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Various Artists — Animals Reimagined
(Cleopatra CLO2573, 2021, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-04-16

Animals Reimagined Cover art

Animals Reimagined, huh? Reimagined as what? As an electronic dance album? As a bluegrass workout? No, in this case, a group of well-known musicians have reimagined Pink Floyd’s 1977 progressive rock album as a 2021 progressive rock album — which is to say that it’s basically the same as the original, only with different musicians playing the parts. I know quite a few people who feel that Meddle was the end of Pink Floyd’s greatness, putting Animals well past their prime, but I am not in that camp. I love the early psychedelic albums, but I also love their run from Dark Side of the Moon through to The Wall; Wish You Were Here and Animals stand out as the band’s albums most resembling progressive rock, and comparing them to Piper at the Gates of Dawn is an apples vs oranges game. Covering an album as meticulously arranged as this one is a challenge, and the people involved have chosen to do nothing drastic, like setting “Dogs” as a big-band jazz epic or “Sheep” as a technical metal workout. Each track has entirely different personnel on drums (Pat Mastelotto, Billy Cobham, Carmine Appice), bass (Kasim Sultan, Joe Bouchard, David John Haskins), guitar (Martin Barre, Vinnie Moore, Al DiMeola, Jan Akkerman, Albert Lee, Billy Sherwood), keyboards (Jordan Rudess, Patrick Moraz, Rick Wakeman), and vocals (Nick van Ede, Graham Bonnet, James Labrie, Arthur Brown, Jon Davison). Aside from the singers and some of the instrumental solos, very few of the parts are significantly different than the originals. The Moraz synth solo in “Pigs (Three Different Ones” is something you’d never hear Richard Wright play, and DiMeola brings a different vibe than David Gilmour, but there are many times when a casual listener could mistake this for Floyd. The opening section of “Sheep” features a bluesy duet between Akkerman and Wakeman that is a nice touch. All this being said, I’ve got to say I enjoy listening to Animals Reimagined — these tunes are so much part of my musical DNA that I just fall into the groove of this mid-70s classic, reliving how much it impressed me as a teenager.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): David Gilmour, Pat Mastelotto, Rick Wakeman, Pink Floyd, Arthur Brown, Martin Barre, Patrick Moraz, Jan Akkerman, Billy Sherwood, Billy Cobham, Al Di Meola, Jordan Rudess, Various Artists, Roger Waters, Nick Mason, Carmine Appice

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