Porcupine Tree disappointment...
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markl

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OK, so I'd never heard of this "group" (seems to be one guy) outside of this forum. Lots of people here seem to love them (him) here. So I bought Stars Die, the Delerium Years 1991-1997. This 2CD set contains cuts from his major albums during this period plus a lot of unreleased stuff.

I really wanted to like this. It sounded right up my alley, great headphone fodder. But it was not to be, it left me cold. For me, I found this pretty weak and kind of sissy, repetitive music, hippy-dippy lyrics, not engaging; given the name I was expecting something harder. Maybe that's my fault. For my money, this stuff goes on and on in a very repetitive manner, not nearly as "trippy" and psychedelic as it purports to be. Which may be expected given the guy says he doesn't do drugs. He may be a case in point that doing drugs is surely a requisite for producing trippy music...

I love psychedelic music, headphone music, I love stuff that challenges me, but I didn't find it with Porcupine Tree. Oh well.

Mark
 
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minya

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Steven Wilson is definitely the core of Porcupine Tree, but not the only member of the band. Early PT was Steve Wilson alone with a drum machine for percussion, but starting with "Signify" (I believe... may be wrong) they became a full four-member band.

For the record, "Signify" is really the only PT I enjoy. I find the older stuff a little too.... flaccid? to be really enjoyable, but "Signify" does everything right. I also don't like the latest album, In Absentia, because it's a little too... MTV-ish.

That said, I'm a big fan of Steven Wilson for his sideprojects and collaborations. IEM (Incredible Expanding Mindf...) is one of Steven's solo projects and it is truly genius. Brain-bending krautrock and ambience mixed with a few jazz flourishes here and there.

Bass Communion, another Wilson project, is also very, very good, but very, very different. Bass Communion sees Wilson experimenting with deep, droning ambient -- not exactly rock-out music, but definitely made for headphones.

I haven't heard No-Man, the other band he's in.

If you like metal, you'll enjoy Opeth's "Blackwater Park" and "Deliverance," two very good metal albums with a heavy progressive influence (and production/instrumentation by Wilson).

- Chris
 
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CRev2002

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I was forced to listen to a porcupine tree album at my friends place while we sparked a tasty bong, but the music is so simple and repetetive that it ruined my buzz. The production is decent enough, but the fundamentals are not there for this group's music. Don't let the smooth production fool you!
 
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perhaps it's better/fairer to judge a band by actually listening to an album, instead of a compilation that tries to tell the story of how over a period of almost 7 years, a one-man hobby grew into a full-blown band. most of the stuff on that compilation is Steve fooling around, trying stuff. I like Stars Die, but mostly because of a couple of B-sides on there that rule IMO (Radioactive Toy, Stars Die, Rainy Taxi). the rest ranges from silly to not-quite-there.

get Signify and try again. the first album as a band, and everything pulls together.

Crev, "a" PT album? which one dude? sounds like it might've been Voyage 34, which is repetitive and boring, even to a fan like me (who loves the 60 minutes of improv on Metanoia). no other album like it exists.
 
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acs236

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Strange Markl, I had the same experience with the same album. And I think I'm a bigger fan of progressive rock than you. Although, I do have problems getting into newer progressive rock.
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Braver
perhaps it's better/fairer to judge a band by actually listening to an album, instead of a compilation that tries to tell the story of how over a period of almost 7 years, a one-man hobby grew into a full-blown band.


I'm a fan of Klaus Schulze and I have bought (and sold) the «72-93 The essential» double CDs.
What a shock even for someone who loves his music... Compilations are usually a risky way for a first contact.

Amicalement

P.S. Signify and Stupid Dream are the way to go.
 
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acs236

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That's a good point about compilations. I generally hate them. In my defense, however, it was recommended to me that I try that particular compilation first. Maybe I'll pick up another album some day.
 
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You might try to borrow In Absentia from someone. I notice that collection doesn't have anything off that album, which is probably one of their best. Of course it might be its just not for you. If you still want to look into it though, that would be a good place to look.

-jesse
 
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patman657

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markl, you picked a bad album to start with. Out of the twelve albums I own by PT, I would say that "Signify" is quite possibly their best album yet, and a great one to start with, or, if you like harder stuff, "In Absentia" might be more up your alley (although I find the lyrics a bit lacking on this one).

Brief History: You see, Steve Wilson started fooling around with his guitar and drum machine when he was 14 (in '89 I think), and some of the stuff on Stars Die is from "On the Sunday of Life...", some even from "Nostalgia Factory". As a huge fan of PT, I still think On the Sunday of Life... is HORRIBLE. It is an earsplitting mix combining what seems like a $100 drum machine with Steve's 16 year old guitar prowess (which isn't all that bad), but the production quality is really poor.

Now, Signify, as minya said, "does everything right". Also recommended are: "Coma Divine" w/ Bonus CD, possibly the most well recorded live rock performance I have ever heard, and the bonus CD is better than the album itself; "Recordings", one of my favorites, very out-there lyrics on some trakcs, very understandable on others; "Lightbulb Sun", I would say this is my second favorite album, it is the transition between Signify and In Absentia, more rock than pyschedelia, but not as hard as In Absentia.

Last suggestion: Buy "Warszawa", you can find it on eBay for the usual $15-20, or from PT's store at http://www.burningshed.com (you have to pay in pounds), or elsewhere online. It's live, so you have to like live (very well done), and it contains tracks from Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, Signify, and even Voyage 34. It's a great sampler and could be the compilation you are looking for. Good luck!
 
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I'm not sure which album I listened to. It was on DVD cd if that helps at all. Some of the songs sounded a bit like SCIENCE by Incubus. I know I shouldn't be so quick to judge a band by one album. Still, it smacked the taste out of my mouth.
 
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patman657

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CRev2002
I'm not sure which album I listened to. It was on DVD cd if that helps at all. Some of the songs sounded a bit like SCIENCE by Incubus. I know I shouldn't be so quick to judge a band by one album. Still, it smacked the taste out of my mouth.


AFAIK, the only PT album currently on DVD-A is "In Absentia". If you really didn't like it as much as you say you did, you probably aren't going to like much of anything else they have done, but I still suggest giving it another try.
 
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minya

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I gotta disagree with Patman. I really don't like "In Absentia" and I don't really think it's representative of the PT sound (at least the past PT sound... future PT, perhaps). "In Absentia" is a lot more "commercial" than their other albums. Give "Signify" a try. If you like that, explore "Stupid Dream" & "Lightbulb Sun" etc...

- Chris
 
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minya

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Oh, by the way, I'm listening to Bass Communion's "Ghosts on Magnetic Tape" now.

.... absolutely amazing.

- Chris
 
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patman657

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More commercial, yes. However, while I much prefer Lightbulb Sun and Stupid Dream, I feel In Absentia is similar enough to these other two that if CRev2002 dislikes its sound it as much as he says he does, he isn't going to be blown away by LS or SD.
 
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