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Porcupine Tree

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Music.

UK progressive rock band, founded by Steven Wilson (1967-    ), relatively little-known but prolific and deftly creative of a series of attractive and musically complex sonic structures, often sf or Fantasy in styling. "Jupiter Islands" (on On The Sunday of Life, 1991) describes a gauchely "Dancers at the End of Time" cosmos ("Magenta forests on a crimson sea ... Scarlet moons in a domino sky"); although "Space Transmission" and "Radioactive Toy" are more controlled. The spacious Pink Floyd-like soundscapes of The Sky Moves Sideways (1995) details a materially disintegrating world, but this apocalypse is so dreamily hallucinogenic as wholly to avoid the usual outré stylings of this manner of end-of-the-world music. Signify (1997) is about the languors of ordinary life, and is itself fairly languid, although the track "Every Home Is Wired", looking forward to the ubiquity of the Internet, was fairly prescient for the mid-1990s. Stupid Dream (1999) is a self-reflexive album about the music industry that does not escape self-indulgence, something also true of the band's next album Lightbulb Sun (2000), especially in its bitter attack on lucrative musical simplicity, "Four Chords That Made A Million". But other tracks on this album are more interesting, especially the harder edged apocalyptic vision of "Last Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled", which samples recordings of the Heaven's Gate cult, an organization which, of course, wound up in mass Suicide. The voyage of Voyage 34: The Complete Trip (2000) is that of an LSD trip, and the poppier music of In Absentia (2002) is not sf. Of the group's most recent releases, Deadwing (2005), a concept album about a haunted house, is marginally sf and Fear of a Blank Planet (2007) is about "Generation X" alienation. [AR]


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