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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover

UMMAGUMMA

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.47 | 1124 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Sleepwalker
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Ummagumma is a very experimental album. One of the two discs contains four live songs and the other one is a studio recording. I'm going to start with the studio disc.

The studio disc is made out of solo contributions from the band members, because the band at that moment was lacking inspiration. The contributions all are very experimental, definitely one of Roger Waters' contribution is very experimental.

First up is Richard Wright's contribution to the album it's "Sysyphus". The song lasts about thirteen minutes and is divided into four parts, the first one lasting only one minute. This part, however, is very powerful. The second part lasts three and a half minutes, it's a jazzy jam, probably the best part of the song. The second part changes from jazzy piano to very experimental, after a while it segues into the even more experimental part three. Part three is pretty short and contains slide guitar on the background and experimental keys as lead instrument. Part three is soon joined by percussion and has a somewhat abrubt ending. Part four is the longest part of Sysyphus, it lasts seven minutes. Part four starts out very mellow and pretty, after a coouple minutes it segues into the much more experimental reprise of part one. Overall Sysyphus is a pretty good song, maybe a bit lengthy but hey, it's prog.

Next up are Roger waters' contributions. The first of them is "Grantchester Meadows", a very quiet folky song. The song is guided by acoustic guitar, which is played by Roger Waters. On the background constantly birds are heard, they prevent the song getting too quiet. In the end a fly is heard, and eventually the fly gets squashed. Grantchester Meadows is a very mellow song, lovely.

Roger's second contribution is "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict". It is definately the most experimental song of the album, All it contains is Roger's voice, sometimes sped up and during the entire song Roger's whistling is heard. The song is very funny, but not neccecary good. I prefer most of the other songs on this album.

Next up is "The Narrow Way", David Gilmour's contribution. Just as Sysyphus, this one is splt up into three parts. Part one has some lovely acoustic guitar playing, with powerful, psychedelic sounding slide guitar on the background. When the first part reaches it's end the slide guitar and synths start taking much more lead. It segues into part two, which is based around a very dark riff. Just as in part one on the background slide guitar is heard. Eventally the riff fades and the song becomes a trippy, experimental jam. Part three is the longest of the parts, it lasts six minutes and is the only one that contains vocals. The vocals are pretty dark in the verses, though the chorus is very mellow. As the song progresses more and more instruments will be heard. The Narrow way in my opinion is the best contribution to the Ummagumma studio disc.

The final contribution is Nick Mason's "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party". This song also is divided into three parts. Part one only lasting one minute, it contains a gentle flute and eventally some snare drums. It segues into part two, which starts out with some tom's. The song is very psychedelic, definitely in the middle, smooth synth plays the lead role in this song. The part ends with funky drumming and part three is another short part with gentle flute. Nick's contribution is not too exciting I think.

The other disc of the Ummagumma album is the live disc, which is a great disc I think. The live disc starts out with "Astronomy Domine", of Pink Floyd's first album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. Originally sung by Syd Barett, but David Gilmour does it just as good. The solo which the studio version has is replaced by a lengthy jam, characterized by David's powerful guitar with wah-effect and Rick's keyboards. The song lasts more than eight minutes, which is two times the length of the studio version, an amazing performance of a great song.

The second song is "Careful With That Axe, Eugene". The song starts with a simple bassline and is soon joined by Rick Wright's organ. I've got to say the sound of the organ is incredible, it is not too loud, but you definitely hear it. Rick plays a sort of Egyptian sounding music. This goes on for about three minutes, till the tension gets higher. Roger's powerful scream is heard and is joined by David's distorted guitar. The high scream of Roger is heard later in their carrier in the very beginning of Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2, from their album The Wall. After the powerful middle part the distorted guitar solo goes on for several minutes and slowly the song gets more quiet again, until it sounds just as in the beginning, guided by the beautiful organ. Careful With That Axe, Eugene is a true masterpiece, one of their most psychedelic songs.

The next track is "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun", one of Pink Floyd's most mysterious songs. The song is lead by a powerful riff and powerful drums. Roger Waters softly sings and the song raises it's tension. The song speeds up and is joined by Rick's organ, which sounds a lot like the organ used in Careful With That Axe, Eugene. After a bit more than four minutes the loeder part stops and the song turns into a mellow jam, with very high slide guitar and smooth organ. Soon the riff and drums join and the song goes back to basics again, the organ is slightly different at this part, it sounds a bit like a trumpet. The song ends with Roger singing again. I think Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Song is the least good out of the four live songs, it still is a nice one, of course.

"Saucerful Of Secrets", the title track from their second album is also played live. Just as in the previous song, the song starts out with a quite simple bassline and Egyptian sounding organ. After a little while cymbals and slide guitar can be heard. The first part of the song, which lasts until three and a half minute is called "Something Else". The second part, "Syncopated Pandemonium" is characterized by the drums, the cymbals and the lots of spacey slide guitars, it's the most bombastic part of the song. In the studio version the third part "Storm Signal" shall be heard, but in this live version it's skipped. We head on straight to "Celestial Voices", which I find the most beautiful part of the song, it is lead by soft drums and organs. Celestial Voices gets louder after several minutes and eventually David Gilmour can be heard singing, no lyrics are used although. A Saucerful Of Secrets is a very mystical, epic song, really worth listening, it's great.

So, this was my review of Ummagumma, The live disc is fantastic, it's really worth five stars. The studio disc, however, is less good, sometimes even pretty weak and is definitely not worth five stars. In the end I think this album is really worth buying, because of the fantastic live disc, the studio disc also has some good and funny songs.

The Sleepwalker | 4/5 |

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