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"Is This Trip Really Necessary?"
on 9 January 2010
As I sit here at my computer in the early hours of the morning, headphones in and Voyage 34 on, I feel the sweet waves of sound licking at my brain like a pleasant drug and I struggle with even the simplest of tasks, like typing this review. This alone is a grand salute to the numbing effect this wonderful album has on one's senses, a sleep inducing marvel that grabs you by the soul and won't let go. This trip is really necessary!
In 1992, Steven Wilson achieved the impossible, alone, he redefined psychedelic rock. Taking the acid-laden cheerfulness that it once was and transforming it into what can only be called a collage of masterful ambience, complete with long soundscapes that make you feel like you're resting in the embrace of a white, fluffy cloud in a dense, blue sky. Not suprising then, that apart from some sampled voices that this record is completely instrumental!
The record is split up in to two distinct parts; Phases 1 & 2 portray a magnificent spectrum of colour and shade, floating blissfully into each passage of play. Phase 1 sets the scene as the album's narrator guides you through the harrowing journey of Brian and his friends, taking acid and chewing on plastic flashbulbs. When you've become comfortable with your surroundings, you're abruptly taken higher as the music transforms into an airy, dreamlike rock euphoria with guitar solos to boot! Yes, at this stage you can dump your Pink Floyd comparisons, forget what the future holds for this artist and just float, blissfully in the moment. After Phase 2's haunting opening, the track takes on a similar path; cradling the listener in a psychedelic daydream where waking up is hard to do.
As for the remixes, Phases 3 & 4 have been expertly woven into the fabric of Voyage's blanket-like embrace, working as a downer in the 'trip' if you like. Phases 3 & 4 bring the listener back down to earth with an intensely dark, long look at the harsh realities of your free-spirited journey. The final passages prey on the guilt-ridden underside of a drug like experience, portraying two sides of the same story. This of course could be tagged as genius, if it weren't for the fact that it's two separate EP releases compiled into one!
"The Complete Trip" is an compilation that will change your outlook on music forever, you won't have the faintest idea what hit you. Enjoy your trip!
Lord of Plastic Flashbulbs, January 2010.
Edit: Needless to say, the bulk of this review was typed up AFTER the record had finished.