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  1. #1

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    Default Porcupine Tree - In Absentia - DVD A

    I've mentioned from time to time that I'm a fan of this band. English, started out in the early 90s with a sort of prog/electronica sound that's morphed over the years more towards prog/metal. I got hooked on them with this album back in 2004. It was one of the first multi-channel disks I bought. I read a review that Elliot Sheiner had produced this and it won a grammy for the best MCH mix in 2003. Anyway, I liked it, then loved it, bought a bunch more PT DVD As which I listen to fairly regularly. All of them feature differing styles of music, but from the late 90s to today, the songwriting and skill have gone from very good to truly artistic, sometimes awe inspiring.

    In Absentia was a crossroads album where they started experimenting heavily with shred metal. Something I'm not a big fan of, however in this case, the songwriting and composition of truly sweet lyrics (though dark), interwoven vocals and harmony, prog themes, breaking out into shredding jams, just works. The musicianship, coupled with vocals with a hook, counterpoint timing and stellar recording just melded to together into something special. There are songs on this disk that are some of my all time favorites, a few that are just a tad too much for me, but all are worthwhile.

    Style, think Pink Floyd crossed with Genesis morphing toward Opeth. Think all of them at their best, then apply truly amazing mixes, butter/bittersweet vocals, 4 and 5 part harmonies and pristine recordings. If you're of the opinion that DSOTM is the reference multi-channel mix, you'll need to get your ears around this album. Not as many tricky effects and panning sounds, but truly multi-layered, percussion, keyboards, synths and vocals blend in from all fronts. Trust me on this. There's 10 or 11 regular tracks and 3 bonus tracks on the disk. The bonus tracks are every bit as good (some better) than what was released on the original CD.

    What brought this on was a listening session last night before I went to bed. I hadn't played this disk for over a year. It sounded so fresh and impressive, I thought I'd write about it.

    This DVD A rocks.

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  2. #2

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    I completely agree Ron. This band is what really got me charged on multi channel recordings. Now, because I'm into vinyl so much I rarely listen to mc but Porcupine Tree and in particular In Absentia is one I go back to frequently. Extraordinary stuff. Unlike anything out there today. Highly recommended.
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  3. #3

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    Great band, great album, great mix as always by stephen.

    I don't really agree with the prog/metal comment though. Progressive, absolutely. Metal, not even close IMO. There's no metal or shredding anywhere that I can hear. The only likeness to opeth that I really hear is the stuff that Stephen produced for them.

    Like I said, great album I just don't agree with the metal label. Someone like dream theater would be a more appropriate example of that.
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  4. #4

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    Awesome band that deserves more recognition. Gotta agree with what AsSiMiLaTeD said, pretty much got it right.

  5. #5

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    Prog/metal is what the band admits is the direction they are going in. The albums prior to IA where much more focused on song writing, big guitars, synth/string backgrounds and a more sedate sound. IA, Deadwing, then Fear of a Blank Planet still have their roots in prog, but go from lyrical to heavy metal when the instrumental portions start taking hold. They have their quieter and subtle passages, which I appreciate. Not nearly as frenetic as Dream Theatre, but the drummer, Gavin Harrison (brought on just prior to IA), is every bit as good, in my opinion, and the band and direction more pleasing to my ears.

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  6. #6

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    Hmm...not familiar but I think I'm gonna have to give them a listen. Would you recommend In Abstentia as a good intro?

    BTW, scored a nice CS350 LS. Thanks again for the pointer Ron.
    Last edited by vc69; 09-05-2009 at 02:50 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by vc69 View Post
    Hmm...not familiar but I think I'm gonna have to give them a listen. Would you recommend In Abstentia as a good intro?

    BTW, scored a nice CS350 LS. Thanks again for the pointer Ron.
    Look em up ;)...you can order their DVD As through Amazon or Burning Shed...they've got a new album coming out this month, but wait a few for the DVD A. Stupid Dream, Lightbulb Sun, In Absentia, Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet have all been released in DVD A...and they are all worth it, even in 2 channel.

    Yeah, it's a good starting point. It's a tossup as to which record I prefer at any given moment, but as I said IA is kind of at the crossroads as to what the band sounds like now vs in the 90s. My favorites are Stupid Dream, In Absentia and Deadwing in no particular order. They also have a two disk live DTS concert out, Arriving Somewhere from 2006. It's an amazing live recording though the visual side isn't as impressive. If you've got a great sub, be prepared, the bass is hot.

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  8. #8

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    In Absentia was my intro the Porcupine Tree and they are now my favorite current band by a country mile. The most dynamic and fresh band working today IMHO. Another great DVD audio is Deadwing. I just listened to it yesterday as a matter of fact. It's another great multichannel release from Steve Wilson, who by the way is creating multichannel releases for all of the King Crimson albums. The new Porcupine Tree is called The Incident and it comes out 9-22. It's a 2-disc set. Disc one is a 55-minute track that is broken up into 14 segements. The second disc has 5 shorter tracks. I've heard short clips from the album and it sounds like another winner!

  9. #9

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    The new album sounds alot more like Blackfield and less like the last few PT albums. I'll pick it up because I also liked both the Blackfield albums almost as much as I like the PT stuff.

    I still disagree on the prog/metal label, and I'm anal about that kind of stuff. However, regardless of what you though of the last few albums, this album certainly is NOT prog/metal, about that I don't think there can be any real debate.

    I wasn't really comparing them to Dream Theater because they're two different types of music altogether - DT being what I'd call prog/metal and PT being prog rock. If you wanted to compare I'd say I like the songwriting in PT better, and the musicianship in DT better. Obviously the Porcupine Tree stuff is better recorded thanks to Steven Wilson.
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsSiMiLaTeD View Post
    The new album sounds alot more like Blackfield and less like the last few PT albums. I'll pick it up because I also liked both the Blackfield albums almost as much as I like the PT stuff.

    I still disagree on the prog/metal label, and I'm anal about that kind of stuff. However, regardless of what you though of the last few albums, this album certainly is NOT prog/metal, about that I don't think there can be any real debate.

    I wasn't really comparing them to Dream Theater because they're two different types of music altogether - DT being what I'd call prog/metal and PT being prog rock. If you wanted to compare I'd say I like the songwriting in PT better, and the musicianship in DT better. Obviously the Porcupine Tree stuff is better recorded thanks to Steven Wilson.
    Tomatos -tomaaatoes, it's all good. I've been staying away from the new cuts available online. I heard The Incident will be released as a CD/DVD V DTS first and the DVD A later. I'll wait. Last time I double dipped and once the DVD A came out I never listened to the CD again (FOABP). I picked up the SW solo Insurgentes a few months ago, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I gave it to a friend.

    I bought a DT CD last week, Systematic Chaos. I've only put it through 1 listen. It's good, but 10 to 15 minute songs that never slow down wear me out anymore. There's one track that I liked right away. The rest I'll need to let grow on me.

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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Temple View Post
    I picked up the SW solo Insurgentes a few months ago, but it wasn't my cup of tea. I gave it to a friend.
    Insurgentes was an odd CD for me. I like it, but it has this weird creepy feel to me. I may need to go back and take a listen again.

    And I have seen a progression of PT doing more Blackfield type stuff the last two albums than say earlier works like Up The Downstair. Not a complaint, but i prefer the longer type songs that PT does, not the shorter 3 minute songs Blackfield does.
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  12. #12

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    In Absentia was probablyy the last great Porcupine Tree release..the two after that were just ok IMO

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