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7 August, 2007

New P-Tree: Nil Recurring EP and 'FoaBP' DVD-A

Porcupine Tree are to release a ~30-minute EP/mini-album on CD in October.
[Update 02/10/07: Reviewed here.]

Precise availability (presumably only via the band's own webstore) will be revealed soon, but the title, 'Nil Recurring', is known, as is the provisional release date, 1 October, and the tracklist:

Cheating The Polygraph (7.10)
Nil Recurring (6.08)
Normal (7.09)
What Happens Now? (8.23)
The music is performed by the normal studio band (i.e. without John Wesley), though 'What Happens Now?' features a guest appearence by Ben Coleman on electric violin and a certain Robert Fripp plays guitar on the title track.

All four tracks were written during the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' sessions in 2006, but these versions of 'Normal' and 'What Happens Now?' were recorded within the last month, after the recent N.American tour. I, and everyone else who attended concerts on the 'Arriving Somewhere...' tour in late 2006 have already heard 'Cheating the Polygraph', as that's the then-untitled 'Track 5' which was previewed alongside the rest of the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' material but subsequently omitted from the album itself.

Porcupine Tree albums have always been intended to be heard as continuous compositions in the predetermined order, rather than merely as collections of unrelated tracks each to be considered in isolation. The sequencing has always mattered, and in some cases bonus tracks have been released on additional CDs to completely distinguish them from the core content on 'Disc 1'. Hence, it's particularly interesting that 'Cheating The Polygraph' appears between 'My Ashes' and 'Anesthetize' on the LP (also announced today and also to be released in October) i.e. within the composition, not appended as an unrelated bonus.

There was a slight concern that if this and the new Bass Communion album, 'Pacific Codex' are scheduled for release at the end of September/start of October, maybe the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' DVD-A (expected to be out in September too, back in April) would be postponed. That delay seemed particularly credible if the DVD-A is to be the ostensible focus of the next tour, which begins in October. Thankfully, I was wrong, and the release date is confirmed as 1 October.

The release of four outtakes as a CD seemed to leave no exclusive content for the DVD-A (which was a selling point of the 'In Absentia' and 'Deadwing' DVD-As), as there's no suggestion that Porcupine Tree have even more unreleased material left over from the 'FoaBP' sessions.
My immediate thought was that the exclusive element would be to make a 5.1 surround sound mix of these tracks solely available on the DVD-A. A subsequent announcement proved that to be partially correct, as there will indeed be no further new music on the DVD-A, beyond the known four tracks. However, it will also include a short introductory film by Lasse Hoile and the video of the title track. There's been a hint of further, unannounced content, too.

In a sense, this is an odd but welcome arrangement. Both packages offer advantages, but they're almost mutually exclusive. Those of us with little interest in high-resolution or surround sound, or in video material, can obtain the core content – the four new tracks – on the EP. However, I see no rational reason for purchasers of the DVD-A to also buy the EP; the former contains the entire contents of the latter in both 5.1 surround sound and CD-quality stereo. I'm certainly not complaining, but it'd seem to be in the band's & label's interests to avoid such redundancy, inducing people to buy both.

[Update 14/08/07: The issue in the foregoing paragraph has been clarified... sort of.
The DVD-A will not contain a proper stereo mix of the four bonus tracks; that'll only be on the EP. However, there will be downmixed stereo version, "so stereo users will get a taster of what is to come". I don't really understand the distinction.]

Comments

Someone at the PT forum said that you have a torrent of the EP. Can you email it to me, please? thanx

Posted by thomas at August 9, 2007 12:15 PM

LOL!

I refer the honourable gentleman to my earlier answer.

Posted by NRT at August 9, 2007 01:34 PM
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