Customer Review

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of Prog Heaven, 28 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Raven That Refused To Sing (And Other Stories) (Audio CD)
Ok, now to quantify this review lets start by saying that I'm not the biggest Porcupine Tree fan. I thought The Incident was excellent, Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun was pretty good, and the rest pretty average, a few good tracks here and there but nothing too remarkable.

I would not have bought this if it had not received a glowing review in Classic Rock and thought I'd give it a punt and run a download. For 5.43 what could go wrong?

As soon as it was downloaded (took a while, broadband not too speedy here) I settled down with a mug of tea googled the lyrics and off we went.

Sailing from the speakers came a sublime mix of very retro prog mixed with jazzy interludes, atmospheric keyboards - each song intertwined with a narrative story of regret, death, etc - all the usual 'happy' prog staples. Wilson has assembled a very talented band capable of playing out his visions, an unashamed romp through extended pieces that billow out slowly and dramatically with all their prog roots showing. This is the kind of music that Punk tried, and failed to kill off in the 70's, but with a pristine clarity of recording that is frankly breath-taking. If it sounds good on an Ipod, what does the blue ray version sound like?!

Highlight for me has to the last song, the title track that tells of a man who loses his sister early on in her life, and struggling to come to terms with it convinces himself that a raven he has captured will prove that there is life after death if he can get the bird to sing. As the title suggests, the raven refuses and he is left to ponder whether there is anything beyond this life. Weird? Yes, Morbid? Indeed. Beautiful, heart wrenching and downright genius? You bet your bottom dollar...

Music for the heart, the head, the soul, the past, the future. Marvellous stuff Steve, thank you so much
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 Feb 2013 22:32:36 GMT
MAC says:
You are one of the rare people that actually rates The Incident highly, it seems a lot of PT fans were not overly impressed. But I agree with you, it's a great album. I see obvious similarities between the 2 albums, but in a way this solo album is acutally musically more impressive and more Prog. than The Incident.

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Feb 2013 22:40:43 GMT
N. A. Davies says:
Cheers mac. Yeah I can't understand why people don't rate the incident. Strong all the way through part one and no rubbish on disc 2 either!

Posted on 31 Dec 2013 18:42:14 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Dec 2013 18:43:36 GMT
chas.telson1 says:
This is a suggestion, not a criticsm. I imagine you bought the MP3 download as it is cheaper than the CD? Don't know what bitrate you got for your 5.43 but Apple lossless is a much better quality than MP3 and unless you are using the cheap headphones originally supplied by Apple then you should be able to tell the difference between MP3 & lossless.
Owning the CD means you will always be able to download or burn the album at any bitrate that suits you, at any time, to any of your devices. I have an uber DAP (a Colorfly C4 Pro), a Sony tablet, a HTC smartphone and two laptops with music on all of them so downloading an album via MP3 clearly wouldn't suit my needs but I understand MP3 might well meet your's.
Anyway, I'm an audiophile but I don't want to force others to become one against their will!
And thank you for the excellent review.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2014 08:15:29 GMT
N. A. Davies says:
Cheers for the advice. Not sure what the bit rate was - downloaded it from ITunes, didn't know there was a choice!

In my youth I was more interested in hi fi equipment, and had castle harlech speakers, and audiolad amp and cd. Nowadays living in my own flat, instead of parents huge house I now rely on an Ipod through a decent (1000) surround sound system. Yes, there is a difference between the sound I remember from the Audiolab stuff, but not huge, I must be honest!

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Mar 2014 11:20:33 GMT
Last edited by the author on 3 Mar 2014 11:21:04 GMT
chas.telson1 says:
I no longer use any Apple devices partly because I found Apple using its own music system and charging plugs inconvenient. It meant I had my music in ITunes and Windows Media Player but thanks to Apple we got the iPod & the IPhone and that revolutionised the music and smartphone world. I have an IPod Classic and had IPhones 1 & 4, all great kit.
I believe that iPods and IPhones come with their bitrate at 128kps as standard (the poorest bitrate) but you can set your Apple device to a higher bitrate or to lossless via ITunes, the higher the quality the more space the music will take.
I'm afraid my addiction to hi fi has gone way beyond Audiolab and Castle Harlech speakers but it does sound glorious. I have a pair of Monitor Audio WS100 active speakers attached to my laptop in my home office, they are great sounding 5" cubes at 250.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 07:51:36 GMT
N. A. Davies says:
Space and money had put paid to my audiophile aspirations! I quite like the Apple set up, and use the Match service (they do charge though) that allows you to access your entire library on any device, anywhere (internet availability required) which is quite handy when you have over 1500 albums.

I've looked into the bit rate from Apple and was quite pleased to find that when you rip from Cd to your hardrive it does it at 128, but when playing back on a device via streaming it streams a version from iTunes at 256kb. So you have the better clarity on playback, but it stores a smaller version on your hard drive! Nice touch,

I bet the cubes sound great, Monitor Audio stuff is top notch!
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