Steven Wilson n00bvivor Results: The hiss of the train at the railway head

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  • Total voters
    4

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Welcome to the Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree n00bvivor! Since most of us (myself included) are coming into this as new listeners, I’m going to attempt to do some research before hand provide some info/history around each album. Hopefully we can get some discussion going to make this a bit more exciting than your average survivor.

The format of this survivor is going to be slightly different. Each album will be introduced one at a time and we will eliminate down to three songs for promotion before repeating the process with the next album. The rules remain the same, you have 5 votes until five songs are left. Three songs get promoted. I won't put a close date on the polls, I'll wait until everyone has voted. Just let me know if you need more time, no hurry.

Our first album is On the Sunday Of Life, which is technically not an original album, but a compilation of two cassette only albums. At this point, Porcupine Tree isn’t a band but a Steven Wilson solo project. Porcupine Tree started out life as a mock fictional band made up by Steven Wilson and a friend. They went as far as to create imaginary album titles and a “history” of this band. Wilson decided to take this further by recording music as “evidence” that this made up band actually exists. Initially, none of this music was meant to be heard by the public but eventually SW started to realize that some of the music he was creating had potential.

The result was the cassette tapes that would later on be compiled into this album: On the Sunday Of Life. This album is not a complete collection of the original tapes, however it is made up of what Wilson considers the best material from that period and this is all we’ll cover in the survivor. The album was originally given a limited cassette/LP release by a brand new label called Delerium. The CD version is still in print.

Much of this album is made up of experimental pieces and psychedelic early Floyd worship entirely recorded by SW. There are a few appearances from outside musicians though and the lyrics are all written by a childhood friend of SW. The songs are divided into four “parts”: First Love, Second Sight, Third Eye, and Fourth Bridge.

If you’re interested in hearing more or the material as it was originally recorded, the tapes are called Tarquin’s Seaweed Farm and The Nostalgia Factory. Or you could check out the compilation Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape which features everything that wasn’t included on On the Sunday of Life. It won’t be included in the survivor.

I’m going to put some information about the critical and fan reception of each album in spoiler tags, since I know some people don’t like to be influenced prior to hearing an album. Personally I think it helps with tempering expectations and getting an idea of what to expect.

For a first listen/impression, this seems like a difficult album. Many fans rank this as one of the worst albums and for the hardcore fans only. However, most reviews claim that this album is not without its great moments. Regardless, everyone seems to agree that it’s not a good starting point for PT, so please don’t give up after hearing just this album. On the bright side, it can only get better from here. :D


I highly recommend listening to the album one "part" at a time. It's a very exhausting and long album if you try to take it all at once. The parts are divided on this page:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Sunday_of_Life
 

mckindog

Living for Sanctuary from the law
Staff member
That was a struggle to get through (as you suggested, I limited myself to the first five tracks).
First impression : not my type of music at all. Sounds like a nerdy teen playing with his garage band program, which I guess it was.
Jupiter was bad. Music, Surfer, and the title track boring ambient washes of sound.
With Nostalgia came the first taste of the PT I am familiar with. That one I didn't mind.
 
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Deus_Adrian

Prince of the Final Frontier
This is for the hardcore. The vast majority of this is not interesting at all. Things will change about time time we get to Sky Moves Sideways and Porcupine Tree begins to emerge as a real band.
 

Night Prowler

Customer Deathcycle Manager
Staff member
Besides, you'd be a bad Maidenfan if you left because you don't like the songs; real Maidenfan way is to rage quit once a song you like is eliminated :p
 

Shadow

Deluxe Edition
Staff member
I'm very fond of this album, though admittedly for personal rather than strictly musical reasons. Curious to see what survives.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Maybe the more experienced listeners can chime in on this, but the next two albums are supposedly a step up in quality. Sky Moves Sideways in particular is one I've heard many fans rave about as a classic PT album.
 

The Flash

Dennis Wilcock did 9/11
Maybe the more experienced listeners can chime in on this, but the next two albums are supposedly a step up in quality. Sky Moves Sideways in particular is one I've heard many fans rave about as a classic PT album.
Fuck Me Sideways if that isn't the case
 

Lampwick 43

Barstool Warrior
It only took 5 songs to make me want to quit this survivor.

Does it get better soon? Like, real soon?
I can assure you that it does, in fact, get a lot better, but I can't answer as to when. I've come to love some of the later albums, but I'm still a complete noob with the early stuff.

From what I'm familiar with, In Absentia and Deadwing in particular are both really fantastic, but they are albums #7 and 8 in the discography..
 
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Shadow

Deluxe Edition
Staff member
Maybe the more experienced listeners can chime in on this, but the next two albums are supposedly a step up in quality. Sky Moves Sideways in particular is one I've heard many fans rave about as a classic PT album.
Up the Downstair is one of my favourites, but your mileage may vary. There's less random messing around, at any rate.
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Part 1 - First Love:
Mostly noise, even the "real" songs are mostly cluttered with studio noises.

Jupiter Island is a real song and is interesting enough I suppose. It's pretty upbeat for a SW song though. Definitely more on the psychedelic side than prog rock. The Nostalgia Factory shows hints of greatness and sounds much more like the PT I'm familiar with. Overall doesn't really sound like anything that was meant to be heard by anyone.
 

MrKnickerbocker

clap hands
Honestly, everything except 2-3 songs here are terrible and only one of those (Radioactive Toy) is worth ever listening to again in any capacity.

Voting for 5 of the 7 or 8 tracks that contain absolutely no music:
Surfer
Sunday
Hymn
Queen
Rabbits
 

Mosh

The years just pass like trains
Staff member
Part II is a definite improvement. More real music and less ambient noises. The music feels more linked here. First two tracks are more noises but at least set a mood for Radioactive Toy.
Radioactive Toy (both the actual music and the ambience) was total Floyd worship. Actually didn't mind that, I could space out to the ambient stuff afterwards. Was kind of relaxing.
Nine Cats has the vibe of an end credits piece and is so far the most concise effort on the album. It doesn't suddenly go into noises and has a nice buildup with a guitar solo toward the end. Very enjoyable.
 
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