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Release Date: Feb 19, 2008
Genres: Experimental, Post-Rock
Number Of Tracks: 4
Nil Recurring' is a beautiful piece of work that should and could be appreciated by anyone with an interest in rock music.
UG Team, on march 20, 2008 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Porcupine Tree's signing to Roadrunner Records and their debut for them, 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' has really done wonders for their commercial success. Roadrunner are notoriously good at getting their acts out there and if you pop into an HMV these days you'll find about 5 or 6 CDs by the band as opposed to the usual 1 or 2. So, 'Nil Recurring' is an EP that functions as a continuation of 'Fear Of A Blank Planet's lyrical and visual theme, with all of the songs being written during the sessions. Considering it was originally released as a strictly limited pressing from the band's official website, I was shocked to find around 20 copies of this jewel case version stacked in my local HMV. Obviously, it was reduced to 19 within seconds.
Musically, the album is very spaced out, much like it's bigger brother. However, unlike the very desolate atmosphere of tracks like 'My Ashes', 'Nil Recurring' offers up sounds more reminiscent of the band's much earlier works such as 'Signify'. This exotic psychedelic feel melded with the progression of the band since then (including a lot more metal elements) provides a very interesting listen for any Porcupine Tree fan. Even though 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' boasted a track over twice the length of the longest track on 'Nil Recurring', the EP seems to be far more progressive. There are references to other works by Porcupine Tree in the EP, with 'Normal' being a direct sequel to 'Sentimental', and 'What Happens Now?' featuring a riff found in the epic 'Anesthetize'. In this way, the album becomes much less recognisable as a stand-alone effort and is even more pinned down as 'Fear Of A Blank Planet II', which is both an advantage as a disadvantage. If I'm totally honest though, the grooves and sounds which Porcupine Tree churn out on this recording are better than most to be found on their previous release. // 10
Lyrics: Steven Wilson has always been a talented lyricist but his massive concept for 'Fear Of A Blank Planet' and 'Nil Recurring' is the sort of thing that should be explored, but not overplayed. The lyrics on 'Nil Recurring' are masterpieces, to put it boldly. While 'Normal' and 'Cheating The Polygraph' are solid additions to the computer-age concept and the title track is an instrumental, 'What Happens Now?' is quite simply the best set of lyrics I've heard from Porcupine Tree. Using only two stanzas, it puts across a bleak, nihilistic atmosphere that the other songs in this collection could only attempt to create. // 10
Overall Impression: It is evident when listening to 'Nil Recurring' that 'What Happens Now?' and the title track were very collaborative efforts, written by the entire band as opposed to mostly just Wilson. In fact, these two tracks are the most enjoyable on the album, more musically removed from 'Fear Of A Blank Planet', drawing in influences from PT's lengthy back catalogue. A guest appearance on lead guitar from Robert Fripp (of King Crimson fame) further improves the involving experience that this EP will have on any Porcupine Tree fan, but that doesn't mean that this is a 'fan's package', in any way. 'Nil Recurring' is a beautiful piece of work that should and could be appreciated by anyone with an interest in rock music. // 10
CaptainSBDA, on may 20, 2008 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: The sound of this album is somewhat similar to "Fear of a Blank Planet," however, a more ambient feel has been put into this album. At times this album felt like a heavier "Signify," in that respects. The main riff of "Nil Recurring" is the similar heavy metal found in songs like "Anesthetize," the beautiful acoustic work in "Normal" has a near Mediterranean feel; "Cheating the Polygraph" has some of Steven Wilson's classic wah-wah work, heralding back to stuff like "Russia on Ice" and "Hatesong" from "Lightbulb Sun," and "What Happens Now" has probably the most ambient feel on the album. The theme of the album, much like FOABP, is very creepy, and the sound resonates that. // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics (With the sole exception of the title track, which is an instrumental, ) are basically still under the umbrella concept of a "blank generation" that was FOABP. "Normal" shares similar lyrics with both "Anesthetize" and "Sentimental" from FOABP, and "What Happens Now?" contains some lyrics from the FOABP track "My Ashes." The lyrics are all very well written, as usual, but "Normal" is the standout. The lyrical and vocal harmony at the end of that song is brilliant. // 9
Overall Impression: 01. Nil Recurring- A pretty decent instrumental. The main riff of the song is fairly heavy, however there is an ambient vibe to this song; we also get to see some of Colin Edwin's smooth basswork.
02. Normal- Hands down the best song on this EP. The acoustic guitar work is absolutely brilliant; I can start to see Steven Wilson becoming a much more accomplished guitarist with this song. The really random heavy part at about 4:35 is brilliant and the vocal harmony at the end rivals those in the "Deadwing" song "Mellotron Scratch." This song is essentially a companion to the FOABP track "Sentimental;" it shares similar lyrics and the choruses are both the same.
03. Cheating the Polygraph- A pretty good song. I like the lyrics a lot on this one. Some great wah-wah work here; Wilson is generally good with that stuff.
04. What Happens Now? - The epic of the album. It starts of with some ambient synth work and hypnotic tribal drumming, and then it slowly progresses into an even creepier song. This song shares similar lyrics to the FOABP track "My Ashes" and a riff featured precedenting the heavy section of "Anesthetize."
By any band's standards, this is an excellent EP. By Porcupine Tree standards, it's okay, although "Normal" is an instant PT classic. To newcomers, you should probably start somewhere else, but to any PT fan this is a must own. // 9