There are a number of threads if you search "Porcupine Tree", but not much under "Porqupine Tree"
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I don't plan on reviewing each lp here, I will say I started off with "Lightbulb Sun". While it was obvious from my first beginnings, just hearing one song, that this band was special, I can say that this band, while obviously prolific, doesn't get into a rut and "hang on"! The obvious genious of SW is apparent if for no other reason as that the music is flowing, it just continues to flow. Not the same riffs or the same formula over and over. It's new, relevant, and most of all, enjoyable.
Roxy54: Don't be put off by mere words. Investigate for yourself before making a conclusion.
I have a TON of PTree that I've been collecting for the past 8 years or so. I especially like Lightbulb Sun, Stupid Dream, In Absentia, and Anesthetize.
Many of their albums are available as hi-res multi-channel and they sound *fantastic*. Steven Wilson is, truly, a genius. And he was also chosen to re-mix all of the King Crimson and Jethro Tull albums in multi-channel...
Here's a quote from the liner notes in the "Lightbulb Sun" lp....
"This special edition double vinyl lp is dedicated to the memory of our friend Michael Piper, who passed away in April 2008. In fact, it was meant to be the latest in a line of beautifully packaged Pocupine Tree related vinyl releases he lovingly curated for his own Gates Of Dawn label. The test pressings had been approved, and the artwork completed, but Michael entered hospital before he could place the final manufacturing order, and never came out again.
If you ever bought a PT vinyl at a show or via mail order, there is a good chance it was from Michael. If you did you would have found it was less a business transaction, and more like a reminiscence with a dear friend about music, because music was what Michael's life was all about. A lifetime of passion for music culminated in his dedication to Porcupine Tree. He was instrumental in assisting the band on it's first US tour, selling merch, and getting the word out to anyone who would listen. He would undertake tasks amnd errands that no one else would do, from trying to find a local music store to get a set of guitar strings at the last minute, to picking up a spare amp, or even getting the band lunch when everyone else was too busy. Nothing made him happier than standing at the merch stand and talking to fans, whether they bought something from him or not. And he made every PT show that he could, driving ridiculously long hours in his Subaru, or taking the most excruciatingly inconvenient and multiple-connection flights, anything to see and hang out with the band. For us, there was something always reassuring about knowing Michael was at a particular show, no matter what else may have gone wrong, his consistency and unwavering dedication always mattered to us.
Michael spent the last hours of his life in the hospital listening to music. Even though he couldn't speak and was otherwise unresponsive, those that say that when they put PT music for him, he seemed at peace, and was more responsive than he had been in weeks. That is humbling to us, but we know that Michael would have wanted to be listening to music to the very end, because that is what his whole life was about"
END OF QUOTE.
An Inconvenient Truth... my next lp was "The Incident".
This is a completely different direction from the previous lp. (This is a good thing).
First, I noticed that the sonics were a notch behind "Lightbulb...". The different direction that SW has taken here in comparison to "LS" is not as appealing to my sense of taste. This, however, takes nothing away from the musical genious of SW & PT.
Here's one thing I already know... I could have all of PT output on a constant play mode, and put it on repeat and still never think I'm hearing the same music over & over.
This is a good thing!
I have been fortunate to see PT twice in concert and I can attest that they were two of the best concerts I've seen. And I have been to a LOT of concerts.
Their sound guy is among the best in the business. The sound quality he achieved at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA was astonishing. And the State is a very tough room in which to play.
PT's sound is constantly evolving, their earlier albums sound nothing like their latest. Nonetheless, there is a feeling that they really do care about sound quality and that they do whatever they can to further that.
The fact that Steven Wilson was chosen by King Crimson, Yes, ELP, and Jethro Tull to re-mix their albums for surround speaks volumes about the genius that is Steven Wilson.
If you ever get the chance to see them in concert, do NOT fail to do so....
One more thing - PTree did a couple of sessions at the XM studios in Washington, DC. The sound quality of these is exemplary, among the best I've ever heard for live shows.
They also did a live concert that is called "Warszawa" that was done in Warsaw, Poland. Grab any of these if you can, you will surely be pleased...
Actually PT has not existed as a working band since their "farewell" tour in 2010. Steven Wilson is recording and touring as a solo artist, though. The sound at his concerts is typically excellent, and the sound quality of his last few solo releases is probably better than most Porcupine Tree releases. They are usually available on Bluray Audio and CD as well as limited edition vinyl. Since he records in digital one would expect the Bluray Audio to sound truest to the original recording.
Yeah, PT is pretty much gone as a band. Big doubts if they will ever resurface again. SW likes to move on in different directions, and is a bonafide progressive music encyclopedia, so I expect that he will continue to move forward and is less likely to revert back to his past accomplishments and reform PT.
His new shows as a solo artist are every bit as good as the old Porcipine Tree concerts I've seen.
Bdgregory: For me, ( I understand that each of us is different, come from differing life "events", differing understandings... however, listening to "Court Of King Crimson".. is so much of what PT is about.
In fact, I have feelings in the opposite direction from those who relate PT to Pink Floyd. That's just me. Peace.
FWIW: I'm still listening for the first time to all of these lps. If one wants (just one) to begin with, I can recommend "Stupid Dream".
(I've had a ton of vinyl in for listening lately. I still need to pay a lot more attention to PT. I've noticed that SW even masters most/all of his stuff on the Kscope label. Wow!) I also read in a liner note that Robert Fripp plays on one/more of PT's lps.
I was listening to a couple of PT's other lps recently and Pink Floyd came to mind as did some of Ronnie Montrose's solo instrumental stuff. I really need to just sit down and soak it all in. There's a lot to soak in!
There's no doubt that this is a band to HAVE! (on vinyl)
Ok.. I'm getting into these lps. Wow! SW must be a musician/SPONGE! He incorporates all aspects of the "rock" experience.
(If I could be a fly on the wall when these lps were being conceptualized, wow, what an experience that must be!!!)
I really doubt if SW sleeps at all. How could you? With all of the ideas running around in your head, and then, to pull them off with the mastery he does, ....! (It's hard for me to sleep when I know I have an lp waiting for me this good.. anytime!!!) I feel like, right now, I must be in a dream... that's "a good thing".
Right now, all I can honestly say is it will take me quite a while to digest all of this great music and come to some sort of overall opinion other than GREAT! As I write this, I'm hearing "In Absentia"... GREAT!!!!
I had a similar experience with Porcupine Tree. I was not familiar with them until several Agon folks recommended them in a thread I started about "new" prog bands. Like you, I find hints of old school prog bands in PT including Pink Floyd, Rush, Yes, ELP,King Crimson, and even Nine Inch Nails.The other key point you mentioned is that Steven Wilson has a keen ear and has produced the remastering of some of the most iconic rock lps. I particularly enjoyed the anniversary edition of "Aqualung". My only complaint is that some of the PT catalogue is hard to find and really expensive. In my mind, PT represents a great find with a deep catalogue that I would never would have known about except for the informed people on Audiogon.
"hard to find" and "expensive" - that epitomizes the Porcupine Tree EP's that he has also put out. But so many of those are just as essential to a PT fan as the regular albums (aka "nil recurring" especially).
But take your time on these. There's something special getting into a band like this at the beginning ... waiting for and enjoying the next album and hearing the band's progress and change over time. Having a catalogue this large thrown at you all at once can be daunting, and you might overlook some of those (still great) secondary songs for the true standouts.
This happened to me last year when I received the whole cataloge at once from a band called "Sixun" which could best be described as the French Weather Report. Awesome music, but just too much to be absorbed in a whole package. Far better IMO to experience each album for a while, then move to the next one in 3-6 months time.