Various Artists — A Saucerful of Pink
(Cleopatra CLEO 9551-2, 1995, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
With all of these recent tribute releases, there seem to be three types of covers: those which stay true to the original (or at least attempt to), those who take the original concept and try to improve it while remaining true to the spirit, and lastly, the innovators, taking the old song into completely new directions. What makes A Saucerful of Pink special is that it contains mostly the latter, and while not everything on the album is totally successful, one has to at least recognize that it represents an attempt to innovate.
The album begins with Psychic TV's rendition of "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun," adding power and intensity while remaining true to the original spirit. Also along these lines is Furnace's dark and mysterious delivery of "Hey You." Moving well beyond the basic ideas, we have tracks like "One of These Days" and "Interstellar Overdrive" by Spahn Ranch and Spiral Realms respectively, that inject a heavy electronic character into the originals, drastically and successfully altering their trajectories. Even more out of character is Leather Strip's demonic rendition of "Learning to Fly" and Alien Sex Fiend's mutant techno version of "Echoes." Nik Turner does a fine job with "Careful with That Axe, Eugene," the opening part being faithful to the original, while the anticipated climax hits with a squealing sax and throws the remainder of the song into choppy electronic turbulence. Eden's take on Syd Barrett's "Jugband Blues" brings it up to date and adds the power that seemed to be missing in the original, while EXP's "Saucerful of Secrets" is a more faithful take on the original, replete with Nick Mason styled drumming.
Exploding abruptly in a techno-trance firestorm, Penal Colony's cover of "Young Lust" is, if nothing else, interesting. Yet it, and several other tracks here (Controlled Bleeding's "Another Brick in the Wall," Pressurehed's "Let There Be More Light," and Melting Euphoria's "Point Me at the Sky") sound like they were thrown together without much respect to the essence of the original, and in the case of the latter two, the playing is quite sloppy, and the vocals range from uninspired (Pressurehed) to downright horrible (Melting Euphoria). Other artists include Sky Cries Mary, Farflung, Electric Hellfire Club, Din, Ron Geesin and Helios Creed.
So, like all tributes, and all compilations in general, featuring bands with varying artistic visions, there's some good and some bad, and plenty that are hovering somewhere in the middle. Most of the artists here tend to pull the songs in a more techno or neo-psych oriented direction, and overall I'd have to say the better material outweighs the marginal stuff, though it might help to have a programmable changer anyway.
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more