Exposé Online banner

Porcupine Tree — Metanoia
(Aether 3, 1997, LP)

by Dan Casey, Published 1999-11-01

Metanoia Cover art

This hard-to-find treat was released after the live album Coma Divine but prior to the latest album Stupid Dream as a limited edition gatefold double 10" vinyl-only release. Recent interviews with band leader Steven Wilson indicate that it will most likely be issued on CD at some point in the future although no plans are in place as of yet. Metanoia is a collection of improv jams recorded on two different dates during the sessions for Signify in 1995 and 1996. The recordings were then later mixed and edited by Steven Wilson at his home studio. The album is in every way the antithesis of Stupid Dream, and simultaneously every bit as brilliant. The opening track "Mesmer (i)" showcases drummer Chris Maitland and bassist Colin Edwin really opening it up in a masterful display of finesse and energy. The syncopated groove continues to build, leaving the listener with a profound sense that this band must have really meshed into a cohesive unit in order to pull of difficult riffing like this in an improvisational setting. Chris and Colin easily steal the show from Wilson throughout this album, and it's a pleasure to hear. Wilson spends a lot of time noodling with guitar effects and keyboard atmospherics, all to great avail. Occasionally, he steps out front with some soloing, but for the most part the emphasis is on the full band sound rather than individual performances. The last portion of "Mesmer (iii)" is positively sublime, easily one of the band's finest moments. A more raw, intense version of "Intermediate Jesus" is contained here as well (but without any of the shortwave radio samples and overdubs). The band shows quite a sense of humor here, too, as "Metanoia (ii)" builds into a frenzy with Maitland going completely out of control until the tape unwinds into a hilarious mock interview at a crowded restaurant in Milan where the guys are discussing what to order and how they feel stupidly overdressed. If this doesn't recall Spinal Tap for you, then the hand-etched phrase "None More Black" in the run-out groove of Side 4 ought to do it. Unlike anything they've done before, Metanoia is a very unique release and comes with the highest recommendation. It will feel like an eternity waiting for this to reissue on CD, so even though the vinyl may be a bit pricy (if you can even find it), it's well worth it.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Porcupine Tree, Richard Barbieri, Steven Wilson / I.E.M., Colin Edwin

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Guru Guru - Seven Reissues – Guru Guru is one of the better known Krautrock bands from the 70s. In Spring 1973 they released their fourth album Guru Guru, engineered by the legendary Conny Plank, featuring drummer Mani Neumeier,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues