Pink Floyd — Piper at the Gates of Dawn
(Capitol 50999 028935 2 5, 1967/2011, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2018-05-24
Of all the 60s / 70s classic groups out there, maybe the one I'm most fatigued by is Pink Floyd. A year or two ago I had a chance to listen to the Dark Side of the Moon box that had come out but at the very least I had found out I hadn't put enough years in between now and the overplay on classic rock radio to be able to see where I sat with it. Pretty much anything after that album I feel the same about, but I was also surprised when one night a friend played "Echoes" from Meddle and even that I couldn't get particularly excited about even though it's certainly a classic of theirs. But there's one album in their canon, their very first, that still continues to impress with every listen over the years. It's probably one of the most influential albums ever made, even great bands like Gong manage to sit on its foundation. Not only are there some of the earliest space rock excursions on it ("Astronomy Domine," "Interstellar Overdrive"), but the album is also the home for some of the most well crafted psychedelic pop of the times, in fact only Sgt Peppers or maybe the early Hendrix albums sit comfortably next to the album in terms of the sheer breadth they encompass. Many of the songs, of course, were written by Syd Barrett, whose presence would haunt the group long after his departure, songs like "Lucifer Sam," "Matilda Mother," "The Gnome," and "Bike." So many of these felt like a loss of innocence, songs that start almost childlike at there core but become the springboard for a great deal of experimentation that practically declared the end of the mid-60s pop era as bands rushed into the studio in the wake of Rubber Soul and Revolver. The band never made an album quite like it again; without Barrett their style would change considerably as they evolved over the next few years and while later albums would perhaps be at least influential, I don't think they ever quite matched this one in terms of a sui generis imaginative lightning strike.
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more