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Porcupine Tree

6 November, 2009

Got it?

When I first heard Porcupine Tree's latest album, 'The Incident', I wasn't impressed: too derivative of SW's 'Insurgentes' in places, lacking coherency in others and, whilst I respect their wish to progress, this just isn't the sort of music that drew me to the band in the late 1990s.  If 'The Incident' had been by any other band, I doubt I'd have bothered to play it all the way through even once.

23 September, 2009

Great Expectations

Good news: Porcupine Tree's new album, 'The Incident', went straight to no.23 in the UK albums chart in its launch week.  Consequently, the band is featured prominently on the BBC News 'Entertainment' homepage today, linked to an interview with Steven Wilson.

5 January, 2008

Joint headline bad idea

Every few months, in pretty much any discussion group dedicated to a currently-active band, one can expected to encounter a variant of the same old thread: "wouldn't it be great if our band toured with [insert name here]?".  My invariable answer is "absolutely not."  The ensuing argument is one I've made a few times in forums, but don't seem to have explained here.

15 December, 2007

Review: Porcupine Tree, Academy 1, Manchester, 8 December, 2007 (w. Anathema)

Back to Manchester for my second Porcupine Tree concert of the year.

6 November, 2007

Music for the head

For their second successive album, Porcupine Tree have been awarded* Classic Rock magazine's 'Album Of The Year', er, award.  Congratulations!

Considering the awards have only existed for three years and the band didn't release an album in 2006, that's impressive.

2 October, 2007

Review: 'Nil Recurring' (Porcupine Tree, 2007)

In mid-September, Porcupine Tree released a 29-minute CD 'EP' of additional material derived from the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' sessions, with a title arguably better than that earlier album: 'Nil Recurring'.

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.]

7 August, 2007

Since you asked...

At the time of writing, Burning Shed have just started selling merchandise from Porcupine Tree's 'Fear of a Blank Planet' tour, including two different T-shirts and one long-sleeved shirt.

31 May, 2007

The thrill of the chase

In 1996, Steven Wilson expressed his negative reaction to the pervasiveness of the internet in Porcupine Tree's 'Every Home Is Wired'.  More recently, particularly with the release of the 'Fear of a Blank Planet' album, he's been similarly critical of the instant gratification afforded by mp3 players.

26 April, 2007

Review: Porcupine Tree, 53 Degrees, Preston, 20 April, 2007 (w. Amplifier)

One of my favourite bands, performing my 'album of the year' (to date) live, within cycling distance (well, 37 km) of my home?  Do you think I could have missed that?

[Looking for the album review?]

26 April, 2007

The clothes are all black

One of the more common searches delivering visitors to the Ministry this week has been 'porcupine tree shirts' (or similar).  That's one enquiry I can answer, though obviously my information isn't official.

21 April, 2007

Review: 'Fear of a Blank Planet' (Porcupine Tree, 2007)

Porcupine Tree's much-anticipated ninth studio album was released on 16 April, so I suppose I ought to stop enjoying it long enough to write a review.

[Looking for the concert review?]

4 April, 2007

On call

I don't normally link to web videos which probably won't be archived for long, but this is fairly amusing.

1 April, 2007

Random queries no. 101

One of a series of genuine search engine enquiries which successfully brought visitors to the Ministry.  Can I help?

are porcupine tree anti christian

1 March, 2007

Fear of a minisite

There's very little content present yet, but fans have discovered a promotional minisite for Porcupine Tree's forthcoming album, 'Fear Of A Black Planet'.

17 February, 2007

Review: 'Blackfield II' (Blackfield, 2007)

After planning a collaboration for some time, Steven Wilson (Bass Communion, Porcupine Tree, No-Man and several other projects) and Aviv Geffen (Israeli pop star) released an album of intelligent pop songs in 2004, under the name Blackfield.  The follow-up to the eponymous debut album is cunningly entitled 'Blackfield II' and was officially released on 12 February, though pre-orders from Burning Shed and Headphone Dust were despatched slightly earlier; I've had my copy since 10 February so have had over a week to consider my reaction.

22 January, 2007

Pre-order 'Blackfield II'

It's been announced at SWHQ, but I thought I'd pass on the message that the European edition of 'Blackfield II' is now available for pre-order, to be despatched to arrive on or before the release date, 12 February.  The N.American edition will be out on 6 March.

16 January, 2007

Opposite extremes

A member of the Porcupine Tree Forum happened to notice that the Virgin online music store offers downloads of recent Porcupine Tree albums, including a radio edit of 'Shallow' which was previously only available as a not-for-sale promo single.

8 January, 2007

Could be a good year

With an announcement from Steven Wilson (SW) at his own site, we now have a fairly good idea of the release and tour schedules of Porcupine Tree, Bass Communion, Blackfield and his other projects.  2007 is looking good!

23 November, 2006

Grab the elusive T-shirts

If, like me, you missed out on the T-shirts briefly available at Porcupine Tree concerts on the last tour (that night's inadequate supply sold out within eight minutes at the Manchester concert) AND the remaining stock sold via Burning Shed (all gone within 24 hours), you (we) have one more, presumably final, opportunity.

1 October, 2006

Review: Porcupine Tree, Manchester Academy, 30 September, 2006

Porcupine Tree performed at the Manchester Academy last night, as part of a short tour to promote the new DVD.  However, that description of a typical promotional concert understates a rather special event.  Uniquely, the entire first set was devoted to fifty minutes of brand new music from the next studio album, as yet unrecorded.  Only after a five-minute break did the band return to perform a further 45 minutes of music from the DVD, plus an encore.

23 September, 2006

Review: 'Arriving Somewhere...' (Porcupine Tree, 2006)

Have you bought your copy of Porcupine Tree's new live DVD (their first, after over a decade of touring), 'Arriving Somewhere...', yet?

22 August, 2006

Notice to Porcupine Tree CD-R traders

It's fairly well known that the forthcoming European and US tours of Europe and the USA by Porcupine Tree will feature significant amounts of material from the next album, several months ahead of the release date.  That's nothing new for the band; songs such as 'Dark Matter' and 'Even Less' entered the live repertoire up to a year before appearing on studio albums.  Thanks to private individuals covertly recording concerts, fans have had previews of shifts in creative direction and there's an interesting archive of working versions.

8 August, 2006

Breaking the 'Loop

In 1994, whilst composing the music for the 'The Sky Moves Sideways' album, Porcupine Tree recorded a 40-minute improvisation.  This was later edited down to 17 minutes as 'Moonloop', but the full improvisation was made available to mailing list subscribers as 'Transmission 4'.

18 July, 2006

Crediting the Tree

Anyone who's interested presumably already knows that Porcupine Tree now have a download store at Burning Shed, offering live and obscure recordings (generally EPs and whole concerts rather than individual tracks) in relatively high-res .mp3 and full-res .flac* formats.

30 June, 2006

Reissue reissuing issue

As I mentioned in my review of the recent reissue of Porcupine Tree's 'Stupid Dream', there's a technical fault on the first batch of the accompanying DVD, whereby the extended edition of 'Even Less' cuts-out three minutes before the end.

20 May, 2006

Review: Stupid Dream reissue (Porcupine Tree, 2006)

It's here.  After having been out-of-print for about four years (blame Atlantic/Warner/Lava), Porcupine Tree's most highly-sought album, 'Stupid Dream' is back on sale, as a shiny new remix/remaster.

26 April, 2006

This song leaks out

At long last, a release date has been announced for 'Stupid Dream', my absolute favourite Porcupine Tree album which was initially released in 1999 but which has been out-of-print since 2002 due to record company issues.

A remixed and remastered edition of 'Stupid Dream' will be released on 15 May with a bonus DVD-A containing a surround sound mix of the album.  As itemised before, there will be bonus material.  Pre-orders are being accepted immediately.

8 December, 2005

Burning bridges: here; use my lighter

The current issue of 'Explicitly Intense', a US metal magazine, features an interview with Steven Wilson (SW), of Porcupine Tree (amongst several other projects).  One of the questions inspired a rather... forthright comment on regressive 'prog' acts such as Transatlantic and the Flower Kings (TFK), whose output is heavily based on the music of the early 1970s.  Surprisingly, Roine Stolt, of TFK and Transatlantic, felt the need to respond publicly (I don't know where, but the following quotes were republished at the Porcupine Tree Forum).

29 November, 2005

Getting ready to be sold

I'm hoping this won't generate as many follow-up postings as the fragmented 'Deadwing' release (check the archive for what I mean), but has announced the forthcoming reissue of 'Stupid Dream'.

9 August, 2005

It's about time

The record company's marketing seems to be working¹ at long last: Porcupine Tree's 'Deadwing' has been shortlisted for 'best album of 2005' in the Classic Rock reader awards, alongside Robert Plant, Audioslave, Foo Fighters, and Alter Bridge.

11 July, 2005

Printed matter

Just passing on the announcement that the fourth issue of 'Carbon Nation', the Porcupine Tree (paper) fanzine, is now available.  Follow that link for ordering details.

21 May, 2005

Arriving Somewhere... HERE!

Following delays for which the band apologised (a distributor let them down), my copy of the special edition of Porcupine Tree's 'Deadwing' arrived this morning, so, a mere seven weeks after the CD was released in the UK, and three weeks after the European tour ended, I'm currently hearing the album for the very first time.

15 April, 2005

Variant overload

The following comment on an earlier posting was received last night:

"I would just like to say that I am getting fed up of PT releasing various permutations of the current and back catalogue just to rake the pennies in.  Are you?
I think that as being a fan for over twelve years, myself and all the other long term fans deserve better."
To answer your question: absolutely not.

This topic has arisen at the Porcupine Tree Forum so often that responses tend to begin "Stop whinging...", and I'd forgotten I hadn't discussed it here.

8 April, 2005

Deadwing Special Edition

I don't plan to merely republish an announcement made at, but to summarise, the special limited edition of the band's album 'Deadwing' (the stereo mix on CD and 5.1 mix on DVD*, in a 72-page hardback book), is now available for preorder, solely from the band's website.

26 March, 2005

Lyrics arriving somewhere - but not here

The first few European Porcupine Tree fans are starting to receive their copies of 'Deadwing' and finding that the CD booklet doesn't include a listing of song lyrics.  I knew that before being told, because there's been a slight surge in the number of people reaching the Ministry via lyrics searches!

Quick, straight answer: I don't have the lyrics, and have no intention of republishing them here when I do get the album myself.  This simply isn't a lyrics site.  Try, though that doesn't have them either, yet.

21 March, 2005

Deadwing delayed again

I don't know about you, but my repeated mentions of the release of Porcupine Tree's forthcoming album 'Deadwing' are boring me!  It's just that the details keep changing, and since I've provided information before, I feel obliged to alert people to amendments.

14 March, 2005

Deadwing DVD-A - at last: news!

The official Porcupine Tree website has finally revealed a little more about the DVD-A version of their forthcoming (on CD: Europe: 28 March, N.America: 26 April) album 'Deadwing'.
Firstly, the fact that it's a DVD-A rather than 'merely' a DVD (i.e. video-grade resolution) is a bit of a triumph, and well-connected fans are to be credited with influencing that decision.

The important part: the content:

11 March, 2005

Cheap Porc

Attempting to clarify something mentioned in discussion at the Porcupine Tree Forum, I discovered that Amazon UK is offering the two-CD (album plus bonus disc) Europe-only release of 'In Absentia' for £5.97 - that's under half the price of the standard, single-disc edition (£12.99).

If you've been curious about this obscure band I keep mentioning, this is a good opportunity to sample their recent (2002) output, in time to get enthused about the new album, 'Deadwing', out on 28 March (26 April in N.America).

2 March, 2005

New P-Tree promo microsite

In addition to the main Porcupine Tree website and the 'Deadwing' promo site* (which is a little cryptic, admittedly, and more atmospheric than informative), a new microsite has been released by the US record company/distributor to advertise P-Tree's forthcoming (eventually...) album, 'Deadwing'.

28 February, 2005

Drone working again

Several months ago (Oct-November?), Steven Wilson released a new piece as part of his Bass Communion solo project.  The 20-minute 'Droneworks 6' was the best since 1999's Bass Communion II, in my opinion.  It was released on the independent Twenty Hertz label, but for unspecified reasons was withdrawn in December, with a promise that it would return on SW's own Headphone Dust label in 2005.

24 February, 2005

Blackfield blocked

Blackfield, the collaboration between Steven Wilson and Aviv Geffen, have been obliged to abbreviate their planned US tour in March.  Shows featuring the five-member electric band have had to be replaced with a smaller number of concerts given by just SW and Geffen, playing acoustically.  The reason?  Unexpected overwhelming difficulties in obtaining visas to work in the USA.  The band have said that if they'd known, they wouldn't have booked a tour at all.

22 February, 2005

Deadwing Ltd. Ed. arriving later than expected

The forthcoming album 'Deadwing', from Porcupine Tree, is to be released as a standard CD, as a 5.1 surround sound DVD-A, and as a limited edition combining the CD and DVD-A with 'enhanced' packaging.  That much has been known for several months, but earlier announcements that the limited edition would be available by preorder implied that it would either be out before the retail edition (improbable, but the fans got a little over-excited) or despatched to reach people on the release date of the retail edition.

However, there have been several changes since that announcement.

11 February, 2005

Porcupine Tree singles availability

There seems to be some confusion about the singles supporting the forthcoming Porcupine Tree album, 'Deadwing'.  If I post a summary of the situation (as currently understood) here, presumably Google will pick it up ;)

1 February, 2005

Not so shallow, after all

I wonder if fan feedback has had an effect.

29 January, 2005

Deadwing delayed

It hasn't been confirmed officially, but it's looking like Porcupine Tree's new album, 'Deadwing' will be delayed for a month in N.America.  The revised release date seems to be 26 April.  The previously announced UK/European release date of 21 March remains unchanged.

29 January, 2005

Shallow's out

Shallow coverSlightly contradicting an earlier statement that it would only be a radio promo in the USA, unavailable for retail there, Porcupine Tree's single, 'Shallow' is now available to download from US online retailers Sony Connect*, BuyMusic and Napster.  It'll also be on iTunes shortly.

Note that this is the radio edit, with a running time of 3:34.  When 'Shallow' was leaked' by a US radio station a couple of weeks ago, it was heavily criticised by existing fans, but some suggested that the full, album version would be better than that radio edit.  However, it had a running time of 4:15 - I presume that was the album track.

13 January, 2005

'Shallow', well, is

Though we still have a while to wait until the 21 March release of the new Porcupine Tree album, 'Deadwing' (the special edition will be available by preorder before that date), their record label included one track, 'Shallow', on a sampler CD issued to radio stations.  Possibly breaking some sort of embargo, WWUH FM, in Hartford, Ct., broadcasted it last Sunday.  P-Tree fans being what they are, the simultaneous web feed was recorded and made available unofficially, so the 'hardcore' fans (for once, I'm including myself in that clique) have already heard it.  I won't offer a link, as the download has already been removed, understandably.

15 December, 2004

Deadwing not left wing

Since it was confirmed that the forthcoming (retail edition: 21 March, 2005; special edition: earlier, by pre-order) Porcupine Tree album will be entitled 'Deadwing', and that it seems the probable cover image will be an eagle with a broken wing (its right), there has been bizarre speculation that the album will be an attack on the US political right wing i.e. the Republican party and Bush presidency.

There is absolutely no reason to believe this.  In interviews dating back at least a year, Steven Wilson (SW) has said the content will be material associated with a film he'd like to make/collaborate on, with the stated theme of a ghost story.  The track titles of the album have been well-known since June (see the 'news' page at and suggest no apparent political references.

14 December, 2004

Deadwing site open properly

The working version discovered by fans last week has been replaced by the real thing: a promotional website for the forthcoming Porcupine Tree album 'Deadwing' *.

8 December, 2004

Deadwing arriving (somewhere but not here)

The more... avid fans of Porcupine Tree have discovered a teaser website [link removed - see update] promoting the forthcoming Porcupine Tree album, which will indeed have the expected title of 'Deadwing', it seems, rather than the fans' preferred 'Arriving Somewhere But Not Here'.

10 September, 2004

Blackfield T-shirts

Special T-shirts have been made for tonight's Blackfield show in London, featuring the album cover artwork on a sewn patch stitched onto a plain black shirt.  Last night, Steven Wilson HQ announced that a few are also available to buy by mail order.  See that site for ordering details (it's PayPal only).

I'm never quite sure whether it's worthwhile to repost such news.  Firstly the number of readers who might be interested is regretably small, and secondly those who would be interested probably visit SW HQ anyway.  Any thoughts?

1 September, 2004

Win albums!

Regular readers of the blog might have caught occasional offhand mentions of a rather good band called Blackfield.  Some might have followed my recommendations and are now enjoying the 2-CD international edition of the album (not the 'inferior' (SW's words!) single disc Israeli domestic release).
Others might be curious (if you regularly read the blog, you're probably downright odd, never mind curious).  Try the audio and video samples at the official Blackfield website.

Alternatively, have a go at winning a copy.  To celebrate the release of the debut, self-titled album, the Ministry, in association with Snapper Music, is hosting a prize draw for copies, including limited-edition vinyl. [NOW CLOSED]

31 August, 2004

New Porcupine Tree album on the horizon

A few days after it was announced at the official web site, I'm pleased to pass on the news that recording and mixing of the next Porcupine Tree album (as yet untitled) is finished!
Selecting 10-11 of the 14 songs recorded is the next stage, followed by sequencing and mastering in time for a worldwide release in January 2005.
A 5.1 mix ought to be available by the same date.

27 August, 2004

Review: Blackfield - international edition (Blackfield, 2004)

I reviewed the album itself in February when it was first released in Israel, so won't discuss it again here, other than to highly recommend it!
Those familiar with SW's work on Porcupine Tree's 'Lightbulb Sun' (but not really 'In Absentia') will notice obvious similarities, though Aviv Geffen's (remarkably similar) style has resulted in drastically shorter, more radio-friendly songs.

14 August, 2004

PT for PF - back online, here

Back in April, I recommended an article by Patrick Keller at 'Spare Bricks', the Pink Floyd webzine, which provided a good introduction to Porcupine Tree, specifically directed at existing fans of Pink Floyd.
Unfortunately, when the next 'issue' of 'Spare Bricks' was released, a new Patrick Keller article took over the same URL, displacing the Porcupine Tree one with an equivalent introduction to 'the other PT', Pineapple Thief.

I'm pleased to say both Patrick and the 'Spare Bricks' editor, Mike McInnis, have granted permission for the Ministry to host a copy of the Porcupine Tree article, at least until 'Spare Bricks' incorporates its own archive of 'back issues'.

3 August, 2004

Limited editions limit

Over the past few days, the official forum at porcupinetree .com has seen a discussion about the nature of 'exclusive' collectors' editions of albums.

21 July, 2004

Bass Communion InteractiveDJ Mix in circulation

At the start of March 2000, Steven Wilson combined several excepts from his ambient projects (primarily Bass Communion) into a single 60-minute mix for the (now defunct) InteractiveDJ website.  Material was drawn from 'Bass Communion', 'Bass Communion II', 'Bass Communion Vs. Muslimgauze', 'IEM' and the IEM EP 'An Escalator To Christmas', plus unreleased material which subsequently appeared on 'Bass Communion III' and 'SW Unreleased Electronic Music v.1'.  A couple of further pieces remain unreleased and hence unique to this mix.

30 June, 2004

Review: Unreleased Electronic Music Vol.1 (Steven Wilson, 2004)

As mentioned in April, Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, Bass Communion, IEM, Blackfield, No-Man, etc.) has released a special album of his more beat-driven electronic music, previously unreleased but mentioned in interviews.  Overall, this has several of the elements I like in the Bass Communion and IEM projects, but the inclusion of catchy, almost danceable rhythms renders this more immediately accessible than those albums.  I already rate it as one of my favourite non-Porcupine Tree SW albums.

14 May, 2004

Oh, very clever

I'm told Total Guitar magazine (useless website) has a brief interview with Steven Wilson in the current issue, which includes:

Q: What would you play to someone to show off your skills?

SW: The piano.

Kind of missing the point there, Steven... ;)

25 April, 2004

Very limited edition - update

As a result of much greater interest in Steven Wilson's 'Unreleased Electronic Music Vol.1' than anticipated, and fairly vocal criticism from even the more sycophantic fans regarding the tiny initial release, SW (sorry, 'Headphone Dust') has announced that a second batch will be made available over the summer.

"This time we want to make sure everyone who would like a copy will have the chance to get one, so the size of the second and final batch will depend on the number of reservations. There will be an announcement in May about how to reserve one, so please don't try to do so now. Thank you!"

Okay, I'm impressed.

22 April, 2004

Very limited edition

Last night, Steven Wilson HQ announced a new album release from the Headphone Dust label.  By this morning, it had totally sold out.

Steven Wilson's 'Unreleased Electronic Music Vol.1' is an 11-track, 65-min compilation containing exactly what the title suggests; more precisely, music created since 1990, somewhat similar to that of SW's ambient project Bass Communion but "more rhythmic and mostly in a dark-hop [?] or electronic vein".  Some pieces were created for television commissions, but none were ever fully developed.

5 April, 2004

Blackfield: news on international release

Steven Wilson's own purchasing advice, as posted in the discussion forum at

"Maybe I'm a bit late but I would urge people outside of Israel not to waste their money on the Israeli edition of the Blackfield album by buying it from this jazzis website or ebay.  The international edition is going to be out soon and will feature a lot of extra material - perhaps it will be a 2 CD set, we are still finalising things.  Though I recognise that some fans were not prepared to wait, complaints about the fact that they bought an inferior version on import will get no sympathy from me!  We even made a point of not selling it through the PT store to discourage people outside Israel from buying this edition."

5 April, 2004

PT for PF fans

Patrick Keller of 'Spare Bricks', the Pink Floyd webzine, presents a good introduction to Porcupine Tree and an overview of their career to date, presenting the band to existing fans of Pink Floyd.

[Update 22/06/04:  The new 'issue' of 'Spare Bricks' is online, with a new article displacing this Porcupine Tree one at the same URL.  I'm hoping to make it available myself, at a later date.  Follow the link anyway - Patrick offers the same sort of introduction to the other PT of potential interest to Floyd fans, Pineapple Thief.]

[Updated update 14/08/04:  As advertised, the Ministry is now hosting Patrick's article, at least until Spare Bricks incorporates archives of its own.]

10 March, 2004

Link to review: 'In Absentia' DVD-A (Porcupine Tree, 2004)

Porcupine Tree's 'In Absentia' DVD-A is due out today (though my copy hasn't arrived from Burning Shed yet*...).  I may offer my own review after I've heard the DVD, but I know next to nothing about the technical issues of surround mixes and I'm not a musician, so my comments would be purely as a listener.  For a more detailed review, try this one at, which also features an extended interview with Steven Wilson on the project and future plans for Porcupine Tree.

*: Having just checked the Burning Shed site, I see the release date has been moved to 16 March!  Waa!  Several other retailers have already been despatching it; it's even no.2 in the DVD-A chart. (Update: 11/03/04: No.1!)

4 March, 2004

SW News

There's a good interview with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) at Studio M, discussing the 'In Absentia' DVD-A, the role of that format in future releases, and progress on the next album.  There's also mention of SW's work with Marillion, and the international release of 'Blackfield'.

26 February, 2004

Review: Arcadia Son (IEM, 2001)

The IEM, or 'Incredible Expanding Mindf**k' is one of several side projects of Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No-Man, Bass Communion), exploring SW's interest in experimental music, specifically inspired by cosmic jazz and krautrock.  Overall, the  music is almost entirely instrumental, but as one would expect from SW, heavily textured, with odd production effects and samples.

13 February, 2004

Review: Blackfield (Blackfield, 2004)

Having repeatedly listened to the entire album at Walla! *, I really like what I hear, and will definitely buy it when released in the UK.  Though the online tracks are in a fairly low-resolution format, with significant digital distortion, the quality is certainly sufficient to showcase excellent music.

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