Overall Album Score: 9.3 out of 10
Wow, this is one freakishly strange album. I have never thought in my entire life that I would be blessed with so much weirdness in one sitting. I never did drugs before, but I'd imagine this is what it must sound like. It's wild, unpredictable and frightening, but at the same time, it's weirdly delightful and something that I might like to do again. (But this isn't really addictive.)
This was a double album. The first being totally avantgarde, and the second being live versions of four of Pink Floyd's already-completely-nuts back catalogue. Geez, I'm also having a hard time figuring out which discs of these I enjoy the most ... Um ... I'm too freaked out to care, really.
The album starts out with the "Sysyphus" series, which is fairly normal compared to the rest of the album. (Of course, since this is one of the most abnormal albums on the planet, even "Sysyphus" is crazy.) It features a wide array of classical-type music including a Medieval fanfare intro, some piano-led modern art music, and some crazy ole avantguarde percussion stuff. Part four of the series is totally amazing, though, and sends shivers up my spine!
"Grantchester" follows, but don't let that one confuse you. It might be a fairly normalish (and might actually be boring to some people) guitar-led tune, but it's hands down the most normal thing on here. I really adore this song, though, because it transfers me to a happy green summer meadow ... something I don't get from any other song.
'Several' species follows and is squirrel music. Really. "The Narrow Way" song trilogy follows, which I like, but I'm not overall enthusiastic about! Be sure not to miss Part 2 of that song, though, because it sounds just like a Mario Bros. 2 background song to my surprise! I was even less impressed with "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" trilogy, but that's probably the most avantgarde of the lot.
The second disc is more concentrated, probably because it only has four (very long) songs on it! The first track, is an excellent live version of "Astronomy Domine." I also really like the following song, "Careful With that Axe Eugene" if it's only because of that thoroughly FRIGHTENING demon scream in the middle of it. "Set The Controls For the Sun" isn't quite as fantastic as the others on the disc, but it's hard to not freak out with that one ... except I'm immuned to freaky stuff by then. "A Saucerful of Secrets" is a particular highlight for me, especially the end when the organ starts sailing off!
Well, I just went through every track in this introduction. And I'm going to go through every track down below. I just repeat myself!
I will, however, attempt to make one general sweeping paragraph about this Pink Floyd album for all ya''''ll. This is one of the most entertaining and effective avantgarde albums out there. Even Frank Zappa's never come close to topping this one. Pink Floyd sure knows how to play around with your emotions and do things you'd probably rather they not do! This is a highly surreal album. Most of it's a nightmare, but ... some of it's pleasant.
Overall Album Score: 9.3 out of 10 (MAAAAAAAAAAAN IS THIS ONE FREAKY ALBUM OR WHAYT>?TTTTTTTTTTEMOIMISPOIMOIMOIIDOSP)
Average Song Score: 8.9 (I never thought avantgarde music can be so good! This stuff is so dang moody that it's difficult to believe that it's so good!)
Album Tilt: 9.5 (There's such a large increase here, because the highest scoring songs were also the longest songs. Also, there's not a dull spot on this entire 1.4 hour album and that's pretty impressive for an avantgarde album.)
Artist Rating: 9.5 (This is art to the highest degree. Hats off to these guys.)
Syphilus: Part 1 8/10
Man, I'll tell ya, I caught syphilus once while I ... I ... hey, this thing's public. And the FBI and stuff is probably watching me. Dudes, I really need to be careful what I say on this Web site, don't I? I mean, from what I understand, even THE PRESIDENT might be watching what I write! ... Do you think that George W. Bush is a Pink Floyd fan? ... That'd be pretty weird ... And this song is pretty weird, too. Whereas I'm used to Pink Floyd doing this trippy psychedelic stuff, I'm getting this really strange Medieval introduction tune. What's this supposed to be, Prog Rock? ... Oh, wait ... yeah. As far as one-minute Medieval songs go, this one's tops ... I suppose.
Sysyphus: Part 2 9.5/10
PIANO MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This is all modern pianoey stuff, and that's awesome in my book. Pink Floyd knows how to do modern classical music played totally on the piano. While it's not Beethoven and it doesn't really have a melody or anything, I find this to be quite enchanting. The ending of it is very frightening and bizarre. Way to go, loony-faces.
Sysyphus: Part 3 8.5/10
There's a bunch of strange noises all playing in a very ordinary and rather dull rhythm. Oh. And there's these weird animal screams in the background after awhile. I'm-a-freakin' out, man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Why do acid when you have Pink Floyd albums?) Anyway, this song is seriously nuts. ... Since the "Loony One" Syd Barret is out of the band, I'm seriously beginning to wonder if ... he was actually the crazy one. I mean, really.
Sysyphus: Part 4 10/10
This one's about twice as long as the previous "Sysyphus" songs combined. It starts out all quiet and calm, though it's thoroughly creepy. ... This is sending shivers down my spine. These fake birds begin tweeting in the background, placing me in some sort of weird synthesized forest. Everything stops and then we get a really freakishly frightening chord. (Man! I knew these guys were up to something no good!) And then things get even creepier here. You know, like when Captain Kirk gets lost on a really strange planet and there's a mutant with a ray gun sneaking up behind him in the bushes. That's what the second part of this song is like. Anyway, give Pink Floyd all the credit due to them for being totally nuts, but how the hell is anyone going to top a song like this? It's avant-garde music that's not only thoroughly creepy, but it doesn't let go of my attention for an entire seven minutes! ... Man, that's one of the biggest compliments I've ever given. (Oh, Medieval music for another minute! Medieval dudes might not have had the 'lectric guitar, but their music rocks, man.)
Bird noises start up this track. I love birds. They make me happy. They're ancestors of the Aryan race, too, which means they have stumpy black mustaches hiding beneath their feathers. And then there's some guitar playing and some (whoah) singing. Pink Floyd sings such a pleasant, happy little song that I'm left to wonder when I'm going to be creeped out next. I mean, this song goes on for more than seven minutes, and it's just a very pleasant thing throughout the song. The melody isn't particuarly catchy or anything. This is just calm. Nice and calm. Like laying in a meadow on a warm summer's day not really thinking about anything. I like this. (Someone swats a fly at the end of it.)
Several Species of Furry Animals Gathered in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict... 9/10
So, this song is really freaky nutty. If you can possibly envision a song consisting of music produced by a bunch of jamming squirrels, this is it. And this track ABSOLUTELY CRACKS ME UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, I must ask, how can anyone top this? I mean, a squirrel jam? I think not. They start singing squirrel arias or something in the last half of this song, and I must say ... those squirrels must be pretty pain-filled creatures to be giving it all their heart like that. This song is spooky, too. And then some fire-and-brimstone preacher or something delievers a totally unintelligible sermon. It's like a bad dream. A very bad dream. I'm getting sick. Of course, this song is brilliant. In its own special way. I'm freaked out, but at least I appreciate it.
The Narrow Way: Part 1 8/10
Straightforward acoustic guitar strumming in the background and then a bunch of weird noises go in and out of your speakers! Yes, I'm freaked out again! But this is a far cry from freaking me out to the extreme level that the end of "Sysyphus" did, man. It freaked me out more when I got syphilus and I never even had sex. ... I didn't just say that.
The Narrow Way: Part 2 9/10
Is there a reason this sounds so eerily similar to the Super Mario Bros. 2 underground theme music? I mean, that slow dark groove sounds like Nintendo just stole it. What's the deal here? Of course, the weird avant garde sounds in the foreground are different, but ... this is freaky on a WHOLE NEW DIFFERENT LEVEL. I bloody grew up with that game and now a '60s Pink Floyd song is stirring up all those old memories. Not that I don't like this song. That Nintendo song was pretty neat, you know.
The Narrow Way: Part 3 8.5/10
It's the final "Narrow Way" song! And, what do you know? This sounds almost like a Dark Side of the Moon era song! It's very calm and calculated sounding (apart from the general noise in the background) yet it sounds creepy. This isn't really as good as a Dark Side era song, but this is a pleasant foreshadowing of the things to come.
The Grand Vizier's Garden Party: Part 1 (Entrance) 8/10
FLUTESSSSSSSS!!!!!! I like these flutey music. And then there's a big ole drum roll. Don't worry. This song's only a minute long.
The Grand Vizier's Garden Party: Part 2 (Entertainment) 8/10
So, the Grand Vizier must be an extraordinarily weird person with entertainment that's borderline insane. I say this only out of love, however. He must also have some pretty weird friends if he entertains people through this type of avantgarde music! There are these echoey drums going in and out of the speakers and then there's this metallic sounding thing going off in the background. This all stops and we get very quiet, cool jet engine sounds. A very quiet, echoey song starts to play that's extremely pleasant! This soon stops and these very irregular drum sounds go off in all directions. Ummmmmmmaggggummmmmaaaaa. (This must be why they named this album "Ummagumma." That's what people utter when they hear this.) The drums quietly adapt an interesting (and tribal, I guess) rhythm and ... um ...
The Grand Vizier's Garden Part: Part 3 (Exit) 8/10
Thirty seconds of flute music to leave with. I'm happy. I hope you're happy too.
Astronomy Domine (Live) 10/10
Now, I hope you haven't skipped out on this album, because HERE IS WHERE THE GOOD STUFF BEGINS BABY!!!!! THE LIVE STUFF!!!!!! Just under eight minutes and thirty seconds chock full of live "Astronomy Domine" feeds your psychedelic soul to the point of gluttony! HOO HAHHH!!!! From the good old Syd Barrett era, his children prove that they are worthy to handle his mad creations. The thoroughly creepy (and pretty catchy) melody along with thick, mad, engaging atmosphere, and different moods throughout the thing, this is something to latch onto until its very conclusion. I'm as serious as hell.
Careful With That Axe, Eugene 10/10
Hah hah! This song starts out with some organ music that sounds like a Henry Mancini song if he did acid, too. Well, good old Mancini didn't do acid, so he wrote "Baby Elephant Walk" and left it up to the weirdos to compose and performe "Careful With That Axe Eugene." Well, this song is as thoroughly creepy as anything in this album especially at the beginning of it. It's totally atmospheric and it'll have you on your toes. The middle part of it just gets SCARY when we hear this demon scream. (Think "Gig in the Sky" except it's sung by an evil being who desires your immortal soul.) Anyway, there's no singing on this song. It's just more instrumental, avantgarde mayhem. And, naturally, it's brilliant!!!
Set the Controls For the Sun 9/10
OH MAN!!!! Well, this song doesn't start out any better than the previous two, but after the three-minute mark, this one takes off ... like when Captain Kirk gets into this really trippy place in outer space and there's nothing that he can do about it. You know like that one time when he saw Abraham Lincoln floating in front of the Starship Enterprise in the vacuums of space and he was talking to him. Kind of like that, man. Pink Floyd's one seriously trippy band. This is *the* healthy substitute for acid, man. Well ... I assume this is healthy. Crap, am I injuring myself from listening to this?
A Saucerful of Secrets 10/10
MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This song is a whopping 12 3/4 minutes long, and it's freaking amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It doesn't start out too eventful, but the crazy noises quickly start stacking up upon each other like a ... weird Star Trek episode. ... I don't know about you, but I'm totally freaking out. I don't know about you. I'm so totally freaking out that I'm bloody repeating myself. The middle part of it isn't very scary, but it's creepy. Then ... the organ starts playing those familiar "Saucerful" chords that I remember hearing from that one Pink Floyd album I listened to once. AND WHEN THIS PART OF THE SONG TAKES OFF, IT'S LIKE IT HAS MY WHOLE LIFE GOING WITH IT TOO!!!!!!!! HOLY MOTHER OF UMMAGUMMMMMMMMM...
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