another guest Markus Butler.

This album is not going to be appealing to everyone because it is 40 minutes of mostly floating music without anything like a melody. It is actually completely instrumental, except for some field recordings that begin around 15 minutes in. It is broken up into sections which can go on for many minutes before changing. Each section develops until it reaches it's desired sound and groove and continues on with improvised keys and guitar and sometimes with other instruments. The first section gets it's groove, then with a bass and drum foundation, SW improvises atmospheric sounds on the guitar with embellishments from the keyboards. This lasts for 15 minutes, and is quite repetitive if you only pay attention to the foundation of the improvisation. At this point, things get somewhat ambient as the main sounds are conversations from what sounds like a lunar landing while the instruments provide background. This continues for a while, then the music builds another foundation over which more improvisation develops. This time, there is a nice harmonica joining the music provided by Markus Butler. That will continue until 25 minutes in and then things start to get a bit more pensive as a spacey organ takes over the spotlight and bongos are added into the percussion. All the while, the spotlight instruments don't really stand out as solo instruments as much as they are simply a layer to the entire production. Around 29 minutes, the rhythm breaks down as things get psychedelic with birds chirping and other effects and some floating synths.

The last 10 minutes is the best part of the album. It takes a bit longer to build from the bit of ambience that takes over here, but soon drums and bass start establishing a pattern. Now you will start to hear SW fade in a more riveting and intense guitar as keys push him forward. This is where things get exciting as you feel it build a very heavy and fast beat and SW starts to play a blistering solo. The heaviness continues until 35 minutes, when everything drops out except for atmospheric keys and guitar that plays a floating and minimal psychedelia until the end at 40 minutes.

At first listen, this might be too unstructured for most listeners, but the more you listen, the more you start to pick up and realize that this can be divided up into sections of continual music. As a psychedelic, Space Rock style recording, it is an excellent album and is one that you can easily get lost in. But as far as being melodic, it is not at all, at least in any kind of song structure, as it is mostly improvised. I have to be in the right mood to listen to it, but as far as background music, it never fails to satisfy. As far as comparison to the other epic early psychedelic PT works, I prefer "The Sky Move Sideways" more than this one or "Voyage 34", but this one is still quite good as far as trippy psychedelic music goes. It will probably appeal more to Space Rock lovers and PT fans more than anyone else.

 Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1 by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2005
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Porcupine Tree Sampler 2005 - Transmission 3.1
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

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.

 Lightbulb Sun by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.02 | 1452 ratings

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Lightbulb Sun
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars Porcupine Tree's sixth album further removes itself from the psychedelia of their early work, continuing from where their previous album 'Stupid Dream' left off, further incorporating alternative rock/pop into their sound. At this point, there is very little prog in most of the tracks, with only a select few having any major semblance to it at all. Despite the much simpler nature of the album, I can quite easily say that it is a much more cohesive, enjoyable record when put up against 'Stupid Dream', with many songs either being extremely emotional and powerful, and even the less impressive ones being extremely beautiful, largely due to the incredible production giving everything a lovely sound, being quite subtle and quiet through the majority of the length, working perfectly with the tone of the album.

The album has 4 definite highlights to it, with almost all the remaining songs sounding extremely similar, which would work as a major detriment if not for the clever tracklisting, spreading these throughout the album, meaning that there is never a long period of time where you're listening to filler, and always have a track to look forward to, especially given that the majority of the filler tracks are on the shorter side. Despite saying this, having these filler tracks still undoubtedly works significantly against the album, but the 4 highlights make up for quite a bit of this in my opinion, being some of Porcupine Tree's finest compositions. The title track is a great way to open the album, with lovely acoustic guitars and Steven Wilson's emotional vocals. This track has an excellent chorus and good progression all the way through, making the most out of a simple structure, and perfectly encapsulating the core sound that will be presented. 'Shesmovedon' is the next major highlight, and possibly the best song on the album, with excellent interplay between all the instruments, escalating as it goes on, with the vocals becoming more despondent and desperate sounding, being extremely impactful once the distortion gets used. After this is one of the best guitar solos from Porcupine Tree doing what any great guitar solo does and being able to convey emotion along with technical skill. 'Hatesong' is the heaviest song on the album for sure, starting off quietly, but with a definite feeling that something is building up, especially with the bassline, which has a foreboding edge to it. This continues for a while before the electric guitar comes in, making the song far louder and heavier, before the further increasing in intensity during the second half. 'Russia on Ice' has almost exactly the same basic structure of having the first half being quiet before building in every way, but has is even more defined, having the first half be a slow, despondant ballad with barely any moments of crescendo at all, before hitting the halfway point and continuously adding new elements to a basic riff that sounds excellent, with the song ending with each instrument being played incredibly, with particular mention to the great drums fills. This is definitely the other song that is possibly the best on the album.

Almost all the rest of the tracjs sound extremely similar, being quiet ballads that follow a very basic structure, especially 'The Rest Will Flow', 'Where We Would Be' and 'How is Your Life Today?' which while having slightly different style in sections, are very unmemorable and provide me with the same general feeling of apathy, particularly 'Where We Would Be' which I find quite annoying. The worst song on the album for me is undoubtedly 'Four Chords That Made A Million', being abrasive in all the wrong ways, coming across as unpleasant in an album full of beauty, with everything instead being straight up aggravating here. The unfortunate case is that while these songs may sound nice, they also feel unnecessary to have so many filler tracks, especially when the highlights clearly show what the band is capable of.

Overall, this more refined alternative rock approach continued from 'Stupid Dream' proves itself to be quite worthy in many ways, with the production being exquisite as always with Porcupine Tree, and the sound being more coherent than it has been since 'Up the Downstair'. Despite this, the weaker tracks bring the album down quite a lot, as the experience is quite uneven, especially considering how high some of the highs are on this album. Great album all around, but not an essential one by any means.

Best Tracks: Lightbulb Sun, Shesmovedon, Hatesong, Russia on Ice

Weakest Tracks: Where We Would Be, Four Chords that Made A Million

Verdict: An easy to listen to album that is pretty decent, albeit can sometimes become quite boring due to filler. Don't come into this expecting a masterpiece of prog, or much prog at all for that matter. I'd recommend it if you enjoy the alternative pop/rock sound that this album has, but not for those who much prefer their music to be of the heavier variety.

 Stupid Dream by PORCUPINE TREE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.99 | 1297 ratings

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Stupid Dream
Porcupine Tree Heavy Prog

Review by The Crow
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A very delightful Porcupine Tree travel into their most pop side!

After the bit disjointed and irregular Signify, which is nonetheless a fine album, Steven Wilson produced this record with their habitual band members, the same since The Sky Moves Sideways sessions. The sound is so wonderful as ever, with an even cleaner guitar sound, splendid bass and drums and an outstanding and very ambient work on keyboards by Barbieri.

The signwriting direction of Stupid Dream is also more concise, contained and song oriented, forgetting a bit the long instrumental sections of The Sky Moves Sideways and the experimentation and boring psychedelic elements of Signify. And although the prog is still here, the best side of Stupid Dream are the shorter, catchy and very well written poppier songs, which are among the best that Steven Wilson wrote under the name of Porcupine Tree.

Best Tracks: Even Less (a true classic with wonderful guitar melodies and strong riffs towards the end), the pop-prog marvellous songs Piano Lessons, Pure Narcotic, This is No Rehearsal and Stranger By the Minute, and the great instrumental work on Slave Called Shiver and Tinto Brass.

Conclusion: maybe for the most radical prog purists Stupid Dream is too simple and pop oriented, but I find this album tremendously charming and just like In Absentia, it has the perfect mixture between accessibility and complexity.

So Stupid Dream is definitely in my top five Porcupine Tree studio albums and I consider It a true classic of the 90's.

My rating: ****

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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