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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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ShW1
5 stars Last night I've listened to 'Piper' after many years of break. well, I must admit that it didn't blow my mind as it used to do back than, in my adolescence years. However, I didn't consider lowing the rating due to that reason. The music is still great, fresh and innovative as it has been when it first came out, 40 years ago.

This is PF at their very first steps. The first seeds of each member style and contribution are demonstrated here: Nick Mason on drums, doing a great job, particular I hooked by his toms. Roger Waters on bass, delicate and melodic. Rick Right on keyboards is very creative, showing that you don't have to be a technical virtuoso to implement great ideas and make wonderful sonic pallet. And last But not least, Syd Barrett, leader, singer-song writer, and guitar player. Although not much skilled technically (he used to take guitar lessons from David Gilmour at that time), his sound is fresh, original and innovative.

The overall sound is loaded with effects, in order to emphasize the psychedelic atmosphere, but still, the vocals are clear and in high level on the mix, and the drums are back. The rest of the instruments are in between, so this is an 'old fashion' balance, without loading too much effects on the listener. The listening treatment is fresh, not tedious, and it's easy to trace each line in spite of the various effects and the sound environments.

I'll follow the tracks from my point of view as a listener.

First track, 'Astronomy Domine'. in my opinion, this is an excellent opener but not among the best songs of the album. I really like albums in which the opener is not necessarily one of the highlights, and things get better with each song.

The next three songs are 'Lucifer Sam', 'Matilda Mother' and 'Flaming'. There is a continuous build up through these songs and the tension is rising. As mentioned in other reviews, these are not songs in the ordinary form of versus-chorus-medley. Each song is based on one refrain, in a very tiny form. The ideas are beautiful and the songs are very short, so there is no chance you'll get bored with it. Actually these are three charming miniatures. 'Lucifer Sam' is about Syd's cat, (if I got the idea), 'Matilda Mother' is relatively quite but there is a tension here, and Rick Right's keyboard solo is worth mentioning. 'Flaming' is the strong among this triplet, emphasizing very well the trip experience without necessarily have to try it myself.. Other people have done that and unfortunately some of them did pay the price. the climax is 'hey ho, here we go, ever so high'. Still it sends chills down my spine.

Then comes 'Pow R Toc H'. The guys are yelling, whispering, whistling, and make all kind of noises in this gibbering ('pow ch ch.'). Then comes the bluzzy jazzy brake, after that turn again to much more psychedelic mood, and it goes on, through various moods and changes. As reviewer fuxi wrote, this album is an "all-out attack on the senses", And this track is a good example for that. This track written by all members and that's how it sounds.

'Take up thy stethoscope', is the only track written by Waters. It is clearly inferior to Barrett's songs, but OK, the man will contribute his own stuff later on. anyway it's a nice break in tension and fits its place in the whole album. (End of side one of the vinyl version).

Side two opens astoundingly with 'Interstellar Overdrive'. I guess everything been said about this track. I'll just add that I tried to answer the question what makes it so good, by pure musical terms it could considered quite simplistic, featuring almost one chord and one riff. I think the answer here concealed in the way all of them playing together, in the moving altogether through various environments, in the unique playing style of each member, and in the fact that it is relatively short track after all. Short enough to catch the listener all the way.

The two following songs, 'The Gnome' and 'Chapter 24' got more ordinary structure than "the first triplet" but these are not just ordinary pop songs. great songs anyway. 'Scarecrow' is more subtle, using just one idea with captivating sonic pallet, featured some claps and farfisa organ.

'Bike' is the closer, and an astonishing one. The idea is (as I got it) - the narrator has got some objects in which he could do something, or not do anything at all. The last lines are 'I know a room full of musical tunes, some rhyme, some ching, most of them are clockwork. Let's go into the other room and make them work.' It may sound cliché but still when it comes to this point I couldn't avoid being sorry for Syd Barrett and the fact that it didn't worked well for him eventually. And in a way, it is a lost for all of us. The track reach to its end with some incredible sounds of toys, enclosed with some vehicle's horns in few phases. It's amazing.

So, whether you are a Pink Floyd fan and want to explore their roots, whether you are not mad about PF and willing to know another PF, whether you are a progressive rock listener who wants to explore PF roots in psychedelic era. this album should not be missed by all of you, and by many others. A masterpiece? Yes, I believe that. Essential? That's for sure.

ShW1 | 5/5 |

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