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Pink Floyd - A Saucerful Of Secrets CD (album) cover

A SAUCERFUL OF SECRETS

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.67 | 1709 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars From this album onwards, they dropped "The" from the band name to become "Pink Floyd". A major line-up change with this album with the arrival of David Gilmour. He used to replace Syd for their live gigs (in December 1967). Then he became a permanent member of the Floyd from then on. Although he will not sign a lot of songs on ASOS (only one, as co-author of the title track) his influence will be huge on the band. About Syd, David wil say : "We were friends first, then we picked up guitars later on. I was playing professionally in groups before Syd. He'd know something, I'd know something and we'd swap, as people do in back rooms everywhere."

About the way the band thought they still could work with Syd, he will say : "It was fairly obvious that I was brought in to take over from him, at least on stage. It was impossible to gauge his feelings about it. I don't think Syd has opinions as such. The first plan was that I would join and make it a five piece so it would make it easier so that Syd could still be strange but the band would still function. And then the next idea was that Syd would stay home and do writing and be the Brian Wilson elusive character that didn't actually perform with us and the third plan was that he would do nothing at all. And it quickly changed 'round, and it was just....it was *obviously* impossible to carry on working that way."

In terms of composition, there is also a major difference. While "Piper" is almost Syd's album, this one contains only one song from him (Jugband Blues) which is the poorest of the album. Due to his addiction and slow way down to craziness, he was not able any longer to be the song-wrtiter he used to be, so the other members had to perform or ... disappear. Logically, there was an enormous pression on Roger's shoulders who had to write as many good tracks as he could. Their producer (Norman Smith former sound engineer of the Beatles till "Ruber Soul" ) wanted them to become the new Beatles !

Waters signed three songs (of which two are from the best one here) as sole composer :

"Let There Be More Light" is a great piece of psychedelic music : great bass work during the intro, some Oriental influence (more to come) and hypnotic vocal passages (with reference to Lucie in the Sky ...). A very good opener.

His next great track is "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun". It could have come out of Syd's mind but Waters showed his ability in writing great psyche songs as well. The bass play has a major role, and the repetitive tempo is truely fascinating. Actually it is very similar to "Let There..." in the sense of the hypnoytical sound, Oriental influence. This one will be the one Floyd will choose as a highlight of their live sets instead. Very good. It is a great psychedelic trip. His third one is "Corporal Clegg" which is a combination of psyche and hallucinating moments, Beatles type vocals and a kind of stupid chorus. Poor.

Rick Wright ever said that they really did not how to write songs and that they were not quite happy with their results. I must agree for the two songs he wrote " "Remember A Day" : is a nice little tune with drums la "Set The Controls ..." but not so powerful. A bit childish but not too bad. "See Saw" on the other hand is one of the poorest rack of ASOS and is not worth to be remembered. I quote Rick : "I don't think I've listened to them (Remember A Day, See Saw), ever since we recorded them. It was a learning process. The lyrics were appalling-terrible but so were a lot of lyrics in those days."

Another highlight of course is the title track "A Saucerfull of Secrets" : an almost twelve minutes piece of the craziest psychedelic stuff ever heard (on par with "Interstellar). During a concert in Forth Worth Roger introduced it saying : "The next song, if you may call it a song is A Saucerful of Secrets". I guess there is no better introduction to this piece of music. The lenght will be extended to 23'45" for this occasion.

Rick will say : "We all believed it was going to be one of the best things we'd ever put onto record." Then Rick again : "I did the title track and I remember Norman saying, 'You just can't do this, it's too long. You have to write three-minute songs'. We were pretty cocky by now and told him, If you don't wanna produce it, just go away. A good attitude I think. The same reason why we'd never play See Emily Play in concert."

Lenghtly and bizarre first section (almost four minutes). It is accordingly titled : "Something Else". It is a kind of rehearsal or fine tuning of the instruments before a concert. This part is more a "trip" to the outer world for which each listener can use his imagination to define his feelings.

In the second part : "Syncopated Pandemonium" Mason enters with nice drumming (again a bit la "Set The Controls...) but it is unfortunately almost unheard in the background (he will be more proeminent during their live sets). It lasts for 3 minutes.

The third part is called "Storm Signal" and is a beautiful introduction to the grand finale called (again accordingly) : "Celestial Voices". The most beautiful vocals on an instrumental track (well, is this possible) ? It is my favorite part of the "song" : very melodious and cresendo building. What a great musical moment. IMHO this is the real start for Pink Floyd and contains three masterpieces of prog / pschedelic songs and announces already tracks like "Echoes" for instance.

The album will peak at Nr. 9 in the UK charts. In terms of touring, 1968 will be a quiter year for Floyd : around sixty concerts. Mostly in the UK but they will also tour in the US and on continental Europe (The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland). They won't play as opening act any longer. They will perform in some festivals together with bands like Santana, Steppenwolf and The Who. I rate this effort as a three star work.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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