Porcupine Tree- Voyage 34(Snapper)
review by Jim Clark

Track Listing

1. Phase I, 12:54
2. Phase II, 17:24
3. Phase III, 19:24
4. Phase IV, 13:42



Fans of Porcupine Tree are well aware of Steven Wilson’s penchant for re-releases. Much of the band’s back catalogue has been reissued over the past few years – Coma Divine, Signify and The Sky Moves Sideways have all been re-released with bonus tracks, or in the case of the latter two, bonus discs.

The latest of the reissues is Voyage 34, Wilson’s classic 1992 epic about an LSD trip gone bad. But what raises eyebrows about this reissue is that it’s the second time it’s been remixed, remastered and re-released in the last four years as Voyage 34: The Complete Trip, was released in 2000. And unlike the reissues mentioned above, there’s no bonus material on this disc.

Still, there are a few things different about this version that may make someone who owns the previous one want to buy it. The artwork is different as Lasse Hoile, the man who provided the dark artwork for Porcupine Tree’s last studio album, In Absentia, modifies Richard Allen’s original cover.  The booklet is a mix of Hoile’s work and that of Carl Glover, the person who designed the booklet for the 2000 reissue.

As for the music, the first two phases of the song are superb, but if you own either the original disc or The Complete Trip, you already know that. Phases III and IV are more ambient in nature and were originally released a year after the original, though again, both can be found on the 2000 release. But as the current version has been remixed again by Wilson, there are a few new things that stand out from the previous issues – most notably a brighter percussion sound. And there are a few minutes of new music represented here, in the form of a brief, hidden ambient piece reminiscent of Wilson’s Bass Communion that plays a few minutes after “Phase IV” concludes.

So is this version of Voyage 34 worth buying? The answer is yes and no. If you’re a completist or if you don’t own the 2000 reissue, the answer is yes. If you want improved, albeit slightly, sound and some new artwork, the answer is another yes. But unlike the Signify, Coma Divine and The Sky Moves Sideways remasters and their wealth of bonus material, this release isn’t essential. So it’s up to you to decide, “is this trip really necessary?”

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