Porcupine Tree — Moonloop EP
(Delerium DELEC CDS 032, 1994, CD)
Porcupine Tree — The Sky Moves Sideways
(Delerium DELEC CD 028, 1995, CD)
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.
by Peter Thelen, 1995-11-01:
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.
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more