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Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.87 | 2080 ratings

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4 stars

There was a time in my life when I would have rated this album five stars without reservation. However, as time marches on and as (in my middle age) a degree of wordliness, maturity and as an ability to critically appraise my own shortcomings increases, I find that I have to look back at my love affair with this record now as one looks back at that girlfriend of long ago... with a blend of both sadness and joy, a sense of amazement and yet a sense of clarity, with a sense of what I'd lost and what I've come to gain over time. The salience and sharpness of this record in its time can never be denied. Unfortunately, the bittersweet taste that I experience now in 2007, a full forty years after this wonderful recording was released, is the emotional perplexity I experience listening to the infantile, drug-impaired, psychotic musings of perhaps one of the greatest musical talents of his generation (Barrett) and the stark realization of his utter failure to realize what seemed to me to be his boundless potential. One can only speculate what future Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett music would have sounded like if the man had had a sufficiently intact mind and enough personal fortitude and a personal support system that would have allowed him to regain some management of his senses. Unfortunately, we'll never know. In retrospect, this record was a milestone in the history of 20th century music. Whether this record can truly be considered progressive rock or whether it is better classified as proto-prog, psychadelic or probably more aptly in this case, PSYCHOTIC PROG is a matter of debate. In the passage of time and with the ability to experience the moods, textures and styles of all of Pink Floyd's subsequent studio records, those of many of progressive rocks best bands and a wealth of jazz and classical music, my own appraisal of this record at this stage is that it while it represents a landmark in the development of music in our time, it now plays more like a home baby video of one's fully grown children... it's very charming to see the first steps and the exploration of territories and challenges that were new, but also comes across now as a dated, immature and sometimes embarrassing anachronism.



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