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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Porcupine Tree

Staircase Infinities

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is made up of outtakes from the Up The Downstair album. It is a brief, but quite strong, nearly instrumental album. The mode is in a melodic, fairly sedate progressive rock style that seems to blend the sounds of Hawkwind, fusion and Pink Floyd in a great and entertaining fashion.

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Track by Track Review
Cloud Zero
Starting in a great free form jazzy sort of mode, this instrumental is quite a killer cut and really runs a nice jazzy prog tapestry.
The Joke's On You
This is an acoustic guitar based ballad at first, and then explodes with keys and powerful textures. It alternates between these two modes, feeling a bit like a cross between David Bowie and some of the spacier '80's bands.
Textural keys begin this one and tribal sounding percussion continues it. As the song moves on, more electronic/techno sounds rule for a time, then guitar comes to the fore. The mode continues in fusionish, somewhat new age oriented modes, but getting a bit more hard edged. It then shifts gear to a more straightforward jazzy sort of mode. This is a bit Hawkwindish at times and a bit in the mode of Synergy. This instrumental is a great relaxing cut.
Rainy Taxi
Keys and distant percussion begins this one, then keys begin a slow building process. It is fairly sedate for the first couple minutes, the a few hints at a harder structure begin to emerge, but never fully come to play. With e cut does change, it is by moving to an acoustic guitar based melody a bit like more mellow Pink Floyd. This cut gets very evocative and powerful.
Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape
This one begins with Hawkwindish keyboard textures and a hard-edged guitar drones still consistent with that band's style continues the cut. As the piece slowly grows and builds, it becomes a bit weird in its overlayers, but the overall style of the piece is in a great building fashion that is a bit Hawkwindish, but also borrows a bit from the sounds of Pink Floyd. It jumps out to a full-blown Floydish guitar solo based jam that really rocks. Eventually, it heightens its pace and keeps rocking out quite nicely. This is a very strong cut. It keeps moving faster and faster until it cuts back down at a crescendo. White noise type sounds end the cut and the disc.
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