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Monday, March 17, 2008

Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother

Pink Floyd were already hitting the London scene in the late '60s with their cult hero Syd Barrett after the release of singles Arnold Layne and their psychdelic debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. It wasn't until 1968 where Syd was taking the drug scene a little too far after the release of See Emily Play and the pop humor grocery store sing-along track single, Apples and Oranges. Childhood friend David Gilmour replaced Syd after the release of A Saucerful of Secrets when Syd said goodbye with the folk experimental track Jugband Blues.

They had a talk about what they were going to do after Syd left, they decided to move forward to a planet where no man has gone before. Their 1970 album, Atom Heart Mother is an explosive and almost bombastic concept for the Floyd with the Symphony Orchestra, wires in people's brains, the summer of 1968, Sun's rising above the english country houses, and a good old fashion psychedelic breakfast.

The opening track that clocks in at 23 minutes and 44 seconds of Atom Heart Mother, is the gem of a perfect symphonic sound. You have Rick Wright doing some odd sounds on the keyboard, David Gilmour's space guitar work, Roger Waters doing a little bass solo, and Nick Mason's drum sounds becoming more quiet and calm. The track would almost become more of an alternate soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's 2001 which I will get to later on. It's almost atmospheric and strange, but absolutely well made.

If is almost a science-fiction folk ballad from Roger Waters becoming more of a fingerpicking type of guy on the acoustic guitar and David Gilmour doing his Outer Limits sound on his guitar also. Summer '68 is another ballad this time from Richard Wright. It's more of a Rick's taste of the culture of the song about 1968 with the hippies and the love-in's before leaving to serve his country in Vietnam.

Fat Old Sun is David Gilmour's number about the sun reaching over the sky as the song is more of a calming acoustic guitar introduction with Gilmour's taste of vocals. And then at the last 2-minutes of the number, he goes into a rockin' guitar solo. It is so good, you know it's absolutely excellent!

The last track Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, is your mouth-watery 13-minute experimental piece of their roadie Alan Stiles (who cooked breakfast for the Floyd), orders some breakfast and then it becomes more of a flourish/acoustic/prog number while he munches away while the band plays along as he enjoys the composition.

Now about the Kubrick situation. According to legend, Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick heard the album and he loved it so much, he asked the Floyd to compose a film score for him to do his next film which is one of the most controversial films made of all time A Clockwork Orange. The floyd refused to do it because they didn't know how the film was going to set the scenery.

Atom Heart Mother is Pink Floyd's masterpiece along with Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, Meddle, and Dark Side of the Moon. This was the beginning of the Floyd's career up into Space. Even though to this day they hated working on this album, they really kicked the temperature up to 200!

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