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 Porcupine Tree - the early years

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The Subhuman

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Join date : 2009-11-16
Location : Los Angeles, CA

PostSubject: Porcupine Tree - the early years   Tue Aug 09, 2011 3:45 pm

A band like Porcupine Tree can sometimes be daunting to get into because of the size of their discography and the stylistic shifts they've gone through in their career. Here is a little "cheat sheet" for those interested in exploring the band.

Early Years (1991-1997)

During the first few years of their existence Porcupine Tree was just Steven Wilson (and occasional guests), there was no actual band and Wilson didn't perform the material live.

The first two Porcupine Tree albums are largely drum machine, samples and Wilson then overdubbing guitars, vocals, keyboards and other things. They run the stylistic gamut from Canterbury-ish pop, to dance-y tracks and ambient/electronic sections.

Those albums are:

On The Sunday Side Of Life (1991)
Up The Downstair (1993)

The bonus editions of those albums also contain the myriad singles that Wilson released.

In 1994 Wilson responded to the strong following PT was getting and decided to assemble a band so they could play concerts. He also continued to record PT stuff on his own. The resulting album featured both the new band and a few Wilson solo tracks.

This group released "The Sky Moves Sideways" in 1995 (though it didn't hit the US until 2 years later). This album is the most "Pink Floyd" of all their albums, leaning towards long space-rock type jams, the title track taking up most of the album. This is where PT starts to get interesting to me.

That original group then released Signify in 1996. Signify was the first complete album recorded by the band and was also the first album to feature anything remotely "heavy", with the title track being kind of like a Satriani-style jam. This album was also kind of the swan song for the electronic vibe as they moved more into traditional songwriting on their following albums. Signify is a great record and contains some real strong tracks...although I will say that Live versions of these same songs have vastly improved on the original studio versions, to the point where I usually listen to the live album "Coma Divine" when I'm in the mood for this era.

This era of the band is my least favorite, but still I think very much worthwhile and even lesser Porcupine Tree is better than most other bands.

The absolute BEST material from this era can be grabbed on 2 releases.

"STARS DIE" is a 2-CD set hand selected by Wilson that is more than just a compilation. It does contain many album tracks, but for many of these Wison brought in PT's current drummer to record actual acoustic drum parts to replace the drum machine tracks...these new drum parts improve these songs by a LARGE degree, thus they are preferable to listen to. There are also songs on this set not available anywhere else.

now, my favorite release from this era is the live album Coma Divine.

Porcupine Tree is a LIVE BAND, it's really where they are at their best. This record closes the chapter on the early Floyd-ish era nicely. It contains many of their great early tracks (The Sky Moves Sideways, Moonloop, Dislocated Day) as well as several tracks from the then-current album Signify.

Hope this helps, I'll be doing another thread on the next evolutional step.
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Cagey Cretin

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PostSubject: Re: Porcupine Tree - the early years   Tue Aug 09, 2011 5:05 pm

Very informative indeed, this helps me to take your suggestion and get the 2-disc set. The drum samples aren't really my thing.
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The Subhuman

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Join date : 2009-11-16
Location : Los Angeles, CA

PostSubject: Re: Porcupine Tree - the early years   Tue Aug 09, 2011 6:03 pm

Well, there are still songs with the drum samples but they are generally well done. Eventually I would suggest also getting the reissue of The Sky Moves Sideways, because I think you'd enjoy the Floyd aspect.

But that would be much later down the road after you've checked out the remainder of their catalog.

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Man/Monkey Hybrid

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Age : 47
Location : Fortress of Solitude Tool Shed

PostSubject: Re: Porcupine Tree - the early years   Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:29 am

Wow, that was quite extensive. Thanks, dude. Good stuff to know. I have most of their later material, but haven't gone back to the beginning.
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