Porcupine Tree

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Warszawa Review

by Cammila Collar

A beautifully intimate performance to listen in on, Porcupine Tree's 2004 live album Warszawa consists of a radio broadcast the band made for a small Polish audience in 2001. The group's customary languid, glassy feel stays intact, but certain musical elements, especially Steven Wilson's evocative vocals, occasionally reach glorious and unexpected moments of rawness and rapture. The album's more sample-based songs, such as "Even Less" and "Lightbulb Sun," sound at home in the close-quartered setting, while their live instrumentation takes on an acoustic, unprocessed feel. The release draws almost exclusively on material from 1999's Stupid Dream and 2000's Lightbulb Sun, understandably skipping over the drum-machine days of 1993's Up the Downstair and 1995's The Sky Moves Sideways. It would have been nice to hear Porcupine Tree take a new stab at this old material with the instruments and techniques now at their disposal, but the absence of earlier songs doesn't make for meager pickings. At 79 minutes and 17 seconds, the performance fills the disc within 43 seconds of its life.

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