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Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn CD (album) cover

THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.90 | 1402 ratings

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octopus-4
Special Collaborator
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars I have been so lucky to discover The Piper BEFORE Dark Side and just after Ummagumma, so I wasn't really surprised of Syd Barrett's genius. But let's make a step back in the past: it's the summer of Love in the swinging London. Youth people takes acids and mandies and go to the UFO club to attend the light shows of this band coming from a school of architecture.

The legend says that Syd wrote Astronomy domine in 10 minutes, just looking at an astronomy book and composing sentences by spelling planets and satellites names. So the first thing that who has bought the album when it was released has heard was a bass note followed by telegraph "pings" and Syd's voice. The lirycs are full of adliterations: "Lime and limpid green the second scene the fight between the blue you once new" or "Oberon ther on the run". It's the only song from the debut to be played during the "Pulse" tour.

"Lucifer Sam" opens like a spy B-movie. Only the lyrics are acid enough. There's a psychedelic band whose name is "Jennifer Gentle". A name taken from this song. Probably he was meaning his girlfriend Jenny Spires. The effort of Rick Wright on the keyboard is great throughout all the album.

"Mathilda Mother" was the first commercial success, even if very distant from things like Dark Side, of course. This is a sort of fairytale showing one of the sides of Syd. He was fascinated by childish songs and books. His elaborations are everything but childish. Also on many songs of this album he shows his progressive sides by using voice, noises and microphones to add colourful sounds to each song.

"Flaming" is another song of this kind. I wrote in a review that Syd was "fishing dreams". I mean that his songs are full of images, likely helped by acid hallucinations, but he had the great ability to communicate them using few words, choosing words with the right sound and adapting the music accordingly. All the band makes a great work and flaming is a clear example.

"Pow.R.Toc.H (Power to catch?)" is a sort of counterpart. It's an instrumental full of sounds made by Syd's voice. It's also one of the few live images still existing of one of their live shows. It contains the first "chaotic" piece of the Floyd's history. Something that will be enhanced on Interstellar Overdrive and that the other bandmates will never forget. Saucerful of Secrets has exactly the same structure, only it's longer. The way the guitar and keyboard lead from the chaotic section back to the chaotic finale, are similar to what they did later on Echoes.

"Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" is if I'm not wrong, the first song entirely written by Waters. It's in line with Barrett's writing and has still no track of his talent as songwriter that will explode when he will stop to imitate Syd to follow his own way.

"Interstellar Overdrive" is an example of pure psychedelia. It starts with a rocky guitar riff but turns immediately into psychedelic. I think it has been an example for many bands of that time. It has a structure and it's evident when listening to live versions of this track. It's not a randomic sequence of sounds. It's a psychedelic symphony.

"The Gnome" is another excursion of Syd into the children's world. It's exactly what one can imagine it is.

"Chapter 24" is inspired to the "Ching". The movement accomplished in six stages is the hexagram. This is just the inspiration. The rest is very acid. I personally like the sentence "action brings good fortune" I think there's a bit of Truth in it.

Somebody thinks that "The Scarecrow" is a self-biographic song. "His head did no thinking, his arms didn't move" is how Syd was going to become. This is probably the act of birth of "Pink" as we saw him later in "The Wall". The song is relaxing and maybe childish. Wright's effort is very functional and this is one of my fav songs here.

"Bike" was surprisingly inserted into one of the late compilations. I don't think is very representative of early Floyds but it contains some symptoms of what was happening to Syd and is famous for the "room full of sounds" at the end which includes the "ducks".

It's the only album released in 1967 that I still listen with the same pleasure as when I had my first copy on a tape from a friend in 1972. It's the only Pink Floyd album featuring Syd Barrett, too. So it must have 5 stars. Every progger must have it.

octopus-4 | 5/5 |

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