Porcupine Tree - Up The Downstair review
|Album:||Up The Downstair|
|Release date:||May 1993|
01. What Are You Listening To...
03. Monuments Burn Into Moments
04. Always Never
05. Up the Downstair
06. Not Beautiful Anymore
08. Small Fish
09. Burning Sky
Disc II [Remaster bonus: Staircase Infinities]
01. Cloud Zero
02. The Joke's on You
04. Rainy Taxi
05. Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
Synesthesia is said to be a potential consequence of taking psychedelics which results in a variety of sensory reactions in those who experience it. Rather than bore you with a definition of what this condition means, mostly because I have no idea what it is, I will say this: Up The Downstair is the musical equivalent of a psychedelic drug. It's addictive and certainly stimulates the senses, or the aural sense at least. As a whole this album is arguably Porcupine Tree at their most psychedelic, and their first successful attempt in creating a tangible and structured piece of music.
There is a marked difference between this album and the debut which lies in the accumulation of the psychedelic tendencies in an organised way which, as the album progresses, provides a centrally continuous atmospheric experience. It is, despite still being largely the sole work of Steven Wilson, Porcupine Tree's first album which successfully achieves this. For a first attempt at building an atmosphere around Porcupine Tree's music, Steven really triumphs here; this is an album laid thick with a trippy and attention holding structure. Noticeably the combination of pop and Pink Floyd extractions are at times steered by the inclusion of electronic elements in some tracks, like in the catchy opener "Synesthesia". The title track is one which merges spacey progressive rock with these elements which serves as the core of the album, running for ten minutes of gradual electronic unraveling being driven by a constant beat. The title is apt in that this instrumental track conveys a feeling of ascending or descending (I'm not sure which) a staircase, eventually getting to a point in the song which shifts to a catchy rhythm then following this for another flight of stairs before again morphing into another, and so on.
The short interludes are placed purposefully throughout the album, aiding in the album's structure. Despite the heavily psychedelic sound not an ounce of catchiness is sacrificed, and each track leaves a clear individuality rewarding repeated listens.
With the oddities and unstructured approach of On The Sunday Of Life left behind this album offers the listener more as an album. The emphasis on an atmosphere built around an addictive and connected set of tracks, while still possessive of a somewhat immature sound, was certainly a step in the right direction.
||Written on 27.07.2012 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.|
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