PORCUPINE TREE — Up The Downstair

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PORCUPINE TREE - Up The Downstair cover
2.89 | 18 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1993

Filed under Non-Metal
By PORCUPINE TREE

Tracklist

1. What You Are Listening To.... (0:58)
2. Synesthesia (5:11)
3. Monuments Burn Into Moments (0:20)
4. Always Never (6:58)
5. Up The Downstair (10:00)
6. Not Beautiful Anymore (3:26)
7. Siren (0:52)
8. Small Fish (2:43)
9. Burning Sky (11:06)
10. Fadeaway (6:20)

Total Time 47:54

Line-up/Musicians

- Steven Wilson / Vocals, Instruments

- Colin Edwin / Bass (track 4)
- Richard Barbieri / Keyboards (track 5)
- Suzzane Barbieri / Vocals (track 5)

About this release

7 June 1993
Delerium Records

Reissued, partly re-recorded, remastered and remixed by Snapper in 2005 with the following tracklist:

Disc 1: Up The Downstair (1993)

1. What You Are Listening To... (0:57)
2. Synesthesia (5:16)
3. Monuments Burn Into Moments (0:22)
4. Always Never (7:00)
5. Up The Downstair (10:14)
6. Not Beautiful Anymore (3:25)
7. Siren (0:57)
8. Small Fish (2:42)
9. Burning Sky (11:36)
10. Fadeaway (6:19)

Total Time 48:48

Disc 2: Staircase Infinities (1994)

1. Cloud Zero (4:40)
2. The Joke's On You (2004 remix) (4:17)
3. Navigator (4:49)
4. Rainy Taxi (6:50)
5. Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape (9:36)

Total Time 30:32

Vinyl edition of the remixed version was released by Headspin in 2005 with a bonus track on disc 2:

4. Phantoms (3:15)

Thanks to The Angry Scotsman for the addition and Lynx33 for the updates

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PORCUPINE TREE UP THE DOWNSTAIR reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
If Porcupine Tree's debut, On the Sunday of Life, was the band's nostalgia album (and remember, one of the cassettes its songs were selected from was entitled The Nostalgia Factory), Up the Downstair brings Porcupine Tree into the modern day. Settling on a space rock sound on this release which draws from influences ranging from Pink Floyd to the Ozric Tentacles, Steve Wilson masterfully infuses this sound with carefully selected influences from the worlds of early 1990s dance music and Britpop.

The end result is a progressive rock sound which is genuinely forward-looking and of its time, eschewing nostalgia entirely in favour of saying "well, if we take what's going on now and apply a progressive approach to it, where does that take us"? This has been the secret to the band's success ever since, and as a piece of 1990s prog which is 100% progressive without a shred of "retro" to it, Up the Downstair is an engrossing listen.
siLLy puPPy
UP THE DOWNSTAIR is the second official album but really the debut of all original material since “On The Sunday Of Life” was really a compilation of previously released material. After that extremely eclectic album displaying all the possible paths Steven Wilson could steer his faux band turned into the real thing band PORCUPINE TREE, it is this album where he settles on his Floydian space rock sound that not only borrows from the past but also incorporates everything spacey released up to that point. At times this reminds you of Pink Floyd especially in the guitar soloing department but there is also a hint of Ozric Tentacles and their hyper electronic beats, times that remind me of German Krautock and certain passages that show an interest into the heavier riffing that would be much more emphasized on later releases. There is also a smattering of progressive electronic to be found. This was a fruitful time for Wilson. This was originally intended to be released as a double album since in addition to the material presented here he also wanted to include what was released the next year as the “Staircase Infinities” and tripped out material from “Voyage 34” which was released as a single the previous year.

Interesting to see the various opinions ranging on this one. Some praise this album for its prescience of evolving the psychedelic space rock subgenre and others dismiss this as one that is too similar to other surrounding albums being the lesser of the lot. I can see both sides of the debate on this one, however at this point I don't think Wilson had quite developed his space rock sound to the point where it sounds significantly different than his previous workings or other similar bands such as Ozric Tentacles. It is certainly has a Steven Wilson stamp on it but it is one of him at a certain stage of his ever evolving tendencies to add certain sounds here and there. On the other hand I quite enjoy this album even if it may be one of my least favorite of their entire discography. One of the most amazing things about PORCUPINE TREE is that they as a band are incredibly consistent in their quality in both songwriting and production. I find very few peaks and troughs in their music. I find a smooth high quality sound from album to album. This one is no exception. Having said that I do prefer the similar sounding space rock on “Staircase Infinities” a little bit better. The songs are better written and while this is a nice zone out album that you can just surrender and let your intellect dissipate for a while, “Staircase” has more interesting developments for my tastes.

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