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Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 2055 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 66

"Atom Heart Mother" is the fifth studio album of Pink Floyd and was released in 1970 by Harvest and EMI Records in the UK and Harvest and Capitol Records in USA. It was recorded at the Abbey Road Studios in London. This was the first Pink Floyd's album to be specially mixed for the quadraphonic sound as well as the conventional stereo sound. The quadraphonic mix was also released in a compatible format with the stereo record players.

The art cover of the album was designed by Hipgnosis and it was the first not to feature the band's name on the cover or contain any photographs of the group anywhere. It would be a trend mark for the group. The album's cover is one of the most enigmatic of all in the music history. The most famous bovine of the rock appears on the album's cover. The cow, named Lulubelle III was photographed in a rural farm in the English countryside by Storm Thorgerson, who is an English famous graphic designer known for his works for rock bands like Pink Floyd, 10cc, Dream Theatre, The Mars Volta and The Cranberries. He said that his work was inspired by Andy Warhol's famous "cow-wallpaper". Curiously, the record company paid to the property owner about a thousand pounds for the image rights of the animal. And even more curious, the property became a tourist attraction, and Lulubelle III a celebrity in the show business world.

"Atom Heart Mother" has five tracks. We can divide the album into two distinct musical parts. The first and the last tracks are the lengthiest and the collective musical workings of the group, and the third, fourth and fifth tracks are the individual workings by the band's members. "Atom Heart Mother" was the first recording of the band with a full orchestra in collaboration with the avant-garde composer Ron Geesin. The first track is the title track "Atom Heart Mother". It was written by David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, Nick Mason and Ron Geesin and it's the lengthiest track on the album that occupies the entire side A of the vinyl disc. It's a piece of music divided into six parts: "Father's Shout", "Breast Milky", "Mother Fore", "Funky Dung", "Mind Your Throats Please" and "Remergence", and is totally orchestrated. This is, for me, an excellent, very interesting and original instrumental piece of music where the connection of their music with the orchestra is very good. It's probably the lengthiest instrumental track made by them. The second track "If" written by Waters is a simply and beautiful ballad about self analysis. It's a very melodic, pleasant and relaxing song almost all played on acoustic guitar. The third track "Summer'68" written by Wright is about a one night stand and the return to his habitual life. It's also a beautiful song, and is, in my humble opinion, more complex and interesting than "If" is. On the song we have the contrast of the soft piano with the bombastic trumpet. It's the more energetic track on the album which makes practically impossible to listen to the song without singing it. The fourth track "Fat Old Sun" written by Gilmour is a typical Gilmour's song. It's a very peaceful and beautiful ballad that almost makes us fly due to the music and the voice of Gilmour. It's also a very relaxing song that makes us stop doing what we are doing and just do nothing while the song doesn't end. The fifth track "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" written by Gilmour, Waters, Wright and Mason is the other lengthiest instrumental piece of music on the album and is divided into three parts: "Rise And Shine", "Sunny Side Up" and "Morning Glory". The track has sound effects and dialogues between each part. The dialogue and the sound effects are made by the then roadie Alan Stiles, a Pink Floyd roadie who appeared on the back cover of "Ummagumma", preparing, discussing and eating his breakfast. Sincerely, this is a very funny piece of music with some good instrumental moments but, as the name suggests, it's very psychedelic and can't be compared to the rest of the album. However, to my taste, it's an excellent instrumental track.

Conclusion: "Atom Heart Mother" is the best studio album released by Pink Floyd until that date. However, I know this isn't a consensual opinion. Many prefer their debut. Despite the unfavourable opinions about the album of the two band's leaders Waters and Gilmour, I think this is a very important transitional album for the group. We can say that "Atom Heart Mother" is an album with many progressive features and that will be the turning point in the band's music. These clearly musical changes would culminate on their next studio album and first masterpiece "Meddle" released in 1971. "Atom Heart Mother" can be considered a true classic Pink Floyd's album. From its epics and calming tracks, to its memorable and original Thogerson's cover of Lulubelle III, it should be recognized as a great album, by any Pink Floyd fan and critic. However, as a transitional album, like "A Saucerfull Of Secrets" was, I wouldn't recommend it, to anyone looking to be introduced to the Pink Floyd's music. "The Dark Side Of The Moon" or "Wish You Were Here" are the right places to start, but "Atom Heart Mother" remains, definitely, a must for all Pink Floyd's musical collections.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |


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