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Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn CD (album) cover

THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 1420 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I remember the disappointment I felt when I first heard this record, I was not expecting to hear poppy, psychedelic music with silly, story book-like lyrics. I'm sure a lot of people had the same experience who only knew FLOYD via "Dark Side Of The Moon" or "Wish You Were Here", but this was recorded in 1967 and this is Syd Barrett's PINK FLOYD (not Rogers), and David Gilmour isn't even in the band yet. I thought it was interesting reading Pete Townsend's thoughts on this album when he first heard it. Now keep in mind he used to go and see FLOYD and the SOFT MACHINE at the UFO Club and FLOYD blew him away with their psychedlic, experimental and powerful shows. Anyway when he heard the debut he thought it was awful, it didn't represent the band he was used to seeing live at all. This would have sounded much different if Syd and producer Norman Smith weren't involved, no doubt about that. I feel though that this album has had a huge historical significance in the genre of Psychedelic music.

It's very cool to think that back in those days when PINK FLOYD and SOFT MACHINE played together all the time at the "UFO Club". In fact the debut album from both bands have a similar style with those short poppy psychedelic tunes. Both bands would really be known for what they would record in the early seventies though, so to go back to the debuts of both of these legendary bands can be a surprise and a disappointment. I have to thank Finnforest for his respect and knowledge of Syd Barrett and PINK FLOYD in general. It's the former that caused me to upgrade this review. And please check out his fantastic review of this album.

It's interesting that whan FLOYD signed to EMI they were assigned Norman Smith as producer the same man who engineered for George Martin and THE BEATLES up to "Rubber Soul". It was Smith who urged EMI to sign FLOYD after seeing them at the UFO Club. Not that he liked their music but he knew talent when he saw it. Ironically enough both THE BEATLES and PINK FLOYD were recording their respective albums at the same time at Abbey Road studios, in fact there was even an introduction of the two bands which Nick Mason later described was like meeting the royal family. By the way Smith did not enjoy doing this record. "Working with Syd was pure hell and there are no pleasant memories". Tell us how you really feel Norman (haha). I guess Barrett refused to play anything the same way twice, no matter how small a piece. Norman was pulling his hair out in frustation. Hey it still turned out awsome Mr.Smith.

Things get started with "Astronomy Domine" a PINK FLOYD classic that is great to hear live. It was recorded live in the studio in two takes with one version overdubbed on top of the other. Roger's bass playing is prominant especially in the intro. Mason is all over this classic spacerock track. This is the perfect song to start the album off with and it's a top three tune for me. And really this track and "Intersteller Overdrive" give us a hint at what this band would do later in their careers. "Lucifer Sam" is a very swinging, sixties sounding tune (haha), that is one of my favourites on the record. It's an ode to Barrett's Siamese cat. Drums and bass dominate and I like the organ 2 1/2 minutes in. "Matilda Mother" is another really good song and a top three track for me. Some good organ work from Richard. "Flaming" is a little haunting to begin with before turning lighter with vocals.

"Pow R. Toc.H." is an instrumental that opens and closes with experimental sounds while in between we get a good piano,drum melody. "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" is the only song not written by Syd Barrett. Roger Waters did this one. The instrumental parts are great, with organ and drums leading the way. "Intersteller Overdrive" is my favourite on this album, and is possibly the first spacerock song ever recorded. The guitar and bass are terrific as we travel through space in our minds. "The Gnome" is a silly acoustic song, while "Chapter 24" is a slower paced, spacey tune. "Scarecrow" is also another silly song that features farfisa organ and percussion. "Bike" is catchy and I can't help but love it.

There is something charming about this record, while the two monster songs "Astronomy Domine" and "Intersteller Overdrive" showed the music world that PINK FLOYD were a band that had to be taken seriously !

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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