25 October 2011

Discovering Pink Floyd - The First Seven

For a long time and probably due to my Dad's influence I've been a fan of Pink Floyd. Much like anything passed down to me from my Dad though, I only really knew their newer, more popular works such as their epic Dark Side Of The Moon album, Wish You Were Here and The Wall.

On 23 September 2011, their entire catalogue was re-released and I chose to take the dive and buy it up in the Discovery Box set which contains all 14 of their albums as well as an exclusive 60 page special booklet of artwork. In purchasing the set, I now own more Pink Floyd albums than my father!

Pink Floyd Discovery Set

As I said, I didn't know much about the 'older' Pink Floyd with the exception of a few tracks such as Echoes from the album Meddle and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun from A Saucerful Of Secrets. Expanding my knowledge of their catalogue, this post will look at reviewing the first seven albums of Pink Floyd - before Dark Side Of The Moon.

The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn presents the ultimate of early Pink Floyd music and is quite a short album, more likely due to the restriction of the amount of audio that can be recorded onto an LP than anything else. The album starts with the popular Astronomy Domine and ends with the cheerful song Bike. The songs all feature a very 60's sound to them, almost likened to The Beattles. I might have to track down copies of Arnold Layne and See Emily Play, two singles that were released before this album was pieced together.

A Saucerful Of Secrets is similarly short but features some interesting songs like the opening track Let There Be More Light and dark/haunting tracks, such as Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.

Music From The Film More is an interesting listen to a soundtrack performed by Pink Floyd. It makes me interested to see what the movie is actually like just because Pink Floyd are involved with it.

Ummagumma is described on Wikipedia as an experimental album and this definitely comes through when listening to the studio album half of this 2-disc set. I wouldn't consider Ummagumma a musical album, rather a blend and mix of different noises and sounds to try to create something! The first half of this album includes live performances of songs from the first two albums.

Atom Heart Mother starts out with a nearly 24 minute anthem of the same title as the album. I remember hearing this song when my Dad was introducing me to 'early Floyd'. A short number of tracks feature on this album due to the length of Atom Heart Mother and the 13 minute Alan's Psychadelic Breakfast. The latter being a mix of different styles and more experimentation with the in-between tracks having a more folk-like sound.

Meddle is one of my favourite albums from the early Floyd era, particularly with the second half belonging to the awesome 23.5 minute long Echoes. Other notable tracks include Seamus which is about a dog and very different from the rest of the songs on the album and the intense opening track One of These Days.

Obscured By Clouds, much like the More album is a soundtrack recorded for a French film, La Vallée. The music again is quite interesting and has quite a unique sound, even for Pink Floyd. The opening track Obscured By Clouds features a deep bass feel which is unique for the band to this point while the rest of the album has a 70's rock feel about it.

The second half of Pink Floyd's discography will be easier to review as it's more familiar territory, kicking off with Dark Side Of The Moon through to The Division Bell.


Adam Walter said...

My brother was responsible for getting me hooked to Pink Floyd. He listened to them religiously and I eventually developed an ear for them by the late 90s (and just in time to catch their last tour!). It wasn't until my musical ear matured that I got into their pre-DSOTM era. I love their experimental/psychedelic stuff! Echoes is definitely my favorite as well. Check out the Pink Floyd at Pompeii DVD some day. Amazing recordings of some early greats.

Daniel said...

Cheers Adam, very envious you got to see them during their last tour. That would have been amazing!

I'll be sure to check out the Pompeii DVD, I'm pretty sure Dad has it in his collection ;)