Discussion in 'Forum Games' started by Mosh, Aug 27, 2016.
Bring on Signify!!!
The Moon Touches Your Shoulder
Signify continues Porcupine Tree’s transformation from a psychedelic Steven Wilson solo project to a progressive rock band. The music is still primarily written by Stevie, but there are several songs with input from the other members. The lineup is the same as The Sky Moves Sideways, although the music was written with this band in mind during the touring for Sky Moves Sideways. Another thing that sets this album apart is that many of the songs were premiered live on stage before the album’s release. As a result, many of the songs are tighter in composition and rely less on extended studio experiments. Those are still present here, but mostly in the form of short dialog tracks.
Steven Wilson’s method of recording was to make a high quality demo of the tracks and the band members would then replace parts to make a finished product. However, sometimes Steven Wilson would replace other band member’s parts again with his own playing. While the other members were able to give their own musical input and add their personality to the music, the final say was still with Stevie and this is without a doubt his project. Every song was recorded in pieces, with each band member adding their own parts separately. The only exception to this is Intermediate Jesus, which was recorded "live" outside of the studio.
This album also marks the end of the band’s psychedelic era. That side of the band is still present, but they’ve expanded their sound to a more direct progressive rock, alternative rock, and even some krautrock. This album also contains the band’s first major single: Waiting. There is a wider variety of track lengths on this album as well. No extended psychedelic epics, the longest song here is just shy of 9 minutes. That song, Dark Matter, is one that has become a fan favorite. There was a lot of excitement when Steven Wilson made it part of his setlist on a recent tour. But there are also plenty of songs at a comfortable 3-5 minute length. The song Every Home Is Wired is one of the shorter tunes that is an observation on the increasing use of technology in 1996.
Spoiler: critical reception
Signify is probably not as well known as the previous album, although it has received more praise than criticism. It is also a favorite among hardcore fans. Dark Matter in particular seems to get a lot of praise from the fans. The consensus seems to be that this is a transitional album. Maybe Steven Wilson's My Arms Your Hearse (ironically released the same year). For fans of his psych work, the previous album captures that better. For fans of the more direct prog rock, the best of that material was still yet to come.
Signify represents the end of our first era of Steven Wilson. The early psychedelic Floyd worship era. Many of you will be pleased to read this. I know that if In Absentia is any indication of what phase 2 of our journey is like, we’re in for some really high quality music.
Release information: This one is easy. There is the original version, a 2CD reissue, and a Steven Wilson “anti-loudness” remaster. All three of these contain the same album. The 2CD version has a bonus compilation originally released on cassette titled Insignificance. This is a collection of leftovers from the Signify sessions, both early versions of songs and material that was left off the final album. Also a new version of Nine Cats. None of these will be included in the game, but if you’re interested in that sort of thing I can point you in the right direction.
Decided to go ahead and separate Waiting into the two phases like it is on the album. I reckon some people might like the main song but not appreciate the extended jam that is phase two.
Mixed feelings on this one. Everything up to Waiting (Phase Two) is really strong. The psychedelia rears its ugly head for the second half of the album and is dominated by a lot of forgettable mostly instrumental tracks. On the positive side: The opening title track gives me a Red era King Crimson vibe. Probably the heaviest PT track so far. Best instrumental on the album, feels more like a complete song than a jam. Production is really good too, every instrument is crystal clear.
Dark Matters is awesome! I can totally understand the hype on this one. This is an epic track more reminiscent of later SW.
Signify shows the band is on the right track, but the psychedelic stuff weighs it down. We're seeing more and more moments of brilliance though.
I'm very behind at the moment with so many survivors and Christmas time. I'll get to this in the next few days.
Well there are no 16+ minute psychedelic jams, so that's a step in the right direction. Unfortunately there is still a significant amount here that I really have no desire to listen to again.
Waiting (Phase One) and Dark Matter are the biggest highlights. The title track is also pretty solid. In fact, I will be quite surprised if any other song gets promoted in place of one of those 3.
Light Mass Prayers
Oy vey. Mosh, I sure hope this is the last Floyd worship album because I can't take it anymore. This was a drudge to get through...
- Bornlivedie is a pointless intro that tells me the following album will be boring. If it's meant to be artistic, it's stupid. If it's meant to be cheeky, it's lame.
- Signify is solid, and as Lampwick said, one of the three better songs here. It's a bit straightforward for PT, though. Shades of Satriani on this one.
- The Sleep of No Dreaming comes across as Pink Floyd by way of Oasis, with a couple Opethian melodies thrown in. I like it enough, but don't love it.
- Pagan is not a song, just sound FX.
- Waiting Phase One is a decent song with a good bit of jam, one of the three best.
- Waiting Phase Two is an okay jam with no song.
- Sever has meh vocals and the song is just alright, but not memorable.
- Idiot Prayer has some cool stuff, but is ultimately just another sound FX jam.
- Every Home Is Wired is melancholy and spacey. Not bad, not very good.
- Intermediate Jesus brings us even more spacey jams. Great.
- Light Mass Prayers - Oh, I always wanted 4.5 mins of space whale noises! Merry Christmas to me!
- Dark Matter is clearly the best song here, but I don't love it. The ending is stupid considering the intro track lived up to it's description - this was a boring album to sip coffee to. The "electroshock" thing makes no sense. This album is like a slow drip of morphine.
I'm still not sold on Stevie's vocals, hope they have some more conviction on future releases. Currently he sounds like the singing equivalent of a Wes Anderson film - unaffected and side-glancingly pretentious.
Please bring on the prog rock and ditch the space prog!
I think you'll like Stupid Dream. From what I've heard it's Stevie's most accessible album and takes more influence from bands like Radiohead instead of Pink Floyd. If the song Don't Hate Me is anything to go off of, we're in for a really solid album.
I'm actually surprised at how much of Signify is psychedelic jams. Based on reviews and the historical context, I assumed they'd be moving further away from that but it feels like the majority of the album is studio experiments.
Oh, right, Signify. The album nobody ever seems to remember!
I think this one is hurt by its length, with the second half weighed down by too many instrumentals. If they'd cut the running time by about 15 minutes the record would have packed more punch. A shame, because a few of the songs are quite interesting.
I agree that "Dark Matter" is the best number here (though I'd also mention "Every Home Is Wired"). I was happily surprised when he played it live earlier this year. It actually took me a while to recognize the intro, because I wasn't expecting it at all.
Light Mass Prayer
Easy three votes here: Phase Two, Sever, and Jesus.
Yea, I was actually going to listen again but after looking at the songs remaining it is obvious. I will still re-listen but this one took no brain power.
I'm just gonna give it one more listen. I should be good to go in a couple hours.
I'm actually digging Waiting 2 slightly more this time around.
Voting for Sever and Jesus, and also giving a vote to Every Home, which starts out decent enough, but the last 2 minutes of "technology noise" is enough to ruin any enjoyment I had for the song.
The whole thing flows together nicely imo. Hard to separate it out actually. Theres nothing on this album thats crap imho. Two great ones in a row for me. Im not as much a fan as the next two but the three after that is peak PT.
Sleep + Every Home
Sleep + Every Home
Bring on the non-space stuff!
Separate names with a comma.