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Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother CD (album) cover

ATOM HEART MOTHER

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.88 | 2058 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
4 stars "Atom Heart Mother" was the transitory album for Pink Floyd, bridging the gap between their experimental and more straight forward, progressive stages. Through the album, you still hear echoes of their past psychedelic and experimental music, but you also hear hints of where the band was going. To make it even more of a fitting bridge, Alan Parsons had a part in the making of this album and "Dark Side of the Moon". Being Pink Floyd, this album has been reviewed so many times, but it is probably the most misunderstood of the albums.

It starts off with the full sided title suite made up of 6 sections, each with individual names. The suite is credited to all members of the band and also Ron Geesen, who was responsible for orchestrating and putting the entire suite into one complete "rock symphony". Most of the themes and material in the suite were written and considered for inclusion in the "Zabriskie Point" soundtrack, but after the falling out between the band and the makers of the movie, the material not used for the movie was taken by the band to improve and expand on. The music was put together and handed over to Ron to turn into an epic production, adding orchestral instruments and choral arrangements. There are really no lyrics, and the vocals are all wordless. There has been plenty of people that have broken the suite down on this site and also elsewhere on the internet, so I'm not going to go into that now. But overall, it is quite a cinematic and stately composition. It is very progressive with returning themes, changing meters, moods and tones. It really does belong in PF's greatest achievements, even if it is a little more rough than later albums, that only adds to the charm.

Where the "Atom Heart Mother" Suite was written by the entire band, the next 3 tracks were written by individual members. "If" was written by Roger Waters and is a folksy and mostly acoustic song, pastoral in feel, and with great lyrics. "Rick Wright" contributed "Summer '68", which is a fuller production which includes a brass section at the end. David Gilmour contributed "Fat Old Sun" which is more psychedelic feeling with an organ and acoustic guitar with other treated sounds. Since he had less song writing experience, he was made to stay in the studio until he came up with a song. The song gets louder at the end as an electric guitar drowns out the vocals. Nick Mason's contribution was the final song, another suite. Even though this was credited to the band, Mason was the primary writer, but it was based on an idea by Waters. It is a three part composition and consists of a rather minimal recording of Alan Styles, a PF roadie, having breakfast. Each part starts and ends with sounds of Alan preparing and eating breakfast, while the middle sections are mostly acoustic improvisations. The overall song lasts 12 minutes. This track seems like a waste of time when you first listen to it, but the more you hear it, the more psychedelic it becomes and the more you appreciate it.

I don't want to go into much more detail that that since there is already a lot of information written about this album. Some people appreciate it and others do not. The thing to remember is that this was an important album in PF's growing stage and would signal the amazing pieces of work that band would produce later. Both this album and Meddle work to bridge the two major eras of PF's music. Personally, I like and appreciate the album, but I don't think it is quite deserving of 5 stars like a lot of their other albums even some that came before this one. I do agree that it is an excellent prog album however, and can easily give it 4 stars. Not my favorite, but great nonetheless. Others may think it's better than that, and others may not like it at all. It is one that the jury is always undecided on.

TCat | 4/5 |

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