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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pink Floyd

A Saucerful of Secrets

Review by Gary Hill

Once upon a time Pink Floyd was more psychedelic than progressive rock. In a lot of ways, this disc is kind of a middle ground effort. There is still a lot of psychedelia, but also elements that would later be prevalent in their music were showing up here. I’d have to say that there’s one track here that leaves me wanting to hit “skip” because I just don’t get it, but the rest is all good. A few pieces are exceptional.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Let There Be More Light

This grows out from the beginning with some cool psychedelic sounds. Those build up to a crescendo and then drop back down. From there we get a new prog turned psychedelic vibe. The vocals come in over the top and it moves forward in a very recognizable Pink Floyd way. You can hear both the original Floyd sounds represented here, but also hints of the Dark Side of the Moon era that was yet to come. We’re take out into noisy space with an instrumental movement later in the track. This is a great piece of music and an excellent way to start things in style. That segment fades down to end this.

Remember a Day
Written by Richard Wright, it shouldn’t be a surprise that keyboard feature pretty prominently here. Still, the other instruments all do their part to weave the musical tapestry. This is another great piece of psychedelia turned space rock and proto prog.
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
This is very much a classic Pink Floyd piece. It is very much a psychedelic piece, and it’s also, by definition, a space rock number. Percussion pounds in the background as the rest of the instrumentation keeps a fairly laid back approach. In a lot of ways, the vocals are what really makes this work. Still, all the jamming doesn’t hurt.
Corporal Clegg
This one confounds me. I mean, it’s a total psychedelic romp, but it’s a little too weird for my tastes. It has some old fashioned music and more trip out stuff. It’s definitely a piece that doesn’t hold up as well as some of the rest.
A Saucerful of Secrets
The title track is almost twelve minutes in length. Space music rises up very gradually and tentatively. It builds out as it continues. As it builds, there is an unsettling vibe to this. It feels creepy, like something from a horror movie. It gets even spookier as it continues. If this is a trip, it’s a bad one. It gets louder and even freakier as it builds, until it seems to end around the four minute mark. The drums lead the way as it starts to work out from there. It is still rather unsettling, and it’s completely psychedelic in nature. Around the seven minute mark it seems to end with a rumbling sound taking over from there. Keyboards rise up as the piece gets a new life and a new movement. This movement takes on more of a melodic and pretty progressive rock sound. It almost seems like a happy ending to the ominous feeling of the rest of the piece. There is still a sense of mystery, but rather than fearful, it’s more a sense of awe. Other than some non-lyrical vocals, this piece is an instrumental. It’s also one of the best songs of the set.
See Saw
More of a pretty typical psychedelic tune, this one is not bad. It’s just not particularly special.
Jugband Blues
The first part of this is very typical psychedelia. Then it works out to jugband styled music. From there a real psychedelic trip out takes over. The ending section is a short, acoustic guitar based bit of psychedelic rock.

 

 
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