also by Pink Floyd:
An interesting and controversial pairing of a live concert with a side of bizarre solo experiments from the four members of the band. The live half is the only official live recording of early Pink Floyd. It's a muddy recording, but it's a good document of their spaced-out instrumental psychedelic repertoire of the time. Roger Waters' infamous blood-curdling scream is particularly frightening in this performance of "Careful with that Axe, Eugene", as there's no warning that it's going to happen. Other versions anticipate the scream with a drum fill.
The solo half is really what gives this album its dodgy reputation. Some of it is throwaway experimental wank, but it mostly doesn't take itself too seriously, and there's moments where it is actually listenable. Rick Wright's "Sysyphus" is the most ambitious, an attempt at an avant-garde classical mini-symphony with piano and Mellotron. His piano improvisation on part 2 is pretty but not that inspired - Keith Jarrett does this kind of thing infinitely better. But soon it descends into random bashing and plonking. I suppose they had to get it out of their systems in those days.
Roger Waters' two contributions are the most eclectic. "Grantchester Meadows" is a lazy, meandering tribute to the Cambridge countryside with just Roger, his acoustic guitar, birdsong and trickling of the river Cam. The "Several Small Species" on the other hand, is one of the most far-out things any of them have done, a chaotic chorus of squeaking animal noises. They're eventually joined by a mock-Scottish ranting guy - I don't think this is genuine Rabbie Burns! A daft and cleverly-arranged bit of fun.
Dave Gilmour doesn't set his sights very high, so "The Narrow Way" makes a refreshing change from the surrounding monstrosities. Instead there are a couple of lightweight multi-layered guitar instrumentals. The tunes are nothing special but they pass the time. Part 3 is actually a regular song, in typical lazy Floyd style. Nick Mason's "Grand Vizier's Garden Party" is completely throwaway stuff. He's not playing the drums here so much as randomly splicing up tape snatches of his drumming. It's easy to call him the Ringo of Pink Floyd.
April 29, 2004