Artist: Porcupine Tree
Genre: Progressive Rock / Pop
Release Date: 10th September 2010
Label: K Scope Records
Initially issued in 2001 featuring a collection of EP tracks and so-called “out takes” off the album sessions to ‘Stupid Dream’ and ‘Lightbulb Sun’, the limited pressing of ‘Recordings’ sold-out fast after its release and, if at all, was only available for high prices on EBay etc. K-Scope now showed mercy with the fans of PORCUPINE TREE and put out a re-issue of the sought after material on 10th September.
The opener ‘Buying New Soul’ directly clocks in at 10 minutes, phasing in with an initially sparse instrumentation of a key melody basing on a haunting repetitive motif that keeps echoing in your head. On a layer of acoustic guitar instrumentation and subtle drumming, Wilson’s beginning to lay out his in-depth lyrical explorations onto the backdrop that soon is going to speed up, wearing rocking clothes, mixing up with the moments of a sad calm, indulging in mild depression. With the certainty of the definite end, the mourning melody from the beginning comes back and takes us out of the song. A bouncing piano chord introduces the second song ‘Access Denied’ and milder moods take hold of the scenery, yet the lyrical content contrasts the initial arrangement harshly which time and again slip into an abyss, offering acoustic treasures like a jazzy piano line or an urgent riff. To find a good title that sums up the mood in a few simple words is not the easiest thing to do. ‘Cure For Optimism’ however is a perfect composition of words to describe the depressive feelings within a song that goes without any drums, but with acoustic guitar and expanding layers of atmospheres enframing Wilson’s vocals.
The following ‘Untitled’, an instrumental by the way, invokes autumnal feelings with occasional washes while an ingenious progression goes through the rest of the arrangement and especially the guitars need to be mentioned for their grandness. ‘Disappear’ builds on a mix of percussion, drums keys and acoustic guitar to deliver a sublime feeling of a psychedelic melancholy if that makes any sense to you. PORCUPINE TREE again takes the instrumental route with ‘Ambulance Chasing’, acting like an experimental sonic invocation ritual, then turning towards very laid-back structures highlighting Colin Edwin’s voluminous bass tones, eventually developing rocking currents whose effect is being reinforced by the ambience. An incredibly intense piece of music I’d love to hear being played live some time, but chances for that are little I guess. A simple chord wraps around a voice and is getting embraced by expansive layers on ‘In Formaldehyde’. You’re feeling like being surrounded by a numbing air, an air filled with micro particles of resignation.
The lengthiest of PORCUPINE TREE’s excursions on the album comes with ‘Even Less’, the full length version of the track, opening ‘Stupid Dream’. A heart-wrenching delivery of Wilson skips through sad episodes, and you come to wonder if that is someone who has come to believe that nothing he ever did was made to last or mattered long enough for someone to remember. “I had a stupid dream that I could change things” ‘Oceans Have No Memory’ is the album’s closing, a psychedelic little number that keeps a relaxed vibe. I was wondering why the collection did sell-out so fast back when it was first released. Now it’s quite clear why. But it’s not clear why most of these songs never made it onto one of the albums, including the full version of ‘Even Less’. It seems almost ridiculous looking at the quality of the material gathered on this disc. Get it while you can.
01. Buying New Soul - 10:26
02. Access Denied - 3:35
03. Cure for Optimism - 6:13
04. Untitled - 8:50
05. Disappear - 3:43
06. Ambulance Chasing - 6:28
07. In Formaldehyde - 5:21
08. Even Less - 14:08
09. Oceans Have No Memory - 3:09
Steven Wilson - Vocals, Guitars, Piano, Synths, etc.
Richard Barbieri - Keys, Synths, Piano, Mellotron
Colin Edwin - Bass
Chris Maitland - Drums
http://www.porcupinetree.com/ / http://www.myspace.com/porcupinetree
Total: 9.5 / 10