Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Pink Floyd - Ummagumma (1969)












If Atom Heart Mother is a bunch of psychedelic waffling, Ummagumma is undoubtedly its mother. Fortunately for us, the first disc of live material that reflects such sentiment does not continue to the second disc, where the real meat and matters are. Besides a great live version of "Astronomy Domine," the rest of disc one is just pure Grade A distilled psychobabble. Dreck. Drivel. Dross. DRUGS. Disc two is immensely better. There we are treated to three separate suites, a walk through some Grantchester meadows and the unorthodox frontispiece that happens to be in the middle, "Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict," which, etymologically speaking, might have something to do with Ummagumma -- not that I would know, though. It's a fucking highlight, that's for sure, in ways that are impossible to describe. "The Narrow Way" suite is possibly the closest thing people who generally like Floyd will latch onto and like, besides "Grantchester Meadows", simply for its resemblance to their later musical output. This is not to say it's homogenized and contrived -- because later Floyd is good, but comparably to the rest of the album's quirkiness, it's quite tame. The "Sysphus" suite is quite erratic in a good way, but completely train-wrecks in the fourth part. Strange, too, how Sysphus plays into this whole Ummagumma theme. Hmmm, think they're trying to say something to us? The second part of the "The Grand Vizier" suite precedes "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" -- it sucks. Sure, parts one and three are good, but they span a combined 1:41. Otherwise, I suggest a few good listens, but this is more or less a kind of necessary bridge in their development from Piper to Meddle. B

6 comments:

Master Cianan said...

I've always loved ummagumma, even the bits that are just rick wright destroying grand pianos. I think the first disc is kind of a necessary primer to ease you into disc 2, otherwise you're gonna think it's really obtuse unless you've been hitting the bong. I like this one lots.

kaki king in 2 hours.

Jeff said...

Ummagumma is worth a purchase just to hear Careful With that Axe Eugene. I really like the live material on the first disc and like most double disc albums, I tend to listen to one disc much more than the other so the studio material typically doesn't get much love from me. It is definitely interesting material, but in my opinion it ranks lower amongst most Floyd material.

The Mad Hatter said...

Cianan,

You suck. How dare you continue to bring Kaki in Floyd discussion. I hate you; I'm jealous. Go eat a tapeworm.

Jeff,

"Careful With That Axe, Eugene?" Really? I've noticed that we seem to have a bit of disparity among our Floydian tastes. Besides, "Astronomy Domine," blehhhhh to the live album. And as for interesting material, I would rank this among the highest, hehe. Oh well. Floyd is Floyd.

Jeff said...

I guess we are a bit different but we do both believe that DSOTM is the best Floyd album (and greatest album of all time) and WYWH ranks second. And did you also think The Wall was overrated? I might have to go back and check on that, but I certainly think it gets way to much credit and doesn't even compare to the earlier work of Floyd.

Master Cianan said...

Look, for some reason you just keep reviewing floyd records. (everone who voted yes is a nimrod) Why not review the new kaki record and then I'd have an appropriate venue for my remarks.

and I second that vote for "careful with that axe eugene". If for no other reason than a friend of mine who is an OR nurse likes to listen to that track with his surgeon pals when they're cutting into people. I tell you, surgeons are all fucked in the head.

The Mad Hatter said...

Jeff,

I think The Wall is overrated in comparison to Dark Side and Wish You Were Here, but I still love it. I'm posting the last four later, so you'll see.

Master Cianan,

I didn't vote this time. I figured it would be bias. As I said above, four to go, I've written them, I just need to put the html shit in and we're good. Kaki will be next, once I get the album, which you just informed me is out, therefore, ugh....