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


Pink Floyd

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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4 stars Amazing debut album. Simple, but weird and catchy pyschedelic short songs and some long early "progressive" hymns blended by the genius of Syd Barrett and the guys. Not much rock bands have the proud of start a career with a Masterpiece.

Report this review (#8090)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
5 stars With the possible exception of Court of the Crimson King, the best debut album by any group in ANY genre. Maybe it was the acid, maybe its was the genius of Syd Barrett (and/or Roger Waters), maybe it was London in 1967. Whatever. Although comparatively "immature" next to their later work, Piper stands as a towering achievement in prog-rock, and remains among a handful of standard-bearers in the genre.
Report this review (#8091)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Unlike anything else really, Piper is arguably the most psychedelic album of the era, Barret's writing is pure acid inspiration, and his guitar playing pretty advanced for '67. The songs seem almost popish in a way, but pop songs administered generous doses os LSD themselves, and gone awry. 'Overdrive' is the most 'Floydian' piece on the album, the only one bearing much of a resemblance to subsequent Pink Floyd. Barret's was a unique genius, or perhaps he just managed to capture the psychedelic experience very well in song, his own subsequent work sounds like, and is, the work of a damaged soul.
Report this review (#8093)
Posted Sunday, January 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Totally unrepresentative of the real Floyd

Many Floyd detractors are usually giving the good nod only to this album, because they are fans of Syd Barrett's silly ditties and discard the rest of the group as mere support cast. This is of course immensely unfair, because the other three members, while no virtuosos, where definitely the musical backbone of the group, as cold be then seen or heard in concert way back then. Indeed, their live appearances were about lengthy and improvised tracks that featured way more than Barrett's twee songwriting, no matter how popular it was on the radio airwaves.

To be quite honest, Barrett's so-called genius is not quite as evident as some would have you to believe on this Gates Of Dawn album, as there are no songs that equal the potential of their previous two singles "Emily" and "Arnold". There are indeed a bunch of short songs that were about weird British/English weirdness, but it's nothing that The Beatles had done a few months before with Sgt? Pepper or Magical Mystery Tour and the Fab Four did that much better. Sooooo those thinking these short tracks are pure genius are forgetting this album post-dates Sgt Pepper by three months (June and Sept 67) and you can find the same kind of madness in albums that came out that same fall, namely Procol Harum's debut (Mabel, Garden Fence etc..), Traffic's Mr Fantasy (the non-album singles like Paper Sun & Hole In My Shoe and Berkshire Poppies, Coloured Rain ) and The Nice's Thoughts Of Emerlist (Flower King, Bonnie K, Maggie), although the latter two came out in December that same year, so Floyd might have been influential on these.

Where Floyd does the difference is in the more obscure and longer tracks, thus giving us another facet of their crafts, the live one. While the album-opening Astronomy Domine might appear as another poppish track, the three other musicians do marvels and it's little wonder it will be the only track that will survive in concert past Barrett's replacement and all the way until the release of Ummagumma. Another track is the gigantic Interstellar Overdrive, le lengthy track that sets the tone to Space Rock. Another weirdie is Pow R Toc H, where the whole group plays abstract and often dissonant music, thus showing enough depth to grab the serious music punters' attention. Roger Waters' sole penned track is a relatively instrumental, since there is only one verse (not that good), the rest featuring them playing and soloing.

Sooo discarding the other three acolytes to magnify the ephemeral genius of Barrett is unjust. In this album, the producer clearly chose to go with the Barrett facet, and as such, it was a good commercial choice. I would not hate to see this album reissued with the Emily and Arnold and their B-sides as added bonus! They'd blend in well with the album's madness and would therefore make Syd's Floyd-contribution complete in one disc. Hard to say this album is not essential (historically, anyway), but at least I can say that it's only moderately good.

Report this review (#8097)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The reviews below say it all, one of the standard bearers for sure. However, and this is in no way to diminish the importance of this great album, but the Soft Machine's first album is, to my mind, right up there with Piper and Court as one of the greatest debut albums ever in pushing the boundaries of sound and history.
Report this review (#8098)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The ting that many of the reviewers may have missed is that this album was made before the collapse of Syd and although the lyrics, songs and structures scream acid (especially on the track Bike) most was written by a creative genius inspired by the fantasy works of C.S. Lewis and Lewis Carroll. The idea is organized madness, where you allow your mind free territory to roam and only cling to pieces of the rules to keep things from going off the edge. Thus the words are weird, the sounds are unique and song structures are 'loose' but hings always come back to focus in the end. The powerful riff that dominates Interstellar Overdrive is completely lost as the band plays relatively atonely for minutes but then it comes back to seal the deal. While drug experimentation may have inspired this work or 'allowed' Syd and the boys to have the balls to release it it is not the core of the record. The core is the melding of the strict pulsing beats that the band enjoyed and played best with the inspired singer-songwriter who does not aim to be better than his contemporaries but just different and new. Syd was just a folk singer like Dylan that did not just decide that electric could increase his impact but that the range of forms available to rock was limitless. One note that no one mentioned is that when this record was being recorded Sgt. Peppers was being recorded down the wall. I am willing to bet that the best album of all time is as good as it is because of the Floyd being down the hall and doing stuff no one had ever done before. The production influence for the Beatles may have been Pet Sounds but the freedom to write what ever came to mind (songs about the circus or your Julian's crappy picture on the fridge) and to use whatever sound you could imagine came from the Floyd banging it out down the hall.
Report this review (#8105)
Posted Sunday, February 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first record ever from a prog band, but not a very prog sound at all, a mix of sixties music with the avant-garde movement of those years. Go, find it, buy it, hear it and fall into the mesmerising sounds of pink floyd and the naive space era.
Report this review (#8118)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars This albulm sounds like garbage. I don't care how innovative it was, it sounds terrible now. The songs don't have any of the meaning that later PF has. All of the songs here are trivial nonsense. Barret was not a genius. This albulm is *AWFUL*. It is not only one of the worst PF albulm's I've heard, it's one of the worst albulms I've ever heard. The songs on this albulm lack coherence. The noise (I mean music) is irritating. The whole albulm is goofy.
Report this review (#8106)
Posted Thursday, April 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Lysergic...that's what I think About Listening to this album. It ain't prog but psychedelia. The band is led by Syd Barret who create a sound and a feeling bringing the audience in a new space. Listen to it's absolutely great. It's a rare example of real english pychedelia. The sound smash you but it's even a kind of fog that blinds your must listen to it!!
Report this review (#8108)
Posted Friday, April 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars and it all began here... with syd barrett. although this album may seem crazy, immature and generally an outcast to the rest of their albums, it actually paved the way to lead into albums like meddle and dark side by introducing us to a new kind of sound. intense psychadelia which gradually lead into a more serious and progressive psychadelia, album by album.

This album will make you laugh, pine for syd, appreciate gnomes, scarecrows and the 60's psychadelic drug scene. i dont think anyone can find a trippier album than this (except maybe ummagumma). although the lyrics are a more random and childish, the guitar work and power of the floyds music is still clearly present. the vast expiriments with sound and instruements never fail to please and there is even a taste of progressive rock with the lengthy interstellar overdrive.

a masterpiece. and if there is anyone who sees this as a poor album compared to the rest then dont look at it as a pink floyd album. just listen to the album with a free mind and you will gradually be marvelled and mentally scarred by this amazing album. piper gives you pink floyd at their best plus the amazing thought that things continue to be as amazing or even better from then on.

Report this review (#8109)
Posted Tuesday, May 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars When I bought this album I was already a "Dark Side of the Moon" fan, and to be honest "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" sounded me as an heresy. Why were my idols playing that exuberant and lysergic music? But the answer was simple Syd Barrett. With the pass of time I learned to love this album and today is one of my favorites, even if has almost nothing in common with the progressive Pink Floyd.

"Piper at the Gates of Dawn" is a semi conceptual album inspired in Syd Barrett's favorite children's book "The Wind and the Willows" and because of that is somehow naïve and innocent, but it's also an ode to madness, sometimes confusing and sometimes totally lack of coherence, but that insanity is the key of it's beauty and transcendence.

The album starts with "Astronomy Domine", a typical psychedelic song of the late 60's with a pop edge and guitar based sound plus simple but effective drums. Even when Floyd didn't even dreamed with DSOTM we can listen some spacey sections, as an Avant premiere of the sound they will develop years after.

"Lucifer Sam" is a song where Roger Waters demonstrates what his capable of with his powerful bass, reminds by moments to the Batman Theme (remember the 60´s series?), a good song but nothing special, except maybe for the complex mixture of instruments in the middle section of the track and the overplayed keyboards that sound like Farfisa Organ.

"Matilda Mother" reminds of Sergeant Pepper's and it must have been a classic when the album was released, but today sounds outdated, even when it's a very complex track with multiple changes and elaborated vocals. You can almost feel the effects of the LSD when you listen this song.

"Pow R Toc H" can be described in two words pure acid, the song is plagued with sounds and shouts, almost always out of tune, that would be totally out of reality if it wasn't for the extraordinary piano sections by Wright that brings as back to earth.

"Take thy Stethoscope and Walk" is without doubt one of the worst song of the album, incredibly was composed by Roger Waters and is a typical 60's song but lacks of imagination and coherence. The next track "Interstellar Overdrive" is one of the first clear attempts of space rock, still confusing and chaotic but very interesting, the band offers something innovative.

"The Gnome", "Chapter 24" and "The Scarecrow" are three weak Barrett songs, again the band offers nothing different to what second-class bands done before, pretty forgettable except for the historical value of being composed by Syd Barrett.

The album ends with the childish and naïve "Bike", don't know why but I find this song very interesting and well done, as a curiosity, in the middle section there's a moment silence and a explosion of clock like sounds that for an instant transports the listener to Dark Side of the Moon.

"Piper at the Gates of Dawn" explores two aspects of psychedelic music, the exploration of a world that goes further than the senses and at the same time an absolute demonstration of mental insanity, which explains Syd Barrett's future breakdown. Not progressive by any mean but an absolute masterpiece of British Psychedelia that can't be easily understood by those of us who didn't lived the excesses of the late 60's.

An essential piece of music, basic to understand the history of one of the most incredible and innovative bands of Progressive Rock.

Report this review (#8111)
Posted Friday, May 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Amazing how simply writing about this album causes such a lysergic response in most people that they forget how to spell or form complete sentences. I'll try to buck that trend, as well as provide a moderate view.

"The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" (and the singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play") occupies a similar place in musical history and the specific band's discography as the first GRATEFUL DEAD releases. Both serve as time capsules for the 'sound of the psychedelic 60s', representing the two cultural centers of the time: Swinging London and Haight-Ashbury. Being such a specific point in time, both were fated to sound dated within a few years, and yet are still drawn on for inspiration by diverse musicians to this day. Neither example represents the bands' trademark sounds, as both bands changed considerably after the loss of a key founding member (Barrett and Pigpen). Both bands managed to earn their eventual acclaim not by deliberately courting chart success, but with a dedication to touring and providing the concert-goer with a unique and 'mind-blowing' experience. "Piper at the Gates of Dawn", as well as the GRATEFUL DEAD's eponymous first album, has a number of solid songs that are nonetheless relatively forgettable, or would have been had they come from other bands with less follow-up. Some are lovably naiive and playful ("Bike", "Lucifer Sam"), and resemble Barrett's later solo work more than PF's later development- which is shadowed in the proto-prog "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive".

Personally, I think that while this is an important and eerily fun album, it is not really in the progressive rock genre; it's mainly going to appeal to the FLOYD completist or lovers of the psychedelic era. If you can manage to forget or ignore the later PINK FLOYD legacy, this piece of acid rock history becomes much more enjoyable.

Report this review (#8119)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars First of all I think you have to imagine the sixties and music at that time to fully appreciate what was going on. Its like going to a rollercoaster now a days...its fast, furious and a lot of fun.....thus even better than many years before!! But hey.... guys and gals who were there then, when it all began ( does this sound a bit biased??)you have to realise when we heard Floyd ,there was NOTHING...and i do mean NOTHING that sounded like them!!!Therefore Floyd and indeed this their first album stands as a wonderful example of music...that were not heard before!!! And i do really believe that this Floyd outing are great...both imaginary and compare them with grateful dead might be a slight overdrive (i always thought that The Dead were boring) where as Floyd were thinking..innovating!!! Simple song writing and instrumenting...well that may be.....still rock history and time showed different. Come on now......from typewriter to computer.....everything splendid in its time!! I personally think that this item is a cornerstone in progmusic!!! "Astronomy domine" and "Instellar overdrive" are but a few classic examples from these spacerock/prog godfathers!!! This is the start of prog!!! YOU have to own this GEM !!! Have a nice prog summer !!!
Report this review (#8120)
Posted Tuesday, June 8, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is my second favorite Pink Floyd album (Animals being my favorite) and it never seems to bore me. Syd Barrett was a genious at writing lyrics and music. a lot of people tend to dismiss this album because it sounds nothing like Darkside Of The Moon or anything the band did in the 70s. so if you are about to listen to this album for the first time, do not expect anything like the band did after 1973 but expect a whole different band altogether.
Report this review (#8121)
Posted Thursday, June 10, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, this is one of my favourite albums of all time, probably ranking into the top 5. Many people would pick up this record, listen to the first track and then toss it aside, dubbing it completely weird garbage-- you have to grasp what this album is about first. This is the output of someone teetering on the edge of drug induced insanity-- the premise, backed up with some completely excellent songs makes it brilliant alone. Each song is a whimsical venturing into the disturbed mind of Pink Floyd creator Syd Barrett, each one sounding like eerie nursery rhymes wrote while Mother Goose was tripping on acid. And thats what makes this album so superb. Pink Floyd's definite best-- you will never ever hear anything like this record ever again. Relish the moment.
Report this review (#8122)
Posted Friday, June 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is the ultimate, quintessentially English celebration of the innocence of middle class childhood spent in Edwardian houses, musical boxes, the fens, Victorian dolls, playing on summer lawns at midnight. Not all albums can be reduced to music alone. My son knows all the word to The Gnome and The Scarecrow as I used to sing these songs to him as lullabies.....
Report this review (#8123)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is Godhead. This album is Genius. This album is Pop Art! This album is like no other. It was the first and will be the final word on UK psych. From the opening rumble of "Astronony Domine" to the psychotic ending of "Bike", this ride is one hell of a technicolor rampage. It is second to none for the era from which it came and for which it captures. Syd was a genius, he was also slightly insane, but his tenure with this combo was their brightest time without question. The singles that came before, Arnold Layne & See Emily Play, well...See Emily Play is one of thee greatest singles of all time. That single alone, all 3 minutes of it, is the definitive pop/psych/prog record ever. It's crammed full of everything and it's still a pop song! Bravo to that! "Interstellar Overdrive" is a unique tour de force,'s the demeneted 3 minute gems these guys came up with that still shine on. That, my friends, is the real acheivement...putting all you can into small space...not half hour space jams or songs about the war and someone's dad and so on. This is a concept album with no concept, and really...ain't that the best kind.
Report this review (#8124)
Posted Wednesday, June 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars When i first listened this album, i felt it was very rustic, then i thought it was different, then i realise it is an art masterpiece. This one and animals are my favourites, all the songs inside the piper are different from each other and here´s a simple way to describe them : track 1- feeling into the space, 2- horror movie, 3- fairy tales, 4-fairy tales, 5- bizarre, 6- agressive, 7- madhouse in the space, 8-fairy tales, 9-mystic, 10-feeling in the countryside, 11-creative.
Report this review (#8125)
Posted Saturday, July 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars One cannot deny the wizardry of Syd Barrett on Piper...Sure the album was pscho pop at times but as one of the previous reviewers so aptly puts it, you needed to be around at the time to truly appreciate this genre of music and the datestamp it relates to. Personally I prefer the spacier tracks like ' Astronomy Domine' and ' Interstellar Overdrive' and preferred the direction the band took after barrett's departure but ' Bike' you just can't help loving it and admiring Barrett's eccentricities not to mention acid infused creative flashes.
Report this review (#8127)
Posted Thursday, September 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I would consider this a masterpiece, because it gives us a glance at Pink Floyd in the starting stages uder lead guitarist Syd Barrett. Without Syd Barrett there would be no Shine on you crazy diamond. Also it allows listerners to see the progression of Pink Floyd when carfully reviewed with the otheralbums. Plus it is a great album in its own rights.
Report this review (#8129)
Posted Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars The debut album with Syd Barret at the helm is a nice album, but I'm very much missing their debut singles, Arnold Layne and See Emily Play for they are IMO their best work ever. The album has a very much estranging effect. Franticly the themes are worked out, sometimes with a slow pace, somethimes with great pace. It's kind of funny, starting this review I considered it to be a 2 star album, but while listening to it I changed my opinion to a 4 star album. This may seem like a big leap, and it is, but it goes to show this music is not easily accesible, therefor the best way to know and understand this music is by listening to it yourself. So do yourself a favour and go to a record store or visit a friend who has the album and listen to it a couple of times. It's not brilliant and even has several flaws but when you get used to that, it's a worthwhile experience The best songs are "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive". But the rest is very much interresting,with some humour and great musicianship (no exuberant solo's). Not the best introduction to the band, but for the people who like music to be challenging and somewhat estranging it's nice to listen and try i
Report this review (#8130)
Posted Monday, November 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have refrained from reviewing this album since I knew the band the first time when they released "The Dark Side of The Moon" during my teenage. Hooked to the band with DSoTM I explored other albums the band had released previously. With the fact that I lived in small town in East Java, Indonesia, it was not that easy to get the other album of the band. Until I got it later in 1977 when I was on tour (with friends of mine who loved 70s music at that time) to Bali Island, Indonesia. I was dissatisfied with this debut album at first listening and I did not play it for a long time. To me, what was the difference between this album and the Beatles?

Couple months ago I purchased a book "SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS - The Pink Floyd Odyssey" by Nicholas Schaffner. I did not really read the book seriously and it was in fact interrupted by reading Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code". Under the pressure of the editor of local newspaper who asked me to review the SAUCERFUL book, I finally complete the reading of SAUCERFUL last week. What a great book really! Oh man . the book has helped me a lot in understanding the band as a whole starting from its embryo stage until the break up with Roger Waters. I am really touched with many passages written in the book about the band.

Specific to "Piper", the book has helped me "reposition" (ahem . it seems like I'm a marketing / strategy guru like Kotler or Porter??? No .. no . I'm just a prog listener ..) my view about this album. It helps me putting things into perspective. You will listen to this album at its center like enjoying the Beatles. BUT . hold your thoughts for a second . get your CD of PF other albums, any album. And then try listen to it carefully. Don't stop listening to it until you find the passage or "nuance" that is very specific and reminiscent of the soul of "The Piper" album!

Yes, the Piper has inspired later albums of Pink Floyd. The band members admitted it clearly. That's why on the "Wish You Were Here" album the band made a tribute to Syd Barret, the founder and song writer (early stage) of Pink Floyd. The song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" was created as tribute to Syd. "Remember when you were young / you shone like the sun .". As one review about this album, you will appreciate The Piper when you were around at that time. So, absolutely we cannot compare this album with current digital era albums.

I'm not gonna review this album track by track as it is a classic album. It suffices to say that this is a MASTERPIECE as it laid a solid foundation for next generation of prog music. The Piper has inspired not only later Pink Floyd but also many new bands like Porcupine Tree, Ozric Tentacles, RPWL, Riverside and countless many more .. Any of you who are new to prog world or who think that this album deserve less than four stars MUST read the book written nicely by Nicholas Schaffner (die hard fan of Pink Floyd). GW, Indonesia.


SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS - The Pink Floyd Odyssey, Nicholas Shaffner, Delta Book, 1991. (One of touching stories was when Dave Gilmour frequently visited Syd Barret as a mentor after couple years Syd was not with the band. A lot of humanity aspects I have learned from the book.). Oops . by the way .. I have no financial interest at all with the publisher of the book. I just want to share how great the book is, full stop!

Report this review (#8132)
Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars pink floyd's debut album. pretty good album in my eyes. great tracks are astronomy domine, lucifer sam, flaming, interstellar overdrive and bike. if your a floyd fan you should definitely pick up this album. if your not a big floyd fan it may not be such a good idea to pick this album, even though the aformentioned songs are indeed very good. most of the songs sound thrown together (the scarecrow, pow r toc h, take up thy stethescope and walk). dont forget how stereo was just being released at the time of this album's release. the end of interstellar overdrive is very annoying as the speakers fade back and forth so fast that its hard to even make out the sound of the guitar. lots of editing is audibly evident, mostly in matilda mother. for these flaws i am unable to give this album a higher rating than the one chosen
Report this review (#8133)
Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars This is a rather tough one to rate, and I'm afraid I'm going to take a lot of flack for it...on one hand, there are definite signs of potential, and on the other, there are also some very obvious problems with Piper. This is not a work of genius. I'm sorry, but drugs and genius really should not be in the same sentence. Drugs do not create genius--they hamper whatever genius might in fact be there. Whimsical, yes, but genius--I'm afraid there's a definite lack of maturity here. Who knows, maybe SYD BARRETT's songwriting would have matured with adulthood, if he had been able to continue functioning well as a musician, but the fact is that this and his solo works are all we have to judge by. And let's get this straight right now--I have all respect for the man and what he has been through. However, I still reserve my right to exercise my own judgment and my own tastes on the work, even if that may prove irritating to some.

The first problem I have is that some of the songs on here are...well...too pop- oriented. I think, if I remember correctly, that at that time, PINK FLOYD was aiming to follow up their hit singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play", and while this may well have been a necessary career move at that time, I still find the songs a little underdeveloped and too childlike (think of "The Gnome"). Which is no surprise given that they're aimed at the same audience that ate up the "utterly puerile" Please Please Me by the Beatles (that excellent Beatles comment coming from RICK WRIGHT). Furthermore, one conclusion I definitely came to is that, while he is not a bad vocalist, SYD BARRETT definitely needs RICK WRIGHT's backing vocals and (sometimes) lead vocals to help soften his voice, and also provide a needed contrast. The best song with vocals on the album, "Matilda Mother", is perhaps the prime example of this balance, featuring both vocal talents just about equally. "Astronomy Domine" is quite good, but not so energetic as later renditions such as the ones on Ummagumma or even PULSE. One song that BARRETT sings well on his own, though, is "Lucifer Sam".

Still, this album definitely does show the future promise of PINK FLOYD. While we have to remember that the FLOYD members were quite young at the time (the band's "middle child", RICHARD WRIGHT, would have only just turned 22 at Piper's release) and therefore all of their styles will seem rough, you can particularly see that RICK WRIGHT and NICK MASON are laying the groundwork for their future work, particularly in the instrumentals "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Pow R. Toc H." (minus the strange noises!). ROGER WATERS still has a ways to go, though--his songwriting is fragmented at best, as evidenced on "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk".

While I don't think this is a bad album, it just doesn't get the kind of time in my CD player that its big brother A Saucerful of Secrets or even the compilation Relics gets. Both of those albums, I think, are better representations of PINK FLOYD at this time period, and may appeal more to those who are not exclusively fans of the SYD BARRETT era. Piper may be OK, but I think that claims of genius are highly exaggerated. Had BARRETT had more time to write music unimpaired, his future works could have possibly been...but this one doesn't come up to that bar, and I suggest only getting this one after having completed most of the rest of your collection.

Report this review (#8134)
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars With their first album, PINK FLOYD presented the world with the first great psychedelic rock album of all time. It's worth to say they were not the first with this new music experimentation, but they soon after would be the reference band. In that time, there was clearly separation from Britain's rock, which was seen as social phenomena and sold to masses; and American rock, more acid and still in an underground market. In fact, in Britain (and all over the world), the commercial wave of Beatlemania was on the top. When Pink Floyd arrived with their debut album, they offered an alternative music, which was some sort of approximation with American rock. They did not manage to escape some poppy Beatles inspiration, particularly in the vocals and melodies.

Beware that, this is a very experimental work, with spacey songs like Astronomy Domine and the suite Interstellar Overdrive (this one the most experimental of the album), the danceable poppy funny policial Lucifer Sam, the splendorous guitar and keyboard psycho arrangements of Take Up The Stethoscope and Walk with its blues bass rhythm, the somewhat middle- aged epical Scarecrow and the delusional Bike.

This is an essential progressive rock album, as it is the debut of one of the most important and first generation bands of the progressive scene (that opened the gate to several bands), but also because it is the first album exploring at the limit the psychedelic movement and the first with spacey tracks (what kind of complete collection does not have the historic origins?).

My rate: 8,5/10

Report this review (#8136)
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
2 stars after acquiring 7 pink floyd albums and listening to them and studying the bands history, i decided to get this album. Well i was indeed expecting something different after reading up on syd barret, but this was a few steps further into madness than i bargained for.

The first 2 songs sound sortve in this universe, then the rest goes somewhere id rather not.. really really weird. some of you complain this album is too poppy? i think the only thing on the album sounding moderately accessible at all is lucifer sam! As for anything sounding at all like that of later floyd works, id say astonomy dominae is ever so slightly similar to those. to me this is a display of syds insanity.. and i almost feel sorry for the guy hadn't it been for the fact he kept taking that stuff. it certainly isn't the type of music you'd relax to.

I didn't really like what was going on between all the instruments all that much either. when syd seemed to try and take a solo it would sound too atonal and fluttering to be any good. his rythym guitar on the other hand sounded actually decent at times. i think rick wright was the only guy here trying to keep it together a little and even he wasnt that good.. waters sounded decent on bass but hes had better albums for that. nick mason sounded good but i dont know too much about that, im not that great of a drummer.

well thats all i can really say, this album isnt really for me. i think it just has collective value in my case but obviously their are alot of people who like it so you dont have to take me seriously. i think the best pink floyd album is probably obscured by clouds.

Report this review (#8137)
Posted Sunday, January 2, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars An interesting record. Possibly the most purely psychedelic album ever, as it would be expected in an album which came out that year. Most songs here were written by Barrett, who puts in some "childish" songs that are still entertaining. My favourite is "Interestellar Overdrive", which features a great riff and then goes on for 9 minutes, but some people might hate it. "Astronomy Domine" is also pretty good, and "Lucifer Sam" has an interesting riff. I also like "Matilda Mother". The rest of the album is fine, but some songs, such as "Bike", are not great.
Report this review (#8138)
Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The beginning of Pink Floyd life is great and amazing. i dont like waters song but the rest are quite good. Astronomy domine is so good, Pink Floyd never made a song like this one. Matilda Mother sounds really like the beatles and i love it, because the melody makes to the end different than in usual pop songs. The story about the cat on Lucifer sam is also very psychedelic. Intelestar Overdrives is a bit strange in the middle and ithink it could be better if it was smaller. Bike is strange but is an unusual end to an album that made it original Great"
Report this review (#8139)
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars OVERRATED!!!!! - This album is VERY overrated, but the first side is very good! The other side is Just crap (except Interstellar Overdrive). If you are new to Pink Floyd: DON'T START HERE!!! Start with "Dark Side of The Moon" or "Wish You Were Here" instead! Stay away unless you are a fan!
Report this review (#8143)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
4 stars The Syd Barrett-era ('67-'70) was musically totally differrent from the mid-FLOYD-era ('73- '79) and in my opinion it's unfair to compare these two PINK FLOYD line-ups. Syd Barrett was a very gifted song writter, many put him on the level of the legendary Ray Davies and John Lennon. Unfortunately Syd became a victim of schizophrenia and acid-abuse. He lost contact with the reality and was thrown out of the band by his very good friend Roger Waters, despite his hugh role. The debut-album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is a pivotal blend of rock, pop and psychedelia. The first track "Astronomy Domine" still sounds very powerful and compelling featuring a menacing climate, fiery electric guitar and Syd's unique vocal contribution. Another great song is "Interstellar Overdrive" with its hypnotizing atmosphere and propulsive guitarplay. The early PINK FLOYD was not only Syd Barrett, if you listen to "Scarecrow" you will be delighted by the floating Farfisa organ sound from Rick Wright. I have to admit that not every composition on this debut-album is on the level of above-mentioned tracks but most of the music on "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is a fine and unique blend of almost childish lyrics, very adventurous ideas and strong compositional skills, created by four creative musicians.
Report this review (#8146)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is an amazing psychedelic rock album with a progressive edge and experimental approach. I've red in a magazine, that it was the first album in history, where progressive arrangements were truely intigrated in the music, so it is one of the most important records for the genre. I don't think that it is the best debut album of all time, but one of the most important. Syd Barret's acid-influenced lyrics fit perfectly to the up-spaced music, which is sometimes really out of mind.

The awesome "Astronomy Domine", the nice "Matilda Mother", the space-epic "Interstellar Overdrive" or the little gem "Bike" are some of the best tracks ever recorded in psychedelic rock. Press called it the most psychedic album ever recorded, with that statement I absolutely agree. But don't forget the follow-up "A Saucerful Of Secrets" (first album with David Gilmour and final with Syd Barret), which has the equal importance in psychedelia. TPATGOD may not be a masterpiece, for that banner it lacks consistence, but it's a undeniable classic in psychedelic rock.

The first two Pink Floyd records are far away from the space-prog style of later records and the commercial approach of "Dark Side Of The Moon" or "The Wall", but are in their psychedelic style absolutele classics too. If you just start listening to Pink Floyd, begin with the famous records, because it's more accessible, after that, you will wonder about what you will find here. It's completely different! That was the strength of this band, they've sounded different from album to album and wrote history like no other band in experimental aspects. The promising beginning for the musical chameleon, which is called Pink Floyd.

album rating: 8/10 points = 79 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#8148)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
con safo
4 stars Great early psychedelic prog! This is definitely not the Pink Floyd that most people are used to hearing, as the madman known as Syd Barrett was at this time the main creative force behind the band. The album, though somewhat naive, is a very charming and well done album. Syd Barrett had a mind like noone else, and his unique personality shines through on this album. Sadly this was the last album Syd would be with Pink Floyd, only contributing one song to the album "Saucerful of Secrets", but his creative (and insane) legacy will live on forever in this truly unique peice of music. Shine on Syd!... RIP


Report this review (#8149)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Floyd's legendary psychedelic debut album is a fine piece of work but never really to my tastes overall. Apart from the amazing opening in "Astronomy Domine", a longtime favorite track of mine, and the gritty space journey "Interstellar Overdrive", there's not much that stands out to me but neither of the tracks are bad either. Syd Barrett's songwriting is very good throughout and his signature sound and weirdness is at it's best here but I think the band progressed far better with the release of 'A Saucerful of Secrets' a year later, kicking out Barrett due to his excessive use of LSD (his two solo offerings from 1970 are worth checking out though) and recruiting David Gilmour instead forming a new solid path for the band. Nevertheless, this is classic psychedelic music that should be checked out by fans of the genre or perhaps a more curious Floyd fan. 3.5/5
Report this review (#8150)
Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cluster One
4 stars "Lime and limpid green, a second scene, A fight between the blue you once knew."

And so the otherwordly 'Astronomy Domine' snakes its way into your consciousness, the first of many brutally original pieces of music to come from the inner reaches of Roger "Syd" Barrett's genius. Barrett's use of colours as imagery in 'Astronomy' rivals that of Jimi Hendrix in his song 'Bold As Love'. 'Astronomy' has probably stood up best to the test of time.The Gilmour-led 1994 version of the Floyd amazed their legions of followers by starting off many of their sets with this tone-setting 'classic'.

While no doubt influenced by the Beatles, one has to ask 'Where did this come from??? Psychadelia all but exploded on the scene when Syd took his contemporaries on his fantastical and mythical journey in "PATGOD" a Syd Barrett solo album in all but name. His catchy and brilliantly written songs like 'Matilda Mother', 'Flaming', 'Scarecrow' and 'Lucifer Sam' (all 3 minutes and under) could have taken the place of the FLOYD's earlier successful singles 'Arnold Layne' and 'See Emily Play' and done just as well. Syd Barrett is an extremely talented lyricist with a knack for creative subject matter. What is better than writing pop songs about siamese cats and male cross-dressers?!?

Barrett's most progressive/psychadelic/acidic piece is 'Interstellar Overdrive'. Clocking in at nearly ten minutes (a length no doubt unheard of at the time, 1967) it is easy to picture this noodling, meandering, improvisational song being played at the UFO Club, stretched out to sometimes as long as twenty minutes as hundreds of young Londoners went along for 'the trip'. The driving repetitive guitar/bass riff is addictive if not repetitive.

And then there is 'Bike'. If ever there was one song that could best illustrate Syd's lyrical style it is this song. Lots of alliteration, and whimsical rhymes in this innocent piece. Your five year old daughter will appreciate this song as much as your thirty or forty year old self.

"PATGOD" is important as a historical recording, and it is an excellent addition to anyone's music collection, whether they love progressive, psychadelic, acid and/or space rock, for it indeed has elements of all these (at the time) experimental genres. However, as much as it pains me to say this, "PATGOD" is not a masterpiece! There are some flaws here. A glaring one of note is 'Pow R Toc H', an amateurish and uninspired piece with nonsensical 'lyrics'. This song screams LSD, and indeed it ends with a sort of freak-out. 'Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk', 'The Gnome' and 'Chapter 24' are also relatively weak.

Report this review (#8152)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a great document to show how much floyd changed. The great album from the sixties is completly different to the lengthy 'soundscapes' they would create in later years. Apart from the lengthy Intersella overdrive (nearly 10 minutes) this is an album of fun and interesting shorter songs. Syd seems to show a strong sense of humour on this album. My personal highlights from this album would be 'Astronomy Domine", "Interstella Overdrive" and bike. A very good album
Report this review (#8155)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best of PINK FLOYD with The Piper at the gates of dawn Syd Barrett music news originally for the psychadelic masterpiece fo progressive music in 67.

The beggining. the dream with Astronony domine, a piece.

Interstella overdrive excellent masterpiece.

Great !

Report this review (#8156)
Posted Wednesday, March 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To date there have already been over 75 (count 'em!) Prog Archive reviews of Pink Floyd's seminal debut album, and at this point it probably doesn't need any more. But here's a recording that can't help but elicit strong opinions, pro or con, so who am I to resist getting a word in edgewise?

But instead of yet another song-by-song analysis (there're plenty of those to go around), I'll stick to just a few observations.

1) Once upon a time I might have given the album a mere 2-star rating, or even worse: for hard-core collectors or completists only. When I first heard it, probably as a part of "A Nice Pair", with the equally obscure "A Saucerful of Secrets", I just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. The childish fairy tale lyrics and nursery school melodies (not to mention the primitive, lo-tech production job...the record was originally released in mono, fer cryin' out loud!) didn't seem to bear any relation to the same Pink Floyd responsible for "Dark Side of the Moon" or "Wish You Were Here". And still don't, I hasten to add.

2) But, in retrospect, that doesn't make the record any less of a classic. The same naive innocence is all part of its timeless appeal, especially when played alongside such intimidating instrumental freakouts as "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Pow R. Toc H", or the awesome "Astronomy Domine". Can any other Floyd album boast the same musical range, the same breadth of vision? (Save your rebuttals for the Forums, please...and don't even mention "Seamus"..!)

3) Part of what gives "The Piper" its classic status has nothing to do with the music on it. The tragedy of Syd Barrett's life, and the lingering shadow of his unfulfilled potential, is just as important a factor, for better or worse. Consider this: had Syd left the band in perfect health the album might be fondly recalled today as just another slice of groovy but dated hippie nostalgia.

4) It might be more sensible (and I'm probably not the first to say so) to regard "The Piper" as the first Syd Barrett solo album, with future members of the group Pink Floyd as his backing band. After all, it's closer in spirit to "The Madcap Laughs" than to "A Saucerful of Secrets".

5) And yet nothing in the later Floyd catalogue could have existed without it. Syd is the spectre haunting everything else the band ever recorded: most famously "Wish You Were Here" of course, but thematically and/or stylistically hardly less on any other album.

...and so, finally 6) If you consider yourself in any way, shape or form a fan of Pink Floyd, you need to hear this album, if only to put their later success in better perspective.

Report this review (#8157)
Posted Thursday, March 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very impressive, but too psychadelic for me. I really enjoued "Astronomy Domine" and "Interestellar Overdrive". Songs like "Jugband Blues" and "Flaming" just sound funny. Some are fillers. For those who are new to Pink Floyd I would reccomend to get this album fifth or sixth, after "Dark Side Of The Moon", "Wish ou Were Here", "The Wall", "Animals", "The Final Cut"
Report this review (#8160)
Posted Saturday, March 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars ... And now for perhaps the greatest psychedelic-rock album of all time... enter Mr. Syd Barrett and company. "Piper..." was the first full album by London's "The Pink Floyd" and showcases their creative yet drugged out free form musical compositions. Without a question this is Barrett at his best and most evocative music from his creative mind. Included on this album are 2 of the most respected and copied tracks from the psychedelic era namely "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive". I have always loved the early FLOYD albums and consider this album to be one of my personal favs from this era.
Report this review (#8162)
Posted Friday, March 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, there are very few debut albums that beat "Piper At the Gates of Dawn". It is a revolutionary album, and even as a starter, it begins to show how Pink Floyd inspired and innovated the entire recording art/technology field. While the prog influences aren't as obvious in this album as it is in others, it produces some very complex, interesting, fun beats and gets my foot tapping after every listen. The album itself is very odd, and this is mostly due to Syd Barett's "tweak". A wierd fella indeed, his influence is seen on this album strongly, because no other album sounds like this one. Poc R Toc H alone is worth the purchase of this album. 'nuff said :)
Report this review (#8163)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Tony Fisher
1 stars Having bought (and loved0 Meddle, I naturally went to get all the earlier albums. This one may have been innovative, psychadelic and all the other descriptions lavished on it in the other reviews, but it doesn't disguise the fact that most of the songs are puerile rubbish. Syd Barrett was barking mad, not a genius. The lyrics for Bike could have been written by a six year old and several other songs fall into the same category. Only Rick Wright manages to conjure something listenable at times but he's fighting a losing battle. Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive are passable but, overall, the best thing to do with this LP is to turn it into an ashtray or a clock. Thank God Dave Gilmour came along and they moved forward to produce some later masterpieces.
Report this review (#8164)
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Sometime in the early months of 1967 at Abbey Road Studios, four well-known history making lads from Liverpool were putting the final touches of a certain well-known history making concept album that would turn the recording industry upside down. One day four other lads from London working in another studio down the hall came by to visit these Liverpool lads. A few polite greetings and exchanges were made and the London boys quickly went back to work. Little did the lads from Liverpool know that these four youngsters from London were about to push psychadelic rock into the outer limits and continue to keep pushing well into the seventies.

Ok, enough of the trivia. While you can say this album is somewhat tame and primitive, you have to remember, it was 1967! You can certainly see the birth of this ingenious sound they were driving at. Yes, I agree Syd was a genious and listening to this album makes you kind of sad that his excesses got the best of him later on. Of course, most geniouses are usually a bit "off" anyway. Let's remember Johnny boy down the hall certainly had his moments too (like going up on the roof of the studio while on acid only to have Paulie come up and bring him down). I wouldn't recommend this album as starting point for a Pink Floyd beginner but it's really an interesting piece of work to eventually checkout later on. I didn't even get around to listening this 'til the 80s and I was into PF since DSOTM came out in 1973. Enough said, 4 Stars.

Report this review (#8166)
Posted Sunday, April 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pink Floyd's debut indeed is one to listen to. The psychedelic effects and perfect instrumental work give you an instant classic album. Good songs such as "Astronomy Domine", "Pow R Toc H", "...Stethoscope...", "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Bike" give the ablum a high rating in my opinion.
Report this review (#8171)
Posted Friday, May 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A superb debut, certainly different to their later stuff, but excellent none the less. Each track is well crafted, none of them too long, and all catchy and listenable. 'Astronomy Domine', 'Interstellar Overdrive', 'Scarecrow', 'Bike', 'Lucifer Sam', etc, are all damn good and fun tunes! Not a bad one here, and all filled with the enthusiasm of youth! Listen through your headphones and be amazed! These were the days of stereo experimentation, and Interstellar Overdrive and Bike particularly benefit from this 'mucking about' with the sound. Strange to think that, after this and 'Saucerful Of Secrets', they were to lose their way, not producing a really good album until 'Meddle'. Recommended, both to Floyd fans, and also to classic sixties pyschedelia buffs. An excellent cover too!
Report this review (#35224)
Posted Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars My discovery of Pink Floyd was accidental, or at least mysterious. Since 1980 they have become my favorite musical group. I am not that much impressed by much else in the "hard rock / classic rock" series. Jethro Tull is worthy. The talents of Eddie Van Halen and Neil Peart (of RUSH) are impressive. If one wants the best for an enlightened, advanced mind, then Pink Floyd is the proper choice. And The Piper at the G.O.D. is a very important selection.

For one, it has Syd Barrett (properly Roger Keith Barrett) as lead vocals and guitar, and he had talents even his own peers could not fully appreciate. Enough about the story of his drug use --- he was a rare victem of something I share with him: Perception of what was happenning at the time, or, more properly, WHO was doing WHAT back then. It was a horrible and lonely place to go. I feel for him.

For audio, this is a good choice. Very good usage of (the then fairly new) stereo effects. Granted, some of it's a bit much, however when you allow your music to branch into the land of the unlimited, strange things are bound to happen. For this they are forgiven.

I rated it five stars because it is one album I could listen to incessantly and not tire of it. Could not say that about The Wall or The Final Cut. Those two are far too depressing lyrically.

Why 5 stars? Nick Mason's percussions during that period were necessarily well crafted. Rick Wright and his one-of-a-kind keyboard riffs were splendid. Roger Waters shone well too. And this is probably Syd's best recording. Headphones to listen to this work are vital.

For stunning video, I suggest PULSE live concert. For best personal interest, a very worthy one is Pink Floyd live in Pompeii. And for audio: Piper, Music from the body (by Roger Waters and Ron Geesin) and Relics as well are my choice. I like most of their other recordings too.

I must investigate The Soft Machine.

Report this review (#36299)
Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Piper" is the most original (and the only listenable as for me) of Pink Floyd albums, a very inspiring piece of music of considerable cognitive and spiritual value. Psychedelia in it's best. It does not consist of lengthy compositions of complex form, yet it's compact. The most stunning aspects of this albums is the way it portraits the vast territory of possible human psyche experiences. Yes, weird, but this weirdness is mighty, explorative and constructive.
Report this review (#36548)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars great debut!!! great songs and great atmosphere. i don't know if the album is considered as prog rock or psychedelic rock, but who cares. songs like astronomy domine(covered by voivod in the album nothingface), interstellar overdrive, lucifer sam and matilda mother will always be there to remind us of a band that was quite 'pure' in its begging.....and turned to be a mainstream monster(especially after The wall). The piper at the gates of dawn will always be one of the greatest debut of all times.
Report this review (#36776)
Posted Friday, June 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album was the pinnacle of the pop-psychedelia genre. Songs like ''Bike'' represents in a good way the style. There are definitely highlight on this album, particularly ''Astronomy Domine'', and Interstellar Overdrive, wich is way better live, though. Some songs are filler to me, really this is a must have as it is the starting point of a monumental band, and the only one with Syd Barret, wich was a genius in his days. He definitely is the frontman of the band, as every song is touched by his dynamic and enthusiastic approach to music. Pogressively talking, this does not touch Atom heart Mother or Meddle, but a pretty enjoybale album. 3.5/5
Report this review (#37057)
Posted Monday, June 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I love this album very much. This album is certainly wonderful. However, I think that this is not Prog Rock and is psychedelic Rock. Therefore, I decided it to making the evaluation three stars. The song that I especially like in this album is "Astronomy Domine", "Interstellar Overdrive", and "Bike".
Report this review (#37904)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars innovative it may have been, but ive got to say this is absolute dross. The Guitar work is sloppy and miscalculated, the drumming is not as mature as in later albums post-barrett, roger waters is alright on bass, but what was his songwriting about? TUTSAW is purely stupid. Im sorry, but this album is immature, badly written, and and unbelievably difficult to listen to. Dave Gilmour was the best thing that ever happened to pink floyd, he is an absolute genoius. Those who say Syd Barrett is one of the greatest ever songwriters, i can see how original he was, and innovative, but its simple terrible. Sorry, i hate to say this about a floyd album, but it is...
Report this review (#38501)
Posted Monday, July 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars PINK FLOYD borns with this good album full with Syd's psychedelia and dominated by his lyrics and style. Unfortunately it has a poppier side in some songs that, in my opinion, makes the album doesn't survive the challenge of time. The only tracks that i really care are "Lucifer Sam" and the opening "Astronomy Domine". I think "Interstellar Overdrive" is a bit overrated and i see nothing special with it. The other good songs are "Matilda Mother" and "Pow R Toc H", which aren't anything special either but are still very fun and enjoyable. "Bike" is a fun song that can get a bit annoying, and has some disturbing noises at the end that are very scary. The USA and Japan releases contain "See Emily Play", and i think songs like "Candy and a Currant Bun", "Apples and Oranges" - which are found on the "Early Singles" from the Shine On box set - would fit very well in here and add a lot to the album's overall enjoyment.

Unfortunately even though PIPER has its great moments i prefer listening to some of its songs separatadely instead of the whole album. I prefer the "Early Singles" and "Saucerful of Secrets" to this one. Don't get me wrong, I do respect Syd and his way of composing, but i think it just doesn't appeal so much to me as it appeals to many other people. Another point that i'd like to make is that this is not the kind of music that has to be studied through a cold technical view caring for "how the members play this or that instrument" or the "production quality" and "musical complexity". The songs here are meant to show the hidden corners of someone's mind (Syd), it is actually very profound in terms of emotion and very personal. But, again, i don't feel very connected to this world and i simply feel a "fun" side at the songs, but nothing deeper than this.

Report this review (#40894)
Posted Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Essential psychedelic album!

Three little masterpieces of psych music: "Astronomy Domine", "Pow R Toc H" (can be read as "power touch") and "Interstellar Overdrive" are included here and they are essential to any psychedelia devotee. Barrett's songwriting is at first hard to grasp, especially if you are accustomed to the "classic" spacey Floyd era of the 1970s. But once you get into his wildly imaginative Tolkienesque scenery with odd childlike rhymes, you will appreciate it even more. Waters' "Take Up Thy Stethoscope..." is perhaps the weakest song on the album - his time had not been come yet! A defining moment for prog rock, but also an acquired taste.

Report this review (#45839)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was one of those albums I bought expecting normal Floyd and then saying "WHAT!!!" But over time I learned to like Syd Barret. I feel sorry for him... the guy had to just fade away with acid. Drugs seemed to inspire many bands, but that does not meen that it's right or that it's ever to be used. Anyway, here's a song by song review:

Astonomy Domine: "Lime and limpid green..." a great opener with some space sounds and some opening drumming that evolves into Rick Wright and Syd singing. The guitar can be an instrument that always can be played different ways, and Syd was a master of making sounds with it nobody else ever made!

Lucifer Sam: Well, I don't like this song much but I can still listen to it. It's rather too sixties. It sounds a bit like the Batman theme from the show.

Matilda Mother: It's good. Rick sings as he pleads with Syd to Syds Mother for more bedtime stories. Keyboards start and Syd does some of his strange little voice noises. Syd's guitar is raw and unpolished but good.

Flaming: I don't like this one very much. It sounds like Syd's watching some woman undress while he's watching. I know that's not really it, I just find it annoying that he can see somebody and she can't.

PowRTochH: I like this one because I can always fool friends while we're playing an X- box game and listening to a soundtrack because they know less classic Floyd. "What, that's floyd what?" Very strange and more of Syd's strange voice stuff. Some decent drumming and piano but they come off sounding like a garage band. It's funny!

Take up thy sthethoscope and walk: Roger's first song ever! Many don't like this oddity of rhyming and yelling at doctors, but I like it. The drums boom and he yells "Doctordoctor" and rhymes stuff like "Flowers thrive" and "Realize". Yeah, they were all on drugs, and Roger sounds like it. But I still like this song.

Interstellar Overdrive: The beginning of long floyd songs. I think it sounds immature compared to later stuff but it's listenable. Sometimes I'll play around with my graphic equalizer on my stereo and find a place where it sounds a bit different and better. People who don't like one keyboard note constantly playing over and over will probably want to change the track.

The gnome: After the last songs monotonousness, this comes across quite nicely. I've heard of people hating this one, along with chapter 24 and scarecrow, but I like it. It's a lot like the Hobbit, in a way.

Chapter 24: Whatever this means, I don't know, but I like the relaxing sound of it. Syd's slurring of Rs is nice.

Scarecrow: A very interesting little drum beat starts up and then some keyboards and guitar. It's an ok track.

Bike: Wierd, but cool. The rhyming starts and then "Your the kind of girl that fits in with my world" with an explosion at the end. Wierd creaking noises ( I always thought it was the bed creaking as they had sex) and a clock and then a little wind up clown laughing ends the CD.

If you are the hesitant floyd album collector DON'T START HERE. If you love the band and want to collect the lot of them, get this. But realize that this isn't real Floyd, it's Syd's band. And the band was so much different back then. It's sort of like comparing a mouse to a giant, comparing Floyd's barret sound and floyd's real sound. But you will enjoy it after a while...

Report this review (#46045)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Having read most of the existing reviews for this I can only conclude that you had to have been there!

Reviewers speak about this as not being representative of the "Real Floyd", but at the time of its release this was the only Floyd we had!

The tracks on this is debut, along with the Floyd singles of the same era (Arnold Layne, See Emily Play & Apples and Oranges) represent transition from the Psychadelic into the Progressive and as such are more akin to bands like Idle race than they are to bands like Yes or even the Floyd to come. As such there is much more whimsey than would ever appear on later albums (Even "Saucer"), but that to is right for the time. Music was about to lose that pretty, hippy, rose-tinted view but then so was society and Floyd were right out there in the forefront.

Yes Syds influence is written all over this release but you can sense a harder edge creeping in and Roger is begining to stretch his muscles.

As you can probably tell I have a soft spot for this era Floyd and will defend it vigorously. To younger listeners I would say don't listen to this in the context of "Dark Side" but in the context of both its time and its place in the growth of one of the worlds great bands.

It may be dated but at nearly 40 years old I think it holds up well; and as a debut album, made at a time when it was only just becoming possible to get a record label to allow you to experiment (without worrying where the next single was going to come from!!) it takes some beating.

So remove your preconceptions and open your ears to some great music, bearing in mind that some of thes songs (Astonome Domine, Lucifer Sam, Pw R Toc H and Interseller Overdrive in particular) would find their way into the live act over the years to come.

Report this review (#46059)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a masterpiece that's essential for any progressive/psychadelic/classic rock lover. Although I don't call Piper a 100% progressive album, it is related very strongly and deserves the 5 stars I am able to grade it.

Piper is not the Pink Floyd usual thing (such as Meddle, Dark Side, Wish you etc.). it is 85% Syd Barret and the remaining 15% goes to the 3 other members. In my opinion, Piper is the greatest Pink Floyd album. Maybe Syd wouldv'e made more like Piper if he hadn't lost his marbles, but good things always come in small quantitys.

All of its 11 tracks are good. I liked most Astronomy Domine, Matilda Mother, Flaming, Interstellar Overdrive and Bike. Syd Barret on the guitar is truthfully amazing. I dont think I heard a guitarist I liked better than him.

No matter how you catalogue the album, it is essential for Your Collection!

Report this review (#46425)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Very mixed reviews over this album : For some, "it sounds terrible" or "noisy", for me though, this LP is sheer genius! I don't think this can be qualified as a genuine prog album because it is too shambolic and the playing--especially Barrett--is on and off, out of tunes and offbeat!

To be honest, the first time I listened to it, I absolutely hated it! Only "Astronomy Domine" and the first 2 minutes of "Interstellar" were able to retain my attention. But finally, I started to grab the childish, magical atmosphere of the record, oddly backed up by a proto- punk music!

Unlike many reviewers, this album was my introduction to the band! And it may explain why I am not a Floyd-head (my interest for them drops with "Dark Side" and all subsequent albums>>>actually, whenever I want to listen to a good straight pop/rock album, I play "the White Album" and no "Dark Side")

Finally, the album sounds dated, but who cares...not me anyway! This album is likeable even if you are completely indifferent to the other Floyds recordings (with the exception of pre-commercial albums like "Saucerful" or "Atom")...anyway, it happened for me!

Report this review (#47294)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you define "progressive" music as sounds that break down listener's preconceived barriers, then "Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" succeeds on all counts. Although often characterized as naive, Syd Barrett's songs portray life in all its wide-eyed wonder. Rather than reflecting psychedelic trends, pieces like "The Gnome" and "Bike" demonstrate a world view as original and transcendent as Tolkien or Lewis. Instrumentally, the embryonic band provides the proper soundscape - lounge piano, propulsive bass, atonal guitar leads, and moments of symphonic wonder on "Astronomy Domine." Sadly, the final moments of "Bike" - which are both childlike and terrifying - outline the final destination of Syd's journey. More than an artifact, "Piper" is a unique and challenging work that still inspires to this day.
Report this review (#47362)
Posted Monday, September 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars I've never really liked this album. It doesn't sound anything like what the Floyd was going yet to become later. Syd Barret is a good musician but neither his vocals nor his guitars are any match for Gilmour's.

The highlights of this album are the two instrumentals Pow R. Toc H. and Interstellar Overdrive. Astronomy Domine and Chapter 24 are also pretty good songs, but the rest ranges from ok to horrible.

Roger Water's Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk is the only song written by anyone other than Barret on this album. It has got to be one of the weakest songs on the album.

This album really isn't that bad, but compared to Pink Floyd in the 70's it just doesn't do it for me.

Report this review (#50034)
Posted Tuesday, October 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not my favorite Album!! Too early in their musical path, very poppy!? in some instances, and to much Syd influence; not, that was something bad, but not their best effort... However, for historical reasons, you have to have this on your collection
Report this review (#51632)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll come right out and say it. I'm not a fan of psychedelic. I don't like the constant keyboard solos because they all sound the same. You hear very little psych on the radio nowadays, but when you do it's only the same songs over and over. That being said, this is probably the only psych album I've ever liked. The first time I heard Astronomy Domine I was amazed. Syd's near-constant jamming on his guitar and his and Rick's voice together were brilliant. Another high point is the 10-minute Interstellar Overdrive, with it's constant strumming and zipping form fast to slow to fast to faster, it's a true Floyd classic. But there are some down sides to the album. Being of the psychedelic era, the music suffers from the sometime sillyness and "let's try anything" attitude of the time, as shown on tracks like "Take Up Thy Stethescope and Walk" and "Bike". However, this remains a staple in Pink Floyd's career and is a great addition to a Floyd fan's CD collections.
Report this review (#54997)
Posted Sunday, November 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pink Floyd's debut album "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" the first glimpse into the mind of a young man so warped by LSD and his own inner demons that he could create sounds and textures and entire musical forms that no other human being had ever before been capable of producing. A glimpse into the fragile mind of one Syd Barrett and Rick Wright, who complments the music with grace and beauty.

1. Astronomy Domine - From the opening riff of Astronomy Domine your mind will transcend your body and float in space, where the beautiful commingles with the grotesque and allows you to readjust your vision just in time for your soul to bring itself up from the depths of the most harrowing and brilliant waters four musicians could fill the oceans with. This is LSD. This is fear. This is confusion. This is Syd Barrett!! 5/5

2. Lucifer Sam - is simply a majestic, fantastic composition on the grooviest of scales.5/5

3. Matilda Mother - an instant hit as soon as you start listening to it.5/5

4. Flaming - another great tune. 5/5

5. Pow R. Toc H. - A great spacy song with cool sound effects and Rick Wright's catchy piano melody/solo. 4/5

6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk - Not Roger Waters' best song, but the music is good. 3.5/5

7. Interstellar Overdrive - The powerful and weak moments of Interstellar Overdrive sends you on an unknown adventure.Prepare Yourself!! 3.5/5

8. The Gnome - The simple yet joyess guitar on this song still makes me smile. 5/5

9. Chapter 24 - is one of the most haunting and disturbing songs I've ever heard. Great Lyrics! 4.5/5

10. Scarecrow - Short and sweet. 4.5/5

11. Bike - is a great song!! A bicycle bell can be heard clicking in the background as the tune ends with a cacophony of wind-up talking toys, sounding like ducks on acid. 5/5

Final Note: "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" shows us the first steps Pink Floyd made as a band and how revolutionary and profound those baby steps were. The album envokes bizarre images as Syd and the boys tinker and improvise melodies using old- fashioned ingenuity and the bands knack for echo boxes. Cultural history shows that many great works of art were created by artists who risked insanity to tap into their creativity. Syd Barrett took that risk to create music and paid a high price. Thank you Syd.

5+5+5+5+4+3.5+3+5+4.5+4.5+5 = 49,5

49,5 : 11 = 4,5

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Curiosity: In an interview to magazine Q, Roger Waters was mentioned contemptuously to the first albums of its former-band. Frightened the reporter readily it inquired: And the Piper (?), to that Waters answered: "Well, that was Syd,and Syd was a genius".

Report this review (#55442)
Posted Tuesday, November 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars WOW the 60s what a ...odd 10 years.Hipees,LSD "The Summer of Love" all things that made that decade so speacial that and The Beatles "Sgt Peppers." The Whos Tommy and of course Pink Floyd The Piper at The Gates of Dawn.This is a great album....if you lived through the 60s "Summer of Love"are a DIE HARD Pink Floyd or are just into that sorta music....not the best sounding of PF i cant subscribe this to just the casual listner but if you are a huge PF fan...then you should already have listen to PATGOD!
Report this review (#57209)
Posted Sunday, November 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Pink Floyd first album: how distant they sound from their classical progressive period of the beginning of the 70s.

A good work although the psychedelic spice informs clearly the date of its release: 1967. Maybe we could see it as a concept album centered around psychedelism and space (and madness).

This album is covered by mystery and legend and a reviewer feels sometimes like touching a sacred symbol of an obscure religion.

But the songs are there, the result is fair, and we have to remember always the year, the available means, the fact that's a debut work, etc.

Great moments: 'Astronomy domine' really a good opening; 'Lucifer Sam' and 'Mathilda Mother' the best songs - although the later could be confused with some Moody Blues song but it is still OK; "Interstellar overdrive", a kind of mini-epic to be heard sparsely; 'The gnome', the most interesting of the several weird tracks of the album. Other songs are below average and are only listenable when one wants to get the work entirely not picking only the most agreeable songs.

Undisputedly a LANDMARK, not necessarily a masterpiece. A work to be compulsorily added to any prog collection. Total: 4.

Report this review (#61445)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is my favorite Pink Floyd album, and I respect it as well as for the pleasurable music it has, but also as a psychedelic relic from 1967. I think that most of the best rock music emerged from that era, like Cream, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. The opener "Astronomy Domine" introduces the listener to the chaotic world free associations and dreams. I think this is a bold opener, as it hasn't got anything to do with any rational musical directions associated with early psychedelia . Blues or folk leanings have shifted to unconventional chord progressions and very lunatic musical ideas. The following "Lucifer Sam" has a more familiar sounding 1960's rock song's basic structure, but it is attacked with mysterious sound missiles and has a very manic and good overall feeling in it. I think that the song paints us a portrait a black Siamese cat, or an obsession to it or something. "Matilda Mother" is also a true gem on this treasure chest, lyrics being thought-provoking and the descending chords in the beginning and in the verses create a very mysterious and unreal feeling. "Flaming" begins with an oppressing sound wall, which morphs to a psychedelic pop song. I first had bit uncertain feeling about this track, but somehow the tune opened after several listening times and I started to enjoy it much. I also heard that the original name of this song was "Flamingo" but the last letter was wisely dropped out. I also enjoyed "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" beginning and ending to symmetrical drumbeats, and in addition of furiously manic opening and closing verses there's only a freeform psychedelic assault left on this song. The biggest representative of this side of the band is of course "Interstellar Overdrive", which gives us a hint of the material they did on stage during this time. "Scarecrow" and "Bike" are then happily nut acoustic Syd Barrett songs, being also very pleasing. Their single cut "See Emily Play" which was as a bonus track on some import releases of this album is then maybe the best songs the whole band has ever recorded, not being on the original LP though. I guess this album which I value extremely wouldn't please those who have just found Pink Floyd via "Dark Side of The Moon" album, but I would recommend listening this if you are open minded, or you like the music of late 1960's. This is the most classic album which this band ever recorded in my opinion.
Report this review (#61454)
Posted Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I think I'm too young to know about this album, but the essence of 60's got inside me, because the magic of Syd's guitar was very impressive to the listener. The world was moving from the age of "the discovery of the unknown", through to space discovery. Maybe this fact influenced the minds of teenagers at the time. I don't know, I wasn't there, but the psychadelic rock music that was inspired by such times would mean that popular music would never be the same again.
Report this review (#63468)
Posted Friday, January 6, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars the first thing that you should take into mind is,this album was done in 1967.the second is,it was made in london.the third is,the bands leader,at the time,was on a lot of mind altering stuff.with all of that,you have a very great may not meet the standards of today,but it has influenced a lot of great artist.for example,the later era pink floyd.syd barrett was such an influence on his old band mates. i will admit,there are some songs i enjoy more than others,but there is really not one bad track on this one.maybe barrett was a genius,or mabe he was a madman.any way you look at it he was a very intriging person.he did open a lot of doors for many great artists.for that i feel that he deserves the highest praise.
Report this review (#65447)
Posted Thursday, January 19, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Excellent. One of the first progressive-psychodelic album ever. Shows Pink Floyd at its best. It is a mix of Psychodelia (Lucifer Sam, Flaming and Chapter 24) with Space Rock (Astronomy Domine), some Folk in specific english way (Matilda Mother, The Gnome, The Scarecrow, Bike) with some jazzy influences (Pow R. Toc H.). The whole album is full of fairytale atmosphere. Masterpiece of Psychodelic Rock.
Report this review (#67636)
Posted Tuesday, January 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album, along with Sgt. Pepper, is where it all started as far as "art rock" or "progressive". Its no wonder it was recorded in the same studio at the same time as the Beatles masterpiece. While Syd Barret's mental problems and drug abuse have been well documented, he remains a powerful songwriter and one of the original architects of space rock. "Astonomy Domine" and "Intersteller Overdrive" can still send me on a bad trip, almost frightening . And the whimsical, fantasy childlike quality of songs like "The Gnome" and "Matilda Mother" still sound surprisingly fresh even today. And although the Floyd moved on to greener, and more succesful pastures, this remains a gem.
Report this review (#70410)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first (and best) Pink Floyd album transports you (with a little imagination) to 1967 London Town with things getting weirder by the day.The album is dominated by 2 spacerock epics Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive which lets face it,formed the basis of a full career for many other lesser bands (no names mentioned , oh ok just one then ... Hawkwind).The rest of the album is lyrically extremely odd , although it still makes more sense than any Yes album you could name.The man responsible for most of these tracks Syd Barrett soon became a casualty of the excesses of the sixties and consequently he never equalled these songs.The band continued without him and the rest of their albums owe little to the influences on show here.In my opinion they never bettered this.
Report this review (#70920)
Posted Thursday, March 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars The debut album by Pink Floyd, this is the only album to feature the legendary Syd Barrett, who was sadly a drugs casulty by the end of the 1960s, Syd would never be the same after this album, the album has a mix of Immature, 60s Britain lyrics mixed with Psychedelia and Avant Garde Experimentation.

The tracks I love on "PATGOD": The opener is "Astronany Domine" assumming Peter Jenner their manager provides the vocoder at the intro, according to source I read way back on the net, this track is has excellent percussion playing from Mason, great double vocals Wright/Barrett, Syd's guitar solo is excellent and is a great 4 minute avant pop track.

"Lucifer Sam" - 'Siam Cat :)' again one of those action hero sounding tracks and very flower power 60s London, the main line is "That Cat Something I can't Explain" I aalways have been blown by that line, completely unaware of it's defination.

"Interstaller Overdrive" - the first Progressive track to expand to nearly ten minutes, full of experimentation, guitar effects, eerie organ sounds, and belting percussions, and the bass effects all make this song a great track, and the first progressive track, without any pop or simplicity, this has to be the first Floyd track to feature complex and odd signiture tunes, check out the ending of the song, the sounds flows back and fore to the left and right speaker, still amazes me to this day.

"Bike" - will take time to get used to, but trust me a catchy numbe this one, great humourous lyris, my favourite line "I know a mouse and he hasn't got a mouse I don't why I call him Gerald" strange sound, quirky pop psych compostions and all of a sudden goes into this industrial sound in a clockwork place of some form, and then the song end's with these out of control ducks with the multi channel quacks, ahead of it's time.

A fantastic debut, but not the best IMO, the better would come into the 1970S era with the classics like "DSOTM" and "WYWH".

Report this review (#72560)
Posted Wednesday, March 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In August of 1967, Pink Floyd released their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn in the UK and a month later in the US as The Pink Floyd. This was the first introduction to a band that would conquer the world in a few years time. The band consisted of bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason(credited as Nicky on this album's original sleeve), keyboardist Rick Wright and guitarist/vocalist and main songwriter Syd Barrett, whom was the mad genius of the band. The members of the band were in groups known as The Abdabs, The Megadeaths and The T-Set among others until Syd hooked up with childhood friend Roger and Roger's architectural school classmates Rick and Nick and another friend Bob Close to form the group The Pink Floyd which was named after two old Georgia bluesmen Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. Bob Close left after recording Syd's demo of Lucy Leave. Throughout 1966, the band were a concert sensation in London's underground music movement and proceeded to get a deal with EMI in Europe and was signed to EMI's US affiliate Capitol under the subsidary Tower(way before the record chain existed). The band's first two singles were Arnold Layne and See Emily Play which were both Top 20 hits in England. Then, the group's entered Abbey Road Studios to record their debut sometime in March of 1967 with producer Norman Smith, whom worked with The Beatles from 1962-65. Ironically, The Beatles were in the same building finishing their classic contribution to rock history Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. All but one track on Piper was written or co-written by Syd Barrett. His songs were whimsical works of art. The original UK album started with Astronomy Domine, which was about going into space to explore the universe(strangely this song was eliminated off of the original American vinyl release). Next is Lucifer Sam, a tale about a Siamese cat. Matilda Mother and Flaming(which was also left off of the original US vinyl release) follow and are great songs. Next is the first of two instrumentals Pow R Toc H which grabs the attention. Next was Roger Waters' first song written for the band Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk which is a silly song with some excellent jamming. The second half of the album starts with Interstellar Overdrive which was a number the band had played live before signing with EMI and was written by the band. The Gnome follows and is about a gnome named Grimble Crumble. Chapter 24 follows and is my favorite Syd track. The Scarecrow follows and is a funny song. The album concludes with the whimsical Bike(also left off the original US vinyl release in favor of See Emily Play) which then turns into a collage of sound effects and duck-call noises. The album showed Syd at his best before LSD caused his behavior to become erratic and unpredictable and his songwriting skills started to go down the drain. The US version of the album hit the lower reaches of the Billboard album charts while the UK version hit #6 in England and the UK version would eventually be released in the US on the double album A Nice Pair in 1973 and properly on CD on its own in 1987. The CD sounds better now with the remastering done in 1994 by James Guthrie. Excellent start to an outstanding career.
Report this review (#75242)
Posted Monday, April 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Pink Floyd's debut is a view into a different train of thought in music. They weren't writing songs about begin dragged down by the stone or about running like hell, no, this album is a lot simpler than those days. This is not really progressive in terms of music, lyrics, or anything really, nothing more than psychedelic rock with playful pop lyrics. This is not the Pink Floyd everyone would come to know in 1973, this is Syd Barrett's Pink Floyd. Not saying that when Syd was in the band the music was bad, it's just not going to be everyone's cup of tea. All the key members of the band are there (except for the absence of David Gilmour), and they all are in top form for the music they created on this album.

The opener of the album, the fan favorite Astronomy Domine has a rather simplistic guitar theme and some nice vocal from Barrett. Among the best tracks on the album, it isn't wrought with the acid washed overtones of the rest of the album. Lucifer Sam is a playful tune about a black cat, with a nice guitar riff from Syd and some strong drum work from Nick Mason. Matilda Mother is an ethereal piece with ambient organ from Wright taking the forefront. The lyrics on this song (as well as the vocals) are dreamy and take the listener to another place. Flaming and Pow R. Toc H. are the weakest tracks on the album, being nothing more than noise and incoherent melodies, a bit disappointing in comparison with the rest of the album.

Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk is the sole lyrical contribution of Roger Waters on this album, and the lyrics are considerably weak in comparison with Syd's psychedelic walls of lyrical material. The drumming and vocal work on this song are considerably strong, though, despite weak lyrics. Interstellar Overdrive is the longest song on the album, clocking in at nearly 10 minutes. What you'll find here is a psychedelic freak out instrumental with no real coherent structure or melody. But what I find so interesting on this song is that all of the musicians find there own space and explore their respective instruments to the point of a sonic assault that leaves nothing alive.

The final third of the album continues the trend of playful pop melodies with psychedelic overtones, the best of these four songs being Bike, which takes a dissonant turn and haunts the listener with a chilling organ riff. The finale of Bike can also be considered as psychedelic drivel and adds nothing special to the album.

Overall, I think that all Pink Floyd fans should check out their respected roots. The Syd Barrett dominated incantation of Floyd wouldn't last long and soon enough we'd be graced with strong albums exploring and experimenting with different sounds moods, modes, and tempos. I give it a solid 3.5/5.

Report this review (#77410)
Posted Sunday, May 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is paradoxal. In one aspect, it sucks. In another, it's one of the most innovative endeavours in music history. Everything depends on from where you look at it. I will explain my reasoning for both, it's taken me awhile before I could write this review

1. Astronomy Domine (3.5/5) or (5/5): The lyrics to this song consist of nonsense ramblings and insane guitar chords that seem downright bizzare on the first listen. Mnay people can be driven away from this song simply because it is so outside of the box. At the same time is an amazing song and by far the best on the album. While still being bizzare, proabably the best example of LSD influnced music, but can still be enoyable when not on a trip

2. Lucifer Sam (3/5) or (4/5): This song has a catchy bass riff which makes it the most accessible song to most people and to many that hate the album. The silly, childish lyrics can drive many away from the song. On the other hand, the complex mixture of instruments forshadows the Pink Floyd that was to come.

3. Matilda Mother (2/5) or (3.5/5): another of the more accessible songs, but the stupid lyrics will once agian turn people the other way. Still, the song reflects the mind set of Syd Barret and shows music as it is influenced by LSD

4. Flaming (1/5) or (3.5/5): Once agian, silly lyrics, but the expirementation of the song shows the innovation of the band and their talent at expirementation

5. Pow R Toc H (3/5) or (5/5): A goofy instrumentals that once agian is comprised of wierd noises and vocals. Stupid and yet pretty cool. At some points it sounds like a primitive version of "Careful With that Axe"

6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk (1/5) or (4/5): The stupid, annoying vocals and the senseless random wandering of the lyrics is more than enough to deem it one of PF's worst songs. On the other hand, being Roger Water's first sole credit, is an intersting song, and the complex, unorganized instrumentation is another great example of the effect of drugs on rock and roll.

7. Intersteller Overdrive (2/5) or (5/5): The ten minute length of the song, the throbbing riffs alternating between speakers around the 8 minute mark and the wandering of the song can make it annoying and unlistenable. On the other hand, this is anothjer great expiermentation of space rock and a great example of the psychedlic progressive moment. The opening riffs are catchy and if you are tripping, it will probably be an epic trip. By far one of Syd Barret's best work. The middle section where it slows doin't to almost total silence, is a feature that would apopear in their other extended plays like "Echoes" and "Dogs"

8. The Gnome (0/5) or (3/5): By far the worst track. There is essentially no muci, and the lyrics are downright stupid, even if they aren't sillier than the other songs on the album. After the climatic end of Intersteller Overdrive, This song fails to do the album justice. But it's still a good insight into Syd Barrets slowly decaying mind

9. Chapter 24 (1/5) or (4/5): Intersting lyrics, but the music is reptitive and can seem to drag out for a while. A dull song if you aren't into Syd's muic. However, it is an intersting song and the lyrics are a primitive version of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun"

10. Scarecrow (3/5) or (4.5/5): The most listenable song on the album if you haven't liked it by the time you get here. Almost Beatle-esque but still a little wired. One of Syd Barret's best songs

11. Bike (1/5) or (3/5): Another silly song, the later half of which is filled with annoying sound effects. I have to admit I hated the song at first, but now I begin to realize the creativity in it, and once agian shows the effect of LSD on music

Summary: Sucks for the childish lyrics and random instrumentation Innovative for the combination of wierd sounds and the expirementation that would lead to master pices like Atom Heart Mother and Dark Side of the Moon

rating: 2 stars or 4 stars. That averages to 3, but due to Syd's influnce on the band it's essential, and desrves 4

Report this review (#78642)
Posted Thursday, May 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars -- First Pink Floyd LP's (with leader's Syd Barett and without David Gilmour). Barrett's guitar gives a more speedy perspective than Gilmour. More psychedelic, nothing to do with the other albums, but very innovative. Short songs with only one good musical structure. Strange poetry and vocal play signed Barrett's. Good introduction with a space-rock classic (Astronomy Domine). --

The Piper at the gates of dawn has a unique sound that doesn't fit with the traditionnal Floyd mood (except maybe for Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive that use the typic Floyd ambience). Try to mix The Beatles, Iron Butterfly and Pink Floyd (humm... I suspect demence).

Barrett sings in 90% of this album. The Roger Waters touch is nearly absent. So if you come from the Dark Side and the Wall period, you have to be warned; the Piper sounds more psychedelic and less mysterious. It's a strange mixture signed Syd Barrett, the first leader of the band. There's nothing to do with the other Floyd albums but it's very good after all.

The words I have to describe it are dynamic, funny, unpredictable, ballads, strange lyrics (I love Barrett's poetry). Small songs like The Gnome, The Scarecrow, Flaming and The Bike are good examples of gentle "ballads" with nonchalent Barrett stories. The music is quite simple and very original. The experimental Interstellar Overdrive is very impressive by moments but the chaotic part is a little bit too long for me. Pow R Toc H gives the origin of the freaky musical invention of Pink Floyd with vocal sound effects (remember Ummagumma). The keyboard is not exactly the same than in the Saucerful and the others albums. Also, the album is more builded in the vocal structure than in the musical structure.

A point I very like: Barett doesn't have a precise voice and don't sing exactly with the music. Sometimes, he slighty shifts the lyrics with the notes (It's more evident in The Madcap Laugh). I like that because I prefer the feel-free-to-be-original-and-to-make- mistake to the Robot-like-musical-structure.

Impossible to choose a best-song in The Piper. The combination of the songs makes the album. The worst song: Lucifer Sam (the beat is too redundant, the song seams to be unachieved and the small solo ends anywhere). Other thing; I suggest to all Floyd fans to listen "See Emily Play" (not in the Piper... before that). It's essential for your survival. You have to listen the song before your next Floyd discussion in a bar.

Report this review (#83384)
Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is my tribute to Syd Barrett - by giving this 5 stars!

Honestly, if you are a Floyd fan, a space rock fan or even a prog rock fan - this is an absolute must in order to understand the formation and roots of space rock/ prog rock. Listen to this then Wish You Were Here and the difference is enormous - what a change - from raw and full of energy with whimsicalness/ nursery rhyme-type and full of humour - to seriousness, sublimity and beauty. But then listen again - between the notes of Pow R Toc H and Interstellar Overdrive you can hear the embreyo of what became.

The 4 tracks Astronomy Domine (without doubt the best track on the album), Pow R Toc H, Take up Thy Stethoscope (an enormously fun wild and free track) and Interstellar Overdrive are the beginnings of Prog rock and need to be played and understood if you want to understand Prog rock (Space rock really). Rich Wright's organ playing is great fun, but even more fun is Syd's guitar - full of energy, wild, and seemingly played with care-abandoned. Gilmour was a brilliant mimic later-on, but clearly developed his own style - and maybe that's the difference.

The other 7 tracks all belong to Syd - I know they are whimsical psychedelic pop, but I really love all of them - they are fun, with crazy lyrics and with a great sense of humour - so sad for someone who was to fade away so much.

This is a masterpiece - it is Syd Barrett's masterpiece - his Pink Floyd's masterpiece. Without this album you will not understand how Pink Floyd became.

I hope that at least with Syd's passing, many will flock to the shops and add this to their collection and place it proudly next to Wish Youe Were Here.

Wish You Were Still here.....

Good bye Syd Barrett - see you in heaven where no-one loses their mind and the music will be far greater tahn anyone on Earth could ever do.

Report this review (#83474)
Posted Tuesday, July 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This isn't Pink Floyd. Period. End of discussion. For better or worse, this is not Floyd.

I was about to knock this album for un-originality because I thought it came out in 1969 -- the year of the great guitarists (Fripp and Page anyone?). No, it was 1967, and the most innovative guitars at this point were probably on "Helter Skelter." I'm not knocking the Beatles, but there was certainly quite a room for improvement. No prog to speak of, either.

So with this in mind, I embark on reviewing an album that vies for the title of Weirdest Album Ever. It pairs visionary lyrics with sweeping, metallic guitars and beautifully-constructed soundscapes ("Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive" are stunning). There are also stupidly funny songs that you know you should hate but you just can't ("Bike" is a great song). Finally, there are pointlessly annoying songs that make you want to drown someone in a bathtub ("Matilda Mother" and "Pow R. Toc H." give me homicidal tendencies). It's that kind of album.

So what to make of it? It's a rock n' roll dead end. Should Barrett have followed this moderate success up with more albums, who knows what direction rock could have headed. But instead we got Pink Floyd sans Barrett, and I think rock ended up okay as it is. Personally, I kinda like it. Piper at the Gates of Dawn is an interesting window into something that could have been far better. But for better or worse, that thing was not Pink Floyd. It's a whole different animal.

To EVERYONE: Listen to this album at least 2 or 3 times, a couple months apart. I hated it to no end the first time I heard it, put it aside and cursed it. Then I listened to it again and liked it. This is not Pink Floyd, but give it a chance anyway. You won't regret it.

Report this review (#84413)
Posted Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A delightful album, full of the surreal music of the late Syd Barrett. My favourite stand out tracks are Bike, with its colourful lyrics remind me of a Doctor Seuss book for exampe; "...I've got a Clan of Gingerbread men, here a man there a man lots of Gingerbread men, take a couple if you wish they're on the dish." Flaming, has brilliant lyrics "...travelling by telephone." Scarcrow and the Gnome fit in that genre as well. I think these songs reflect how colourful a personality Barrett was. There is a lot of sixties psychedelia, such as Interseller Overdrive, which I do believe influenced a lot of Krautrock. Also Astronomie Domine. I do like Domine in its own way, but for me Interseller Overdrive is a little dated bands like Can really develop these ideas further, so to me Overdrive is an item of Antiquity, it serves as an artifact of future psychedelia. Roger Waters has a writing credite for one song Take up thy Stethoscope and Walk, but this pales compared to Syd's songs. For 1967 this album is very progressive, but I think its also a little dated it sounds too attached to the 60s summer of love. To me its merely shows the potential that Syd Barrett had as a songwriter but it feels there was more yet come (which really didn't happen). Its a good album and shows how dynamic Floyd was under Barrett, but they had better days ahead, so to me its non essential, a nice album to own that was a landmark for Prog but it doesn't stand up to later progressive albums by Yes and Genesis and Pink Floyd . So three stars from me, a nice album that is enjoyable but an artifact.
Report this review (#87175)
Posted Monday, August 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars UK Version review:

Mostly, Pink Floyd has always meant 'too easy listening' for me. Colored water, background music, elevators, telephone waiting signal, just.. Boring, really. To put it bluntly. Never really understood what the big fuzz was about. I tried listening to a couple albums, the music went in from one ear and came out the other and afterwards I was always left wondering 'what the hell was I listening to again?' Never left much of an impression. Then I came across this.

Being hailed as a psychedelic epic, my interest was sparked. Fond of all kind of tripped out sonic psychedelia, I decided to give Piper a try. After *ahem* 'acquiring' the record, I put it on and I was definitely suprised. Very interesting, not like any other Floyd I had ever heard (soon after, I learned it was mostly thanks to Syd Barrett - RIP). 'Psychedelic fairytale songs for children' I believe someone called it and I would have to agree with that definition. After I had listened to the record a couple of times, it quickly went to the top of my 'buy'-list. It got the honor of being the first (and currently only) PF album to be inducted into my CD collection.

Bottom line - if you can't find any hooks in Pink Floyd's music, if they come across as nothing but boring to you, give the Piper a listen. Maybe it will change your perception of the band, maybe it won't. It definitely helped open up their music to me a little. And without a doubt, it is that 'psychedelic epic' mentioned earlier. I deem it an essential piece of psychedelic/progressive music making, an excellent addition to anyone's record collection and possibly a good way to introduce Pink Floyd into your musical tastes.

Report this review (#89649)
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pink Floyd-Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Silence. A man speaking incomprehensibly to another over a fuzzy intercom in a serious- sounding voice. In the background, a palm-muted guitar clicks into the scene, as the voices fade out. And then, Syd Barret, the mad genious, the mastermind behind the early days of Pink Floyd, enters in with his famous lyrics, singing softly, in an eerie, catchy way that is uniquely his:

Lime and limpid green a second scene, A fight between the blue you once knew. Floating down the sound resounds Around the icy waters underground Jupiter and Saturn Oberon Miranda And Titania Neptune Titan Stars can

These where the first moments of the band we know as Pink Floyd. The famous first moments of the album that hit it off for the band: Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

I have been a true Pink Floyd fan for about a year now. Though it may be somewhat generic, this is my favorite band. I was quite interested in exploring the toddler years of Floyd, when he was just learning to walk. At first, I was puzzled. I was farmiliar with the bands later work, such as The Wall, Wish You Where Here, Dark side of the Moon, and Animals, but this stuff was different. It sounded much different than what I knew. And, oh, was it weird. The cooky, trippy lyrics, the sudden spazzy guitar solos that seemed quite improvised, the strange selection of instruments and sounds. After listening for a while, it hit me: these are the things that make this album such a prize.

From sudden, frigntening attacks to your ears in "Interstellar Overdrive" to the soft, fun, silly, childish tune "The Gnome", this album is essential. It will take some time, sure, as all wonderful albums do. Do yourself a favor and give this a listen, if you havent already. Definately recommended.


Report this review (#93117)
Posted Monday, October 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars What we have here is a perfect example of the Psychedelic/Space Rock genre. It is the kind of album we think of when we think of the year 1967. One of the problems with many albums from this psychedelic era is that you will have a variety of brilliant gems mixed in with songs that just don't work, kind of sound the same, or are too experimental to be enjoyable. I have no such complaint for this album. All of the songs on this album maintain the bizarre, fresh style of Syd Barrett that makes Piper so enjoyable.

The songs on this album can be divided basically into two sections based on style: 1. Astronomy - 7. Intersteller, and then the last four. The first seven have the dark, spacey sound that sets Piper (and Barrett-ere Pink Floyd in general) apart from other more whimsical sounds commonly used at the time, and makes it such an exceptional album. The spazy guitar Syd is known for proliferate most of these songs, mixed in with the more relaxed sounds of Flaming and Pow R. Toc. H.

The last four songs take on a much different style than the first seven. The Gnome and Scarecrow have a light, folkish sound which can be quite surprising after emerging from the murky depths of Piper's preceding tracks. Chapter 24 sounds most other psychedlic tracks of the era, with a mystical sound and lyrics which could hold the secrets of the universe or just be random blathering. The album finishes with the puerile Bike, which has a catchy sound and amusing lyrics.

Piper is essentially just what a psychedlic album should be, and is the epitome of that genre. A must.

Report this review (#93408)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This album is dramatic despite that blind critics give to it an important credit in the development of space/ psychedelic jammings. "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" reveals only one definitely classic tune: the improvised, freak-out, druggy "Interstellar Overdrive". In a sense this song prefigures the space out and psychedelica nirvana of German krautrockers. This affirmation is partly true because the History and musical sources don't give reason to the Floyds. in 1967, Soul Caravan (Xhol) published their furious "Get In High", Embryo recorded "For Eva...The debut of krautrock experimentations beat everything released by the almost conventional psychedelic pop of Pink Floyd (in the late 60's). Soft grass as "Scarecrow" or the "honest" and gently psychedelic "Astronomy Domine" indicate that the band's priority is to satisfy the public with easy (and rarely efficient) hippie spaced out effects. Late 60s gorgeous acid rock trips and alternatives to common psychedelic pop music are associated to these names: Xhol, Tangerine Dream at their rocking period, Zendik, Organisation, "Zodiak free arts lab" (family tree with Kluster, Eruption...).
Report this review (#95504)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars First album of my favourite band... Very good album. Syd is not so ill here, and it was good for the music. It's not the Pink Floyd you know today. This lp is psychedelic, strange pop with distorted guitar and strange melodies. Astronomy Domine is in my opinion the first space rock track. Lucifer Sam sounds like a track from a James Bond film:) Matilda Mother is very folk like, Interstelar Overdrive is simply strange and so on, and so on... The only bad track onthis album is Take Up Thy Stetoscope And Walk. That Roger Water's number is not very Floyd like. Funny track really but it dosen't fits in good. The history of the best prog rock band has started...
Report this review (#104107)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the fantastic debut album of THE BAND of the millennium and doubtless (one of) the key album of the psychedelia era. Here we can find the real '67 spirit,beautiful acid trip ballads,lyrics talkin' about gnomes,scarecrows and space journeys,long instrumental improvisation made of a freaky guitar playing by SYD BARRETT(R.I.P.). SYD has been a great innovative musician and lyricist and this album is near to be considerate a solo album... A WONDERFUL and originally album,maybe not my PF preferred album but certain (IMO)the best psych-space sperimental rock album of the history,two steps forward others EXCELLENT album like FOREVER CHANGES (LOVE),Sgt PEPPER(BEATLES) and EASTER EVERYWHERE(13th FLOOR ELEVATORS). Essential: a masterpiece of psych music! 5 stars,obviously!!!
Report this review (#105241)
Posted Tuesday, January 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I remember the disappointment I felt when I first heard this record, I was not expecting to hear poppy, psychedelic music with silly, story book-like lyrics. I'm sure a lot of people had the same experience who only knew FLOYD via "Dark Side Of The Moon" or "Wish You Were Here", but this was recorded in 1967 and this is Syd Barrett's PINK FLOYD (not Rogers), and David Gilmour isn't even in the band yet. I thought it was interesting reading Pete Townsend's thoughts on this album when he first heard it. Now keep in mind he used to go and see FLOYD and the SOFT MACHINE at the UFO Club and FLOYD blew him away with their psychedlic, experimental and powerful shows. Anyway when he heard the debut he thought it was awful, it didn't represent the band he was used to seeing live at all. This would have sounded much different if Syd and producer Norman Smith weren't involved, no doubt about that. I feel though that this album has had a huge historical significance in the genre of Psychedelic music.

It's very cool to think that back in those days when PINK FLOYD and SOFT MACHINE played together all the time at the "UFO Club". In fact the debut album from both bands have a similar style with those short poppy psychedelic tunes. Both bands would really be known for what they would record in the early seventies though, so to go back to the debuts of both of these legendary bands can be a surprise and a disappointment. I have to thank Finnforest for his respect and knowledge of Syd Barrett and PINK FLOYD in general. It's the former that caused me to upgrade this review. And please check out his fantastic review of this album.

It's interesting that whan FLOYD signed to EMI they were assigned Norman Smith as producer the same man who engineered for George Martin and THE BEATLES up to "Rubber Soul". It was Smith who urged EMI to sign FLOYD after seeing them at the UFO Club. Not that he liked their music but he knew talent when he saw it. Ironically enough both THE BEATLES and PINK FLOYD were recording their respective albums at the same time at Abbey Road studios, in fact there was even an introduction of the two bands which Nick Mason later described was like meeting the royal family. By the way Smith did not enjoy doing this record. "Working with Syd was pure hell and there are no pleasant memories". Tell us how you really feel Norman (haha). I guess Barrett refused to play anything the same way twice, no matter how small a piece. Norman was pulling his hair out in frustation. Hey it still turned out awsome Mr.Smith.

Things get started with "Astronomy Domine" a PINK FLOYD classic that is great to hear live. It was recorded live in the studio in two takes with one version overdubbed on top of the other. Roger's bass playing is prominant especially in the intro. Mason is all over this classic spacerock track. This is the perfect song to start the album off with and it's a top three tune for me. And really this track and "Intersteller Overdrive" give us a hint at what this band would do later in their careers. "Lucifer Sam" is a very swinging, sixties sounding tune (haha), that is one of my favourites on the record. It's an ode to Barrett's Siamese cat. Drums and bass dominate and I like the organ 2 1/2 minutes in. "Matilda Mother" is another really good song and a top three track for me. Some good organ work from Richard. "Flaming" is a little haunting to begin with before turning lighter with vocals.

"Pow R. Toc.H." is an instrumental that opens and closes with experimental sounds while in between we get a good piano,drum melody. "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" is the only song not written by Syd Barrett. Roger Waters did this one. The instrumental parts are great, with organ and drums leading the way. "Intersteller Overdrive" is my favourite on this album, and is possibly the first spacerock song ever recorded. The guitar and bass are terrific as we travel through space in our minds. "The Gnome" is a silly acoustic song, while "Chapter 24" is a slower paced, spacey tune. "Scarecrow" is also another silly song that features farfisa organ and percussion. "Bike" is catchy and I can't help but love it.

There is something charming about this record, while the two monster songs "Astronomy Domine" and "Intersteller Overdrive" showed the music world that PINK FLOYD were a band that had to be taken seriously !

Report this review (#105634)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars As usual for a first effort, I was quite reluctant in reviewing this first Floyd album (or is it Syd's album ?). "Piper At The Gates of Dawn" is the title of a chapter in Kenneth Grahame's book, "The Wind in the Willows", one of Syd's favorites. Like the band posted on their web-site after Syd's death :"Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire". Roger met Syd and Nick at the Cambridge Lyceum. In 1963, Roger founded his first band with Nick and Rick (The Sigma Six). Syd will join them pretty soon and this was the start of a magical band. The name « Pink Floyd » is found by Syd (it refers to two blues singers : Pink Anderson and Floyd Council). There is one interesting quote from Roger about Syd (available on www.pinkfloyd- :

"All that stuff about Syd starting the space-rock thing is just so much nonsense. He was completely into Hillaire Belloc, and all his stuff was kind of whimsical, all fairly heavy rooted in English literature. I think Syd had one song that had anything to do with space, 'Astronomy Domine', that's all. That's the total sum of all Syd's writing about space and yet there's this whole mystique about how he was the father of it all. It's just a load of old bollocks, it all happened afterwards. There's an instrumental track which we came up with together on the first album, 'Interstellar Overdrive', that's just the title, you see, it's actually an abstract piece with an interstellar attachment in terms of its name."

About the future of the band in terms of live appearances, Roger will comment in 1967 :

"We can't go on doing clubs and ballrooms. We want a brand new environment and we've hit on the idea of using a big top. We'll have a huge tent and go around like a travelling circus. We'll have a huge screen 120 feet wide and 40 feet high inside and project films and slides. We'll play the big cities or anywhere and become an occasion just like a circus. It'll be a beautiful scene. It could even be the salvation of the circus." Quite premonitory, right ?

I would certainly not recomend this album to enter the Floyd's catalogue. I consider this one more as a testimonial of an era and a tribute to Syd. The brilliant opener "Astronomy Domine" is the highlight. An incredible psychedelic trip. Completely innovative for the era. If only it could have set the pace for the rest of the album ! "Lucifer Sam" is a good pop / psyche tune. Great bass playing and drumming. "Mathilda Mother" is completely psyche and interesting. This song will be quite downsized by the producer for this studio release. During their live renditions it was easily extended to anything between ten to twenty minutes.

As far as their live sets are concerned, the band will play approximately 135 concerts from April 29 and December 22nd, 1967. One concert every other day. For six months. Some concerts in the US will be cancelled (nine in total) because the working permit was delayed by the US authorities. Amongst them, three were planned in the famous Whisky-A-Go-Go club (you know the whisky bar from The Doors...).

They were also one of the opening acts of the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" tour and performed twice a day for several days during this tour (total of over thirty shows in three weeks). On December 2, 1967 for the show at The Dome (in Brighton) it is said that David Gilmour made his first appearance with the Floyd to replace Syd. Mitch Mitchell (the drummer of The Hendrix Experience) mentioned that David joined the tour half way through with no other precision. During this period they will appear about ten times on the TV.

"Flaming" is another childish / poppy / psychedelic tune (it was composed by Syd before PF). Not bad though. "Pow R. Toc H." is a jazzy impro song. At times some fearful and strange noises appear (I guess this feeling would rise with the use of some popular products from that period). Being non addicted to those, I am not very enthusiastic about this song either.

"Take up Thy Stethoscope and Walk" is composed by Roger. It was an attempt to recreate the Floyd's sound on stage but the middle part of it was edited by Norman Smith (one of the producer). Drum part reminds me a bit the one for "Set The Control". Good psyche moment again.

"Interstellar Overdrive" is another great tune; comparable to "Astronomy". Again, it is such a pity they didn't investigate more into this direction for the other tracks. This could have led to a more solid effort. Pure craziness and "trip" oriented. This track sounds like they used to do when playing live (although it could last for about half an hour...). "The Gnome" is again a tune that could easilly be skipped. Sounds like a very poor Beatles song. Same applies to "Scarecrow", "Chapter 24" and "Bike". Still quite innocent, the melodies are more catchy. As far as "Bike" is concerned, Norman Smith one of EMI's staff producers, will say that it was one of the last tracks where Syd was truely in control (it is the last track of the album, but not the last one to be recorded).

As a commentator says in the DVD "Pink Floyd : From the Inside", it is quite an overrated album. I fully agree. Although it was quite innovative and different for that period, too few good tracks sit here to really enjoy it. For as much as I have seen of them in videos, it must have been a better experience to watch them live with their use of light shows already. I guess it must add to the atmosphere and provide a unique ambiance... The album will reach Nr. 6 in the UK charts. This album is the archetype of the psyche sound and is reminiscent of some bands from the West coast (Airplane, The Doors ...). Some great moments like "Astronomy" and "Interstellar" and several good ones for this emblematic "psychedelic prog rock" album. The producers wanted to avoid long tracks on this album. This will lead to some kind of disappoinment from their fans who were expecting those ones to remind their live sets. I guess we would all have loved that. Three stars.

Report this review (#107627)
Posted Monday, January 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Opening with Astronomy Domine, my favourite of their big psych work-outs, even here in truncated form, Pink Floyd's debut album immediately attracts attention. A mixture of outright psych indulgence like perennial concert favourite Interstellar Overdrive, and catchy pop hooks filled with warped characters like the gnome Grimble Gromble [inspired by Tolkien] though sadly the Cambridge knicker-snatcher Arnold Layne was not included. It's all sung in Barrett's characteristic English whimsy of course which both lends its charm as well as rooting the album solidly in the 60s, but when it works it is a brilliant evocation of the period that reaches out across the years. And who isn't moved by the imagery of Bike?
Report this review (#107966)
Posted Friday, January 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Whichever things have been listened to about this disc, many without a doubt, but of which they excel more are the fact that one of the foundations of the progressive rock is considered him, in my poor opinion I consider to this disc and to this band as the plus represented of which it is the progressive rock, since there is many element that can be removed from her, says that the first album of progressive rock this in controversy so that it is not possible to be said for sure as she is first, but good leaving of outside the speculations of this disc we have what is known by first passages the rock progressive already like concept and final sound since many can say that the progressive one is successive to different currents, but man that in general of music but as I am not speaking of the roots of the rock if of the progressive one I do not avoid to fall in tedious subjects that nothing has to do with our subject and style, the creation of this disc clearly is marked the psicodélica of the years sesentas, the marked rules that followed were seems drawn up by the psicotrópicos elements, this because at that time they put of everything, the letters the power of the interpretation was not PINK FLOYD of we know that was single the creation of a wound and later the scars of that would become the PINK FLOYD that later became the recognized band but of the style, I must make notice that this era the style of Syd BARRETT and not of which they would become finally, the sound that I influence to many people in the world, is due to say that it totally seems a disc of Syd BARRETT and that is the creation of a mystical musician who of to have continued with the control of the band this serious one of a so underground taste that serious world-wide stranger instead of which is now, excellent means to know and to let themselves take per moments of the little mature ones Floydianos, but that if with subjects that equal move to us.
Report this review (#111577)
Posted Saturday, February 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well, Pink Floyd, I must admit it, is my favourite band, and this album, the first one, I think is a beautiful piece of art.

Syd Barret is in his best moment of all, and he makes a complete "revolution" in songs like the marvellous, and, for me the best song of the album, "Astrominy Domine", and the great "Interestellar overdrive".

This is the only album we can see Syd completely envolved with the band, then, things will change, and, unfortunately we will lose this genious Syd, so, enjoy him as much as we can in this spectacular Pink Floyd album!

Report this review (#111939)
Posted Monday, February 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars As close to Prog Rock as you are likely to find in 1967

The impact this album must have had on it's release must have been staggering - and it must have been easy to fall into a "love or hate" category, as the stunning production puts this album into a class of its own.

Forget Acid Rock - this is nothing like the psychedelic noodling and simple, catchy melodies of Jefferson Airplane et al, it's a collection of music that's uniquely English and that can only have been produced in the late 1960s, as it captures perfectly the essence of the London Underground circuit (and I don't mean the Circle line here...).

The side openers, "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive" are legendary - and rightly so. The painstaking attention to detail in what seems like spontaneous, even random music is incredible - small wonder neither sound quite right when covered by other bands - you could play every note precisely right, but completely lose the feeling that Pink Floyd manage to muster.

Those are covered in minute detail in other reviews, so I'm going to turn my attention to the remaining songs - short shots of psychedelic sublimity that often (wrongly) get dismissed as simple pop songs.

Every song on this album feels like it was forged in a different dimension, and "Lucifer Sam" is no exception. While the riffing is superficially unremarkable, and the overall construction a standard song with additional instrumental passages, the mashing up of time caused by Barrett's guitar experimentation and Wright's keyboard during the song and particularly the instrumental bridges lend a peculiarly spontaneous feel to the whole piece.

"Matilda Mother" carries remarkable presence, thanks to the reverb-drenched vocals and heavy-handed stereo panning. Gone here is feeling of a standard song - there is a refrain as opposed to a chorus, and the instrumental bridge is a pure slice of Eastern- feeling psychedelia thanks to Wright's modal keyboard runs and Barrett's drones. The coda (the instrumental passage that closes the piece) bears a striking resemblance to "Norwegian Wood" by the Beatles - was this a co-incidence, given that the Fab Four were also in Abbey Road (working on Sgt Pepper...) at the time the Floyd were creating their debut?

"Flaming" begins with a crushing, deep dischord, which fades to a pastoral song with the most incredible production effects thus far - the cuckoo that follows the line "Lazing in the foggy dew" still makes me jump and look around to this day, and the tinkly bells that accompany the line "Watching buttercups cup the light" has the feeling of perfect timing without any real reason why - but my favourite bit is the instrumental section that follows the line "Hey-ho, here we go, ever so high...". Beautiful pastoral images are painted with a positively lysergic wash in the soundscape.

The opening vocalisations of "Pow R Toc H" are madness encapsulated, and Rick Wright shows a gentle bluesy jazz edge to his keyboard skills, roaming through modes in what would appear to be a jam, until a sudden change and darkening of mood brings more vocalisation madness and guitar experimentation from Barrett. Like decent Jazz, the instruments give each other plenty of room for expression, and Mason's sensitive percussion brings out every bit of drama and mood change, until Wright hits us with a new, mellower keyboard idea for the third and final section of this short piece. The vocalisations are brought back as a kind of leitmotif, showing again the great patience in construction that the Floyd were capable of.

"Take up Thy Stethescope and Walk" features a pulsating backdrop against which Wright and Barrett experiment to their heart's contents, with Waters providing the earth, or link to reality with his bass before Mason mashes up the drums for a blend of psychedelic swirls and colours in yet another cunningly constructed instrumental - or so it would seem! A vocal section kicks in just in time for the ending.

"The Gnome" sould be seen as just a novelty item - something to dismiss. But doing so would be to miss out on even more fantastic psychedelic imagery, with great production enhancing wonderful musical exploration. Sure, the lyrics aren't anything to go wild about - but the vocal treatment and sympathetic instrumentation combined with Barrett's amazing ear for a melody are.

"Chapter 24" has a really epic feel to it, and is too short by far. The Eastern feeling (common to much psychedelic music) returns, but, as ever, it's in the perfect instrumentation that satisfaction is to be found. Unusually, there is no "beat" to this piece, and hence it has a unique ambient quality that I cannot think of a precedent to.

"The Scarecrow" has an accompanying video, which is full of the same pastoral images that the song paints. The constant clippy cloppy hooves paint a picture of a comical horse dancing to what is essentially a very simple song - but with Syd's own brand of rythmic invention and lyrical genius. The closing instrumental section gives a taste of what you want - a little more intensity in sound - before finally moving to the most eccentric track on an already eccentric album.

"Bike" has probably been covered in enough depth elsewhere, and is just as notable as any other song on this album for its amazing instrumental arrangement, uses a refrain rather than a chorus, and each verse increases in intensity until the final couple of minutes of musical madness. The room of clockwork toys positively drips with cavernous reverberation until the maniacal laugh that closes the piece that this little section is a trip all by itself.

All in all, an astonishing and practically unprecendeted debut from a band that justifiably deserves all the credits it still gets, despite the odd turkey here and there.

It's Progressive Rock, alright - before its time, yet unmistakably a product of its time.

Report this review (#116026)
Posted Thursday, March 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars [Review of standard CD release and album content] Yes, it is a masterpiece. I understand why some people have such trouble accepting that and yet must respectfully correct them. You must remember this was pre-White album and you cannot judge this next to mid 70s classic mainstream Floyd. It was a different time, different band, and different universe spiritually.

This is one of the most important albums of the last century and must be experienced with an open mind and a 1967 London mindset. It did not simply try to take the period pop sound and add the group's spin, but rather created a new sound completely born of the eccentricities of their Cambridge upbringing, the natural beauty surrounding the town (Grandchester Meadows and the like), psychedelics (in Syd's case), and their artistic interests. It was a revolutionary sound and it holds up beautifully today because it is real, unlike some other 60s albums that sound very stale now.

This is an album that I hated the first many times I heard it as a teen. I had the same complaints as many here, too weird, too silly, where's that smooth Gilmour sound to party to? Wrong I was. It took years for me to understand how perfect this album is, and why the Floyd members themselves praise Syd so highly. It belongs on the shelf of any person claiming a respectable Prog (or even Rock) collection. If you're a newbie to music, just make sure you're ready for a strange trip. This ain't no "Learning to Fly," this is the real deal.

[Review of 40th anniversary special edition 3-disc release] The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is one of the most important albums in rock history and a singular work of genius by the late great Syd Barrett. It is a perfect testament to a brief moment in London history, that like the Summer of Love in the Haight, was essentially over by the time the public figured out it was happening. Only the people who were there in 66 and 67 will know what it was really like. As a big fan of Barrett and his muse I had high expectations of what a 40th anniversary edition might be like. For the most part it is one huge bummer. Let's get the biggest atrocity out of the way first before reviewing the package content.

As a Floyd fan, I am really disgusted with the surviving band members for the lack of their personal contributions and recollections, their memories of this most special album. Come on!! This is the big 40th special edition, it's a groundbreaking album, and Syd just passed away. Could there have been a bigger MISSED OPPORTUNITY GUYS for the inclusion of a page or two from Roger, Rick, Nick, even Dave and Norman Smith? For such a big moment, I would think each could have taken a moment to contribute their personal memories of the sessions, their views on Piper's place in history, and most importantly a bit of gratitude to their recently fallen band leader. But of course there must be some liner notes by a journalist, or some studio notes from Abbey Road, right? No. Nada. They may have some lame reason why this wasn't feasible, frankly I don't care. Guys with their power could have made something very special happen here if they had the will, sadly, they did not. But think for a moment how cool those pages of personal notes would have been in this little book format they released. Rant over.

Let's take a look at what you get for your money, considering that many of you have already purchased Piper several times in various forms. You get two versions of the actual remastered album, the stereo version and the mono version. This is nice for mono fans and audiophiles with trained ears who can appreciate the differences. Then there is the all important bonus third disc of extras. This is where many Floyd fans are frustrated, wishing they had released all of the missing lost recordings like Vegetable Man, Scream Thy Last Scream, etc.My understanding is that they chose to stick with only the songs that were a product of the actual Piper sessions and not get into the slightly later stuff. Whether this is the real reason or whether they just saw more opportunity in releasing those in yet another package is for Floyd fans to debate. On this bonus disc you will get Arnold Layne, See Emily Play, and Paintbox which were already out there on Relics and Saucerful. The more interesting items are Candy And A Current Bun and Apples And Oranges (two versions), two singles. These are really nice psychedelic pop songs though probably not as strong as Piper tracks. Then there is an alternate version of Matilda Mother and two different versions of Interstellar Overdrive. These are very cool because Syd never really did anything the same way twice. As with Syd's solo work, "alternate versions" are gold because they are often like another new song, a completely different take or feel. That is not so much the case here because Syd had more constraints than he would have later, but they're different enough to get excited about for Barrett fans. So if you don't care about a mono mix, and you don't care about these different versions, there is really no reason to spend the extra money if you own the standard Piper.

Let's move on to the packaging. Looks impressive on the web scans, doesn't it? It's nothing to get too excited about. For all that packaging, you get a few pages with lyrics and photos. The reproduction of Syd's collage notebook is of interest to very hard core Syd devotees and those folks will already have this in their possession. For the regular Floyd fan this little 12 page booklet will mean nothing more than what their 2nd grader brought home from art class. Syd's artistic jottings and musings are nice but they are not exactly as essential as his music. That's all there is. The package itself is of fair quality, I have a hunch that the glued portion of the construction may not hold up that well if one opens it often to remove CDs, but we'll see. The CDs are held in digipak holders glued to the inside and back covers. The back one that holds discs 2 and 3 is really cheesy, they place one disc partially over the other so that they can touch, and so you must remove the top disc if you want to get the one on the bottom. Sure it's not the end of the world, but again, this is Pink Floyd. You would think they could afford to do this thing up really nice. Maybe they decided they'd try harder for the 50th anniversary.

Piper (and Pink Floyd, and Syd) are favorites of mine. You'll note I gave Piper 5 stars in my album review. I don't mean to be overly negative here but I wanted to make damn sure people realize this "Special Edition" is mostly hype.ZERO LINER NOTES for they don't spend extra money if these little tidbits are not important to them personally. I am really amazed this is the best they could do, given their budget freedoms and the importance of this material. This is 5-star music but this release is 2 stars, for hard core fans and collectors only. Everyone else should stick with their regular Piper remaster until the 50th anniversary edition is released. Hopefully Roger will grace us with a few of his wise musing at that time. [In the meantime, Syd fanatics will get far more bang for their buck with the new Mick Rock book, featuring tons of stunning rare Syd photos and sincere interesting recollections of their personal friendship-see my review in the book forum.]

Report this review (#117077)
Posted Sunday, April 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Ah Piper, a masterpiece of pyschedelic mysticism. This was sadly the only Floyd album ever in which we got to experience the trippy genius that was Syd Barrett first hand. His whimsical lyrics and the ingenuity of his guitar work make this album an essential one within the landscape of pyschedelia specifically, and prog in general.

Pink Floyd had already shown the world their capabilities with the Arnold Layne single and moreso with See Emily Play, but the album opening track on Piper, the pure space rock genius of Astronomy Domine eclipses both these. The lyrics are bizarre even by Syd's standards and were reportedly written during his first acid trip, where he walked around holding a lime and an orange claiming they were planets. To be concise in speaking of this track, Nick Mason owns! It is the best song on this album and one of their greatest ever. 4/4

Lucifer Sam is one of the more rockier tracks on Piper and like many of the songs on the album I find it relatively unmemorable, but still high quality. It isn't as freaked out as many of the other songs, indeed the semi-normal lyrics suggest Syd may have written this song during a more moderated LSD binge. 2/3

The 3rd song matilda Mother is like Lucifer Sam, difficult to talk about in any great depth, but is totally different from the previous track. It is back to the more s optandard Barrett trademark of random senseless lyrics and trippy musical accompaniment. And it has a high quality slide guitar solo, another Barret trademark. 2/3

My unique song length based scoring system means that Flaming will score identically to the 2 previous songs. However I generally prefer this track than either of the other 2. It is the first true instance of the real childish type songs that Syd wrote throughout this album and has some fantastic keyboardery from Rick Wright midway through. And Rick and Syd harmonise well in their vocals. 2/3

Now we come to Pow R Toc H. A song as weird as the title itself. It starts with some rather stupid, but rhythmically acceptable scat singing which returns midway through the song. It is largely a jazzy outlet for Richard and Nick (who again owns) as such. It is one of the Floyd's most underrated instrumental's ever and an album highlight. 4/5

Side A closes with Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk, a Roger Waters solo composition, and the only track on the album with no compositional input from Syd. And this shows, Syd was by far the most (only) competent songwriter at this stage. As is so often the case an album highlight is again followed by a lowlight. It isn't terrible, but it is very amateur and seemingly random. 1/3

Side B starts with the instrumental Interstellar Overdrive which to most people is held alongside Astronomy Domine as an album highpoint. This is justified as when performed live, often encompassing extended sections of random improvising and clocking in at nearly 20 minutes, it was a magnum opus of the pyschedelic movement. Unfortunately the Floud got too greedy with the studio tools they were equipped with and make 10 minutes of annoyingly random boredom, salvaged only by the awesomeness of the opening riff. 5/10

Next comes the Gnome, a short fun childish ditty inspired by the writings of JRR Tolkien. It isnt particularly memorable and would suffer if it were any longer than it is but it's still such silly fun. Rick is rather marvellously trippy in this song and it certainly has nothing particularly wrong with it. 2/2

Chapter 24 is the middle track in a trio of book inspired songs, this time with lyrics virtually leeched directly from the chinese philosphical text, I-Ching. If you think this might make the words sound random, you'd be right. Unfortunately unlike both the Gnome and Scarecrwo songs, Chapter 24, even at 4 minutes, is too long, especially considering its quiet guitarless nature, although Rick's work is strong. 2/4

The penultimate track is the original See Emily Play b-side, The Scarecrow. This song is the pinnacle of childish lyrical sillyness but god help me I really like the song! This may be because of Syd's almost unnoticeably brilliant guitar which backs his vocal line and peaceful acoustic work backing Rick in the close of the song. Like The Gnome, it would be annoyingly repetitive if longer than 2 minutes, but it is hig quality as it is. 2/2

Ahh Bike. What stupid, stupid fun. This song is rather difficult to fully relay here. Everyone has a lot of affection for this song, including me, because it so famously ridiculous, making songs like The Scarecrow seem like Final Cut tracks in comparison. The musicinship is terrible, but it was meant to be like that, nothing about this song is meant to be taken seriously. Indeed as screwed up as it seems, Bike is the one song where Syd was truly sane and in control while writing. The random noises at the end might be annying (and more than half the song) but this song has too much novelty value to be just dumped, even though it is pretty terrible. 2/3

This is not one of the Floyd's greatest albums, especially musically and compositionally, but it is not one of their worst, and the musicianship is in fact better than you might think when first hearing the album. But it is still the pyschedelic stigma associated with it, and with Syd Barrett that gives this album its value. Not an album any person would want to play day after day, but a great example of psychedelic rock and a great debut effort.

Total: 28/40 - 70.00% - 3.50stars.

Report this review (#117516)
Posted Saturday, April 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the overall excellence of Pink Floyd's catalougue, their earliest work is quite often grossly overlooked. Perhaps more than Obscured by Clouds, Meddle, or Atom Heart Mothe, Piper At The Gates of Dawn seems to be the prime example of this phenomenon. Not without is major quirks, i first came across this album a few months after truely apreciating Dark Side for the masterpiece it was. I listened to it in the way i always use to listen to albums, i skimed until i heard something that interested me. As i now know with most Prog/psych/avant music this is a horrible way to approach an album. So Piper sat and collected dust for about a year until i returned to it as a much more matured listener. As i sat and listened to it, i realized the wierd beauty of it and suddenly appreciated that which i had loathed only a few months prior. Syd Barrett's strange almost goofy English twang is a remarkable difference from Gilmour's and Waters' usual Americanized singing voice that i enjoyed thoroughly. The musicianship here is a good as it will be on any Floyd album, with ferocious drumming from Nick Mason, great keyboard solos from Rick Wright and very good playing from Barrett and Water's as well. Astonomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive shine as the best songs in a group with a few "joke" songs, both hint at the expierimental avant-prog Floyd would be come famous for. Although not as hard-hitting as the efforts following the departure of Barrett and the addition of Gilmour, this is a great album for every prog fan, and and essential for all Floydians.
Report this review (#121750)
Posted Friday, May 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Progarchives is a peculiar site. Quite a few reviewers seem so enamoured of Pink Floyd's classic 1970s albums (particularly MOON and WISH) that they don't know how to deal with THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, which is a totally different kettle of fish. When people rate ANIMALS (or the dreadful THE WALL) higher than this astonishing debut, something must be dreadfully wrong...

THE PIPER doesn't offer you sedate, organ-led symphonic suites or misanthropic rock songs with fabulously bombastic guitar solos. It's an all-out attack on the senses. It's supposed to make you see VISIONS, for goodness' sake! Simply put, it's one of the most original British albums of the 1960s. Naive, childlike pop songs are combined with wonderfully unsettling sonic experiments.

Between the two World Wars, Dadaists and Futurists (operating mainly in Paris, Berlin, Moscow and New York) shocked the world with chaotic, overwhelmingly unmelodious musical experiments. They reached hardly more than a handful of listeners. In the 1960s, however, Pink Floyd gave the world "Pow R Toc H", "Interstellar Overdrive" and other outrageous compositions, which they would go on to sell to millions.The importance of such as revolution is hard to overstate. The Floyd put their stamp on most of the Space Rock and Krautrock bands you'll find on this site, and they also had considerable influence on avant-garde jazz. Jan Garbarek and Terje Rypdal's brilliant early albums for ECM are full of Floydean echoes.

At the time of writing, a new 2-disc edition of THE PIPER has been announced, which will include, among other things, two of Syd Barrett's best early songs, "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play". Since the original album version of THE PIPER is slightly less than 42 minutes, this kind of treatment was long, long overdue. You can always count on EMI for overcharging the listener for relatively small amounts of music - witness the way they're still trying to sell us the Beatles...

Report this review (#127809)
Posted Saturday, July 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I discovered "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" after a long process... At first, I bought the album Ummagumma on CD after I listened my father's record and found it really weird and intriguing. I wanted to discover that face of this famous band. The live version of Astronomy Domine retained my attention and I was just learning Syd Barrett's style of music. I bought "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" and found a real treasure of the 60s. This is a real masterpiece of Psychedelic/Acid music. It is the dawn of Pink Floyd and Progressive Music in general. In the same way than some Beatles' albums like "Magical Mystery Tour" or "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", the lyrics and the melodies of the songs of The Piper are simples, childish and random. The song "Interstellar Overdrive" is particularly interesting. It is a kind of big instrumental jam with many chaotic solos. It well represents the Underground movement in England during the sixties. For every fans of Pink Floyd, Psychedelic rock or simply music I recommend you that masterpiece witch is the result of Syd Barrett's genus.
Report this review (#131051)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was quite a remarkable debut at the time. Pink Floyd had a unique and unusual sound compared to other groups from the period and they had the oddball Syd Barrett at the helm, with his strange, psychedelic lyrics. At that time and many years later, this work was considered groundbreaking. To this day quite a lot of people and historians still think so.

I can respect the historical importance of this work, but I find I listen to this less and less as I grow older. To me, it hasn't aged well like Pink Floyd's 1970s albums. Maybe most people overlook the sloppy musicianship or the sloppy production and see through to Barrett's genius, whatever that may be. The band was quite young and not quite so skilled on their instruments. Barrett certainly had some interesting ideas, but his lyrics leave much to be desired as well as his vocal delivery. The band seems to play its best on Interstellar Overdrive, a psychedelic jam instrumental. That's obvious because this is what they excelled in during live concerts. Here the band plays tightly and explores some really interesting sounds. Other songs of note are Lucifer Sam and the very strange Bike (which is worth hearing if you've never heard it before). The rest of the material doesn't seem very inspiring to me. It has more of the feel of a couple of teenagers goofing off in the garage. They have their moments, but the overall impression approaches mediocrity.

By all means get this if you're interested in the beginnings of progressive rock and psychedelic rock. It does lay a foundation for the future of both genres. However, if you're just looking for something like a masterpiece, you may be wondering what the big deal is. Essential for historical significance and Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett fans. For the rest, it's good enough for three stars.

Report this review (#131389)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars My first thoughts on hearing this in 1968 were "what the """"? It's bizarre, often atonal style and very basic musicianship is not attractive and I confess I almost gave up on Floyd altogether, especially after the next album turned out to just as bad. The one long track, Interstellar Overdrive, is passable, as are Astronomy Domine and Lucifer Sam. However, the rest is pretty awful, especially the bizarre Pow R Toc H, Take up thy Stethoscope and Walk and Bike. I guess I never took LSD or magic mushrooms so psychadelic doesn't do it for me at all. But Sid Barrett's drug problem got worse and he went, Dave Gilmour came in to sort things out and they gradually developed into one of the greatest bands in any genre. But this is not the place to start listening to them! For hardcore fans only.
Report this review (#131408)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The piper at the gates of dawn reflect in exact form an era of experiments with drugs and complete free creation with cosmic visions inspireds in books for infants. The piper represent the pure essence of a group that give personality to the psychedelic rock .

The piper was produced by Norman Smith(the sound engineer of the first albums of The Beatles) who was enforced by EMI in detriment of Joe Boyd. Recorded by Pete Brown in three months,; the album reflect the overflowing talent of Barrett,one diamond that shined only one year ,and his three partners:Roger Waters(bass),Richard Wright(keyboards) and Nick Mason (drums)

The title of the album comes from one chapter of the book The wind in The Willow of Kenneth Graham ,one of the faves works of Syd. The texts of the songs have diverse origins, but is able deduce the influence of LSD and the fascination for the English literature, in special for infants

The first theme Astronomy Domine is one of the best ,..this theme dont was included in northamerican edition, his place was taken for See Emily Play. The misterious psychedelia of Lucifer Sam , mix the ideas of Syd and his girlfriend Jenny Spires. Matilda Mother is one of the gems that included in inicial moment infant verses of Hillary Belloc ,,after was prohibited and substituted for Syd verses

The instrumental passage with the organ cutted in the album for Smith usually of more than 10 minutes alive. Flaming is other invoke of Barrett of the infance, with Wright pushing ahead the weight with the organ and phantom clavecin. The instrumental theme Pow R tOC H with the tribal rythm of Mason and the jazzistic piano of Wright was a consequence of Interstellar Overdrive the long and abstract theme that defined the first phase of the group and that endure for more than half of hour in the live shows The only individual song that dont belongs to Syd Barrett was Take up ThyStethoscope and walk of Roger Waters who was at last who will converts in the principal composer, in that theme untie all the demons with a devilish organ,a furious guitar of Syd Barrett and one involvent bass line . that Mason accompany with the drums in unusual velocity. The Gnome inpired in Lord of the rings of JRR Tolkien is an exquisite psychedelic folk with some pop arrangements associated with the event that The Beatles were recording in simultaneous SgtPeppers in the same studios of Abbey Road. For other part Chapter 24 with lyrics inspireds in the chapter 24 of I Ching is one of the moments more hypnotics. The Scarecrow was inspired in an infants book of June Wilson although in his turn is the inconscient way of Syd to refers likewise or to him like a scarecrow the end part with acoustic guitar and organ is delicious

Bike have a first part with pop structure conventional and after with a second part full with a generosity of sounds a prelude of the future experiments of Ummagumma and RevolutionN9 of tHE bEATLES one year after,. Well I BELIEVE THAT IS A GREAT ALBUM 4 STARS

Report this review (#132775)
Posted Saturday, August 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This review is of the new 2007 40th Anniversary edition.

Firstly the packaging - this is a 3-CD set (I believe there is also a 2 CD edition) which comes in a DVD size book with cloth cover. It's very nicely produced with all the lyrics and a special booklet of Syd Barrett collages. Two complaints though - CD's 2 and 3 are placed on top of each other at the back of the book and are hard to extract and I was expected an essay or something detailing the history of the album, but there's nothing!

What of the music? Well, I must admit that this is the first time I've heard the complete album (gasp). I can't help being reminded of Andy Partridge and the Dukes of Stratosphear, as this is surely the psychedelic album that they had in mind when recording tracks like "Bike Ride to the Moon". It has a lot more in common with Sgt.Pepper than just the fact that it was recorded at Abbey Road at around the same time with the Beatles' engineer Norman Smith, but it's certainly a bit too weird for the average Beatles fan who was listening to "When I'm 64" at the time. Strange noises and lyrics about gnomes and bicycle baskets abound and it's all the work of Barrett (apart from one Waters song). I'm not a huge Floyd fan - whilst I do like them I find a lot of their work one-paced and soporific - but this is a very interesting listen (but then again, I like "Ummagumma"!). I'm not familiar enough with it to detect differences between the mono and stereo versions, but most of the Beatles albums were originally mixed in mono so it wouldn't surprise me if, like Sgt Pepper, the mono mix was different.

CD 3 contains the singles "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play" along with some other new tracks and alternate versions of some of the original album tracks, unfortunately there is no information about the origin of the new tracks.

In summary, this is a seminal album of any genre and this is a nice package but I have to deduct a star for the lack of information.

Report this review (#136604)
Posted Thursday, September 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I would have to call this album one one the greatest debut albums of all time. There are some that are better but not many. This album is a perfect acid trip. Syd Barrett is brilliant. His lyrics vocals and guitar are perfect for this sound. While it doesn't sound much like latter pink Floyd this album is truely amazing. This has some of my favorite Early Floyd songs like Bike Interstellar Overdrive Lucifer Sam and Astronomy Domine. I would highly recomend this album to and Pink Floyd fan.
Report this review (#140660)
Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Last night I've listened to 'Piper' after many years of break. well, I must admit that it didn't blow my mind as it used to do back than, in my adolescence years. However, I didn't consider lowing the rating due to that reason. The music is still great, fresh and innovative as it has been when it first came out, 40 years ago.

This is PF at their very first steps. The first seeds of each member style and contribution are demonstrated here: Nick Mason on drums, doing a great job, particular I hooked by his toms. Roger Waters on bass, delicate and melodic. Rick Right on keyboards is very creative, showing that you don't have to be a technical virtuoso to implement great ideas and make wonderful sonic pallet. And last But not least, Syd Barrett, leader, singer-song writer, and guitar player. Although not much skilled technically (he used to take guitar lessons from David Gilmour at that time), his sound is fresh, original and innovative.

The overall sound is loaded with effects, in order to emphasize the psychedelic atmosphere, but still, the vocals are clear and in high level on the mix, and the drums are back. The rest of the instruments are in between, so this is an 'old fashion' balance, without loading too much effects on the listener. The listening treatment is fresh, not tedious, and it's easy to trace each line in spite of the various effects and the sound environments.

I'll follow the tracks from my point of view as a listener.

First track, 'Astronomy Domine'. in my opinion, this is an excellent opener but not among the best songs of the album. I really like albums in which the opener is not necessarily one of the highlights, and things get better with each song.

The next three songs are 'Lucifer Sam', 'Matilda Mother' and 'Flaming'. There is a continuous build up through these songs and the tension is rising. As mentioned in other reviews, these are not songs in the ordinary form of versus-chorus-medley. Each song is based on one refrain, in a very tiny form. The ideas are beautiful and the songs are very short, so there is no chance you'll get bored with it. Actually these are three charming miniatures. 'Lucifer Sam' is about Syd's cat, (if I got the idea), 'Matilda Mother' is relatively quite but there is a tension here, and Rick Right's keyboard solo is worth mentioning. 'Flaming' is the strong among this triplet, emphasizing very well the trip experience without necessarily have to try it myself.. Other people have done that and unfortunately some of them did pay the price. the climax is 'hey ho, here we go, ever so high'. Still it sends chills down my spine.

Then comes 'Pow R Toc H'. The guys are yelling, whispering, whistling, and make all kind of noises in this gibbering ('pow ch ch.'). Then comes the bluzzy jazzy brake, after that turn again to much more psychedelic mood, and it goes on, through various moods and changes. As reviewer fuxi wrote, this album is an "all-out attack on the senses", And this track is a good example for that. This track written by all members and that's how it sounds.

'Take up thy stethoscope', is the only track written by Waters. It is clearly inferior to Barrett's songs, but OK, the man will contribute his own stuff later on. anyway it's a nice break in tension and fits its place in the whole album. (End of side one of the vinyl version).

Side two opens astoundingly with 'Interstellar Overdrive'. I guess everything been said about this track. I'll just add that I tried to answer the question what makes it so good, by pure musical terms it could considered quite simplistic, featuring almost one chord and one riff. I think the answer here concealed in the way all of them playing together, in the moving altogether through various environments, in the unique playing style of each member, and in the fact that it is relatively short track after all. Short enough to catch the listener all the way.

The two following songs, 'The Gnome' and 'Chapter 24' got more ordinary structure than "the first triplet" but these are not just ordinary pop songs. great songs anyway. 'Scarecrow' is more subtle, using just one idea with captivating sonic pallet, featured some claps and farfisa organ.

'Bike' is the closer, and an astonishing one. The idea is (as I got it) - the narrator has got some objects in which he could do something, or not do anything at all. The last lines are 'I know a room full of musical tunes, some rhyme, some ching, most of them are clockwork. Let's go into the other room and make them work.' It may sound cliché but still when it comes to this point I couldn't avoid being sorry for Syd Barrett and the fact that it didn't worked well for him eventually. And in a way, it is a lost for all of us. The track reach to its end with some incredible sounds of toys, enclosed with some vehicle's horns in few phases. It's amazing.

So, whether you are a Pink Floyd fan and want to explore their roots, whether you are not mad about PF and willing to know another PF, whether you are a progressive rock listener who wants to explore PF roots in psychedelic era. this album should not be missed by all of you, and by many others. A masterpiece? Yes, I believe that. Essential? That's for sure.

Report this review (#148314)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars By the time this debut album emerged to shake the UK psychedelic scene in 1967, that scene was already at least two years old, as were the aspirations of the founding PINK FLOYD members. They had paid their dues gigging all around the country and, while they were by no means gifted musicians, they had that most essential commodity to 'make it': a superb songwriter.

SYD BARRETT is such a bittersweet figure. This album is his crowning achievement, capturing the free spirit of the age in a series of pop vignettes interspersed with courageous experimental psychedelic freakouts. His influence can be heard in every subsequent PINK FLOYD album, a ghost on WATERS' shoulder. Here he combines crafted ingenue - an artless childishness augmented by his unaffected vocals - with genuine compositional ability and pop hooks. The resultant music is always fun even when it asks serious questions, is always strange even at its most straightforward. As with so many musicians of this period, he burned bright for such a brief time, then flamed out.

'Astronomy Domine' starts the album strongly, with RICK WRIGHT handling the vocals. The opening notes of 'Lucifer Sam' send me straight to my DVD copy of the Gerry Anderson TV series 'UFO'. The low-slung guitar sounds featuring here and in 'Matilda Mother' are so evocative of the six years from 1967 to 1973. Fairy stories, memories of childhood, a witch's black cat, all fodder for BARRETT's mysticism. 'Flaming' brings in overt drug references and the first of many psychedelic freakouts. BARRETT here is a child, describing his trip with simplicity and beauty ('Watching buttercups cup the light') and behaving with playful ambiguity ('I won't touch you/But then I might').

The heart of the album is a series of pyschedelic experiments. 'Pow R Toc H' is WATERS' heavy-handed attempt to fit in with BARRETT's delicate vision, and it strikes the only sour note on the album, sounding more ominous than playful. 'Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk' begins as a pop song, but within thirty seconds has become another psych/blues jam. Fun but not essential. 'Interstellar Overdrive' is absolutely essential, however, even though the live version on 'Ummagumma' is superior. The legendary opening guitar riff is followed all too quickly by nearly eight minutes of improv insanity. The single plucked guitar note is particularly strange - yes, we've heard weirder since, but this was 1967. Any self-respecting psychedelic group has tried their hand at this track (including THE MARS VOLTA with JOHN FRUSCIANTE at the helm one night when CEDRIC was unwell). The studio version here finishes with a stereo-effect reprise of the opening riff, adding to the general weirdness and air of experimentation.

The album's third part returns to the beautiful BARRETT palette of psych pop. 'Gnome' is a playful return to the fairy tale, as is 'Scarecrow', reminding listeners in a very late 60's DONOVAN-like fashion to pursue their inner child. 'Chapter 24' is a strange song among strange songs, a tarot-like reading of the seasons, or perhaps a compendium of fortune cookie advice. I can't work out whether BARRETT wants to be taken seriously here, though I tend to think this is a piss-take. 'Scarecrow' might as well be BARRETT's unconscious autobiography. Read the lyrics closely...

'He's resigned to his fate 'cause life's not unkind. He doesn't mind. He stood in a field where barley grows.'

'Bike' deserves a mention on its own. Because of its appearance on PINK FLOYD compilations it is well known, and is many fans' first encounter with BARRETT's whimsy. But in treating 'Bike' as a novelty song, people miss the point. 'Look,' he is saying to his girl - and to us. 'This is my life - a collection of small and insignificant things. Once you see them the way I do, you can come into this other room, this central room of my life, in which music occupies the central place, and understand what I'm about.' That's the meaning of the powerful last verse, and explains why the music slows down for it. I find this song compelling and extremely poignant, the crowning moment of SYD BARRETT's genius.

There's barely a wasted moment here. ROGER WATERS' latter-day self indulgence is nowhere to be found: the band here have exercised admirable restraint. Other bands would have filled a side with 'Interstellar Overdrive' (a la 'In-a-Gadda-da-Vida') but here they present a stripped-down version. Others also would have found a place for the various singles they'd released, but not PINK FLOYD.

This is a blueprint for the psychedelic era, a proto-prog album, and essential listening for anyone trying to understand the evolution of popular music, let alone PINK FLOYD.

Report this review (#149476)
Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars

There was a time in my life when I would have rated this album five stars without reservation. However, as time marches on and as (in my middle age) a degree of wordliness, maturity and as an ability to critically appraise my own shortcomings increases, I find that I have to look back at my love affair with this record now as one looks back at that girlfriend of long ago... with a blend of both sadness and joy, a sense of amazement and yet a sense of clarity, with a sense of what I'd lost and what I've come to gain over time. The salience and sharpness of this record in its time can never be denied. Unfortunately, the bittersweet taste that I experience now in 2007, a full forty years after this wonderful recording was released, is the emotional perplexity I experience listening to the infantile, drug-impaired, psychotic musings of perhaps one of the greatest musical talents of his generation (Barrett) and the stark realization of his utter failure to realize what seemed to me to be his boundless potential. One can only speculate what future Pink Floyd or Syd Barrett music would have sounded like if the man had had a sufficiently intact mind and enough personal fortitude and a personal support system that would have allowed him to regain some management of his senses. Unfortunately, we'll never know. In retrospect, this record was a milestone in the history of 20th century music. Whether this record can truly be considered progressive rock or whether it is better classified as proto-prog, psychadelic or probably more aptly in this case, PSYCHOTIC PROG is a matter of debate. In the passage of time and with the ability to experience the moods, textures and styles of all of Pink Floyd's subsequent studio records, those of many of progressive rocks best bands and a wealth of jazz and classical music, my own appraisal of this record at this stage is that it while it represents a landmark in the development of music in our time, it now plays more like a home baby video of one's fully grown children... it's very charming to see the first steps and the exploration of territories and challenges that were new, but also comes across now as a dated, immature and sometimes embarrassing anachronism.

Report this review (#150468)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The beginning of an era, the age of the Floyd. Syd Barret led the band through their first (and only) psychedelic excursion, and one of their more bizarre albums. Barret had an interesting writing style, mixing humor with strange melodies, best evidenced on Matilda Mother, Bike, the Gnome, and Take Up thy Stethoscope and Walk. Others are interesting rockers, like Lucifer Sam, Astronomy Domine (amazing guitar work), and of course, the extended jam Interstellar Overdrive. The title provides all the imagery needed to tell us what the song contains: amazing guitar work, moving from ear to ear, spacey keyboard textures, and some intense drumming. Other songs, like Flaming and Pow R Toc H, delve into other areas, with the latter having some great piano work by Rick Wright.

Overall, this album came into being before anyone knew what was really happening, and it paved the way for many other bands to begin experimenting, much like Sergeant Pepper did in its own right. An incredible Debut, but not a masterpiece. Those will come later.

Report this review (#154505)
Posted Thursday, December 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars In this first Pink Floyd records, you will find nothing common with their later work such as Meedle or Wish You Were Here. Except the instrumental track Interstellar Overdrive, all the rest is dated. Syd Barret's songs are really naïve and too pop oriented. This album is very overrated and i give it two stars out of respect for his great age.
Report this review (#161384)
Posted Saturday, February 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first time I listened to this album, I found it really childish, and didn't like it much. After a few listenings, I changed my mind. Yes, it seems childish (the songs looks like some fairy tales, talking about unicorns - Flaming - , castles and kings - Matilda mother -, a very special cat - Lucifer Sam -, a bike - Bike - , a scarecrow - Scarecrow - , a little Hobbitt-like person - The Gnome - ...and so and so.

Syd Barrett's voice is as strange as his guitar (Interstellar Overdrive). The songs on this debut album are strange, weird, sometimes futuristic (Astronomy Domine), sometimes funny, sometimes icy. I don't really like Chapter 24 (who talks about the 'I-Ching'), but I love the album, and I can't give less than 5 stars to it. This is a masterpiece of psychedelic rock music. Barrett was a genius.

Report this review (#164823)
Posted Monday, March 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars An Escher Designed Room Of Musical Tunes

Genre debates have no place here. File under ORIGINAL and ignore the idiot who walks into the Colosseum in Rome circa 80AD and twitters:

Oh I see you've gone for that Greco/Roman style thing's really coming back in vogue now you know?

This is a recording that CREATED the stylistic cliches we now detect in all those bands who subsequently came in it's wake.

It may be considered a rather redundant exercise to imagine the music presented here stripped of its psychedelic coating but I think it may serve to illustrate a point:

Without the framework of Syd's songs (or basic harmonic progressions and melodies) the Floyd would have amounted to no more than another fashionable 60's freakout combo that collapsed under the weight of its own creative inertia. A fantastic light-show that serves to conceal much more than it illuminates.

Pink Floyd minus Talent = a very bad Hawkwind x 100

To wit, most of the successful material on Piper consists of short pop songs around which the band weave their spacey 60's backdrops. It is testimony to the resilience of Syd's original constructions that they hold up so well in spite of the deranged chaos that threatens to engulf them completely. Therein lies the tension that all satisfying structures need to posses as a sure sign of strength.

Or at least it was until Mr Barrett's musical and chemical substance ratio went seriously awry. Thereafter, the strengthening tension disappears, and that sublime and inspired derangement of the senses, which is so perfectly captured here, withers into a sad and bloated corporate version of the counter culture.

'Astronomy Domine' - forget the notion that Syd Barrett created space rock - it proved to be the ultimate cul de sac of genres that no-one has ever escaped from with a shred of integrity intact. This is just a GREAT POP SONG with 1967 Zeitgeist lyrics.

'Lucifer Sam' - best song title EVER but rather disappointingly, appears to be just another GREAT POP SONG about a black cat

'Matilda Mother' - fantastic jangly guitar riff throughout this one and the vocal harmonies are achingly gorgeous. Syd was forced to change the lyrics as they were lifted verbatim from Hilaire Belloc's Cautionary Tales for Children whose estate threatened to sue for copyright infringement. GREAT POP SONG

'Flaming' - beautiful tune with completely drippy lyrics (unicorns, buttercups and eiderdowns anyone?) Like all of Syd's best work, the chord progression is extremely unconventional and in less talented hands would sound just plain odd or wrong Somehow he made these angular sequences work.

'PowR TocH' - worst song title EVER and the album's first 'baby clanger' with cod jazz piano from Wright over some cod jazz drums from Mason. The opening section is clearly composed and what follows sounds like Whistle-blower's Raspberry (an unconvincing jam)

'Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk' - perhaps a variant on 'Physician Heal Thyself?' Anyway, I thought it sounded like the Seeds when I heard this the first time (Which is certainly not a bad thing)

'Interstellar Overdrive' - Great opening riff a surefire 24 carat classic and then.....the remainder is probably culpable for 'space rock', yes folks, that heinous genre which, like it's venereal half sister sibling 'ambient' shares a passion for putting any old s.h.i.t. through a big reverb. If you just want to listen to stimulating timbres for their own sake - buy a sample CD.

'The Gnome' - charming, funny and whimsical with a sublime tune. Much imitated style of songwriting but the imitators like Bowie, Bolan and the rest just weren't up to penning this type of GREAT POP SONG.

'Chapter 24' - I think this is the verbatim text of some eastern mystical tome? Rather silly but redeemed yet again by the intoxicating other worldliness of Barret's voice. Exquisite.

'The Scarecrow' - Odd little waltz tune graced by some clever phrasing by Syd to get all the words into the meter. Haunting organ sound used to great effect throughout the album

'Bike' - A love song that possibly reveals more about the author that he would have cared to admit. Within it's modest 3min 26 sec span, Syd manages to sound cheerful, sad, lonely, bored, poignant, irreverent and all points in between. The object of his affections would also probably reciprocate these feelings, and when the mood turns darker at the end,

I know a room of musical tunes

you suspect that Barrett foresaw his own descent into oblivion/derangement. It was perhaps sadly, inevitable.

The 'squeaky toy' loop section at the end which fades out has haunted me for years. Like so much of the record it is both thrilling AND unsettling.

This is the only Pink Floyd album I ever still listen to and although I admit to being left mostly cold by their subsequent work, it seems faintly ironic that despite the resultant stellar material success garnered by Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, all three are unable to dispel entirely the haunting spectre of a laughing madcap.

Report this review (#169579)
Posted Friday, May 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I know that all of this is subjective but seeing The Piper at the gates of dawn getting an inferior note than the Dark Side... Don't hit me, I love Dark Side but ...

But on the Piper everything is perfect (again this is only my point of view). I mean, Us and Them isn't the worst horror recorded by the Floyd? A sort of equivalent of Maxwell's Silver Hammer by McCartney on Abbey Road on a disc yet so good! I think the comparison is not so stupid than it seems ...

to return to Piper ..., it is for me indisputable that the Barrett's period is the true FLOYD period, after all he founded the group. While the FLOYD has well done his job later, and even without Syd, regained his own identity, but it was different from the original, and this from Atom Heart Mother / Meddle.

Barrett brings a personal touch that neither Gilmour (with all due respect that I have for him), nor Water (even if I haven't any respect for him), will success to tie it, for me. And yet God knows that I appreciate Wish You weree Here (in fact it should be noted that this album, we all know, is in honour of S (hine on) y (or crazy) d (iamond), really surprising) , or even, Meddle or Animals.

In short, for me this disc deserves 5 stars -> Essential: a masterpiece

Report this review (#169950)
Posted Monday, May 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of prog rocks most essential records. And one of my favorite debut albums of all time. If this album had not been made some of the other bands we love today would not make the stuff they do... AND it got one of the biggest prog/rock bands of all time started, thats also a very important factor.

This albums uses extreem stereo as I like to call it, but it fits very well with the music because of all the strange sounds. The vocals are over all very high in the mix, but again it kinda fits the music well.

The cover is kinda, how should I put it... ugly. But I like the dancing people stuff on the back of the cd and in the bookleg. That is just sooo 60's and again that fits very well with the record.

This is really an underrated album in the Pink Floyd catalogue. Syd Barrett is not everyone's cup tee and I guess that's the reason. This album is true psykedelica and Syd was one of the godfathers of that genre. The album contains of some really well written songs with great humor, mood and depth. A real trademark in rock history if you ask me.

The first 4 tracks Atronomy Domine, Lucifer Sam, Matilda Mother and Flaming are all flowing very well and are all great prog/rock material.

The Pow R. Toc H. is more on the experimental side, but still a nice track if you ask me.

Then you have Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk which is really out there, but really cool. It's Roger's first contribution to the album. I really like the stereo effect towards the end. Really a rocking track.

Interstellar Overdrive is one of the most important peices of music to apear in prog. This track really sat the standards of what you could do in 1967. Sooo many artist must have been influenced by this piece of music, be it live or on the record. The rocky opening riff is really great. Then you have the far out part which is really confusing when you hear for the first time, but after several listens your ears gets used to it and you hear a lot of melodies and rythm stuff in that part which is amazing. The build up to the riff again freaks out in stereo... really cool. Overall a fantastic track that really sat the boundaries of prog.

Then we have the last 4 songs The Gnome, Chapter 24, Scarecrow and Bike. These song are all far out, but still more regular in a way than the last 3 songs. It's kinda like the album (cd version that is) starts out and ends with 4 songs that are more regular, but I know nothing is regular on this record. In between we have these 3 songs that really stands out imo on the really experimental side. Bike is one hell of a track, easily one of my favorite Syd tracks. The ending of it is just mind [%*!#]ing and totally inventive.... true genius from Syd going on there.

Report this review (#170139)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Disastrous debut. The supposed highlights Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive never impressed me. They're not entirely bad but aren't good either, just bland music. The rest of the album is awful. Poor lyrics, irritating voice and similar songs that bore me to death. Uninspired, dissapointing and misleading. The amount of acid the boys took must have blinded their senses and blocked their musical taste. Syd Barrett was no genious in my conception. I always thought of him as walking cocaine but The Piper... is poor even when judged with Barrett patterns. This is no Floyd. This is no good.
Report this review (#170693)
Posted Sunday, May 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is the classic debut album from legendary prog rockers Pink Floyd. It sticks out from the rest of Pink Floyd´s discography as it has Syd Barret on vocals and guitar. Syd had a very fragile mind and had to leave Pink Floyd after this album. He was replaced by David Gilmour who has been with Pink Floyd ever since. Syd Barret had a major role on The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, as his voice is very distinct and his lyrics are very strange. His guitar style is very much rooted in sixties rock, but there are also some pretty inventive things going on here and there like on the spacy opener Astronomy Domine.

The music is very psychadelic with weird lyrics and spaced out sounds on top of more conventional sixties rock. The vocal based tracks like Lucifer Sam, Matilda Mother, Flaming, The Gnome and Bike are all great examples of how Pink Floyd sounded at the time. Astronomy Domine stands out from the rest of the songs at it is a timeless classic. Pink Floyd never made a song like this again and no other band has ever been close. This song is a true progressive classic.

There are some psychadelic jam session tracks here too in Pow R. Toc H. and Interstellar Overdrive where I find the first the most rewarding. Interstellar Overdrive isn´t very exciting to me. It´s way too long and noisy to fit my taste.

The musicianship is good and you can hear that this band has great chemistry ( no pun intended).

The production is actually a very good sixties production. One of the best psychadelic productions from that time.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a classic psychadelic rock album and it´s essential to that style. I have always enjoyed this album tremendously, but the instrumental noisy tracks never excited me much so I´ll rate the album 4 stars. This is a must hear of course.

Report this review (#173967)
Posted Sunday, June 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all let me say that this isnt a Pink Floyd album, its a Syd Barrett album with Pink Floyd playing backup. And second, this may not even be Syd we're hearing, its LSD pure acid, from start to finish. Syd never was the genius people made him out to be, it was the drugs that made him who he was and eventually destroyed him. I give the guy talent and his story is very compelling but I dont think he deserves all the credit he gets.

With that out of the way let me tell you that I've listened to alot of british psychedelic music and this album is undoubtedly the best of the bunch! The brain-child of Syd, Piper is composed of songs glorifying the acid experience and songs that take ordinary objects (bikes, cats, childhood stories even scarecrows) and twist them into the focal point of an acid experience. Theres alot of bad psychedelic rock out there, most bands either lay in on too lightly while others lose all sense of musicianship and go completely over the top. In Piper, however, Pink Floyd has made a really trippy album that still rocks! But dont think that Syd holds the band up, he certainly doesnt, Rick, Roger and Nick all play incredibly well on this album. Nick Mason's drums never sounded so good especially on Pow R. Toc H. Rick Wright's keyboards are in the forefront of every song, setting the atmosphere and keeping the music moving. While Water's muscular bass drives the hard-rocking tracks like Lucifer Sam. Many of the tracks abound in weird, nonsensical noises in particular, the freak-out jam Interstellar Overdrive which, after a kick-ass riff, launches into unexplored musical territory where Barrett does pretty much everything possible to get an unconventional sound out of his guitar. Admittingly, while this playful side turns some people off, I cant get enough of it.

Other highlites include the brilliant opener Astronomy Domine. This track and its companion Interstellar Overdrive thrust the listener into outer space and leave them there while loud drum beats, swirling organ and Syd's fractured, skittish guitar riffs cascade around them. The vocal harmonies on Matilda Mother do a great job in creating a trippy atmosphere especially when they drop off, tell me moooooooore. The album closes with Bike which is Syd Barrett in a nut shell, bouncing along on an organ riff before descending into a collage of weird noises which ends the song. The rest of the album is great as well, all of the tracks contributing to the psychedelic feel.

Even though this is nothing like the Pink Floyd that developed over the years, this incredible debut is still my favorite Floyd album and it fully deserves its 5 star rating. From here we can catch glimpses of the space rock PF would focus on as well as the uneven acid rock Syd would produce before he retired from the music scene forever. Its a pity he couldent have gone on with the band as nothing they subsequently made sounded so good and so trippy from start to finish.

Report this review (#174591)
Posted Friday, June 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think i have no other option, to be honest, that to crash against the progressive Pink Floyd fan´s opinion. This is the best Pink Floyd album by far, really faraway from their more accesible succesors. Why? For Syd Barret. Because the music is not gloomy. For the creativity. Because is a historical, artistical, magical event. Because later on Pink Floyd only would be looking at this era sighting, with bitterness in their texts and music. Because is not a stilistic mastery that soon would turn into cliche, is vitalistic ,really mad and asthonashing at the same time, fresh, new, is a experiment that strangely becomes a perfect master-piece. For Pow R. Toc H. ¿Is there any freak that really dont like these song?. For the perfect progression of songs. For the experimentation with strange sounds and noises ( experimentation not merely repetition of formulae). For the lyrics. Because all the esquizofrenics in these world have here a deep sweet home. Because its real, a real event , not something coming from a memory or thought. Is not over-intelectual, is a disc for anyone with the guts to hear it. For Interstellar Overdrive, a song that would actually been impossible to be record on vinyl without the telepatic capacities Syd Barret infused in his mates for a little while. Because this song is the most avangarde piece of magic that exists in all the british music- making the Beatles music sound pretty comun. Because is not a technical demonstration what we are hearing. Because the fun, the madness is not faked. Because the average hip-hop, pop, wahatever # ## listener hates it and yells in pain when they hear it. Because the average Pink Floyd fan does too. Because is bright, brutal, delicate, with nothing to hide. Because the spirits have worked into this music, because is impossible to manage to do something like these deliverately. Because this music affects you and cannot leave you indifferent.

For all these, Flying high above the progressive music section of heaven, in cloud seven ( because you know seven is the number of the young light) is this brutality that should be enjoyed and experienced without prejudices, without being too analitycal. Magic over five stars ( i have to bring it down to just get it into our scope).

Report this review (#175889)
Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album is obviously essential to any die-hard Pink Floyd fan like myself, but not to anyone just, unless you've already checked out the next 10 albums that follow this one. Yes this is the foundation of arguably the greatest band of all time, but there isn't anything special about it. Some of the tracks are fun, you've got to love Bike, and I love Pow R Toc H. Compared though to whats to come, this album deserves a four becuase I only recommend it to die-hard fans of PF.
Report this review (#177126)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Really good album in the early psychedelics, but far not the best! And not progressive in any ways.

The greatest is the first song, Astronomy Domine which has surprising moments and sounds almost symphonic. Pow R is a bit experimental with some mouth drumming and animal sounds, like Ummagumma. Take thy stetoschope shows that Waters was already good at painful lyrics.(see: Jesus bled, Pain is red...) Interstellar is interesting but sometimes directionless and too long. The rest are pop songs, I like to mention Scarecrow, a very folkish tune.

A good start, but not excellennt.

Report this review (#179490)
Posted Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Pink Floyd begins!

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is where it all began for Floyd. While in 1967 this was top notch stuff from any band - wild and experimental - these days it stands as a monumental insight for one of progressive rock's greatest acts. This is nothing like anything you'll hear from Floyd afterwards, since at this point they were led by genius songwriter Syd Barrett who took the band down much more psychedelic roads, but who was also trying to make the band more of a commercially viable band with their shorter and poppier songs, a few of which were released as singles before the album (never to make it onto the actual debut, but would resurface later on compilations like Relics) such as the very Beatles-esque See Emily Play and the always fun cross-dressing romp Arnold Layne. But enough about that, let's get to the album, shall we?

This album is great, but it is wildly different in style, even within itself. This makes for a very interesting mix, and a very good one at that. On the one hand we have the shorter and less complex songs that still make for an earful like the bass dominant Lucifer Sam and the highly relaxing Flaming, these ones will likely never be remembered as ''epic prog masterpieces'', but their melodies and amusing lyrics really do make for a good listen. Other songs on the album become completely bizarre. Lyrically, songs like The Gnome and Scarecrow will have the audience thinking ''whaaa...?'' and then laughing at their own need to try and understand the lyrics. Bike has to be Pink Floyd's most fun song to play to anyone who thinks they know the band inside and out after they've heard Dark Side Of The Moon ten times since it is an absolutely mad piece with quirky lyrics and some of the most fun an jumpy instruments to ever make their way onto a psychedelic album.

But we're missing the best part yet. The Truly psychedelic pieces on the album are what the band would soon evolve off of to form what would later be known as progressive rock. Astronomy Domine would still be played by the band in concert to their last days together, never sounding dated (which really shows how far ahead of their time the band was). It's also a surprisingly heavy piece with Barrett's guitar piercing the foreground. The biggest standout on the album, by far, has to be the longest track on the album, Interstellar Overdrive. This psychedelic instrumental was apparently written by Barrett after he had gotten his hands on some drugs and imagined himself flying between Mercury and Jupiter, which in reality were really a plum and a peach sitting on the table in front of him (if I recall my trivia correctly, that is...). Once again guitar driven and wonderfully spaced out with some great hard panning (which is rarely used well, but is here) near the climax of the song.

There's been many versions of this album released over the years as well, and I suppose it's time to give a nod to the 40th anniversary edition of the album released in 2007. This one came in two forms - one as a double album, and one as a three disc box set. Honestly, unless you don't have the album already or just must have the album in all it's forms, the two disc edition of the album is useless. It simply contains the album in mono and in stereo on two different discs with an expanded booklet. The 3 disc edition on the other hand is something else. Still more for fans thanks to its price, this one really is a good package. The first two discs are the same as the double album (mono and stereo), but the third disc is a collection of rarities and alternate takes. Some of the songs also appear on Relics, but many of the alternate songs, such as the two different versions of Interstellar Overdrive (which actually do sound different from the original, noticeably) are not available elsewhere to my knowledge. It also comes with a wonderful booklet with some great pictures and a booklet of work reprinted from a collage done by Syd, which is a nice addition. However, if you don't know what you're going to think about the album when you're buying it, you're better off with a one disc edition that includes just the album.

But let's get around to a rating, shall we? This one certainly is not for everyone, but everyone should hear it at least once. This is not Pink Floyd's masterpiece, and it isn't going to get five stars based sheerly on its importance to music (which it could in most cases), but 4 is a very appropriate rating. Recommended to all, if you haven't already heard it, just sit back and enjoy.

Report this review (#181251)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The best debut, I've ever listened to!!! Unique pure psychedelic album. I'm not agree that Pink Floyd are in the section for psychedelic/space rock. I think only the four albums from the 60s are psychedelic, with only the first one pure psychedelic. This first one - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn - I'm trying to review now, but this is not easy aim. It is really innovative and creative album for its time and because of that the album is acknowledged fully much later than its release. The ideas implemented and implicated in the release are still explored by many artists and bands. This album is one of the most influential of all times and a inexhaustible source of energy and creativity of the modern top musicians. For example, I listened the newest album of Oasis with strongly psychedelic influence and The Piper at the Gates of Dawn's influence in particular. If I look at the year - 1967 - I would say that this perfect musicianship on the album is achieved only for two/three years of practicing in playing. Just genius attainment for the band called Pink Floyd. Furthermore, the album has deep and qualitative sound. Everything I said makes the album 5 stars!!!
Report this review (#185112)
Posted Thursday, October 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Interesting? I guess so. Innovative? Most likely. Is it art? Yes,is art. Do I like it, do I think it's a masterpiece? Definitely not.

My first problem with PINK FLOYD's debut album is generated in my mind, I have to confess. I just can't get over the fact that this is the same band that would give me "Animals" or "Dark Side of the Moon" or "Meddle". In a way, then, me not liking "The Piper at the Gates at Dawn" is then purely my fault.

But if that was the case, I would definitely enjoy this music if I imagined it to have been written by somebody else. There's countless examples of cases where ignoring the band playing the music made me like it even more. After all, I'm first and foremost reviewing music. And there's where I find the biggest flaw in this record: it is just not good music.

Sorry Barrett adorers all around the globe. I can't see the magic. I hear, I admit, original ideas; I detect, I confess, a talented person behind the compositions; I see potential. And that's all I see: potential. I can't be happy with poppy/psychedelic songs like "Matilda Mother" or pseudo-unique experiments like "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" (this one crafted by future-real-masterpiece-craftsman Roger Waters.) Yes, I hear some details here and there, some original ideas that sadly don't help make the listening experience any more bearable. Sorry, I'm not happy just when I'm supposedly being exposed to originality; it first hast to be good, then original. It could be debated that something original by default is always something good. With that position, I have to say, I most fervently disagree. The world of music is full of experimental waste.

So then we reach the two songs that should, according to many, make me realize how extraordinaire this album is: "Astronomy Domine" and "interstellar Overdrive". Again, I don't fail to listen music that must've been incredibly new for the time, and yes, very progressive. They still leave me cold. The second one, in particular, appears to me as the ultimate example of why drugs and music are a perfect match, and at the same time the worst match possible. Many people see magic, "avant-garde", pure genius; I just hear a musician making noise with his guitar with certain coherence, I must say, but in the end that's it. I'll agree it can be the more interesting track in this album, but, again, that still doesn't make it good.

In the end, you should ignore me and go buy this album because it definitely is important from a historical-musical perspective, and maybe even from a purely musical one. But you'll also have to forgive me for ignoring all the people who adore and revere this record, as I certainly don't, and I'll give it the rating that it deserves for me: 2 stars for the music, 3 stars for originality. I can't round up as that would make this album as good as "Atom Heart Mother" and that's totally preposterous for me. Therefore, 2 stars sounds just fine.

Report this review (#186201)
Posted Friday, October 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I never really got why this album is so appreciated, though it does contain very interesting pieces, especially the absolutely stellar "Interstellar Overdrive" (no pun intended, it IS stellar!), it is also contains a great load of childish pieces, of course those children would have been on LSD, but never mind... This is of course a very important piece of music, and should be listened by all, but this personally just doesn't touch me, as it seems to touch everyone else, I understand it, I heard it over and over, and still it doesn't click, I guess this just isn't for me. I advise it to anyone, it is essential, it just doesn't do it for me.
Report this review (#196863)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now I actually personally believe this album deserves a 5 star, but I'm only saying 4 because while it is simply amazing, it certainly is more psychedelic pop rock than Progressive rock. Only a few songs are a bit progressive in nature, like Pow R. Toc. H. And Interstellar Overdrive. The rest are just memorable psychedelic songs, 3-5 minutes in length. But they're really good, believe me!! Some people might not like the simplicity in Syd Barrett's songs, or the immature storytelling, but I love it. It makes me feel very warm and happy, like a child. Syd Barrett's genius can be seen in this album. He wrote every song on the album except Interstellar Overdrive, in which they all worked together, and Take up Thy Stethoscope and Walk, which was written by Roger Waters. Richard Wright's keyboards, while they don't sound much like the surreal progressive side they take during their progressive era, are quite psychedelic and impressive. By far this is definitely their fastest album in my opinion, and takes you on an incredible journey through psychedelic scenes, from outer space, to whimsical tales about cunning cats, and fairy tale kings, gnomes, bikes, scarecrows, philosophical poetry (Chapter 24) and impressive psychedelic jam sessions. With this album, you either like it or hate it, there's really not in between. I would suggest listening to a sample before you deem yourself, as a prog fan, ready to listen to this psychedelic masterpiece. I would say that this is an amazing debut album. It makes you feel happy and colourful inside.
Report this review (#196959)
Posted Friday, January 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn' - Pink Floyd (7.5/10)

The debut album of one of the most influentially stirring Progressive bands of all time, The Piper At The Gates of dawn is a whimsical work of genius. The only truly notable compilation by founding-Floyd songwriter Syd Barrett before he left the band (due to drug issues), this album is a testament to his inate, albeit turbulent sense of originality and unabbeded creativity.

This is the album that started space rock in earnest. The opening track, 'Astronomy Domine' is a perfect example of the tripped out musical inspiration that makes this album such a work of art.

Throughout listening to this, I became certain that Syd Barrett (famous for his heavy usage of LSD) was under the influence of psychedelics for most, if not ALL of the songwriting sessions. There is a feeling of near insanity throughout the album, held however in tightly composed 'accessible' length songs. The true influence and unique style of Syd Barrett comes through full-circle in the lyrics however. While the lyrics are childish (some could say downright inane), thats the pure magic and beauty of it. While the words and content are (for the most part) basic and random, theres a sudden realization that comes after a few spins of the disc that somehow, everything that Barrett says in this makes sense, given a bit of creative leighway.

There is only one other album of this time that made such advancements in Psychedelic (or should I say, LSD influenced) music, being the Beatles' Revolver. However, taking into consideration is Pink Floyd's debut, and given how uncompromisingly original it is, it deserves nothing less than four stars, if not five. Any fan of Psychedelic music will appreciate this greatly; hopefully as much as I did! On the other hand, some Pink Floyd fans might not like this album; being too used to the more familiar Gilmour/Waters Pink Floyd songwriting style.

Overall, it's a fantastic record, recommended for any Prog-fan who can appreciate music that doesn't take itself completely seriously. I mean, where else are you going to hear music about gnomes, scarecrows, satanic cats and mice named Gerald?

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Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars 13.5/15P. the world, as seen from the perspective of a disillusioned and fragile genius. Syd Barrett guides the band the way to his thoughts where he lets the band do what they want to. Spacy, deeply rooted in blues with the occasional folk and jazz influences. Neither expect hippie psychedelia, nor expect space rock à la Hawkwind. This album is eccentric as hell, but propelled the music scene a few dozen steps forward.

When I went on the page of this album on the ProgArchives the first time I was quite astonished by the low rating that the Piper At The Gates Of Dawn album has received: circa 3.90/5 stars at the moment, while Sgt. Pepper by the Beatles gets nearly 4.20/5, the debut album of the Doors even a few cents more. As we have one of my favorite albums, too, I will essay in writing a bit more about the album, the circumstances and all the songs.

It might not be what we'd call prog, but in the original sense of the word it is even more than 'progressive'. The album is precocious, it is trippy, sometimes merciless and sometimes simply charming, it is magnificent all the way through, excellently produced and quite coherent. And as more than 40 years have already passed since the recording sessions of this album, the 'masterpiece'-factor manifests itself even more - many of the modern alternative rock bands (the Smashing Pumpkins or the Red Hot Chili Peppers, for instance) have greatly been influenced by this album, ditto John Lennon of the Beatles who is said to have recorded the piece "What's The New Mary Jane?" under the influence of or with Syd Barrett in 1967/68.

Just like many other reviewers have already written this album is still far away from the music that Pink Floyd have made in the 70s, so do not expect an early Dark Side of the Moon - you might probably be disappointed.

In 1967, when the album was recorded, the Pink Floyd still included Roger Keith 'Syd' Barrett as the guitarist, singer, songwriter and leader of the group, a real artist with rather quirky lyrical and musical ideas. In his youth he was inspired by musicians of several genres - from blues and jazz to pop and rock music, and later by the bands of the UK underground, the pioneers of the psychedelic scene with whom the Floyds were later in line in those years. Hence, the listener 'merely' gets to hear some shorter psych-rock/pop-pieces with many influences, which makes the album very colourful and diverting - and that is not only because of the music, but also because of the lyrics and the outstanding production - and the impression that the whole album makes on me.

Of course, this impression is linked with the outfit of the album. In 2007, the original record has been re-released as kind of a deluxe edition celebrating the 40th anniversary of the record - with the kaleidoscope-view towards the Floyd as the album cover, and a booklet with plenty of pictures of the band, their lava lamp lightshows and drawings which suit perfectly to the surreal lyrics that are printed there. Furthermore, we have a small folder with Barrett's early collages (dating 1965) including poems, 'word songs', newspaper excerpts and paintings - a good addition as well. The 40th anniversary version comprehends the album in the stereo-mix (like on the 30th anniversary remaster), the slightly different mono-mix (that was to be heard on the original LP) and a CD including 'The First Three Singles' and a handful of alternative versions coming from the archives. Releasing the hidden gems of the 'Piper' sessions, for example the avantgarde-blues piece 'Experiment', the live tracks 'Stoned Alone' and 'Reaction in G' or the abandoned single 'Scream Thy Last Scream'/'Vegetable Man', would have been more interesting for the fans, but the choice of the third disc is enjoyable though, especially because it finally made the expensive 20-minutes-sampler The First Three Singles unnecessary for the 'normal' listener.

As far as I know, this set was limited; you should try to get one soon if there are some left. If not, there is still the 2CD-version which doesn't include the bonus disc with the outtakes and which is placed inside a regular jewel case.

The opener Astronomy Domine is written in a driving 6/8 beat and can probably be called the very first real space rock tune apart from the Byrds' early space experiments, linking a really spacey text about planets and their satellites with the right music. This great song starts off with an astronaut's chatter (in fact the treated voice of the band's producer Pete Jenner) and Rick Wright's Farfisa Compact Duo organ imitating morse sounds. Afterwards, guitarist Syd Barrett enters with a jangling lick, the drums smash and pump - and Wright and Barrett provide monotonous vocals which suit greatly. After some time of oriental-influenced improvisation on the organ and the guitar, the band does a crescendo and end up in the coda: blinding signs flap, flicker flicker flicker blam pow pow - sensible or random? I don't care, in any case the piece is simply outstanding, particularly since the guitar solos have this snotty blues sound which loads of indie rock guitarists have later attempted to recreate.

Song number two is Lucifer Sam, one of the definitely darker songs on this disc, the text dealing with a Siam cat named Lucifer Sam and his probable proprietor, Jennifer Gentle - I don't know if I got it right, but I hope so. On this one, the music seems to be influenced by early hard rock music (like the Kinks), but there is plenty that makes 'Lucifer Sam' rather independent: something rattles and howls like an open window all the way through, and in the middle, Roger Waters plays a bowed bass guitar solo, an innovative technique which creates a really big effect just with very few tones. As well, I am always astonished by Mason's frantic drum playing, he really does smash everything to bits here. Somehow, the song with its smashing, rocking guitar power chords, the playfulness and this I don't care if anyone likes my music-attitude could be one of the precursors of alternative rock, at least the song has been covered by many alternative bands. Do check out the merciless cover by The Moviees (sic!) on Youtube!

The following Matilda Mother is closer to a psych/pop track, with a nice introduction on the bass guitar, distant plucking guitar notes and the Hammond organ. Syd Barrett and Rick Wright again share the lead vocal duties, whilst Syd sings the part of the child and Rick the part of the mother who tells the child (Syd) a fairytale. I like especially this nice chord progression and the improvisation part that is one of Pink Floyd's characteristic one chord jams with melodies on Phrygian scales. After a more up-beat stanza sung by Barrett, the song fades out into a waltz section with wordless vocals. A good pop song which contains many ideas that are linked very well so that the song seems neither predictable nor convoluted. The alternative version (eureka, this time at last one that really sounds different!) on the bonus CD includes different lyrics and yet another stanza, a 'fire brigade' stanza after the improvisation part, but ultimately makes a slightly overladen impression. In exchange, the vocal line in the beginning is reduced to one plain voice (singing the nice melody G-Gflat-Gsharp) instead of the polyphone arrangement on the album version. That sounds odd, but quite nice and gives the listener a chance to understand the band's arrangement of this track better.

The folky ballad Flaming is obviously the track profiting most of the mono mix: the vocals have been put through a flanger, and the freestyle centre section with the sounds of this wooden percussion instrument with the scratching sounds is now strange and blurred enough. The song itself shows Barrett's songwriting talent; dreamy lyrics, laid-back acoustic guitar strumming and Syd's charismatic, youthful voice singing a nice melody are certainly a neat mélange. The fact that this was one of the few sung Syd songs that were taken over in the Floyd's 1968 setlist reveals that the guys were also quite content about this one, and John Peel evidently liked those strange ethereal sounds, too, as he told the listeners when Pink Floyd played the piece at Top Gear 1967 (unfortunately, those BBC sessions have never been issued legally nowadays).

Pow R. Toc H. is Wright's and Mason's vehicle for their skills in jazz music on the piano, respectively the drums (especially the toms) - a jolly acoustic piece with a sedately leaping rhythm. Roger Waters and Syd Barrett provide animal-imitating vocalizations in the first half, then the instrumental stops being acoustic when Syd Barrett's electric guitar throws in a dramatic interlude with the slow vibrato of Wright's famous Compact Duo organ, which leads the track into more atmospheric regions. A very strange piece, which is very entertaining anyway.

The last one on the first LP side is Roger Waters' only piece on this LP, given the weird title Take Up thy Stethoscope and Walk. Some drum sounds start this fast-paced exploitment which soon rocks off like hardly anything in this time does. At first there is a Krautrockish stanza that always consists of Roger shouting Doctor doctor and is followed by short sentences rhyming on I'm in bed. Already in 1968 Waters had, fortunately, developed his typical style of songwriting (does anyone know his 1968 composition Incarnation of A Flower Child?), but as an energetic psychedelic rock jam it's perfectly good. Then, Rick Wright tracks one of his best and briskliest played rock solos, lots of blues and jazz licks everywhere - nice to listen to for me as a Farfisa fan. After another stanza the piece ends after 3 minutes; it must have been nice to see what PF have made from such pieces live.

Directly in the beginning of side 'B' of the LP there is the absolute stand-out track of this album, the 10-minute-psychedelic improvisation Interstellar Overdrive, a work that has often been performed live by the Pink Floyd on to the early 70s - and I think it has been played on nearly every 1967/1968 concert, too. The song begins with this outstanding heavy metal riff, with fat Farfisa organ accompaniment on the mono version. Nick Mason plays a good, breezy rhythm (already using the hanging cymbals the way he will do it with the later Floyd, too), and the string section (Roger Waters on bass guitar and Syd Barrett on guitar) knock around on the pick-ups and muted strings of their instruments. Afterwards, the band experiments with the Binson Echorec tape echo machine, leading organ and guitar sounds into giant echo loops, with the rhythm section playing around on this musical carpet. At circa 5:30, Barrett makes use of his bottleneck, and just before getting into total cacophony, the organ plays some tones and begins a short dream travel with soft guitar sounds and cymbals. From another creepy melody the main theme cristallizes itself out of this sound collage and ends the piece again. Not only an outstanding and captivating piece of music, but also one of the first longtracks, and one of the first pieces of electronic music with soundscapes. There are two alternative versions of the piece on the bonus CD, one of them just a quite boring edited unoverdubbed version of Take 2 for a French EP with minor differences to the album version, the other the really nice Take 6 which sounds quite like what the band made of the track live - especially with the follow-up guitarist David Gilmour 1968-1970. One of the most interesting versions is however the 17 minutes long UFO club recording from Jan 1967; it can be heard/watched on the London '66/'67 CD/DVD along with the other jam Nick's Boogie.

Strange wood block sounds segue into The Gnome, another acoustic ballad which is however closer to the country genre than to folk. The text deals with gnomes (yes!) and seems to be one of the pieces where the influence of the book The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame can be found, in the form of this childhood's harmony and beauty. There are no keyboards and no drums on this piece; Rick Wright plays the vibraphone instead and Nick Mason just does some percussion, for example the cymbals and some wood blocks. Roger Waters plays well here, too, playing a kittenish, but mean bass accompaniment. Nice, although it's probably one of the less interesting songs on Piper - far away from bad anyway.

Chapter 24 is another of the psychedelic songs with audible influences of Indian ragas: hypnotic vocals and monotonous organ sounds remind the listener of those popular Indian harmoniums that the Tibetian monks use to play; the bell that sounds at some places in the song, also alludes to that. There are no drums on Chapter 24 likewise, just gongs/cymbals/bells, organs, the vocals and the bass (playing some Paul McCartney-ish rock licks from time to time, which is rather amusing); a piano is also faintly to be heard. The lyrics are influenced by the old Chinese text I Ching which Barrett read in those days; it's about circulations, numbers and esotericism - whatever. It's damn authentic and beautifully conceived.

Scarecrow is another of these folk/country pieces, which is very interesting because sometimes it sounds like there is not only the tricky, knocking percussion rhythm, but also something sounding like multitracked flicking. I don't know, but the rhythm sounds interesting in any case. The organ is imitating a shalm, and supplemental there is just Syd Barrett's clean electric guitar (quite an edgy riff!) and the vocals singing about a black and green scarecrow that everyone knows (probably an autobiographical song?). In the ending, an acoustic guitar and the bowed bass guitar come along and give the piece a neat folklore touch, complete with drones and all that. It was the only song from the Piper album that was put on one of the three singles to this album (the B-side of the charting See Emily Play single).

Bike is the mad ending to this colourful album, with jolly and (on the first view) childish lyrics in the first part. Especially the last stanza in fact says much about Barrett himself, even though it is unfortunately never possible to really understand what he wants to tell exactly. At the half, Barrett invites the girl which fits in with [his] world of whom we talks in the refrains to come in to the other room where there are clockworks which he wants to make work. And in fact, the last 90 seconds are the sounds of a clock, a violin, oscillators and other sundries whose sounds Barrett mixed with tape machines - after Zappa's Son of the Monster Magnet one of the earliest musique concrète pieces on a pop/rock LP - one year before John Lennon released Revolution 9 on the Beatles' White Album!

On disc 2 we have the stereo mix about which I had already talked; I originally owned this stereo mix, but I never really liked the album in that form. The mono mix really opened my eyes about the quality of the Floyd debut album - and I can really recommend this re-issue to all those, who think that Piper is boring after hearing the stereo version - and to those who already like it and want to experience new facets.

On the bonus CD there are still some pieces left, in the beginning the first single Arnold Layne(b/w Candy and A Currant Bun), quite a nice single and the first vinyl that the Floyd have published. The a-side is a nice psych/pop-song which soon reached the Top 20; the topic of tranvestitism (Arnold Layne had a strange hobby/collecting clothes - moonshine washing-line etc.) created a minor uproar, but probably this was one of the reasons for the success. But it is a great song, again with the trademark organ solo and nice plucked guitar sounds. 2006, the piece was played by David Gilmour live on his On An Island tour with David Bowie as the lead singer, which he also released as a single. The b-side is an acid rock piece with distorted and treated guitar sounds, somehow sexistic lyrics and a good 60s Kinks rock sound. Not very essential, just a totally stoned track, but with a nice organ solo.

The next single is the charting See Emily Play(b/w Scarecrow), which landed in the Top 10 and was a big success for the Pink Floyd. Though, Barrett didn't want the piece to be used as a single because he desperately wanted to stay uncommercial. I think that the piece is very uncommercial, but Barrett seems to have become so mad at this decision so that his character changed during those sessions. This rumour sounds strange, but David Gilmour suggested that when he was invited to the recording sessions as a guest in 1967. The character change may also have had other reasons, as Barrett took a lot of LSD then so that he wasn't able/willing to play full concerts anymore in early 1968. In any case, See Emily Play is a good pop tune with very odd passages at some moments and the characteristic delayed piano sounds in the stanzas. The instrumental part in the middle includes this time - apart from the obligatory organ solo the sounds of Syd using a metal zippo as a bottleneck on his electric guitar, just the way he used it in the 17-minutes-UFO club recording of Interstellar Overdrive.

The last of the three singles is Apples & Oranges(b/w Paint Box) which failed to chart, but which is probably the most interesting one. The a-side is a great piece by Syd, between strangeness (in the quirky stanzas with the distorted guitar and the fast vocal lines) and beauty (the Hammond organ soundscapes in the I love she parts and in the refrains). The added stereo version doesn't give much to me, but is probably historically interesting for some. The b-side is (along with Remember A Day) keyboarder Rick Wright's first composition for the Pink Floyd, a nice piano-laden pop piece sounding a bit like the Beatles - and also like parts of Wright's famous piece Summer '68 - a nice composition that is unfortunately much too less known. The lyrics depict feeling desorientated in the crowds (Sitting in a club with so many fools). As a child I always paid close attention to them because the rhyme was lacking at some places, now I focus on the interesting topic. There is also Wright's beloved major seventh jazz chord which is frequently used on this one.

My personal rating for this one is rather obvious, a 5/5-star-rating because the album is not only really influential and independent, but also highly enjoyable and captivating. Lovers of psychedelic rock and the Farfisa organ will surely like it, but those who just know other Floyd masterpieces should know that there are some major differences between that one and later Floyd albums, so listen to it at first. The big success of this album is that, even though it features early psychedelic rock, it doesn't sound dated or embarassing, which most definitely is due to the fact that all of these tunes represent Syd Barrett's psyche authentically. This 3CD-pack is also great: it sounds outstanding, it has a nice booklet and looks good, too and it is highly recommendable, to those who either love the original album and to those didn't really 'catch' it - the mono mix sounds far better and you should check it - and the bonus tracks are nice, too, although the abandoned Scream Thy Last Scream and all that stuff could have been finally released officially.

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Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Pink Floyd's debut album is mainly psychedelic pop release a little bit flavoured with blues which was obvious in 60's. I wasn't much into early Floyd prefering their later albums but once I heard Astronomy Domine in Voivod version I decided to get this album. So there is. First song on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. I can't believe Voivod didn't change anything. I mean it was 1967 when the original version of this song came out and it had to be revolutionary back then. Unfortunatelly it didn't become some kind of super hit. Maybe because American version of this album hadn't included that song? I don't know. But it's psychedelic moody track pretty heavy as for those times. Restless sounds open Lucifer Sam. It's my favorite song on this album. It's a bit occult if you know what I mean. Remember that James Bond famous 'flamenco' theme? So it's something similar on here. This song is really weird but I enjoy it a lot. A also like Matilda Mother and Flaming. Pure psychedelic pop. Next three pieces are just messy jam played probably to fill this release. It's jazz flavoured but fits better for Zappa albums. The Gnome is good pop tune. Something like Beatles songs. I like it. Sleepy Chapter 24 don't move me at all. Last two songs don't move me at all either. Bike is a bit experimental but I think it's just 'art for art'. The whole album is interesting release definitely worth of attention. Of course it's completely different than the most famous Floyd's albums but that's strong side of progressive rock. Albums should differ. Strong 3.
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Posted Saturday, April 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Sleepwalker
3 stars This is The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pink Floyd's debut album. Most of the songs are composed by Syd Barett, who is often discribed as a genius by the other members of Pink Floyd and fans. Syd suffered from overdoses of drugs, mainly LSD, and was unable to play live. After contributing only one song on their second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets, the Pink Floyd story was over for Syd. Syd's style is very different from post-Syd Pink Floyd, the songs are no lengthy instrumentals, or powerful structured epics. In fact, Syd's compositions are very 60's, which means they include fairly simple chord patterns and not very complex structures.

The album has several ups and downs, the first song "Astronomy Domine" is a very big "up", the song has very powerful guitar playing and a very lovely solo, one of the most trippy songs Pink Floyd has ever made. The second song is a fun one too, "Lucifer Sam" has a growling guitar riff and a catchy chorus, the song is not much more than a fun song though. Next is "Mathilda Mother", a pretty mellow one, much smoother than the previous two, the song has a very egyptian style verse and a pretty short organ solo. Mathilda Mother is just as Lucifer Sam not a very memorable one, though it is a fun song. After Mathilda Mother we get "Flaming", which is just as Mathilda Mother kind of mellow, the organ in this song is fantastic, I think. This song does have something special the previous two songs lack, I can enjoy this one much more than those.

The next song is a weird one "Pow R. Toc H.", the intro makes me smile every time, the intro proves Syd Barett's experimental abilities. The fun intro segues into a very jazzy middle part, nice piano playing by Richard Wright with Syd's experimental sounds on the background. The next song "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" is a composition by Roger Waters, though it does sound a bit like some of Syd's compositions, it is more guitar and organ driven though. I've heard some pretty negative things about this song, but I think it is a pretty good song. "Interstellar Overdrive" is the lengthiest song on the album, lasting over nine minutes. It starts out with a catchy guitar riff and segues into a very lengthy jam, I can enjoy this jam, but I think it lasts a little bit too long, one of the highlights of the album though.

Next is "The Gnome", probably my least favorite of the album, Syd sing some of the lyrics in a pretty fun way, but the song just can't keep me intrested, even though it's only two minutes in length. "Chapter 24" is a decent song, it is in the same style as Flaming, but it's more vocal driven and is not as good as Flaming. Next is "Scarecrow", which I think is a very nice one, it has a sort of medieval feeling to it, I also like Syd's singing on this song pretty much. The final song on this album is "Bike", one of the happiest song I know, not neccecarily, but it's a very fun one.

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is a one of a kind album, Syd's fate is very unfortunate, but I think if he would lead the band further on Pink Floyd wouldn't be as great as they would be. I rate the album three stars cause it's not bad at all but has only a few great songs, most of them are only decent.

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Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The decline of Syd Barrett after the release of this confident and diverse debut is, without a doubt, a musical tragedy. Yes, maybe we wouldn't have had The Dark Side of the Moon or Wish You Were Here if Syd had remained at the lead of the band, but just imagine what we could have had in their place!

The songs on this album fall into two distinct types; the first side of the album and some of the second side consists of trippy, psychedelic affairs that can, without warning, serve as springboards for the band to take off on an improvisational tangent to God only knows where; "Interstellar Overdrive" and "Astronomy Domine" are doubtless the best examples of these compositions. After "Interstellar Overdrive" dies down the rest of the album is devoted to the other side of Syd's compositions; good-natured, blissed-out fairy tales and nursery rhymes along the lines of "The Scarecrow" or "Bike". Whilst they do point to the fractured, repetitive efforts of Syd's abortive solo career, they manage to be far more coherent than those; if they are a retread from adulthood into the storybook worlds of youth, Syd is at least fully aware of it (just look at "Matilda Mother" if you want confirmation of that), and is willing to take us along with him. There is a sense of knowingness and experience about "Bike" (for example) that you tend not to get with nursery rhymes meant for children; Syd is taking us back to the state of mind we had as children but still talks to us as adults and peers as he does so. It reminds me, in fact, of the first few T.Rex albums, from before Bolan and Took dropped the "yrannosaurus" from the band name, and you can imagine Syd eventually making a solo career out of making similar albums to those. Alas, it wasn't to be.

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Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Even though I am a great Floyd fan, I never quite understood the fuzz around this album. I very well realize it was a very significant output in the time it was released, although by no means comparable to other 1967 classic albuns, such as Sgt. Pepper's, Days of Future Passed and Are You Experienced?. Nowadays, though, it has much more historical and sentimental value, being the only Floyd album made completely under Syd Barret's dominance. Syd was clearly a great talent, but still kind of rough, and unfortunately we can only guess how it would be when he matured artistically.

The main problem with this album, in my opinion, are the poor lyrics, and the tendency to repeat itself in some tracks. The highlights are the instrumental tracks - Interstellar Overdrive and Pow R. Toc H. - which have a fantastic psychedelic feel; Lucifer Sam, with an excelent rythm section and, obviously, Astronomine Domine and its great guitar work. Chapter 24 has very good lyrics based on I Ching. Quite clever, but an exception for that matter, unfortunately (Astronomy Domine has nice lyrics too). The rest of the album, though, are not that inspired, repetitive and boring. The greatest letdown for me is Bike, one of the worst - if not the worst - Floyd song, with its repetitive martial rythm and childish lyrics.

It deserves 3 stars for its (few) great moments.

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Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd's debut is arguably one of the best psychedelic records emerged during the Summer of Love. From the menacing Astronomy Domine to the childish Bike, the Piper is full of surrealist imagery courtesy of the genius of Syd Barrett. The album begins with the classic Astronomy Domine, a sci-fi song full of organs and haunting lyrics. Lucifer Sam is a catchy tune while Matilda Mother is more relaxed. Flaming is great track with atmospheric keyboards, effects and folky melody. Bike is still one of my favorites, a perfect example of Barrett's attitude at the time. The experimental side of Floyd is represented by the weird Pow R Toc H and Water's Take Thy Stethoscope and Walk. Interstellar Overdrive is the centerpiece with its guitar riffs and hypnotic rhythmic section. This is a classic album and the better statement of Barrett's creativity.
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Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is the original UK version I am reviewing.

I approached this album with a lot of trepidation. Mostly because it is much hyped, highly rated........ and I am not a fan of this type of music. I like avant-garde music. But compared to Soft Machine and Gong; the early works of Pink Floyd comes up well short of the mark.

This album is a mix of naive pop songs, some well crafted rhythmic songs like the opener Astronomy Domine and some avant-garde stuff. I think this album takes the Beatles blueprint and moves it into a more psychedelic avant-garde area. The music has a lot of interplays between the various instruments here. But besides of the above mentioned Astronomy Domine and Chapter 24 (a The Beatles plagiarism), there is no real killer songs here. Just some good songs with some avant-garde interludes inbetween. I am stone cold sober so I may not be the right person to review this album. But it is a good album anyway, although not the great one some says it is.

3 stars

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Posted Thursday, August 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars My friends and I, once upon a time, used to listen to music and play board games (mostly Risk), and we listened to quite a bit of old Pink Floyd. For those who are mostly familiar with the band's more familiar works, this earliest album can prove quite shocking.

"Astronomy Domine" When I think of psychedelic 1960s rock, I think of a certain Jefferson Airplane album and "Astronomy Domine." The vintage guitar sounds, coupled with soft, moseying vocals, and an unconventional chord progression make for some far out business. Syd Barrett-penned music involves a lot of semitones, even with chords bopping back and forth around half-steps. It even has a spacey introduction, setting the overall mood for the album.

"Lucifer Sam" What essentially could pass for James Bond music is ultimately a song about Barrett's cat. Electric guitar pounds out a descending riff, which falls out of an echo machine.

"Matilda Mother" For the first time, listeners of Pink Floyd hear the enchanting voice of keyboardist Richard Wright. The dark Phrygian mode the organ solo is in during its solo adds a sinister layer.

"Flaming" This fanciful song has a childlike quality, and as usual, a seemingly darker nature underneath. There's a powerful acoustic guitar chugging out the rhythm during parts, but mostly the music is vocal, with some steady drums, bass, and organ. The instrumental section in the middle is a bit haunting.

"Pow R. Toc H." Percussive and high-pitched vocals begin this highly experimental track, before Wright has a piano solo over simple bass and drums, all heavily panned to one side. After a second wild section, there's some light organ and soft electric guitar. The piece ends with the album's most bizarre moment, cementing it as my least favorite on the album.

"Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" Repetitive rhyming lines punctuated by vocal sputtering, and crispy electric guitar are what this Roger Waters-penned song is all about. Given the writer, the bass stands out much further in the mix.

"Interstellar Overdrive" Essentially an instrumental improvisational jam, this is downright bizarre! The bass is steady, the drums of Nick Mason simple and panned all the way to one side of the mix, with some gritty and "out-there" electric guitar playing from Barrett. This piece soon becomes freeform, punctuated by peculiar guitar noises and other weird sounds. The ending pans from side to side rapidly, and can almost make one listening through headphones dizzy! This can definitely weird out those who call themselves Pink Floyd fans but only know the 1970s output!

"The Gnome" This is a fun little romp with some silly lyrics.

"Chapter 24" Loosely based on the Chinese tome I Ching, this song has a prominent melody and some interesting keyboard work and bass.

"Scarecrow" A clicking and clocking begin this song, which is another lighthearted song featuring a lead keyboard. The lyrics seem to describe the existential problems of being the titular being.

"Bike" A jaunty song, this has some strange lyrics, which may prove much simpler than they seem, but given the cacophonic, and almost horrifying final moment of the album, it seems that isn't the case.

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Posted Friday, September 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Piper is very different from later Floyd albums, thanks to the presence of the idiosyncratic Syd Barrett. A lot of their early work isn't so much prog as it is straight-up psychedelic or space rock. For the most part, Piper is an album divides between two styles- trippy space rock and silly psychedelic rock.

Astronomy Domine starts Piper off brilliantly, with a true gem of psychedelic rock- the lyrics seem to be meaningless on their own, adding to the spacey feel of the music. Lucifer Sam is the best song here because of the excellent guitar riff and the lyrics, which seem to concern a cat- it's a really good lighthearted rock song. Matilda Mother and Flaming are nostalgic, childish songs, not unlike Remember a Day and See Saw from Saucerful of Secrets, though Flaming is less keyboard-oriented than those two. Pow R. Toc H. is a really cool instrumental, anchored by the tribal, jungly drumming. Take Up Thy Stethoscope is a good song, with lyrics that seems to be about being sick, though it comes off more like the feeling you get from the pills. After that is the centerpiece, the 9+ minute Interstellar Overdrive, which is exactly what it sounds like- the band taps into the sounds of the mind and the cosmos, making a long, brain-frying piece of music perfect for drifting off with. After that is The Gnome, a silly, random psychedelic pop song.Then is Chapter 24, which uses East Asian sounds to good effect, giving it a Chinese feel, accentuated by the lyrics straight from a Chinese poetry book. The Scarecrow is pretty much The Gnome but with Scarecrows. After that comes Bike, which is as good an example of Barrett's "short and weird" style as Interstellar Overdrive is of his cosmic side- the lyrics can have many meanings, but they seem to be of naive, childish love. Overall, this is a solid, enjoyable album, and very unique. I'll give it 4.5 stars, recommended to fans of cryptic weirdness and space rock.

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Posted Sunday, November 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I can't say I love this album, but I respect it. The best Syd Barrett album ( with PF or solo), it's really very important in all rock music history.

The music is really what we name psychedelic/space rock. Or the crazy mix of british folk roots , some blues-rock, few jazzy arrangements and plenty of early sound effects ( proto ambient sounds?).

Anyway, songs are different, mostly has it's own melody, with very experimental (for the time) structure and arrangements. In fact, almost revolutionary album. "Astronomy Domine" is the best and most representative song.

Even if now it sounds more as historical artifact, the album is still pleasant for listening.

I like middle PF very much, but early space/psychedelia just isn't my cup of tea. But even with that point of view, I feel the magic and atmospheric beauty of that work.

P.S. I own UK version with Astronome Domine on it.

Report this review (#249119)
Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a huge fan favorite but I have never been entirely impressed by it it. There are absolutely brilliant tracks Astronomy Domine, Lucifer Sam and Instellar Overdrive that are almost solely responsible for the birth of one of my favorite genrese: kraut. But a lot on this album is fairly typical psychedelic stuff that everybody was doing around 66-67.

On subsequent solo albums Barrett has continued to prove that he was a whimsical songwriter with flashes of genius but also with many moments of basic chord strumming psych-pop with only rare hints of his frail talent.

I would normally opt for a fine 3.5 album with some essential moments. Considering this is from 67 it is sure one of the most outstanding release of that year. I personally prefer the debut from the Nice though.

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Posted Thursday, November 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Pink Floyd Begins!!! First album of Pink Floyd and first masterpiece..the genious of Syd Barrett is everywhere. We have to listen this wonderful work without prejudices, this is not Dark Side, neither The Wall, neither Wish...Here there is not Progressive Rock by any side, this disk is a sample of what represented the Psichedelic Rock in the sixties. Astronomy Dominate and Interstellar Overdrive show us the joung Pink Floyd leaded by a guru called Syd Barrett that would change for ever the music scene world-wide, here there is not ye-yes neither love yous, here there are dark subjects, nightmares, dreams, hopes, legends, interstellar trips...Anyway, although nothing here was Prog This album perfectly could be the source of inspiration for the prog rock generation of the seventies...of course, also for the proper Floyd. 5 stars: Totally masterpiece!!!!
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Posted Monday, November 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let's talk 1967, here. There were two big cities: London and San Francisco. 'Frisco had the Doors and Jefferson Airplane, while London had the Beatles, the Pretty Things, and the infantile psychedelic group Pink Floyd. Now, if we were to say, take three albums from this era that epitomize this era, which three do you choose? Well, that's easy. Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, and, of course, Pink Floyd's the Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It exhibited the earliest echoes of Canterbury scene music, what with Syd Barrett's almost hypnotic, high-pitched-sounding-but-not-actually-high-pitched voice, the quirky lyrics, the space-y guitar, the kooky keyboards, it really paved the way for groups like Gong and the Soft Machine (whose first album sounds strongly impacted by the Piper).

The music isn't even remotely evocative of their later material; really, even the long, loony tracks like "Interstellar Overdrive" aren't similar to their '70s music. If you asked a Floyd novice if "Astronomy Domine" was by them, they'd undoubtedly say 'no'. They're two different bands, in essence.

This album isn't progressive. Not by a long shot. But it's a great outing...I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys psychedelic rock.

Report this review (#259548)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An extremely experimental album made by Pink Floyd in the year of 1967. I think that year were a revlutionary year in therms of music: We have Beatles "Sgt. Peppers", Zappas "Freak Out!", Beefhearts "safe as Milk", Mody Blues "Days of Future Passed" and, of course, Floyds debut!

With a lot of short songs and just one long song - "Interstaller Overdrive", the first ten-minutes pyschdelic and experimental rock song! - This album is space-rocks spreader and its space climate begins at its first song, "Astronomy Domine".

The instrumental work is great: Is the best era of Waters bass line, Wright plays some jazzy ans melodic themes, Mason is playing well and Barret mades incredible riffs on guitar!

But the highlight is the concept work: Funny stories, poetry, space themes and much psychdelia. All this elements together with Barrets ideas made an incredible almost-concept album (a space-fairy tales book of songs)!

"The Piper at the Gates of Down" is experimental rocks pinnacle, a must, a masterpiece!

Report this review (#268018)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd?A monument in history if anything. Yes, back in the day, these old farts used to make music. And was it good. Yes, very good indeed (in a Ziltoidian accent). When Pink Floyd first started out, they were quite unique. The psychedelic sound was just taking off, turning jazz, into improv jazz blues into this basically. This album is also quite unique because it was recorded in the same studio, at around the same time, that the Beatles we're recording Sgt. Peppers. I wonder did they know that 2 landmark albums were being made at the same time?no, they were all pissed on drugs?obviously. This album was a landmark album?but is it any good. Yes, it is. To be honest, it is quite hard to grasp, but it does grow on you. There are some almost filler songs, but to be honest, they're more random pieces of music really.

1.Astronomy Domine ? If the whole album sounded like this. It would be a force to be reckoned with. The vocals are amazing and very dreamy. The lyrics are very loony. The music is very chromatic at times, but the occurring themes are presented really well. The live version on Ummagumma is also very enjoyable as well.

2.Lucifer Sam ? This song is very amusing and very catchy. Syd at times could write a great catchy pop song, and this is one of them.

3.Matilda Mother ? A bit filler to be honest.

4.Flaming ? This song is very laidback and is very unique. Great melodies provided by Syd.

5.Pow R. Toc H. ? A weird instrumental with loops. Apparently, this song was inspired by Lovely Rita by the Beatles.

6.Take Up Thy Stethoscope & Walk ? I love the biblical avant garde references. This song is very weird but very enjoyable.

7.Interstellar Overdrive ? A friend of mine told me that this is the greatest piece of improvised music ever. So is it! It is quite good, but I think A Saucerful Of Secrets could easily beat it. My opinions?don't hurt me!

8.The Gnome ? A weird folk like tune. Enjoyable and fun.

9.Chapter 24 ? A weird song on behalf of Syd. Quite dark and ominous. Maybe this was before the mentalness started to happen.

10.Scarecrow ? A bit like the gnome?a cabaret like song for kids basically. But who doesn't love them.

11.Bike ? How could you not love this song. It's just so fun to listen and sing along to. Shadow Gallery also do a great version of this song on the bonus disc of Room V (Floydian Memories).

Conclusion: This album was a good album, it wasn't as great as I would have hoped it to be, but as a first album, you would be proud of this achievement.

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Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can be said about Pink Floyd's masterpiece of a debut? A lot. But most of it has already been said, except it surprises me that this isn't one of their most highly-acclaimed albums. (it's my favorite behind Animals)

It's just so versatile. There's little comedic tunes like The Gnome and then there's the long, drawn-out Interstellar Overdrive, which may be one of the best songs ever made. The scope of it is insane.

If you haven't heard this album and call yourself a Pink Floyd fan, you're just lying to yourself. You know all of those songs in the Roger Waters era that are dedicated to Syd Barrett? How can you enjoy them without hearing some of Syd's very own work? Like this.

Report this review (#273359)
Posted Sunday, March 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars London. 1967. Psychedelia. Need I say more? Not really, but given the 100 word rule, I will.

'Piper...' is a fantastic debut, within it's genre. It really is a comsic gem, but you have to get your head around it. You have to listen to it whilst continuously reminding yourself of the three words I started this review with. Otherwise, it can lose you. There is a good music/lyric balance on this record (something Dave Gimour would later strive for) as well as plenty of repetitive whimsical lyricism, LSD-style soloing, funky improvisation, and repetitive whimsical lyricism. Did I mention repetitive whimsical lyricism?

...The imagery is, like anything written by the late Syd Barrett, strange. But the songs are musically sound, and whilst some are better than others, there are no glaringly obvious weak points on the album. Wisely for their debut, the band stick to mainly jazz and pop orientated tunes, only occasionally delving into the endless possibilities of psychedelic noodling ('Pow R. Toc H.', 'Interstellar Overdrive') and the very English area of acoustic folk ('The Gnome', 'Scarecrow'). The recording is of course, dated, but well produced in mono. And the ratio of Waters' material to everyone else's is astonishingly small, which probably works in this album's favour. For fans of later Floyd it won't leave much of a mark, but theres a sense of fun on 'Piper...' that is rare for this band. If anything it seems even more significant now that it's primary contributors are dead. But remember, London, 1967, Psychedelia...

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Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd - The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967)

A very likable and psychedelic early debut. Only Soft Machine managed to start in such a fashion.

I dislike Dark Side of the Moon, I get bored of Wish you where Here, Animals is ok and The wall has it's moments. Yeah I can say I liked most albums from the debut to Live at Pompeii, so I'm an first halve Pink Floyd fan. On the Piper at the gates of Dawn we hear an extremely naive but inventive Pink Floyd let by founding member Syd Barrett. His vocals, lyrics and compositional style is the main ingredient throughout the album.

The album features two main styles. The first is the dirty instrumental progressive/psychedelic rock with rock'n roll and surf (sort of) influences. The spacey and truly progressive opener Astronomy Domine is an essential song for progressive music. An other examples of this side of the record is the lengthy (for the time of release) Interstellar Overdrive that has an almost acid feel at times and a lot of improvisations. Most of the songs feature elements of this style, but the main focus lies on the psychedelic songwriting of Barrett which is the second style to be found on this album.

The songwriting of Barrett on this album gave him the status of cult-hero and has given momentum for the 'what-if'-debate since his departure of the band between in '68 (if I'm correct). The songs of Barrett are somewhat unpredictable and have an innocent (sometimes almost childish) feel and bizarre but inventive lyrics. His vocals sound very artistic with that confused way of bringing his story. The songs are diverse but always recognizable Barrettish.

The keys of Richard Wright are great on the opening track, but the songs leave little space for him. Later on his part in the Pink Floyd effect would become more important. Roger Waters plays functional bass-lines and the drums of Nick Mason are still simplistic on this album. Later on the remaining band-members would become true master of their instruments (except for Mason who's drumming skills would drastically decline during the Dark Side period).

Now comes the main part of this review in which I will raise an important question. How important is still album today anno 2010 (43 years after it's release)? It's historical significance is not to be denied, but does it still work?

The recording of the album is quite good for '67 and is very likable for fans of early rock music but it might be a problem for the modern prog generation. The compositions still sound fresh and inspired, but the combination of psychedelic songs and progressive tracks might not be rewarding for people who have a hard time liking the song parts. The lyrics are of great importance here (Waters even stated that it's the only element of the album he still likes). As a conclusion of this part I would like to say that the styles of Pink Floyd that made this album so great had disappeared completely during the Meddle period, never to return. If you only like albums after this period you've got no guarantee that you'll this album.

Conclusion. Historically very significant and perhaps the most progressive album of '67 (Zappa being the only other Progressive band who released an album this year). I myself like the album very much. It's full of sympathetic ideas and it shows Barrett at the top of his game. If you want to begin on this album I'd recommend to first watch the Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett story to understand the context of the music. As a rating I will give four stars, not yet a masterpiece but still essential for every serious progressive collection, but...

Listen to it while understanding it's historical context!

Report this review (#280592)
Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars While most people associate the band with the 1970's epic Roger Waters rants, that is by no means how they began. For that matter, their beginning was hardly much less significant or amazing than the 'classic' albums. Early Pink Floyd was led, of course, by the oh-so-infamous Syd Barrett. Syd had three characteristics which ensured that he would have a viciously loyal cult following to this day, and it's hard to imagine Pink Floyd without having ever had him around to loosen things up. First, he was a phenomenal songwriter, both in terms of melodies and lyrics, and I will never step back from arguing that. On the one hand, he came up with all sorts of little childish ditties about mice without houses, the joys of playing hide and seek, creepy cats, what it's like to be read a bedtime story and other playful things. And although his voice wasn't exactly phenomenal, there was an overwhelmingly innocent and little-boyish quality behind it that made his songs even more enjoyable. That he liked childish stories and concepts shouldn't be too surprising, though; just look at the album's name, which is taken from a chapter title in "Wind in the Willows." But that wasn't all he was good at, no no. His second specialty was dark, 'cosmic' space/drug rockers, and he had just as much talent in creating those as he did in making his simpler songs. Of course, these numbers usually freaked out the concert-going fans who had come to hear the cute childish ditties, but hey, they should've known better.

His second significant attribute was that he was a heavy duty LSD addict. It wasn't entirely his own fault (legend has it that his friends dowsed his coffee with the stuff repeatedly without his knowledge or consent until he was completely hooked), but he was one nevertheless. Now, acid can certainly aid in the creation of art which is marvelous and beyond comprehension, but alas, too much of it and your mind starts to go. Such was the case with Syd on this album. Very, very soon after Piper was released, the band had to let him go because he was 80% gone mentally, and this was hurting the group and their stage act considerably. Nevertheless, the fragile state of Syd's mind during this album's sessions mostly works to the album's advantage; "mad" geniuses almost always produce their best work right before they completely collapse, fall off a cliff, etc, and Syd was a mad genius through and through. His mind and his creativity were absolutely working overtime in these sessions, and they pretty much broke down when this was over. Still, as sad as this might be, it's better to have 5 albums worth of genius crammed into 1 than to have them spread out, I think.

Finally, Syd was one of the true masters of feedback creation, up there with Townshend, Hendrix, you name it. He'd slap his guitar like nobody's business, but he'd also use all sorts of outside objects to help him out. Slide rules up and down the fret board, dumping ball bearings across the strings and crazy stuff like that was his specialty. Look, there's nothing quite like listening to a drugged-up lunatic genius messing around with feedback and different ways to make it, and whether you enjoy this or not, it's hard to deny that this album is, at least on some level, an absolutely fascinating listen because of that aspect.

This album is a 40 minute document of everything which made Syd cool, essentially backed by the rhythm section of what would become the world famous Pink Floyd. The dark cosmic rockers are creepier and more disorienting than you could imagine. "Astronomy Domine," one of my favorite Pink Floyd songs ever, has some odd, odd lyrics about his mind travelling in space during one of his trips, with a weirdly mixed voice in the background making announcements about launch times and orbits, and a cool set of downward cascading riffs throughout with Syd just going nuts all over the place. As for the 9:41 instrumental "Interstellar Overdrive," it's incredibly dated, probably more so than anything on here, but I still can't help but feel wowed by it. I adore the whole thing, from the terrific main riff to all the improvised (but still held together with a feeling of control) bits in the middle, to that brief stretch where Syd's guitar becomes one of the trippiest things I know of, to the weird stereo panning at the end that makes everything spin around and around my head. This track is as important to describing both Pink Floyd's history and the music scene of 1967 as anything else, I think.

Aside from the trippy instrumental "Pow R Toc H," which a lot of people dismiss as a dumb drug joke but that I have always enjoyed (I like the main themes, and the vocal freakout at the end is a hoot), the rest of the Syd tracks fall into the childish ditties category. These are not, however, your everyday childish ditties; it's not as if his two styles were completely disjoint from each other. "Lucifer Sam" is a somewhat psycho take on surf music, with a marvelous main riff and a parnoid vocal melody singing about a cat that just won't go away no matter where you go. "Matilda Mother" is the aforementioned bedtime story song, with vocals split between Rick and Syd, and it does a terrific job of capturing the idea that many bedtime stories, as sweet and innocent as they might seem to adults, can have a feeling of darkness and creepiness in the mind of a child that hears them. "Scarecrow" and "The Gnome" are relative throwaways, but I've never gotten tired of their melodies and their silly lyrics. "Flaming" does a nice job of making hide-and-seek sound fun, the much- maligned "Chapter 24" (where Syd took the opening lines of chapter 24 of the I'Ching and put them to music) has wonderful harmonies in the "sunset, sunrise" part near the end, and the closing "Bike" shows how a guy whose mind isn't quite all there attempts to hit on somebody he likes (before the album ends with another vocal freakout).

Oh, I almost forgot; this album has the first song Roger Waters ever wrote, entitled "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk," and it's really, really awful, but that's not in a bad way! This song is so dated that it becomes hilarious and fun beyond belief. Basically, Roger shouts out some really stupid lyrics before the 'melody' gives way to some really, really cool sounding jamming, with both Syd and Rick stretching themselves as much as anywhere else on the album (without going into the kind of trippiness that dominates "Interstellar Overdrive"). Yeah, it probably took Roger about 3 seconds to come up with this song, and those 3 seconds were probably not spent actually thinking about music, but I never skip it.

Buy this album tomorrow. Many, many critics have said almost this exact same thing, and I'm probably just a lemming for following them, but this album is an aural documentary of not only what it's like to be on acid, but also what it's like inside a mind that's about to completely collapse. Somehow, the knowledge of the history surrounding this album brings it all home for me, and what was previously a great album becomes a true classic. Regardless of how many drugs the rest of the group used throughout their history, and supposedly they were used a lot (though some have claimed this is just rumor), Pink Floyd never again made an album which even approached being this trippy.

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Posted Thursday, June 17, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Pink Floyd is one of those bands that most prog fans have already explored and no matter what I say here will create any opinion-changing revelation. Still, it's worth a shot to tell you my connection to this band since I have a rather odd taste when it comes to their output. But before we get to the reasons behind my opinion let me start from the beginning and talk a little about the band's debut album The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn!

Since most people are more familiar with the acclaimed album streak that began with The Dark Side Of The Moon, this 1967 debut release might shock anyone expecting the more familiar tones of gorgeous Space Rock escapades. Let's not forget that this was the era of Psychedelic rock music that traveled from West coast of U.S. and spread all the way to the east coast where it was embraced within the underground community, most notably, by the highly influential band called the Velvet Underground. From there it traveled across the Atlantic Ocean and reached Europe where these influences were embraced by the general public when the Beatles released their ground breaking record Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Many other bands followed in those same footsteps, among which even the Rolling Stones with Their Satanic Majesties Request, but most of these records were met with negative response from the critics labeling them as mere imitators. This was of course not the case with The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn since Pink Floyd had already established themselves as the front-runners of the Psychedelic movement on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

This quartet and especially their front-man and leader, Syd Barrett, had already created somewhat of a following over the few years of notorious gigs that they had played prior to the release of their debut album. The music here consists mostly of short 2 to 4 minute Psychedelic rock tunes with the exception of the 10 minute jam titled Interstellar Overdrive. I realize that many people, including the band themselves, consider it to be the most important piece of music from their early period since it paved the way for future prolonged music experiments that Pink Floyd would become so famous for. Unfortunately this early take on the formula strikes me as extremely amateurish and it definitely doesn't fit in that well with the rest of the material.

Most of the Syd Barrett-comprised material is quite enjoyable and I would probably have liked this album even more if side two didn't have the drop in quality which makes it difficult for The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn to recover beyond the good, but non-essential. Still, it definitely makes me wonder how the band would have evolved if Syd Barrett stayed with in Pink Floyd for a few more albums. Then again, we probably wouldn't have had the albums we that we now hold so dear!

***** star songs: Astronomy Domine (4:12) Lucifer Sam (3:07) Bike (3:21)

**** star songs: Matilda Mother (3:08) Flaming (2:46) Pow R. Toc H. (4:26) Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk (3:05) Chapter 24 (3:42) Scarecrow (2:11)

*** star songs: Interstellar Overdrive (9:41) The Gnome (2:13)

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Posted Thursday, July 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Freak out! Maybe the greatest "Acid Rock" album ever. Listening to this makes we wonder if I was on LSD when this came out, what a grand trip it would have been. Could have been a Hawkwind release in many ways. This is pretty much of a Barrett album and it shows. The highlight here for myself is "Astronomy Domine", maybe the true prog song offered up on Piper. The shorter songs have the signature (for me anyway) Barrett touch of oddness. Good at times, bad at others, sometimes just annoying. (By the way, I am a later Floyd fan in the Animals/Wish You Were Here vein). This is a good opening to a great career for Pink Floyd, and I enjoy it more than the followup Saucerful of Secrets. 3 stars.
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Posted Monday, August 16, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The year was 1967 and it was a time of experimentation and drugs. A new movement emerged and this musical genre was known as Psychadelic Rock and was more or less Prog's parent. Pink Floyd was of course the leading act in this new musical movement, I won't go further than that, alot of other reviewers has written a good background history for PF.

The band consisted of Roger Waters (Bass), Syd Barrett (Vocals, Guitar and main songwriter), Nick Mason (Drums) and Rick Wright (Keyboards). None of them was really fantastic musicians, but the power of this album didn't lie in musical virtuoso skills or fast solos. The albums main point was the innovative songwriting style of Syd and the studio techniques that was used (this album was recorded in Abbey Road). So it was very much ahead of it's time and had a large influence on future music.

This is the only Pink Floyd album that sounds like this one, and it is because this was the only album where Syd was present (he would be replaced because of his mental condition). There has been alot of speculation around this, and some believe that Syd could write so amazing songs just because he was in that state of mind.

The album starts with the song Astronomy Domine which is clearly about space, the song has alot of sound effects that is done by the studio, and pretty much makes the whole song, I got very amazed by that when I was younger and this album was what introduced me into prog. Of course, I had heard sound effects before, it's not that uncommon, but, by the time I heard this album, I had never heard sound effect work that well with music and actually be a part of the song and not a part of the concept or story around the song.

The three songs after Astronomy Domine (Lucifer Sam, Mathilda Mother and Flaming) is not nearly as good and they feel more like pop songs, they didn't introduce anything groundbreaking for the time and was just regular songs, however, they are not bad by any means, they are just overshadowed by the better songs.

The next song, which is my favorite, is the first song on the album where all four members of the band has been credited for the songwriting. The song is a short Jazz tune, which sounds alot like what Esbjörn Svensson Trio would play 15 years later, I really find it a shame that Pink Floyd didn't play more stuff like this, it's very warm and is a nice break from all psychedelic music.

The next song is the only song on the album that isn't written by Syd, the song is written by Roger and is an attempt at trying to sound like Syd, and we learn from this that this isn't really the right field for Roger (he would find his sound later on). It's not a bad song, but why listen to the master's apprentice when we can listen to the master?

Interstellar Overdrive is the only instrumental song on the album, and starts of with a really rocky riff. The song is also the longest on the album. This was also a very grounbreaking way to play music, note that the year was '67. Beatles had only released their debut album 4 years before this album. So, rock had really evolved during those 4 years.

And now we get to another one of those three poppy song breaks. I don't have anything to add, three decent songs, nothing particular to write about.

The Album ends with Bike which a silly and fun song, a perfect way to end an album like this. This is another song where I love the sound effects, they work even better with the music here than in Astronomy Domine, a great pop tune. It follows the same "form" that KC would use 2 years later on Moonchild (Verse, Chorus, Verse, Chorus and a musical collage at the end).

I had a hard time deciding if I would give this album 3 or 4 stars, if the "fillers" didn't come in clusters of 3 every time, I would've given this album 4 stars, however, now it isn't like that, so this album gets 3 stars, it's still a good addition to any prog collection since it's so groundbreaking.

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Posted Wednesday, September 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
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.

Report this review (#339969)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Pink Floyd's debut was the only album entirely made under founding member Syd Barrett's leadership. The musical style and whimsical lyrics are legendary.

The opening "Astronomy Domine" is a song about space and does have a very spacey effect. I enjoy the first half of the record the most, especially "Lucifer Sam", the fairy tale story of "Matilda Mother" and the mysterious "Flaming". The psychedelic instrumental tracks also helped to bring thier image to life and was "mindblowing" for many underground fans at the time. Numbers like "Intersteller Overdrive" was a showcase for both their recording technique and their talent. "POW R. TOC H" is a personal favourite out of the instrumentals.

The closing "Bike" is probably the most loveable of all, showing the most of Barrett's eccentricities. A great classic, although I'd say the band achieved even greater sounds later on. 4 solid stars.

Report this review (#394289)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I find it fascinating that Pink Floyd are regarded as gods of music ever since The Dark Side of the Moon, when to me, what they do is watered-down Floyd, sanitised Syd sifted through a veil. The real Floyd are here, in this record, flawed, yes, but relentlessly experimental, daring, wild. Then again, would the music on this record ever have become a world force? More likely it would have vanished along with the sixties, an anecdote in musical history, See Emily Plays and all that.

With Syd out of the way, the artisans in the band could get down to the task of making money and becoming popular. That's not to say they weren't excellent at what they do, in fact, the lack of creative artistry was a bit help, and there was still a lot of creative force in putting together the rather bland meal but spicing it up with slices of Syd-like phrases, both musical and lyrical. It was part of their own legacy after all, so perhaps they were more entitled to use it than anyone else.

It took the world by storm. But I still have a sneaking fondness for the rough-hewn brilliance of undiluted Syd.

Report this review (#447441)
Posted Friday, May 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The first and only album to fully feature Syd Barret shows Pink Floyd at its most drugged and psychedelic. It was 1967 and after the innovate and ground breaking Sgt. Pepper this feels somewhat close to it after all they were both recorded in the same studio at almost the same time. Granted this one isn't as amazing as Sgt. Pepper but does hold up in its own right with classic songs like Astronomy Domine, Interstellar Overdrive and Bike. Overall, this is a great album but not the best Floyd album. If your into some trippy music this is for you but other than that listen with care. 4 stars. Highlights: Astronomy Domine, Pow R. Toc H., Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk, Interstellar Overdrive, and Bike.
Report this review (#473565)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This certainly isnt the best playing Pink Floyd ever did. It definitely isnt the most popular. Yet its a sign of intent, and a ground-breaking album. Even more important, it actually has Barrett on the record instead of just his massive influence and ghost, which hovers all the post-Barrett recordings. A stroke of mad genius paints his canvas across many moments here, and though its also a bit rough and ready, its extraordinary influence was felt by all including and especially The Beatles. Would Sergeant Peppers have sounded as it did without those magical nights at the UFO club? I doubt it.
Report this review (#510253)
Posted Saturday, August 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#533144)
Posted Monday, September 26, 2011 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars As you all know by now, Pink Floyd's first album has very little resemblance to the monster the band became in the seventies. The band was, again widely known, centered around the spacy poetry and music of Syd Barrett. While Barrett was highly talented, and Pink Floyd probably would not have become what it eventually became without him, although there is no way of knowing if they would have become popular enough without him to attract record label attention. And they probably would not have become what they did if he stayed also. Would Waters have become the songwriting powerhouse that he is now if Barrett had not left, and what would he have written about without having Barrett's madness to mine? And what of Gilmour?

Well, enough of that speculation.

The album itself is quite good. Most of the songs were penned by Barrett. And these remind me a bit of early Gong, with a little less sillisness (just a little). And Barrett did a fair amount of those sound effect pieces that Waters would continue throughout the band's career.

Two songs are credied to the whole band, and one to Waters. Interstellar Overdrive and Astronome Domine remained in the group live repertoire throughout their career. Nice.

One other thing. My EMI LP credits "Nicky" Mason on drums. It's good that he didn't keep that on later albums.

Report this review (#584837)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece of psychedelia, and an indispensable document of the genuis of Syd Barrett, The Piper At the Gates of Dawn is also one of the most original albums of '67, having a very distinct sound, with Nick Mason's tirbally pounding drums, Rick Wright's ominous yet melodic organ, Roger Waters' solid bass work, and Syd Barrett's indescribably exploratory guitar work, set to highly personal and uncommonly deep songs written by Barrett, including psych/space classics like "Astronomy Domine", "Matilda Mother", "Interstellar Overdrive" alongside some very creative whimsical songs like "Flaming", "The Gnome", and "Bike", and Roger Waters first song, "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk", which is actually very original, as well. The production on this great debut is some of the trippiest you'll ever hear.
Report this review (#673026)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Before reviewing this album, it is appropriate to state that I simply do not like the Barrett-led era (or pre-Atom Heart for that matter). With that said, this is the more tolerable of the two Barrett albums. The songs are just average musically, but they invoke a sound unlike anything Pink Floyd does later: The songs are cheery and somewhat poppy in areas, but most are very psychedelic. Unfortunately, a lot of the album is prone to experimenting which often simply loses me at times.

Piper opens with the decent 'Astronomy Domine' and 'Lucifer Sam' which are my favorite songs of the album. The guitar dominates in both songs with some relatively heavy riffs throughout.

'Matilda Mother' and 'Flaming' are really nothing special, but 'Pow R. Toc H.' does feature some nice keys from Wright which give the song a jazzy feel; something I'm inclined to like.

'Take Up Thy Stethoscope' has some good keyboard playing, but is plagued by more of Barrett's psychedelic noodling. This is the same problem that 'Interstellar Overdrive' has as well. It does have a great intro, but the middle section just falls apart into an incoherent mess.

The remaining songs, 'The Gnome,' 'Chapter 24,' 'The Scarecrow,' and 'Bike' are all poppy songs, which are pleasantly happy and English, but nothing amazing musically.

Overall, this album is NOT a good representation of the true Pink Floyd sound. The psychedelic moments and Barrett's idiosyncrasies make this album unique, but not something I enjoy nearly as much as later Pink Floyd.


Report this review (#771372)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars I have to tell you one thing: I do not fall asleep without a book about Syd Barret under the pillow.

Yes, I'm one of those Syd fangirls who love almost everything about him. It's strange to talk about it here, I know. But he had a magnetism and he was an interesting kind of person. Was he a beautiful mind or a normal junkie? I believe in the first one. I love him-with my brain, not with heart. He helped me many times...What an inspirative lunatic!

Back to the review, The Piper seems to be a playful, happy and carefree album, but by this time Syd was already decaying and without the patience of another Floyds there would be no Piper. But it's not possible to feel it from the songs, fortunately. Every song means something special to me

1. Astronomy Domine - really cosmic song, the first from Syd era I've heard. 2. Lucifer Sam - Jennifer Gentle, you're a witch. Witches' song. 3. Matilda Mother (3:08) - sounds like a drama 4. Flaming (2:46) - one of these songs that make The Piper callek like fairy tale album. 5. Pow R. Toc H. (4:26) ... 6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk (3:05) ... 7. Interstellar Overdrive (9:41) ...this must sound good when you're stoned.But when you're not, then as well. 8. The Gnome (2:13) look at 4. 9. Chapter 24 (3:42) look at 8. 10. Scarecrow (2:11) look at 9. It's a green sunny song. Maybe because of the video. 11. Bike (3:21) look at 10.

I'm sure this album was be accepted better in its time- I mean in the time of godforsaken clubs, trippy dancing and revolutions.

Anyway the book, from which comes the name of this album, is very very beautiful, mainly the chapter called The Piper at the gates of dawn.


Report this review (#772436)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ultimately their debut was a watered down Pink Floyd music. When you compare it with what they were playing live at the time this is much more "popish" version of their tracks, and if you check in their setlists only an handful of these were ever played live.

Even though I admit Syd Barrett was obviously the musical leader of the band, I'm not particularly a fan of him. The music isn't that bad, but this record is awfully dated and very attached to the time of it's recording, influences from other psychedelic bands is very noticeable.

Now going song by song:

Astronomy Domine - It's a good enough jam, when played live it usually went to be much longer, but it does it job at sounding quite spacey with decent enough lyrics. Easily one of the best songs from the Barrett era. [Good]

Serious Sam - A bit edgy and catchy and overall well achieved, and a good song as far as psychedelia goes. [Good]

Matilda Mother - Slightly childish, but overall it works as far as presenting a fantasy story, in a way, it does this better than much more elaborated future works by other bands. [Good]

Flaming - The guitar works rather well, but the story doesn't work that well. It's a bit simplistic in that department, but overall it's acceptable. Some of the sound effects are just annoying but on the piano and keyboard department it shines really well. [Good]

Pow R. Toc. H - At the time this might have been weird, because indeed it is a bit weird, but it does sound good, it uses atypical sounds, even though I like more the live version without lyrics. [Good]

Take Up thy Stethoscope and Walk - The first one that isn't that impressive, it has a few good ideas but overall it doesn't work that well. The organ does try to level things up and save it, but it's too erratic. [Neutral]

Interstellar Override - Possibly the best track of this album it's hypnotic and rather well played, the instruments fit together well and create an average enough space tune, but as far as space feel it doesn't work as well as Astronomy Domine. [Good]

Gnome - The first track that isn't much worth paying attention. It's rather simplistic, and the story is silly. This is the type of stuff that could only fly in Syd lead era. [Bad]

Chapter 24 - Better than the one before, at least we see a bit of interesting participation by the bass. The lyrical department ends up being quite uninteresting, I blame more the way it was executed rather than the words themselves. [Bad]

Scarecrow - It doesn't start bad, but the sounds are like a thousand miles apart from what it should sound. And again it's rather simplistic in a bad way. Only gets interesting almost at the end, but the sound you get there should be the beginning of the track and using it as the melody.[Bad]

Bike - The end is rather erratic and too long, but the song works, it's simple but drives its message home. My main complaint is that if there's a song that suffers from the bad mixing from this album is this one, it just doesn't sound that well. [Good]

Now as far as the progressive aspects: Music/Musicianship - They play well enough, I think that in particular it lacks keyboards, because it could have made some of the songs much more tolerable. [Neutral]

Lyrics/Vocals - Even though it might look I'm harping on Syd, I'm not, I think he's a competent musician and a good vocalist, and as far as this he does a pretty darn good job. But the lyrical content I find it lacking, it includes loads of fantasy, that's good but it's not well executed, being mostly with an heavly popish version of what they could have done. [Neutral]

Concept/Structure - Even though the songs have very little in common with each other, they somehow work as an album. Even though they would do much better in the future. [Neutral]

Effects/Arrangements - They tried at least, and did some that were really good specially in the best songs Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Override, but in other occasions instead of these they should have played the instruments. [Neutral]

Cover/Packaging - The cover is rather unimpressive, it's just a modified photo of the members of the band, and the CD I have only brings the set of lyrics, which is fine, but there could be more. Anyway at least it looks psychedelic. [Neutral]

Report this review (#826770)
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Pink Floyd was Syd Barrett's group. He came up with the name (from two bluesmen) after they went through half a dozen even stranger names. He wrote 90% or more of the music on this album. His solo output doesn't sound anything like this, which is a testament to the influence of the other members as well as Barrett's own fragile mental state after he left the band. This is the only album not to feature Gilmour. He was a close friend of Syd and joined a five-piece version of the group just before Syd left. Featuring a very dated and 'of its time' album cover, the music here is vintage British psych at its finest. Unlike US psych, British psych had a childlike innocence about it. This album is also the beginning of space rock.

Floyd released two psych-pop singles before this album came out. In general, this album is less poppy and more psych-y than those two singles. Piper was recorded at Abbey Road studios literally down the hall from where The Beatles were recording Sgt. Pepper. The two bands met each other and McCartney supposedly said (paraphrasing here): "They're gonna steal our thunder!" The Floyd used the 'classical' setting in their studio, instead of the 'pop' setting. Not because they thought they were making classical music, but rather because the 'classical' setting offered more options soundwise. Recorded in mono first and later mixed in stereo. Stereo was still fairly new and it wasn't until 1969 that studio people got it 'right' without sounding gimmicky. Generally speaking, albums recorded before 1969 sound better in their mono versions.

"Astronomy Domine" is a now classic intro to a now classic album. Featuring the band's manager Peter Jenner reading the houses of the Zodiac (groovy, man) and some Morse code I think. This track must have seemed very futuristic in 1967. Syd wrote "Lucifer Sam" about his cat. Centred around a guitar line that sounds like a cross between a blues lick and the theme to a '60s spy film. "Matilda Mother" is one of the highlights of the album and shows that Rick was one of the lead vocalists at the time. Apparently there is a section edited out of the song. Great organ solo with trippy mouth noises from either Syd or Waters. "Pow R Toc H" is an instrumental with vocal sounds. Both jazzy and trippy at the same time. Certainly one of the most proto-proggy tracks on the album.

"Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk" is the only song solely written by Waters. One of the more rockin' tunes, almost has a Who-meets-Animals sound to it. Waters and Mason were much more energenic here than on later albums. "Interstellar Overdrive" is the band's first classic instrumental. It would be even freakier and longer in concert. You can almost hear the birth of Krautrock here. Syd came up with the main riff after hearing Jenner hum the Love song "My Little Red Book." The band members recorded their parts twice so you are literally hearing two Pink Floyds at once. This is most noticeable in the buildup to the reprise of the main riff. In the stereo version after the riff comes back you hear all the instruments go back and forth.

"Scarecrow" has Rick playing the black keys on his organ to create an almost monophonic synth type of sound. Interesting percussion sounds but the song itself is basically a folk ditty. "Bike" is classic 1960s British psych-pop, but it is more complex than it seems. The time signature keeps changing while the effects at the end are beyond trippy. As great as this album is, it still does not show how creative these guys could be in a live setting. Syd's guitar playing in particular was more 'out there' than what you hear on Piper. By the end of 1967 the band was already dismissing the whole psychedelic scene, saying it was just another bandwagon people were jumping on. They were ready for the next thing...even if no one knew what the next thing was going to be.

What happend to Syd (real name Roger)? Well, he seemed to be fine until they toured the US for the first time. Then people starting noticing that he was acting kinda strange. Although not a diagnosed schizophrenic, Barrett had some mental issues (they say there is a thin line between genius and insanity). He lived with some shady characters that would do things like put LSD in his drinks without him knowing it. Even worse than the acid perhaps was his use of Mandrax onstage. After Piper was released the band recorded some songs that till this day have never been officially released. He stopped playing with the band in January 1968 (both live and in the studio) just after Gilmour joined. His departure was not officially announced until April of that year.

Although Piper has not aged the greatest, it was an influence on later space rock and Krautrock. There are some that even today praise Barrett but think little of the group he founded. He appears on about half of the next album and sitting in the vaults of Abbey Road is a version of "Let There Be More Light" that features both Barrett and Gilmour. Floyd would go on to become more experimental before becoming a household name; Syd would go on to make some of his own unique guitar-and-vocal based music before getting bored with making music at all. Both Floyd and Barrett would never make an album like this again. Historically significant and one of the better albums of 1967, I give this 4 stars.

Report this review (#939804)
Posted Friday, April 5, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars the debut album of the most famous prog rock band in the whole world (the most famous never is the best). of course i'm not saying that PINK FLOYD is bad, i had to say that i'm a Floydian like a houndred of millions in the world. Pink floyd ocasionally had open the shows of Jimi Hendrix. "The piper at the gates of down" was the starting of the history of this wonderful band. Syd Barrett was the genious became this masterpiece. eleven songs, nine with letters (all of Barrett except "Pow r toc h" by Roger Waters) and two creations of the whole band. the opening is "Astronomy domine" here we have (i think) the first song of Space rock in the history!. "Interstellar Overdrive" is a very groovy piece too an almost 10 minutes instrumental song composed by the four genious. the lyrics of Syd Barrett, are (i think) too much great of the lyrics of Waters, Gilmour or Wright. 1967 was the year, Waters, Wright, Mason and Barrett was the genious making the opus, and the opus was of course the piper. i think this album is completely a masterpiece, in the story of prog rock, classic rock, space rock, and generally the music of the 20th century. one of the best debut albums and maybe i could keep saying more and more atributes that this album clearly diserves.
Report this review (#992990)
Posted Sunday, July 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album was recorded almost at the same time that The Beatles were recording their "Sgt. Pepper" album at the same studios (EMI) in 1967. A very psychedelic album that with the passing of time shows some of the imperfections of its recording and mixing, and a band still developing a sound and a style, still sounding very "new" for the recording enviroment, and with a tendency for inprovisation. Maybe Syd Barrett was the pioneer in the definition of the sound of the band, but when he left in 1968, they became a better band, in my opinion, with David Gilmour. Barret was a very good lyricist and singer, but he really sounds in this album as not being a very dedicated guitarist as he sounds like really playing without much care. So, maybe his main contribution for the band was to define a sound and a musical style in the psychedelic fad that was in their best period of time particularly during 1967. The songs are good but some of them sound now dated. The recording and the mxing of the album are not very good despite having the now late Norman Smith as producer, who also was the recording engineer for The Beatles from 1962 to 1965, and he later became a producer for other bands like Pink Floyd and also a solo artist during the seventies. So the album as a whole sounds with some lack of "polish" as other albums from the same period sound better in comparison. Some of the lyrics of the songs really sound "childish", like narrations for children, which maybe was an innovation in 1967. Other songs sound like "mind trips" aided a bit by the use of some substances. Anyway, for me the best songs in this album are "Astronomy Domine", "Lucifer Sam", "Interstellar Overdrive" and particularly "Bike", which in my opinion is the best song in this album, with very good psychedelic arrangements and sound effects particularly at the end of the song. It seems that the members of the band and The Beatles were introduced to each other once during a brief visit during the recording sessions at EMI Studios for the "Sgt. Pepper" album,as Mark Lewisohn wrote in his book "The Beatles: Recording Sessions", sharing "half-hearted hellos" only between them. Apparently, Norman Smith had some problems trying to understand the musical ideas that Pink Floyd presented to him. Anyway, he continued working with them as producer until 1969, having better results on later albums.
Report this review (#1078408)
Posted Sunday, November 17, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Piper was the first album by the band Pink Floyd, but in this period it was more like "The Syd Barrett Experience". Don't expect this to be similar to their later work such as Dark Side Of The Moon because it is very different. Evident of the psychedelic era of the late 60's, Piper is almost a complete representation of the good and the bad that era had to offer.

8 out of the 11 songs on the album were written solely by Barrett. Syd was a genius in a weird way. Songs like "Flaming" and "Bike" have a childlike sense of imagination but carry a dark undertone. Other songs "Pow R. Toc H." and "Interstellar Overdrive" were written by the group and contain many strange noises. Roger Waters has his first solo writing credit on "Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk", a song that is short and frantic. The beginning of Floyd's long pieces can be heard on "Interstellar Overdrive". This lead to "Atom Heart Mother" and "Echoes"; side-long pieces that would further experiment with sound.

This debut album captures both sides of psychedelic music: the fairy tale type stories and the drug induced mental breakdowns. Psychedelia can be summed up by The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, so for that it is pretty much a classic album.

Report this review (#1086770)
Posted Saturday, December 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars I only give four stars in the intention of remaining true to the definition of Progressive Rock. Since this album was clearly influential and a masterpiece all on its own, I would definitely say it is an excellent addition to any prog collection. The psychedelic tendencies of Pink Floyd are deceptively simple until a closer inspection. Where they would go on to become of Prog's greatest bands and indeed one of the greatest rock bands of all time, Floyd started out things on quite an interesting note.

Highly credited as being the most psychedelic album ever, what makes The Piper so likable (I think) is its spontaneity. Things happen unexpectedly and over time you learn exactly when they happen so you too can join the madness. On some level, this idea also applies to a lot of Prog. Where a first listen is simply not enough, the time signature changes we all know and love become a second language.

Of course a lot of this albums ingenuity comes from Syd Barrett, whom I think every true Floyd fan should come to admire on some level. This album will never leave you bored, especially when said Floyd goes on a 9-minute space-trip freakout that can only be described as maliciously enticing. Personally, I favor the track Bike; it just makes me laugh and go crazy if only for a few minutes.

If you are reading this and you do not have this album I would highly recommend it, especially if you like to alter your state of mind without the help of outside substances entering your body.

Report this review (#1145741)
Posted Monday, March 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
2 stars Piper At The Gates Dawn is The Pink Floyd's debut album released in 1967. The album, being highly different than the Pink Floyd we know today, was written by founder of the band, Syd Barret. This album received high ratings from the general public, ranging from 4/5 - 5/5. The albums genre can be easily set into Psychedelic Rock / Space Rock. The album consists of 11 strange songs. The strangeness of said songs can be traced back to the writer, Barrett. It is known that Barrett's mental degradation caused him to be removed from the band completely after the release of Pink Floyd's second album, A Saucerful Of Secrets. This growing insanity caused Barret to produce and write some incredibly strange songs that are featured on this album. ______________________________________________ 1. Astronomy Domine --------- Considered to be the father title to most Space Rock genres, Astronomy Domine paves the way for Piper At The Gates Of Dawn by being the first item on the list. AD has a progressing rock feel that gives you the impression that this song did not just set the way for the album, but set the way for Pink Floyd's songs to come. My opinion on the song is that it is good, and was well written compared to the other songs in the album. Throughout the song there is a constant wavering along with the occasional noise of an astronaut, which gives it the clear title of being Space Rock. Overall, the song is definitely one of the better songs on this album. ----------- 2. Lucifer Sam ------------- Lucifer Sam definitely has some qualities as a song. The music is not horrible; a nice beat and rhythm really adds a lot to the song. However, lyrically, the song is degrading. The line: " That cat's something I can't explain. Ginger, ginger, Jennifer Gentle you're a witch." needs a little more explaining for it to make sense. For me, bad lyrics really set of a song as bad. You always want a song that you can sing along to and not feel like you're high without the drugs. Definitely, this song was the preferred - sounding song of that age, but I can't seem to like it that much. -------- 3. Matilda Mother -------- In my opinion, this song is the best on the album. The dark and creeping guitar and the surprisingly good lyrics gives Matilda Mother an excellent quality. This is definitely one of the lowest regarded songs on the album, but most definitely the best. ------- 4. Flaming ---------- Flaming is another one of the most unappealing songs on the album. The annoying chord progression and Barrett's voice, which barely holds notes and is highly annoying in this song, makes it extremely hard to enjoy. ----------- 5. Pow R. Toc H. ------ Being yet another lame hit on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Pow R. Toc H. is less annoying and more foolish. The name itself is just stupid, and the opening of the song sounds like an adolescent's first time beatboxing. PRTH is definitely one of the less appealing songs on the album. ------------ 6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk --------- Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk is a unique song on the album, being the only song written by Roger Waters. However, this quality does not make it very enjoyable. Most of the instruments are very looping, and the 'guitar solo' sounds like just someone lamely tinkering around with a guitar. Again, like Lucifer Sam, holds very low lyrical value. ------------- 7. Interstellar Overdrive ------------- Alongside Astronomy Domine, Interstellar Overdrive holds the title of another highly memorable song to people today. This epic is not as bad as Pow R. Toc H. or Flaming, for it holds it's note progression very highly throughout all ten minutes of the song. ------------ 8. The Gnome ----------- Being the least known song on the album, The Gnome deserves that title. Sounding like a children's song, it has terrible rhyming words, and has instruments that are drowned out by another bad singing performance of Barrett. The singing in this song is very cracked and annoying and the lyrics barely hold up. ------------ 9. Chapter 24 ----------- This is probably the worst song on the album. The opening is formed of random banging on cymbals and bad keyboard progression, which is a terrible start to a song. Barrett's voice again is cracked and annoying, sounding like a teenager hitting puberty. Again, the lyrical value is terrible and holds no structure throughout this song. This song sounds like it was made very quickly and therefore sounds horrendous. ------- 10. The Scarecrow --------- Another unique song on this album, Scarecrow is a very simple yet catchy song. The interesting percussion and rhythm give it an enjoyable quality along with the soft guitar. Even though this is another song where Barrett's voice is annoying, the music makes up for it. ---------- 11. Bike ------- Strangely regarded as one of Barrett's masterpieces, Bike is the last song on this album, oh and did they end this poor album with a poor song. The instruments sound that they are just getting slapped and smashed on. The singing. Oh the singing. The singing is probably the worst performance on this entire album, maybe in Pink Floyd history in my opinion. The lyrics hold no value whatsoever, and are not enjoyable in any fashion. Halfway through the song, the music disappears to be replaced with a terrible and ear wrenching symphony of bicycle sounds. After this horrendous melody, the 'song' ends with an incredibly annoying laugh. Overall, this song is one of the worst things ever. ------------ Overall, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn could have had much more potential then it did, but sadly did not live up to my expectations. I give it a 2/5. If you wish to purchase the entire Pink Floyd discography, then this should be one of the last albums you buy. --------- Thanks for reading my review, and try not to be vulgar to anyone who is commenting. Thank you!
Report this review (#1173623)
Posted Saturday, May 10, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Being the first album of, perhaps, the best band in the history of rock music, one easily realizes the historical value and importance of ''The Piper....'', definitely one of the most important debuts ever released. This value becomes greater as this album is Syd Barrett's main legacy in the art of music. Beyond the theoretical part though, if we stay focused in the music itself and judge it objectively, ''The Piper....'' has little to do with the later Pink Floyd phenomenon.

Pink Floyd back in 1967 was perfectly synchronized with the timespace of London's underground scene. New drugs, free minded youth, experimentations, psychedelic sounds, what an era! All of the above are P.F's music basic components. The truth is that Barrett was a talented visionary that was able, as a composer, to write songs in the thin line between melodic pop music and abstract, surrealistic psych. I'm certain that with the visual perspective of their live shows, the experience must have been way more admirable and intense but this feeling isn't captured sonically in the album that much. Here you can listen to some nice tunes, good songwriting, some weird atmospheres, that's all. I'm sure that if one listened to it without knowing that this is Pink Floyd, no big deal, really. The classic melody of ''See Emily play'' is still enjoyable though and ''Astronomy Domine'' still stands tall and proud, half a century later, mysterious and enigmatic in its wonderfully crafted twisted harmonies. A very good debut from a band that would evolve to music gods with the absolute artistic Midas touch, in an age of no knowledge of this fact! 74/100

Report this review (#1175167)
Posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
5 stars The debut album by PINK FLOYD is cited by many as being the first progressive rock album to hit the world with all the proggy yumminess the genre has become famous for without straying too far into the world of make believe. In fact i find THE PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN to be an excellent compromise between the accessible pop oriented psychedelic music that was gracing 1967 like Love, Jefferson Airplane and even the Beatles and the more "out there" truly experimental astral trip varieties of music a la Pärson Sound or Malachi.


Long before "Dark Side Of The Moon" and the 70s second coming of this prolific and most popular of bands was the era when the then students Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Richard Wright and Roger Walters joined forces to unleash their psychedelic fantasies of the day. Right off the bat we are hit hard with the stellar "Astronomy Domine" which is the epitome of Barrett / Wright psychedelic songwriting of this era which takes the psychedelic mood of the day and sends it right into space two years before the actual landing on the moon. The track clearly distinguishes itself from other music of the day by adding unusual chord progressions and by being played through a Binson echo machine to create the desired delay effects.


The album was a hit for me upon first listen and has never grown stale one bit. Although i don't listen to PINK FLOYD as much these days simply because i've heard their albums so many times they have infused themselves in my DNA, when i do feel like hearing a FLOYD classic i usually skip "Dark Side" and the later ones and retreat straight to the beginning where all was beyond Strawberry Fields and dared to venture further out into the far reaches of space rock. Whether they were singing about lime and limpid green or Lucifer Sam, PINK FLOYD relished in creating the most surreal lyrics accompanied by that most British sense of humor which makes this album both bizarre and cute :) If you're looking for that perfect middle ground between the accessibility of the 60s psych world and touches of the truly out there then look no further than PIPER because this album still works for me after many many listens.

PINK FLOYD - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

= 5 STARS *****

Report this review (#1341181)
Posted Tuesday, January 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
2 stars London's 1967 psychedelic scene was mostly inspired by the uprising of the Beatles' music during the decade. Knowing this, many bands were quick to jump on the wagon before the music became less popular. Thus, they pulled out their joints and bongs and hit the records as fast as they could. One of these more successful bands was undoubtedly The Pink Floyd, a group of young, 20-year old Englishmen burst onto the psychedelica charts. George Waters from Surrey, Roger Barrett from Cambridge, Nicholas Mason from Birmingham, and Richard Wright from Middlesex were all heartily ready to dive into the nonsensical genre of psychedelic and space rock.

Many people consider that Pink Floyd's debut is what undoubtedly brought progressive rock into life, not to mention revolutionizing it's own genre. And I must say I agree. Sure, the album does have many elements that were used in later progressive works, but psychedelic rock wasn't a new subject for many people. Artists like Jimi Hendrix and Simon Dupree and the Big Sound (which would later become Gentle Giant) both had distinct marks on the genre itself, but Hendrix died promptly in 1970 and The Big Sound were declared as a straight pop band until they reformed in the same year. So even though those artists did help the popularity of the genre, psychedelica itself didn't become crazy popular until the late 60's. And sure, Floyd helped mold that genre as well as strongly influence future space rock bands like Eloy, but that doesn't mean that this album was particularly good.

I've never fancied music that attacks my eardrums. I've found it painful, but I know a lot of people can see it as art. Well, you can also see that Piero Manzoni's 1961 piece 'Artist's Shit' was also artistically sound, but that doesn't make it spectacular. Let's get to the tracks. There's the ever-famous 'Astronomy Domine' heading off the list, with it's wonky sound effects and space rock vibe. I've never much liked this song, I always preferred 'Interstellar Overdrive' over it, and I consider it a much better piece of music as well as being more structured. 'Lucifer Sam' is a pretty average song, but mostly just a mediocre doodling track that I guess I wouldn't mind listening to on most occasions. Then there are the abysmal songs, like 'Pow R. Toc H.', 'Flaming', and 'Chapter 24'. Although they are clearly trippy jams, they aren't really that great as music. In fact, they're pretty bothersome. They go nowhere, as well as being downright silly lyrical and vocal-wise. 'Matilda Mother' is a cool song, probably my favorite, with its ominous sound and dark melodies. It is mixed in with some psychedelic ramblings, but that's good in this case because it's well-balanced. The album ends with the sound-symphony of 'Bike'. It isn't really well structured at all, and falls apart really quickly. The end with the bike sounds is more of an excuse to end the album than a good finisher.

Overall, this album is bad. Maybe good for prog-historian's sake, but I don't like it in any way other than that.

I do not recommend this album.

Report this review (#1341309)
Posted Wednesday, January 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars A tale of two Floyds.

It's pretty easy to say that most American Pink Floyd fans never really warmed up to Syd Barrett and that's for reasons that are not so easy to distinguish. Some point to the overt 'Englishness' of Syd's lyrical stance. Other's point to Barrett's material that is only marginally psychedelic such as the bulk of the recorded output on Piper At The Gates of Dawn.

My own belief is that the Piper material was just too removed from the accessible, but still over the top, head trip that was the Dark Side Of The Moon album, the gateway album for Americans into the world of Pink Floyd.

But let's backtrack a bit. When Piper was first released in the US, EMI's, American subsidy Capitol Records issued Piper with the inclusion of Floyd's second UK hit See Emily Play in place of album opener Astronomy Domine. It seems the west coast folks who were gearing for the Beach Boys to take over the rock world were at a loss with this strange album opener that sang of 'lime and limped waters surrounding underground', had even less of a clue to the actual music. This was not the Beach Boys. This wasn't the Beatles, who they knew would sell whatever they recorded. This Astronomy Domine song was just, well...strange.

It would be nice to think that the American counter culture of 1967 was immune to similar feelings of unease, but it was not. Piper was a curiosity in the short age of American psychedelia. Fortunately, the US editions of Piper that were issued following the success of DSotM restored Astronomy Domine to its proper tracking order and this track, along with the instrumental Interstellar Overdrive, and the DSotM clockwork collage cloning album closer Bike, is what DSotM fans glommed onto. This material was familiar in it's space rock grandeur, made more mysterious by it's descriptive lyrics, that was relatable to DSotM fans. Floyd as the veteran psychedelic space rockers won this round.

However, round two that centered on Syd's whimsical lyrical songs such as Matilda Mother, the Gnome and Scarecrow, were merely entertaining, at best, while dadaesque workouts like POW R TOC H simply fell short. Years after the acid revolution, the actual sounds made by the human mouth were simply not as fascinating as those conjured up by synthesizers and VCS3 sequencers. The age to enjoy Piper as a whole had simply past.

So, where does this put Piper At The Gates of Dawn in the 21st century? Exactly where it was in the last century. A curio of an earlier lysergic age that some quickly dismiss or that a few embrace as a fleeting display of genius. Only the listener of this album knows for sure and is therefore the ultimate judge. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1450445)
Posted Saturday, August 8, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Listen! If the stars are lit, means... They glow too much brightly for this world. Unfortunately, genuine Psychedelic Man created a few, but his works are immortal. Good works characterized by unique transparent sound which is, however, typical for just English artists and groups. It is transparent like an air of their motherland, inhaling by an instrument and blown into our ears. Some compositions are English tales-phantasms (Matilda Mother, The Gnome, Scarecrow), but the main act is the great cosmic journey of this Star Gentleman. He gives the light of these stars us and his band which went on a more distant earthly journey, whereas he remained on the other side of the moon. My rate is not arbitrary. I rate 5 for novelty of born (not in sufferings) transparent sound and cosmic ethereal vocal. The only band whose stuff characterized by such combination is Yes. But it is the other story.
Report this review (#1496406)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a confusing album for many Floyd fans who, like me, discovered this album after listening and re-listening to such gems as Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, Meddle and the like. Piper showcases the dark mind of Syd Barrett. Piper is easily the band's most psychedelic release, but there are still plenty of moments where the band showcases the musical chops they'd later be known for. For example, "Astronomy Domine" has a constant progression that is similar to the group's distinctive style. "Pow R. Toc H." is an amazing instrumental, maybe the best song on the album. It's a very dark song at the beginning, with many "Oi's" and psychedelic guitar stylings, but soon fleshes out and becomes something beautiful. "Interstellar Overdrive" has become a favorite among Floyd fans, and has been covered by many groups, most notably Camper Van Beethoven's faithful rendition, and Pearl Jam has even been known to open up their concerts with the first two minutes of the track. "Overdrive" starts off as a psychedelic romp, but soon delves deep into the dark recesses of many a bad acid trip. DO NOT listen to this song if you are faint of heart. Other songs which foreshadow the band's future progressive nature are "Flaming" and "Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk", two songs which explore new musical territory (remember, this is 1967) and can be quite terrifying for those who expect every Pink Floyd song to sound like something off of Dark Side of the Moon.

The other unmentioned songs are basically straight psychedelic rock, and offer an insight into the twisted, sick mind of Syd Barrett. "Lucifer Sam" and "Matilda Mother" are actually quite charming once you warm up to them, while "Scarecrow" and "The Gnome" are two more cutesy numbers, "Scarecrow" with some standout percussion to boot and some surreal lyrics from Barrett. But the real heartbreaker among this bunch is "Bike". "Bike" starts out as another one of Barrett's cutesy psychedelic pop songs, with the catchy refrain of "You're the Kind of Girl of Fits Into My World. I Will Give You Anything, Anything, If You Want Things" sung amidst verses about a borrowed (stolen?) bike, a cloak (?), a mouse without a house named Gerald, a bunch of gingerbread men, and a room to play records in. Cute. Then, we hear Syd Barrett's mind exploding. Yes, there is literally an explosion, followed by lots of clanging, bells, doors slamming and other strange noises. After this, the song ends with a terrifying quacking played on a loop that will forever haunt your dreams.

Syd Barrett was a sick, twisted genius. He was writing these songs while tripping on acid, and his level of self-awareness in his songwriting is alarming. It was as if he KNEW he was losing his sanity and he was making fun of himself. The lyrics of "Scarecrow" especially give me a shiver up my spine, as he compares himself to a scarecrow. What a horrible thought! Here is a man who knew that he was on a path of self-destruction, and he was resigned to it. Simply chilling! Perhaps Barrett's best example of the awareness of his condition and his increasing paranoia of those around him would be "Jugband Blues", his lone contribution on A Saucerful of Secrets, their next album. If you want to know what I'm talking about, just listen to the song yourself. It's one of the saddest pieces of music I've ever heard.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn will forever be an enigma in the Pink Floyd canon, a true outlier among its contemporaries. This is due to the presence of the domineering genius of Syd Barrett. When Barrett would lose his sanity shortly after the release of this album, the band would start taking off in a new musical direction, although it would take quite a few albums to finally shake off Barrett's omnipresence. Barrett is a tragic figure, one who would haunt the band the rest of their storied career. Piper is Barrett's only contribution as Pink Floyd's frontman, and it's a haunting album indeed. It's not a classic, as many suggest, but it's a worthwhile listen, one that ever Pink FLoyd fan should get a chance to listen to.

Report this review (#1536882)
Posted Monday, March 7, 2016 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars

Have you got it yet?

If not, the joke's on you. Andy Kaufman, the lunatic genius who was far more interested in baffling people than making them laugh, knew the power of the put-on. Kaufman's was the deep practical joke; the art of the bluff. Of course in Andy's case he didn't much care if you understood that or not. He was having too much fun. So was Roger Keith Barrett.

There are other comparisons to 'Syd' Barrett. Brian Wilson comes to mind, but though also an innovative composer who shone bright in the 1960s and fell ~ possibly due to psychological imbalances and/or pharmaceutical substances ~ Wilson kept doing music and eventually returned with a run of very nice releases. And he's still alive. There's Lenny Bruce, mad comic scientist seemingly too outrageous for his own time whose politically incorrect material was so startling and corrosive that it killed him, forging a style of spontaneous story-telling that is still the foundation for most modern standup comedy.

Each came from middle class families, all gravitated toward the performing arts. But it is Andy Kaufman and his commitment to the joke's-on-you who reminds me most of Syd Barrett. Kaufman understood the price of unusual talent, was willing to pay it, and that brilliance is often accompanied by a kind of delirium. Or in literary terms, "Originality demands a degree of lunacy". In Syd Barrett's case, that's putting it mildly. Sadly we don't know with much clarity what Barrett's state of mind was when he died even though he was one of the most looked into and sought-after rock artists. After his midwifery of psychedelic pioneers Pink Floyd he recorded a couple solo records, withdrew from music, lived on royalties in hotels, and eventually moved to his mom's place in Cambridge. He became an avid gardener, painted abstracts, lived as quietly as he could, and died in 2006 of pancreatic cancer. And when we hear of his seclusion; Friends who'd given up or were long gone; His father's death when he was 15 (who had gotten him into music); Deep fear of injury or illness that could bring an important creative project crashing to a halt, our collective heart breaks and we want to give him a big hug.

Yet to my surprise, instead of the evasive, erratic, difficult artiste I'd surely expected, Mr. Barrett was open, interested and relaxed during our conversation in a modest motel room of gray drapes, imitation wood furniture, a mattress that'd seen better days and a funk that hung in the air like old cigarette smoke & coffee. Barrett's long jawline, thick brows, piercing brown eyes, stubble, and vintage paisley blouse did not betray his sixty years. "Have you got it yet?" he asked as I was fumbling with notes. "Yes, thanks for waiting" I finally said taking a deep breath and hunching on a lime-green Ottoman.

A - It's my understanding a person is very much the same after death, but you seem not at all the disconnected or sporadic person your legend suggests -

Syd - Yes well that's probably true, but it's been ten years and time has its influence. I was more dead when I was alive (smiles thinly).

A - Can you elaborate on that?

Syd - I don't think so, no, sorry. I'm not trying to be rude, you understand, that's just the best way to say it.

A - Sure. The innovations you brought to electric guitar, modern rock composing and presentation ended up being enormous. But the childlike qualities that you drew on from your love of fairytales, books like The Wind in the Willows, Cautionary Tales for Children, and The Little Grey Men are also quite clear.

Syd - Yes that's quite right. It was childlike and that was the point; that's what was interesting. The timing was right and I suppose a bunch of others dug it too. I couldn't play like Jeff Beck and had no interest in trying. It was about finding something so unexpected, so original and hard for another band to recreate, that it would stand out like a sore thumb. I mean in a good way (laughs).

A - The value of truly original work.

Syd - Well yes but it had to be in context-- I mean you can't just go out there and rub a vase across a guitar neck through an effect and expect people to come back. There has to be a measure of melodic content.

A - Talk about "melodic content" in reference to The Pink Floyd's early music.

Syd - People aren't sheep. They know what they like and respond to it, so if a lot of people get excited when you play a Blues or Surf number that goes screwy halfway through but don't get so excited when it's just all screwy, you have to pay attention to that. Or not be asked back by the club. On the other hand there were no rules to what we were doing, or at least we thought so, and we were trying to walk that line.

A - You consider yourself a songwriter?

Syd - Not a very good one.

A - Why is that?

Syd - (long pause) When you become dissatisfied with your own work it becomes an impossibility. I couldn't force myself to be excited by things I'd already exhausted. That's why the band's music changed so much between the first and second albums. No one could just stand still, not in that band, not me or Roger or Dave or anyone. Music was allowed to be fluid then, and there was great hunger to liquidate and expand. To grow.

A - That almost sounds like a CEO describing a corporation.

Syd - Yeah. That's what it became. But I don't blame those guys for taking it there. Sometimes you either move forward or die.

A - I wanted to discuss The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Let's just jump in to 'Astronomy Domine', one of the most startling intros in rock history. The radioed voice, Morse signal, strange vocals, but still with some beat and, as you say, melody. The LP charted for fourteen weeks in Britain and peaked at #6. Pretty good for such an unique piece of work. How do you explain the immediate appeal 'Astronomy Domine' had?

Syd - I don't, except to say enough people, young people, were ready for something different. As different as Jackson Pollock was to modern art.

A - And 'Lucifer Sam' you must admit is pretty raw.

Syd - Yeah but in '67 that riff cooked. It cooked-up well. And then Matilda was the clincher, I think.

A - The "clincher"? How so?

Syd - It was a real tune. We could stack-up against the bigger bands with this one. Good to have in the pocket. Showed we could sing, sort of, and put together a decent bit. * Have you got it yet? *

A - The interview? Not quite, I'd like to get through as many of the cuts as possible, if that's alright?

Syd - Right.

A - How would you describe 'Flaming'.

Syd - A party tune.

A - Okay, and 'Pow R. Toc H.' ?

Syd - We were trying to break through, to break out, you know? This shows the jazz influence, but really our improvisational side. Unfortunately 'Stethoscope' was a cock-up.

A - 'Interstellar Overdrive' was a group composition, how did that manifest itself?; The process.

[* At this point Barrett began staring off into space. I indulged him, and waited.]

Syd - The process? Was there a process? I don't know . . .

A - 'The Gnome'; a Beatles influence?

Syd - Not really, more a generally British one. I preferred the Stones.

A - And a dose or two?

Syd - Marginally, but you must know I didn't often drop in the studio, too much to do. Have you ever tried to play a guitar while flying on acid? Can't be done with any degree of intention. 'Chapter 24' was more in a hallucinogenic vein. You can hear the impact this song had on everyone back then. Even the Monkees (laughter). 'Scarecrow' less so, more of a textural departure. One of my favorites on the LP.

A - Which leads us to one of my favorites, closing cut 'Bike'. The bizarre lyric, and the de-tuned bar room piano. Gingerbread men, lusty ambitions, the metalworks & duck calls at the end, all of it. Neat track.

Syd - Thank you. Now, have you got it yet?

A - Yes I think so.

Syd - Lovely seeing and talking with you.

A - Many thanks, Mr. Barrett.

My subject walked outside to a car that was idled at the curb. The man driving looked familiar, doughy with a shaved head, blank expression, and an army field jacket. As my interviewee got inside the car, he and the man behind the wheel glanced at each other and grinned. Then I realized who the driver was. No mistaking him. It was Syd Barrett.

Yes, Syd, I got it. Finally.

Report this review (#1581994)
Posted Thursday, June 23, 2016 | Review Permalink

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