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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 | 1404 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars The debut of Pink Floyd is one of the most important albums of the 60s.

It is here where the space rock genre started. Hawkwind owe a lot to this album as do many other prog bands churning out from the 70s. I heard this many times on mono vinyl but to hear it on Cd remastered and stereo separated is another thing altogether. It simply caresses the ears from start to end with crystal clear clarity.

"Neptune Titan stars can frighten you, blinding signs flap flicker flicker flicker blam pow pow!" 'Astronomy Domine' sends chills down my spine as soon as that lead break locks in. It is Barrettt's finest moment, and the film clip demonstrates what a different beast Pink Floyd were all those years ago. The lyrics are absolutely perfect and are engrained in psychedelia as much as the swirling lights in the UFO Club. Syd's Astronomical Atlas helped with the lyrics. The cover version by Voi Vod is worth seeking out too for a heavier feel.

"That cat's something I can't explain." 'Lucifer Sam' has always been a favourite, perhaps one of Barrett's best compositions with the group. It grooves along with psychedelic flair, like a black cat stalking a mouse. The guitar work is excellent from Barrett. I couldn't get this dangblasted thing out of my head for hours. The song was based on Percy the Rat Catcher and I, Ching fragments of counter culture.

"across the sea in wooden shoes, bells to tell the king the news." 'Matilda Mother' is where I get a bit restless with it's dated approach and silly lyrics about a bedtime story read by mother. There is nothing of interest here so we move on.

"Lying on an eiderdown, yippee you can't see me but I can you." 'Flaming' kind of is appealing thanks to a memorable melody and some downright trippy effects. I love the instrumental which is a flower power delight. The lyrics are based on an LSDpsychedelic picnic where Syd played hide and seek with sister Rosemary. The LSD caused fingers to burn sparks like cigarettes.

"cch cch! cch cch! doi doi! doi doi!" After an absolutely uproarious intro with vocal intonations from out of the asylum, 'Pow R. Toc H' settles into a bluesy piano. It is as bad as it is pricelessly psyched out of its brain. Floyd were nothing short of experimenting with the drug culture music that prevailed during the turbulent late 60s. TocH was a signallers call for the Talbot House army club.

"Realise realise realise!" 'Take up thy stethoscope and walk' is quite a curio with some nice melodic phrases from Barrett and the riffs chug along satisfactorily. This one really feels like the 60s with manic keyboard motifs and scratchy guitars. The organ grinds along with freak out finesse, and it's a jam session for acid heads which works as a piece of nostalgia these days. It was a formulaic attempt to capture their on stage sound, penned by Waters.

"bleep bleep bleep" 'Interstellar Overdrive' is one of the most well known instrumentals for the band. It features a killer riff and incredible experimental kanoodling. Some of this sonic disorientation is downright unsettling and makes for a delightful background for an acid trip for the flower children of the 60s. Perhaps it represents a bad LSD trip as this is quite dark especially as it progresses into chilling psychedelia tones mid way through. It is meant to aurally evoke the confusion and dislocation of the drug rush. The high pitched repetitive note may portent the style of 'Echoes' intro, and most of this is improvised for atmosphere more than well played instrumentation. The music represents the submission to LSD, the period of exploration, and the slow descent into contemplation. It is really great to indulge in, and thankfully it is one out of the box and Pink Floyd rarely returned to this free improv style.

"Eating sleeping drinking their wine, he wore a scarlet tunic, a blue green hood, it looked quite good." 'The Gnome' is one of those childish fairy tales inside Barrett's deranged brain. It is okay if taken on its own merits with some cute lyrical rhymes. The man was a nutter and he loved to take himself into la la land by singing these playground ditties. The whispered section is quite effective. It is all inspred by Tolkien's "The Hobbit", Frodo's adventure.

"The movement is accomplished in six stages, the seven is the number of the young light." 'Chapter 24' is forgettable but returning to this for the review I discovered why. The lyrics are all about some chapter in some obscure transcendental I, Ching book. Chapter 24 of the book is titled Fu or change and success, and Syd was endeavouring to explain his increasing psychic upheaval experienced due to his fame and revelations through LSD. I like the melody and Barrett's voice is better on this one. Perhaps this is better than a lot of the other side 2 tracks.

"he stood in a field where barley grows, his head did no thinking his arms didn't move." 'The Scarecrow' features the story telling antics of Syd. This time he is onto another plane of existence singing about some weird scarecrow in the field who has the answer to Syd's sadness. In fact the scarecrow resigns to the fact that he cannot enjoy life, he will never be able to move and has to succumb to the mice churning up the ground beneath him. The nursery feel and click clack horse sounds are effective and Wright is marvellous on keyboards.

"you're the kind of girl that fits in with my world, I'll give you anything everything if you want things." 'Bike' is one of the better tracks and most Floydians know this well. It is well outside what Floyd would do in later years. You gotta love the whimsical lyrics that rhyme brilliantly about things special to Syd; the bike, gingerbread men, a cloak and a pet mouse, and a girl who he wants to fit into his rag tag world. I remember at half time at the Australian Pink Floyd Experience show speaking to some fans in the foyer about the concert, and we jokingly wanted the tribute band to play 'Bike'. It is simply a silly song with the most catchy little melody. It will sink into your brain but you will want it to get out.

The album ends with a creaking door, clocks chiming and a ludicrous quacking. What a debut from Barrett, Wright, Mason, and Waters! It is better than 'Saucerful of Secret-ions' but this one, you will still need to tread careful. It is Pink Floyd, but not as we know it. Overall this is still an entertaining romp and remains the essential late 60s psychedelic prop.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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