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.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more