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Porcupine Tree – Up the Downstair (1993/2017) [Official Digital Download 24bit/44,1kHz]

Porcupine Tree – Up the Downstair (1993/2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 49:11 minutes | 537 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: ProStudioMasters | Front cover | © Snapper Music/Kscope
Recorded: February, 1992 – January, 1993

Up the Downstair is the second studio album by British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, first released in May 1993. It was originally intended to be a double album set including the song “Voyage 34”, which was instead released as a single in 1992, and other material that ended up on the Staircase Infinities EP (1994). In 2005, it was partially re-recorded, fully re-mixed, remastered and re-released along with the Staircase Infinities EP as a double album. The re-release contains a new mix by Steven Wilson, along with recorded drums by Gavin Harrison that replace the electronic drums of the original version. Steven Wilson has stated that the title of the album came from a line in the song “Voyage 34.” There is still a title track, however. Another re-release on double vinyl was pressed on 14 August 2008 on Kscope records. This is identical to the 2005 release, except it is printed on coloured vinyl and the Staircase Infinities disc contains the song “Phantoms”.

According to Wilson, Up the Downstair channeled “the Orb and the Future Sound of London, but also Floyd and Ozric Tentacles. If I liked it, I didn’t give a fuck.”

Up the Downstair feels noticeably different in tone from On the Sunday of Life — the humor is nearly invisible, if present at all, and the focus is more explicitly up to date in keeping with Steven Wilson’s long-stated belief that progressive music means incorporating the now instead of rehashing what progressive was. His singing is now more accomplished in turn — it sounds like he might have been taking a lesson or two from his No-Man partner Tim Bowness, but he has his own dreamy approach. His already accomplished studio work seems to have turned even more so with time, and the end result is a delicate, complex, and remarkable effort. If there’s an absolute standout, “Always Never” takes the cake. Starting with a soft combination of low vocals, acoustic guitar, and background electric feedback, it sweeps into life on the memorable chorus, with the keyboards swelling with a gentle majesty before turning into a full trip thanks to Wilson’s ear for arrangements and space. Colin Edwin makes his debut with Porcupine Tree by playing bass here, as good a start as any, while Richard Barbieri also has an initial bow on the lengthy title track. Wilson’s own playing here is just astounding, with some huge, driving feedback fills, while the equally long “Burning Sky” lets him exercise some guitar hero chops, and quite well at that. Brief cuts crop up throughout — notably “What You Are Listening To…,” which makes a nod back to the contents of Voyage 34 via the narrative spoken word sample at the start. The recurring use of synth loops and acid house rhythms alone mark Porcupine Tree’s approach as being a more modern one, but at the same time a song like “Synesthesia” doesn’t sound like a stab at crossover so much as it does one color on the palette. The unfolding guitar solos demonstrate that much, at least. –AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett

1. What You Are Listening To… / Synesthesia / Monuments Burn into Moments / Always Never 13:49
2. Up the Downstair 10:13
3. Not Beautiful Anymore / Siren / Small Fish 07:08
4. Burning Sky / Fadeaway 18:01

Steven Wilson – vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, drum programming, songwriting
Colin Edwin – Bass guitar on “Always Never”
Richard Barbieri – Electronics on “Up the Downstair”
Suzanne J. Barbieri – Vocals on “Up the Downstair”
Gavin Harrison – Drums


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