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PORCUPINE TREE

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Biography

PORCUPINE TREE, established during 1987 by Steven Wilson, is a highly adventurous, genre-spanning Progressive Rock band formed in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The 'group' was initially a ficticious enterprise concocted by Wilson in order to give his solo bedroom recordings some degree of credibility. These formative demos came complete with concocted narratives and spurious band histories which, when the music began to gain attention, led many to believe PORCUPINE TREE had been an operational band for many years prior.

This elaborate fabrication culminated in the 80 minute 1989 demo collection 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm- Words From A Hessian Sack', with notes suggesting tracks had been manifested by such characters as Sir Tarquin Underspoon and Timothy Tadpole-Jones. One real contributor would be lyricist Alan Duffy. One of these cassettes fell into the hands of Richard Allen and Ivor Trueman, operators of 'Freakbeat' fanzine and, coincidentally, in the process of setting up their own label. Although 'Freakbeat's review of the tape was somewhat dismissive, they offered a place on a Psychedelia compilation. Meantime, during 1990, Steven Wilson was occupied with his ambient / ethereal NO-MAN project, an alliance with Tim Bowness that had signed to One Little Indian Records. NO-MAN, financially backed by Hit & Run publishing in the UK and Epic 440 in the USA, was gaining ground fast, scoring 'Single of the week' accolades in both 'Sounds' and 'Melody Maker' magazines. Nevertheless, Wilson still pursued PORCUPINE TREE, issuing a second tape dubbed 'The Nostalgia Factory'. As before, the spurious legend of the 'band' was continued in accompanying booklets. Finally, PORCUPINE TREE's contribution, the song 'Linton Samuel Dawson', to the 'Freakbeat' Delerium label's compilation, 'A Psychedelic Psauna', also saw issue.

Delerium offered Wilson a contract to re-issue both cassettes as two albums. Declining this offer, the debut album, 'On The Sunday Of Life' issued in the summer of 1991, was a compilation comprising material from both the 1989 'Tarquin's Seaweed Farm - Words From A Hessian Sack' and 1990 'The Nostalgia Factory' tapes. Initially only 500 copies were pressed, the record clad in an elaborate gatefold sleeve. However, reaction amongst the Progressive Rock community was unanimously positive and almost immediately this first batch sold out. Such was demand that by 2000, 'On the Sunday Of Life...' had clocked up sales in excess of 20,000 copies.

The outtakes would eventually emerge as a limited edition set 'Yellow Hedgerow Dreamscape' in December 1991. PORCUPINE TREE's first single, 'Voyage 34', would be suitably ambitious comprising of one 30 minute track split into two phases, segmented by narrative culled from 1960s LSD propoganda. 'The intention was for 'Voyage 34' to form part of and precede a second album, 'Up The Downstair', released in May 1993. As it transpired, the album hosted an entirely new body of work. Studio guests included future PORCUPINE TREE band members, former JAPAN keyboard player Richard Barbieri and bass player Colin Edwin. Momentum was now so great that in December 1993 PORCUPINE TREE was finally established as a proper band unit, counting Steven Wilson on lead vocals and guitar, Colin Edwin on bass guitar, Richard Barbieri on keyboards and NO-MAN's Chris Maitland on drums.

Third album 'The Sky Moves Sideways', framed at either end by a two part title track at 18 minutes and 16 minutes respectively, emerged in February 1995. Despite being the first band construction, the tracks 'The Moon Touches Your Shoulder' and 'Dislocated Day' were performed entirely by Wilson. In the USA the album was issued adding an extra song, the UK single 'Stars Die'. Other changes for the North American market would see the removal of 'Prepare Yourself' and a severe truncation forced upon 'Moonloop'. Nevertheless, 'The Sky Moves Sideways' broadened PORCUPINE TREE's fanbase internationally. Backed by an accompanying EP, 'Moonloop', PORCUPINE TREE toured across the UK, The Netherlands, Italy, and Greece.

The band united with OPETH for summer North American co-headlining dates. In December 2006 it was learned that plans were afoot to have both RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson and KING CRIMSON's Robert Fripp guest on new PORCUPINE TREE album recordings.

October 2009 dates in Europe were supported by Swedish act KATATONIA.

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