Pink Floyd — Atom Heart Mother
(Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab UDCD595, 1970/1993, CD)
by Michael Draine, Published 1994-05-01
Back in the heyday of symphonic rock, it was natural for Pink Floyd to take an occasional stab at "serious" composition, their most assiduous attempt being this 1970 album's daringly abstract, twenty-three minute title track. Floyd sidekick Ron Geesin's uncredited brass and choral arrangements lend form and momentum to the alternately dissonant and lyrical piece, but it's David Gilmore's liquid glissando guitar that sustains Atom Heart's hypnotic plateaus. The three enervated ballads that ensue underscore the still-unhealed loss of Syd Barrett's songwriting skills. Roger Waters' "If" and Gilmore's "Fat Old Sun" were only to be effectively realized live (as documented on the 3/10/71 bootleg, Atom Heart Mother Goes on the Road), while Rick Wright's "Summer '68" portends the bitter, cynical tone of later Pink Floyd. The thirteen minute "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" consists largely of aimless musique concrète, but concludes with an uplifting, melodic coda of disarming warmth, innocence and charm (terms which would not often be applicable to the band's darkening musical vision). The benefits of Mobile Fidelity's gold Ultradisc treatment include an uncommonly lifelike kick drum sound, vivid stereo imaging, and the capture of Gilmore's seductively lush, mellifluous slide guitar in all of its sublime ethereality. While Atom Heart Mother remains a decidedly minor Pink Floyd opus (significantly, the group chose to omit it from the Shine On box set), the brave, if inflated, experimental spirit displayed here provides a striking contrast to the space-rock Barnum & Bailey the group has become.
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more