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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P Trees 1st real album now with real drums!, 22 Jun 2005
By 
Dr. D. B. Sillars - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Up the Downstair (Audio CD)
This is the final instalment in Deleriums re-issue programme of Porcupine Trees early work and has been a long time coming. Steven Wilson's plan for "Up the Downstair" was to completely re-record all the drum parts using current Porcupine Tree Gavin Harrison to replace the computer generated drums which were deemed a bit clunky. Actually in some ways this is the first true Porcupine Tree album, as the previous "On the Sunday of Life..." was really a compilation of material culled from early cassette only releases. The material for "Up the Downstairs" was written specifically for this album.
Though Steven Wilson takes on the majority of the instrumental duties here, we see the first efforts form Richard Barbieri and Colin Edwin on a track each. So this, together with Gavin's contributions makes this more of a band album than previously heard and the genesis of what would eventually gestate over the course of the next few albums into the complete Porcupine Tree band format.
"Up the Downstair" shows such a progression in terms of songwriting compared to some of the more psychedelic, experimental and just downright silly material of "On the Sunday of Life...". This album is however rock solid. From the blistering opening of "Synesthesia", this is sterling stuff. Excellent guitar solo too. In fact there is much of Wilsons wonderful trademark guitar playing throughout. I love the short "Small Fish" and the way that it lyrically and musically segues into the epic instrumental of "Burning Sky". "Fadeaway" is a beautiful closer and has long been one of Wilsons own particular favourite Porcupine Tree songs.
The second CD is the long unavailable EP "Staircase Infinities" which consists of leftover material recorded at the same sessions. There is nothing substandard about these tracks. This is definitely worth getting and makes this package excellent value for money. The glossy digipack sleeve finishes off the whole thing nicely and Wilson should be admired for lovingly upgrading this early example of Porcupine Tree at their embryonic best!
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!, 16 Jan 2006
This review is from: Up the Downstair (Audio CD)
I obviously don't know as much about Porcupine Tree as DR D B SILLARS (below). I'm a reasonably new fan of this awesome British band.

I was first introduced to them when my younger brother told me about them after seeing them support Dream Theater a few years back. I downloaded a few tracks to see if I'd like them and then bought The Sky Moves Sideways. I liked it well enough, but haven't played it that much. Then I heard Deadwing, which totally blew me away. I'd bought Deadwing and In Abstentia; both of them the DTS versions.

I listened to them almost constantly and still listen to them often.

I decided to check out a few more albums and got Signify [Remastered] Up The Downstair [remastered]. After reading the above review I'm quite glad that I got into them when I did. I'm a drummer myself and am not keen on drum machines, although nowadays you can sample real accoustic kits and play them through a keyboard or whatever you like; but that's by and by.

Since rediscovering Porcupine Tree I haven't found a single song that I don't like and very few that don't move me in some way.

A month or two ago I would've put Dream Theater at the top of my favourite bands list. I think Porcupine Tree just took the top spot and I can't see them being knocked off anytime soon.

Porcupine Tree are deep, progressive, atmospheric and inspirational.

An album of superb quality.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful musical landscape, 9 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Up the Downstairs (Audio CD)
A tremedous album from the much under-rated band. The album twists and winds through a beautiful musical landscape and eventually ends up with one of the best moody and moveing pieces of music you are likely to hear anywhere. Fadeaway must rate as Wilson's finest song. It contains mystery and inspiration yet is wonderfully melancholic. A fine album well worth the buy.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a good title....., 30 Jun 2006
By 
A. L. Addams "goddess of rock..." (Lancaster, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Up the Downstair (Audio CD)
This album is a psychedelic exuberance, freeing the spirit. Momentary crashing waves giving way to a magnificent sunset where calmly trotting white horses play. Let go of the turmoil within.....a rapturous experience rolling on and on. Who needs comparisons, this band stands out. Just so you know, it has beat and rhythm like nobody else. A relaxation cd that leaves you feeling motivated and in tune. The swift pace changes are breathtaking. You can almost see the flashing lights as it pulses. Underestimated in my opinion. A cd with guts. (Hope this helps - best to just buy it and see!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent prog / psych album, 6 April 2001
This review is from: Up the Downstairs (Audio CD)
Not quite as brilliant as the earlier "Sunday of Life", but nevertheless a superb outing. PT have a sneaky habit of starting in a slow, ambient mood then cunningly getting both faster and heavier before you realise what's going on.....
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very clever music., 21 Jun 2009
This review is from: Up the Downstair (Audio CD)
The music on this album is the result of very clever composition, recording, and mixing. The track 'Always Never' is my favorite. It just has an electrifying atmosphere. The title track and 'Synesthesia' are also highlights for me.

The only complaint I have with this album is that the 11 minute 'Burning Sky' is slightly unexciting. I just feel the guitar tapping motif is quite predictable and, as this motive plays for about half the song, it gets pretty boring. It's a shame as the other long song 'Up the Downstair' is riveting.

But on the whole, this is quality music. I get chills through some of it and the use of snipets of spoken dialogue is very effective.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A period piece worth exploring, 19 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Up The Downstair (Audio CD)
It took a long time (20 years!) for me to get round to this, having had many of the Delerium issues since they came out other than this one, which I couldn't find at the time. The sound depth here is better than these Delerium issues, Wilson certainly knows how to sort this.
There are no surprises here if you are familiar with earlier (or even some later) Porcupine Tree/Wilson records. Some lyrics are by Alan Duffy as per the first album 'On the Sunday of Life' and there is a similar if improved DIY feel despite later addition of 'real' drums, doubtless constrained by following the previous drum machine patterns. There are some lovely fluid passages and the 'Staircase Infinities' set on disc two is perhaps the more consistent and persuasive of the offering on the first hearings. The 'Up the Downstair' album is maybe neither the original (which I've not heard) nor the album the current band could have made of the same material, but somewhere uneasily between the two. Still good though, even if it could have all fitted onto one CD. It features all the standard "psychedelic" tropes, backward tapes, glistening guitar, odd spoken parts and keyboard atmosheres, etc. A shame the 'Voyage 34' apparently originally intended for the album was not included in some form as it would fit the mood and complete the 2CD period piece which this now seems.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "Time to clear the cobwebs, time to bear the crime...", 10 Jan 2010
By 
Steven Holland "Steve" (Neston, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Up the Downstair (Audio CD)
As the title suggests, it was time to clean out the closet for Steven Wilson, time to get serious. The debut album's pleasant foolishness was the stuff of the past, PT needed to be tighter, harder hitting and most of all...better!

One thing you as the listener will notice almost immediately, is the maturity of this record compared to earlier works; it's psychedelic without actually being psychedelic, melancholic in a way you thought too groovy to be melancholic. The mind-bending psychedelic onslaughts of the past had been replaced on this album, replaced by a dark, poetic electronic presence throughout. Yes, Up the Downstair is the moment Porcupine Tree BECAME Porcupine Tree!
The album introduces itself to you through "What You Are Listening To", a narrative piece that seems to deceive a little with its slow, haunting opening. You're then hit by the rainbow of sound that is "Synesthesia", a thumping barrage of colour that dances around your mind. Up the Downstair also portrays an early trait of Porcupine Tree, a limited vocal presence substituted by an almost orgasmic instrumental flow, something that would be continued throughout the next two albums. This in turn led to possibly two of SW's best instrumental tracks; the sombre current of the album's title track and the 'Voyage' reminiscent "Burning Sky", an onomatopoeic name it would seem, as the song rolls through roaring clouds, taking a short break to "light one up" (You'll get it when you hear it!). The album sorrowfully waves goodbye with probably PT's most beautiful song, "Fadeaway", words cannot describe the feelings this song can conjure, once believed to be one of SW's favourite PT songs, there aren't many PT fans who can deny the beauty of this sad, yet gorgeous ending.

Up the Downstair is Porcupine Tree's haunting sophomore classic, it gives so much yet demands little in return. Although it's not the best album by a long shot, because of its generous nature, it certainly seems like it's a good place to start for the newbies.

Steve Holland, a small fish, January 2010.
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