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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover

UMMAGUMMA

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.47 | 1155 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is one of the most difficult albums I have had to rate.The trouble of course is that it's a new studio record combined with a live album, two very different animals.The live album is incredible while the studio recording is PINK FLOYD at their most experimental and adventerous. It's kind of cool that each of the four members had the freedom to pretty much create anything they wanted to for the studio album. I actually like each of their compositions except for most of Mason's contribution.The strange part of all of this is that we really don't get music from the band PINK FLOYD other than the live disc. While this experiment of each of the guys recording their own music seperate from each other was never repeated, Richard Wright felt it was a worthwhile adventure stating "I thought it was a very valid experiment and it helped me". And so while this may not have been an overwelming success it had to help each of the guys individually as they moved forward as a band. They've moved from EMI to the Harvest label but Norman Smith is still the producer. It was recorded in Abbey Road studios as well as in various home studios.

The live record was recorded in 1969 and opens with "Astronomy Domine". I like the way it builds and especially the amazing sound after 3 minutes. The guitar is great. A long quiet interlude ends 6 minutes in. "Careful With That Axe Eugene" might be my favourite on here. It opens with light drums and organ that eventually builds as some excellent guitar comes in.This is great ! They're just jamming now.The song calms down to a whisper 7 1/2 minutes in to end the song. "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" has those almost whispered vocals with drums and synths.The drumming dominates from the 3-5 minute marks. A spacey calm follows.Vocals return 8 minutes in. "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is the longest song at almost 13 minutes. It gets chaotic 3 minutes in before the drums take over. Spacey sounds end up competing with the drums for the spotlight until the drums stop and organ replaces them.This is an amazing passage. Drums return and then guitar. I really like the vocal melodies 11 minutes in to end the song.

The studio album begins with Wright's 4 part composition called "Sysyphus". It opens sounding quite epic with slow, heavy drums.There is mellotron on 3 of the 4 sections. Part two features piano melodies that get dissonant 3 minutes in. Part three has percussion and some strange sounds on it, while part four opens with some amazing mellotron. An explosion of organ kicks in at 3 1/2 minutes. Dramatic synth and organ sounds 5 minutes in. Waters composed two tracks.The first "Grantchester Meadows" features birds chirping,reserved vocals and acoustic guitar. I like it. Then some experimentation as we can hear a fly buzzing around and someone getting a fly swatter and flattening it. His second song is called "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict". It sounds at the beginning like we are in a jungle. A spoken line is repeated over and over.The Scottish sounding words 4 minutes in are hilarious. Gilmour's contribution might be my favourite. It's a three part song called "The Narrow Way".The first part is pastoral and the acoustic guitar reminds me of LED ZEPPELIN. Part two is heavy with some loud spacey sounds coming in. Part three has vocals on it and would not have been out of place on the "Meddle" record. It also reminds me a little of THE BEATLES. The final composition is Masons'. It's called "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" and is divided into three parts. Some guest flute on the first and third parts are good, but the second part has some really annoying sounds on it.

4 stars is my rating after a lot of thought and debate. I can see why some would rate it three stars because of the studio album though. I like the studio disc a lot but I love the live disc.This would be the highest charting FLOYD album so far, hitting number 5 in the UK. Love the album cover and the back cover with the band's equipment in front of the Land Rover at Biggin Hill Airport.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |

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