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Pink Floyd - Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review  CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

2.46 | 18 ratings

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3 stars Critics discuss the "nothings" album

There are two kinds of music documentary DVDs. The first, like the Classic Albums series, feature the musicians themselves sitting at the soundboard dissecting the music, or at the least discussing their work through interview. The second, like these "critical review" documentaries do not feature the artists in newly shot material, but instead employ a veritable circus of magazine writers, authors, friends, groupies, musicians from other bands, dentists, rabbis? get the picture. Often times the results of this second variety can be brutal. So in that sense this "Meddle" review was better than I expected.

As usual, the program takes us on a brief journey from the artist's first album up through the album being discussed, Meddle. So we get a bit about Piper and Syd, Saucerful, Ummagumma, Zabriskie, and Atom Heart (More is mentioned but otherwise skipped.) Then the rest of the show is dedicated to a track-by-track analysis of Meddle, the album whose origin bits used to be called "nothings" by the group until they glued them together into the bloated Echoes. As mentioned there is no band involvement in the DVD other than quotations in words. Music and videos of the band are used however and this helps a lot. The analysis is provided by a core group of 3-4 writers who have deep Floyd knowledge, one being the author Mark Blake who penned the well received "The Inside Story of Pink Floyd." Then we have brief commentary by Hugh Hopper and a more substantial contribution by Yes' Peter Banks, who knew the band personally from their earliest days and discusses their music and demeanor. As far as the content goes, it is good but not mind blowing. As someone who has read everything written about Pink Floyd and knows even the minutia, there was little here that was new for me. But for someone who wants to learn without reading books, there is a good wealth of information and opinion.

And! Here's the big prize that makes the DVD a treasure to me. We get to hear first hand the thoughts of the wonderful Norman Smith, the producer who worked with the early Floyd. Unfortunately time is short and Norman is not the quickest speaker, so the content is minimal but it is still a thrill for me. I consider Smith a 5th member of the band during one of their three greatest works, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn." He has a fun story about Syd and the Salvation Army band on "Jugband Blues" that will make you smile. I so wish his autobiography would see release but it is hung up at this date. Be sure to watch the short Barrett bonus documentary in the Extras section of the disc.

As far as Meddle itself goes, I'll never in my life understand how Floyd fans revere the album as they do, an album I see as easily bested by most of their other studio works (except for the soundtracks and the post-Waters nonsense). It's alright, but predictably the critics on this disc gush about what an improvement Echoes is over Atom Heart Mother and I have trouble holding my tongue. AHM is endlessly fascinating, while Echoes is a somewhat tedious exercise with a few nice moments. Nonetheless, I would recommend this DVD to any Floyd fan or Floyd noob wanting a nice overview of the Meddle period. Certainly not essential, but fun stuff.

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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