Porcupine Tree — Signify
(Delerium DELEC CD045, 1996, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1997-02-01
On their latest release, Signify, Porcupine Tree continues to consolidate and refine the approach used on their previous release, The Sky Moves Sideways. While Sky was essentially a one-man show by multi-instrumentalist Stephen Wilson (guitars, vocals, samples, keys), this latest album represents more of a group effort. Wilson receives able backing by Richard Barbieri (ex-Japan, Raintree Crow), Colin Edwin (bass), and Chris Maitland (drums). The result is a more immediate, concise sound that distances the band from its reputation as a Floyd-derived space-rock band. The difference is apparent at the outset, with the hard-driving riffing of the title track. From there, the album alternates between atmospheric synthesized instrumentals, semi-acoustic vocal songs, and more killer riffing with Gilmour-like guitar solos. Many of the pieces are punctuated with distant-sounding spoken parts (the audio-verite effect of radio broadcasts pops up now and then), giving continuity to the impressive flow of ideas and styles. The shorter pieces and greater variety of styles makes this a more immediately likable album than Sky, though I would definitely recommend that album as well (see #8 for a Roundtable review). Porcupine Tree occupies a well-traveled but welcome subgenre in the field of modern progressive rock. Both challenging and accessible at the same time, this album is sure to win over some new fans.
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more