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Pink Floyd - Obscured By Clouds CD (album) cover

OBSCURED BY CLOUDS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.36 | 1020 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
3 stars In the middle of '72 as Pink Floyd was constructing what can justifiably be considered one of the very best rock albums ever they received an invitation to spend a short two weeks at a chateau in France recording a movie soundtrack. Keep in mind the fact that, by all reliable accounts, the purposeful path they had taken on their current project was inherently slow, deliberately precise and knee-deep in minutiae. Therefore it's no stretch to imagine that a break from the confines of Abbey Road studios to do a project that had a prescribed beginning and end was an alluring offer. The result is no more and no less than what it claims to be. Independent film music.

The director probably asked for a couple of trippy soundscapes to start things off so you get "Obscured by Clouds" where the innovative VCS 3 Synthesizer establishes a cool droning foundation beneath a throbbing pulse that brings to one's imagination some kind of gigantic, humming machine. "When You're In" is a basic rock and roll riff that the group jams on for just over two minutes. "Burning Bridges" features peaceful, casual harmony vocals over a very typical Floyd-ish chord progression. "The Gold It's In The." is a hip rocker that's reminiscent of early Who or even Nazz, Todd Rundgren's Philly band before he went solo. The guitar lead shows that David Gilmour was continuing to cultivate his own individual style. "Wots. Uh the Deal" is an acoustic guitar-driven song that sounds like it may have been favorably influenced by the southern California country/rock movement that was really picking up steam about that time. There's some very nice piano and slide guitar work here. "Mudmen" is an instrumental where Richard Wright gets to shine a bit. It's a cosmic ditty with a lot of excellent synthesizer and organ. Unfortunately Nick Mason's listless drums drag a little here and there, tending to retard the momentum. "Childhood's End" is another good tune that further reveals Gilmour to be an artist that was growing both as a vocalist and as a composer. "Free Four" has always been a favorite of mine. Roger Waters' song creates an easy, loping pace that belies the darker, satirical lyric content about aging and death. The recurring ominous synthesizer gives the song a depth and character not found on all that many recordings from the early 70s. It's the best tune on the album. "Stay" reminds me of the spirit of Elton John's early stuff but the fact that the singer is describing a one-night stand keeps it from becoming overly romantic or mushy. "Absolute Curtains," another instrumental piece, utilizes atmospheric and dense keyboard sounds to create a mysterious, spacious mood before a tribal chorus sung by Papua New Guinea natives takes over to bring things to a curious end.

When you think about how incredibly good "Dark Side of the Moon" turned out to be you have to come to the conclusion that this little continental working vacation was a great idea. Since they were spending so much time painstakingly piecing and splicing parts together back home it was most likely a therapeutic relief to just go be a band again. There wasn't any pressure to create a chart-topping monster with this collection of tunes so there's a feeling of simplicity and ease running throughout this album that I find quite refreshing.

Chicapah | 3/5 |

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