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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover

UMMAGUMMA

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.47 | 1154 ratings

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kristo68
5 stars Firstly let me say that I was exposed to this album as a very young child and fell for it straight away. In fact, it forms, along with The Beatles and The Moody Blues, part of my first exposure to music and as such my attachment to it makes it hard to broach criticism of the record, which I consider to be damn near perfect and fulfills all the criteria I have for great music. The live record contains what I consider to be superior versions of all four tracks, previously available elsewhere - "Saucerful of Secrets" in particular simply "breathes" whereas the earlier studio version sounded a bit stilted and studied. The band sounds loosed from their bonds on each track and each note is played with both an icy precision and an intensity of feeling that makes them, to my ears at least, totally compelling. But it's the studio album that appeals to me most. Generally dismissed in this cynical age as pretentious hippy BS this listener has doted on every track of sides 3 and 4 ever since his first encounter with the record. "Sisyphus" is an utterly evocative tone poem from a seriously talented guy who knows his Messiaen as well as his Mendelssohn. "Grantchester Meadows" invents ambient music years before Professor Eno gave it a label and "Several Species" is a hoot. What's wrong with muso's having a sense of humour?! No-one has the guts to do this stuff now and more's the pity. "The Narrow Way" is beautifully creepy, especially Part Two which gives me the heebie-geebies even now when I play it on guitar. Mason's effort, "The Grand Vizier..." suffers from being a drummer's track but at least it isn't "Toad" - if you know what I mean - and the "Entrance" and "Exit" theme is genuinely pretty. The Floyd themselves may dismiss it and so do loads of other music critics - I once bought a DVD doco of the album which slagged it mercilessly from beginning to end - but I love it simply because it has no barriers, no punk-era limitations on what can or can't be done on a rock record. It's not pretentious because they're not trying to be something they're not. It's not merely "a product of it's time" because it is so utterly unlike anything else of it's time - Remember, by 1969 Dylan had gone country, the Beatles had gone back to basics after the baroque psychedelia of Pepper and their own era of experimentation ( eg Strawberry Fields / Walrus / Revolution # 9 ) and The Stones had gone full circle and become the world's greatest country-blues bar band. It's not a drug album cos I doubt any of the members of the Floyd were dabbling in acid after Syd's "demise". But post 1977 ( Rock's Year Zero, the Stalinist yardstick by which all popular music is judged. "Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust"? I don't think so, Jim. ) "Ummagumma" gets consigned to the gulag with all the other albums which don't conform to the formula. No skinny ties. No dirge-like songs in minor keys vaguely nihilistic lyrics. No adolescent peacock strut. No angst. Just music, made by people not too intimidated not only to step outside the square but blur its vertices. It's music that doesn't have barriers. And that's what I think is so good about it.

kristo68 | 5/5 |

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