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Pink Floyd - Ummagumma CD (album) cover


Pink Floyd


Psychedelic/Space Rock

3.48 | 1627 ratings

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James Lee
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My older brother got this when it was new (i.e., just before I was born!) and described it as "the one I put on when I want people to leave me alone". "Self- indulgent" and "pretentious" are the terms most used to describe this album...come to think of it, that's how most people feel about the progressive rock genre as a whole. The common view is that PINK FLOYD should have stuck to a single disc rather than a double album- ironic, because that's how I feel about "The Wall". "Ummagumma", on the other hand, strikes me as fun, spooky, and crazy in a way that is to me the heart and soul of the PINK FLOYD ethos. I can go for years without listening to it, and then suddenly become obsessed with it all over again; I have purchased this album in vinyl, cassette, and CD form because it always seems to have been lost/ stolen/ destroyed by the time I want to hear it again (I suspect the people I've lived with, but I guess I can't blame them). Every subsequent album after this will see the band getting more refined and less adventurous (and, possibly, gradually having less and less fun). There's plenty to tempt the more casual fan; the live tracks are in each case the best versions of their respective songs, and with "Grantchester Meadows" and "The Narrow Way" are excellent representatives of the band during this period. "Sysyphus" is alternately grand and eerie, with some beautiful piano in the 2nd movement that unfortunately ends too quickly. Okay, "Several Species..." is almost unlistenable...yet I always listen, and marvel at the frame of mind they must have been in to put this together. Like it or not (it drives my dogs nuts, for one thing), what real PINK FLOYD fan doesn't immediately recogize it as the signature track from this album? I can't say that Mason's chaotic drum pieces are easy listening, but they display amazing talent and variety; more so than any of his solo work, which really strikes me as pretentious. And what about the beautiful photo of the band's equipment- I'd love to find a poster of that, even a copy of the Fillmore concert poster which used a bit of it. I am tempted to be controversial by giving this five stars, but objectively I can't in good conscience call this "essential" or say that it belongs in everyone's collection. "Ummagumma" is what it is: the most extreme, experimental album by the biggest name in progressive rock, and I guess that makes it an acquired taste.
James Lee | 3/5 |


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