Album Artwork JPEGPorcupine Tree - Up The Downstair

Cat No: DELEC CD/LP 020

Release Date: 7th June 1993
Reissue Date: 27th October 1997

[Track Listing] [Lyrics] [Credits] [Reviews]
[Porcupine Tree Home Page]

Go to TopTrack Listing

  1. What You Are Listening To.... - 0:57 (S. Wilson)
  2. Synesthesia - 5:11 (S. Wilson) - lyric
  3. Monuments Burn Into Moments - 0:20 (S. Wilson)
  4. Always Never - 6:58 (S. Wilson / A.Duffy) - lyric
  5. Up The Downstair - 9:59 (S. Wilson) - lyric
  6. Not Beautiful Anymore - 3:26 (S. Wilson)
  7. Siren - 0:53 (S. Wilson)
  8. Small Fish - 2:43 (S. Wilson / A.Duffy) - lyric
  9. Burning Sky - 11:07 (S. Wilson)
  10. Fadeaway - 6:15 (S. Wilson / A.Duffy) - lyric

Go to TopLyrics


I'm sending you a letter
Because I don't think there's much time
Time to lear the cobwebs
Time to bear the crime

It's only a number
It's only a death
Another soldier died in action
The telegram regrets

I'm lying on a stretcher
They're lyring to my face
There's no-one left to help me
I'm just a waste of space

It's a matter of moments
I'll be dead before you've read
There's blood on the table
And my back is full of lead

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Always Never

I feel no pain
Cos I'm an island
I will remain
In the deafness of your silence

I love you sometimes
Always Never
He said you're here
Here with me now

I feel no gain
When you're around me
I'll try again
In the darkness you astound me

It's growing cold
I'm growing old
Is this the only way to see the fire?
It's raining...

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Up The Downstair

Until the colours dissolve
Leave the dream to rain-soak forever
In blessed moments
Viewed from trains of half-truths

Monuments burn into moments
Up into other worlds
Other ascensions
Without deep sorrow to endure

Black Sunday of sleep
Open for small angel escapes
Moved by buildings to tears
They week in the rain
Am I at home?
Am I in heaven?
Gentle Architecture

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Small Fish

The first thing that I saw as, the fisherman smiled at me
Were empty people dressed in grey, floating out to sea
The rain lashed down in darkness
A lizard blinked an eye
And time stopped in the silence
The small fish gave a cry

The next thing that I saw as, things were fading fast
Were dreams of children's laughter, smouldering to dust
The rain lashed down in darkness
A lizard blinked an eye
And time stopped in the silence
The small fish gave a cry

The last thing that I saw as, my life passed by
Were fields of empty people, laying down to die
The rain lashed down in darkness
A lizard blinked an eye
And time stopped in the silence
To watch the burning sky.

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I sat in the room with a view
The girl in the photograph knew
Can't you see?
Why is she laughing at me?

I stumbled through the dark unaware
The face in the hall isn't there
Tomorrow has gone
Where do the voices come from?

Watching the leaves as they blew
Lost in the room with a view
Climb the walls
You did not know me at all

I fell through a hole in the floor
The audience cried out for more
It's just another day

Hit heaven far too high.

Go to TopCredits

"There is only one movement and that is perpetual motion" Francis Picabla 1912

Programmed, produced and performed by Steven Wilson at No Man's Land February 1992 to January 1993.

  • Colin Edwin - Bass on "Always Never"
  • Richard Barbieri - Electronics on "Up The Downstair"
  • Suzanne Barbieri - Voice on "Up The Downstair"

All titles published by Hit and Run Music (Publishing) Ltd.
Photo/Painting by Nop and Win Machielse
Booklet Layout by Wrap Me Up Designs

Thanks due to: Richard Allen... and to Mark Radcliffe, Jon Homer, Dina Cohen, Mike Bennion, The Pomps, Justin King, Mark Gordon, Dave Massey, Marc Muijen.

Dedicated to Terumi and the spirit of Orson Welles.

Go to TopPress Reviews

Melody Maker

It began with a mystery; an album placed upon my desk with no introduction, no information. Then came the sleeve, sent separately, depicting a laughing figure shrouded in a dizzy red haze. Then came the rumours: that Porcupine Tree were one of those prog-rock outfits regularly space-jamming on "The Mark Radcliffe Show", and that they were a major label dance act operating under a pseudonym. Finally came the moment when I played the record. Fifty minutes later my jaw was on the ground.
They've embarked upon a mission impossible: to create a truly Nineties progressive rock soundscape, utilising modern technology but avoiding prog pomposity. And they've managed it with room to spare. It's a strange and wonderful brew, taking in Orb ambience, FSoL dub, Metallica steel and all points in between. Ambient space dubs, technological cut- ups and Gregorian chants texture the sound, but the fire at the heart of the noise comes from good old guitar. Be warned, there are solo's here, but they're played with a force and a purity that defies indulgence.
I'm reminded of the original ideas behind Levitation and their awesome "Smile" before they lost it and became a Goth metal band. I'm remembering Floyd and King Crimson and wondering whether they're aware that their pioneering spirit has been re-incarnated in the Nineties. Mostly (and curiously) I'm reminded of the great 801, a ground-breaking ambient rock "super group" formed by Brian Eno and Phil Manzanera, who slayed the Reading Festival in 1976 and imploded soon after, leaving a myriad of musical possibilities unresolved. Here's where the gauntlet is finally picked up.
So, "Small Fish" sounds like Robert Wyatt singing something off Eno's "Another Green World" backed by a post-ravedelic Syd Pink Floyd, "Synethesia" like a roughed up Spiritualized with an interest in experimental pop, and "Monuments Burn Into Moments" could be Manzanera dissolving into an acid haze. There are no highlights because every second counts, but the epic boogie blowout title track (featuring japan's Richard Barbieri) is surely worth considering, as is the 11-minute space chug of "Burning Sky" and the troubled, desolate "Fadeaway".
Hawkwind went "In Search of Space" and never found it. The Porcupine Tree have not only been there, but they've brought the whole thing back and totally re-assembled it (with colliding planets 'n' all) to be enjoyed in the privacy of your living room.
"Up The Downstair" is a startling, electrifying journey. It pulsates with the sense of discovery. Here' a band who are not only prepared to throw away rock's rule book, but to set the thing on fire and dance among the flames.
This truly is a psychedelic masterpiece, and, I'd wager, one of the albums of the year. (Dave Simpson)


Can Porcupine Tree possibly follow up their brilliant 30 minute single, Voyage 34 - the one that out-Orbed The Orb? Simple answer: yes, but not with more of the same. Porcupine Tree add a few more dimensions to their already multi-dimensional sound (hints of Floyd early, middle and late, something for all Floyd heads). Plenty of melting guitar to which they add a hint of Hawkwind and fuse it with a taste of Stone Roses. A touch of the Porcupine Tree prog-rock roots. Porcupine Tree are a rare band, they make classic psychedelic music without sounding the least bit dated, all that's good about psychedelia and none of the bad.

Crohinga Well

One of the psychedelic highlights of 1992 was the vinyl/CD debut of Porcupine Tree, a (still) somewhat mysterious act from the western outskirts of London. "On The Sunday of Life" was partly a reworking of material from two older cassette albums "Tarquins Seaweed farm" and "The Nostalgia Factory" (both are now deleted). The album blew a lot of people's minds with its very impressive, almost majestic symphonic rock sound, reminiscent of "psychedelic milestones" like Pink Floyd's "Ummagumma" and "Atom Heart Mother". We soon found out that Porcupine Tree had a lot more to offer, however, when the single (what's in a name: it's over 30 minutes long!), "Voyage 34" came out, a story about LSD in the human brain, and a modest wink at the "dance scene" as well.
The successor to "On The Sunday of Life" is out at last, and from a first impression we can only say: Steve Wilson and his friends have done it again. The album (playing time about 48 minutes) contains ten tracks that offer a wide scope of psychedelic music, varying from late sixties/early seventies symphonic workouts to contemporary, very popular sounding moody electronic pieces. The key word on this LP seems to be "mood". All the songs were mixed into one another, so the listener floats from one "sound-track for the mind" into the next one. This is a very trippy album with different highlights: the long instrumental "Burning Sky", "Up The Downstair" (with almost Ozrics-like keyboards), the incredibly beautiful "Fadeaway" (with a distinct "Floyd feeling" attached to it, the only track on the LP where this is the case, by the way) and the semi-trendy, danceable "Synesthesia".
"Up The Downstair" is an LP that hides many surprises for the attentive listener. After a few spins you realise that even the sounds mixed into the background and he vocal interventions from old "drug" records all play a part in this warm, soothing lysergic tapestry that contains sparse, but matching lyrics. When I wrote an article on Porcupine Tree last year (published in Crohinga Well 2) I predicted that this act would become a "third way" in New British Psychedelia (the first and second being the psychedelic rock of Bevis Frond and the spacey festival sounds of Ozric Tentacles, of course). This record only confirms my statement. "Up The Downstair" is a record to get incredibly stoned to (and you will...)!


Porcupine Tree's debut album, On The Sunday of life, won an Overseas Jackpot! in June, 1992. The work of Steven Wilson, the musical backbone of pop/ballad romantics No Man, the Tree was a master of psych-prog romanticism, and Sunday was a free festival of mind-bent levitation that made no effort to conceal its retro intentions. Up The Downstair retains the band's willowy roots in Albion psychedelia but expands the brief, dropping its cheesy self-consciousness while infusing some contemporary dance auras (from acidic mesmerism to almost funky syncopation) with more 'group-like' interaction. Not that Wilson blatantly stitches together old and new, Orb ambience and Floyd incadescence; the center ground is more eclectic and evasive that that (the Melody Maker review accurately mentions Eno and Phil Manzanera's mid '70s outfit 801, which modernized the '60s Canterbury scene sound - Floyd, Caravan, Soft Machine - lying behind Porcupine Tree's recipe). Silver-lined Moogs jostle with electric neon guitars, sometimes on soft ground, other times driven by harder rhythms ("Not Beautiful Anymore" for one), while space (rock) dust is sprayed every which way. Wilson's soft vocal intonations creep in on five out of 10 tracks, like the title cut, which is the epicentre of the album alongside the 11-minute "Burning Sky" and the closing sunset-blissful "Fadeaway". Up The Downstair is epic landscaping, but Wilson is equally capable on "Small Fish", the album's prettiest track, which echoes the fragility of Robert Wyatt, with early Floydian cushioning. A complete voyage, and as inspired as an Apollo mission.

Go to Top [Porcupine Tree Home Page]

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