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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 1634 ratings

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3 stars Apparently, I haven't reviewed this one yet. As it is one of the few Floyd albums I still own, I suppose I should get to it!

Obviously, the reader is by now aware that the live disc is quite enjoyable to die hard Floyd fans and is pretty much required listening for anyone who likes space rock or Kraut rock. Every song is great, IMO, and while I can't say they are quite definitive versions (see Pompey for those), they are nonetheless quite excellently done. Seeing as how this was the only official live release of Floyd until the 90's, I'd say it's pretty essential for any prog fan (though I will say, there are more interesting bootlegs out there, many with equal or even better sound quality than this). 4 stars for this disc.

Then we have the problematic studio material. For myself, when I heard this at age 19, I felt that it must be some fault of my own that it didn't make a lot of sense to me. After all, this was a legendary band with a huge international following. Musical geniuses and all that. I must be missing something, some artistic deepness within Sysyphus, some brilliant purpose in the Garden Party. Well, I have since learned that I didn't miss anything. It was all pretty much aimless hammering on the piano and other keyboards, and running tapes of uninspired drum solos backwards. Still, all is not terrible here. Several Species is a wonderfully wacky piece of electronic manipulation, always good fun, if not exactly something you want to hear regularly. The Narrow Way is certainly not a great piece, but I happen to like it in all it parts. The first part is the best, with layered acoustic guitars and slide guitar soloing from Gilmore. A very nice bit of music, if fairly unremarkable. Part two threatens to veer off into Sysyphus territory, but is thankfully short and when I was younger was suitable weird enough for me to enjoy it. Part two features the actual song, which has an interesting chord progression and melody, though Gilmore sings a bit too high for his own good and the lyrics are quite indistinct (which was intentional, according to Gilmore, since he wanted Rodger to write the lyrics for him but Rodger said no, so Dave had to write them himself and has never felt they were any good at all............which, they probably are not). 2.5 stars for this disc, though it does have sentimental value. During one acid trip in my early 20's, I finally felt I understood Sysyphus and the rest of disc 2. And I wouldn't be surprised if the Floyd had been under the influence of similar substances when the put it together.

All in all, not one of their best, but an interesting experiment. Especially for a band that had a good deal of cult status but not really the popular fame they would later receive. A double album of this nature was a bold move, especially in 1969. So more or less averaging out the two discs, I'd say it's a 3 star album as a whole. Well worth having if you are a fan of Floyd or space rock and Kraut Rock, but probably a later purchase for those new to Floyd.

infandous | 3/5 |


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