Exposé Online banner

Porcupine Tree — Moonloop EP
(Delerium DELEC CDS 032, 1994, CD)

Porcupine Tree — The Sky Moves Sideways
(Delerium DELEC CD 028, 1995, CD)

by Peter Thelen, 1995-11-01:

Moonloop EP Cover artThe Sky Moves Sideways Cover art

Having defined themselves as the modern standard bearers of the Pink Floyd sound – a title rightfully deserved (save the Roger Waters psychosis), they have set about further refining that notion on these, their latest album and companion EP. They seem to be a full band now, rather than the expanded solo project of one Steven Wilson on previous releases. Make no mistake, though, this is still Wilson's baby – on three tracks he performs all the parts, and has the main hand in writing all of the tunes. Indeed, a comparison to the Wish You Were Here era of the old trippers is certainly in order, yet Porcupine Tree have moved the fabric of that sound forward and elaborated on it, adding a much heavier dose of the psychedelic, while displaying some evidence of influence from the Ozrics / techno / ambient school. What they've come up with is indeed quite satisfying.

The US and British versions of both the album and EP are significantly different. The lengthy instrumental workout "Moonloop" is on all four, the British album and EP versions being slightly different variations of the full 18-minute version, and in fact the US EP features the same version as the UK EP, but the US album features an eight minute edit (very well done, I might add). The lengthy album title track is split into two parts separated by several other songs, yet on the US version, it is further indexed into six subsections. In the US, "Stars Die" (from the EP) was also included on the album, while the shorter acoustic guitar piece "Prepare Yourself" was left off. The order of the songs between the two halves of the title track are different also, and finally, the US EP has a third bonus track, "Always Never" from an earlier album. Artwork and booklets differ also. So which version to go with? The two longer versions of "Moonloop" not being all that different, I'd be inclined to give the edge to the US versions, the full album flows a little better, and the EP has the extra track. But either way, this latest release is a winner, and represents Porcupine Tree's best effort to date.


by Rob Walker, 1995-11-01:

Their third full album, The Sky Moves Sideways is Porcupine Tree's strongest release yet. Featuring three long 17-18 minutes tracks, the album flows effortlessly from laid back Floyd-like atmospheres to aggressive psychedelic soloing over driving techno/rave influenced rhythm tracks. The music is entrancing, but unlike on many other psychedelic albums, it remains plenty varied and dynamic, avoiding the repetitive monotony that can afflict this genre. The title track is actually a full 35 minutes long, broken into halves to open and close the disc. On both The Sky Moves Sideways and Moonloop, shimmering synths and forceful rhythms weave in and out of fluid guitar lines as the piece twists and glides through its magical atmospheres. Guitarist and bandleader Steve Wilson does most of the writing, and adds three essentially solo shorter pieces, on which he performs all the instrumental parts. Porcupine Tree definitely has a winner here: The Sky Moves Sideways is unquestionably one of the best psych albums of this decade.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 8 , 1994 releases, 1995 releases

Related artist(s): Porcupine Tree, Richard Barbieri, Steven Wilson / I.E.M., Theo Travis, Colin Edwin

More info

Latest news

2020-01-21
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

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
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

2020-01-12
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

2020-01-10
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


Previously in Exposé...

Matthew Shipp, Spring Heel Jack & Others - Equilibrium, VisionFest, Good and Evil Sessions – Back in the late 80s, the style called acid jazz emerged, blending jazz with hip-hop elements, essentially bringing a modern groove to jazz, analogous to the incorporation of funk, soul, and rock into...  (2003) » Read more

David Borden - Places, Times & People – It's so easy to hang labels on things, but in the end the true value of a piece of music is a fairly subjective thing — except maybe for those consumed with dissecting every detail ad nauseum. I'm a...  (1995) » Read more

Atlantide - Atlantide – Jean-Pierre Massiera had somewhat of a reputation for putting together one-shot bands that record and promptly die. Another one of his 'projects' was Visitors, which we reviewed back in #6....  (1996) » Read more

Culto sin Nombre - Hallazgos Nerviosos – Like dark? Here's dark. Anyone remember a Mexican mid-80s group called Nazca? They had a couple of very Stravinsky influenced chamber-rock albums and then disappeared nearly without trace....  (1997) » Read more

Fish - 13th Star – Nearly Scotland’s answer to Rumplestiltskin singer, composer Fish is nothing if he is not consistent with his muse. Together with Steve Vantsis, the big man continues to search out the meaning...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues