Pink Floyd
Ummagumma


4.0
excellent

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
May 21st, 2012 | 134 replies | 9,759 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ambitious, but not necessarily momentous.

Ummagumma brings out a different side to Pink Floyd, revealing a new direction- a more artistic one. When Syd Barrett left the group, he not only sequestered his musical contributions, but stripped Pink Floyd of an identity. The Piper At The Gates Down was Syd's album, and its Psychedelic content was the foundation of which Pink Floyd stood upon. The music was certainly experimental, but only in spirit. The musical structure in the content of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was highly accessible, especially during the time of its release when Psychedelia was at the peak of its popularity in the mainstream. Under Syd's direction, the music of Pink Floyd was jubilant, coated with infectious melodies that reflected a sense of optimism. But there was also an undefinable element within the music that composed The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. An irresistibly alluring quality that managed to captivate our attention and seduce our enthusiasm. And whatever that "element" may be, Pink Floyd have been struggling to recreate it since A Saucerful Of Secrets.

Songs like, "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" and "A Saucerful Of Secrets", from the live section of Ummagumma, reflect the direction that was taken in the recording sessions of the latter portion inside the album. A musical approach that expresses an enthusiasm for experimentation and lengthy instrumental passages. Pink Floyd's approach to Ummagumma is a very unique one. Deciding to isolate themselves from one another to comprise their own material. And then unionizing all of the different pieces to compose the album. It's a very interesting approach because through this meditative process, each member gets to discover their own potential and expand their creativity. We can really see Pink Floyd diverging away from the Psychedelic influence of Syd Barrett, and embracing a more abstract agenda. Ummagumma is a journey, one in the hopes of discovering the meaning of true art.

A song like Richard Wright's "Sysyphus", for example, is a voyage through musical experimentation. The content of "Sysyphus", like most of the album, is a test. An experiment to simply see how far they can push the limits of traditional musical orchestration. Music is an artform. And just like other artforms, it has to be bold and it has to stand out so it can captivate attention. And in order to do that, the artist has to take risks. And that's the purpose behind this album. Ummagumma is a question within itself, "What is "music"? And what defines what "music" is?" This is a challenging album because the content requires a real commitment from the listener to truly grasp the meaning of this album. And the meaning is, that it has no meaning. Art has no meaning. It exists as a challenge for the artist to stimulate their creativity and produce something worthwhile that is derived from the body, mind, and soul of the artist. Art is expressionistic. Another form of communication that describes what cannot be said in mere words. The music of this album is an experiment just for the sake of experimenting, surpassing boundaries and discovering possibilities in the hopes of better understanding the language of music itself.

But there are moments when Ummagumma returns to the norms of modern music. In David Gilmour's "The Narrow Way", we find the music existing in a free-form environment. The music transcends through different genres, while incorporating several sounds from a variety of instruments that unite to induce a truly surrealistic atmosphere. "The Narrow Way" is also the most accessible piece of the album because as we descend further and further into the track, we find ourselves arriving to familiar territory. The first two acts of "The Narrow Way" display the similar experimental structures as the rest of Ummagumma. They are a voyage through cosmic dimensions, but unlike the other compositions, it takes us to a destination. In the third act of "The Narrow Way", we arrive to a traditionally comprised piece of music. It is a delicate ballad decorated with psychedelic ambience, but orchestrated in a traditional format that even features singing, which deviates it even further from the agenda of most of the other compositions.

In the end, Ummagumma, within its essence, is an exploratory odyssey. One in which Pink Floyd discover new musical realms and take themselves to even stranger dimensions. This is certainly one of their least appreciated efforts, and it's far from being a classic, but it was a necessary step in their career. This was the road that Pink Floyd had to take to not only discover themselves as musicians, but to develop a unique sound that would separate them from the rest of their contemporaries. Ummagumma provides an enriching experience not just because of the more artistic route of the music, but because we get to see Pink Floyd evolve as a band. Witnessing as we follow them through the directions they took that helped them grow into the legendary group they are remembered as to this very day.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

that summary doesnt make it sound like a 4. but it certainly describes the album well i think.

qwe3
May 21st 2012



21353 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great album, i like how it plays as a sort of smorgasbord of the different members' styles, it's pretty fascinating.

great review too, really clear and engaging

Graveyard
May 21st 2012



5597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Was not expecting you to review this

Pos'd awesome review

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks guys.

@Graveyard
The album has recently grown on me and i thought id review it.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
May 21st 2012



23798 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. this was my first "classic rock" album. I dusted it off from my dad's record collection and gave it a spin and it blew my Treble Charger loving little brain. awesome stuff. pretty flawed and kind of weird, but it's the sound of Floyd finding their sound.

Wreath
May 21st 2012



85 Comments


Such a weird album.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2012



7140 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Really good review. Dislike this album quite a bit though - I initially tried to excuse the Floyd by making the same arguments you do here (i.e that they were finding their sound, trying to push the boundaries of music as art, etc.), but then I realized that there's no excuse for something as atrocious as "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party."

The live disc rules though. And "Granchester Meadows" is pretty chill. Also that animal song = lols.

EverythingEvil2113
May 21st 2012



1279 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Live part is a 4, studio part is a 3, so i give it a 3.5. Nice review too.

CaptainDooRight
May 21st 2012



28321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Much different length from your last review I read. Good job and pos. I haven't heard this, at least in its entirety. Might check.

Digging: IQ - The Road of Bones

YetAnotherBrick
May 21st 2012



4384 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

lol this album

bloc
May 21st 2012



34669 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Didn't these guys rip off the name of that new Squarepusher album

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

KILL
May 21st 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol 1.5

Digging: Gal Costa - Gal Costa

bloc
May 21st 2012



34669 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

You find the unfunniest things funny

KILL
May 21st 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

like ur face

MO
May 21st 2012



18228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

gotta spin this again but man set the controls is so good

Digging: Immolation - Dawn of Possession

CaptainDooRight
May 21st 2012



28321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

control the set

bloc
May 21st 2012



34669 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

like ur face

There's nothing quite like that Grade 4 humor...or spelling...



KILL
May 21st 2012



70573 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ur mummas nips cum close

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 22nd 2012



4380 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The live disc is definitely the better half of this album, I cant sop listening to "Careful" and "Set The Controls".

YoYoMancuso
May 26th 2012



10853 Comments


sweet album the live section is cool but you kind of have to be in the mood for the studio tracks.



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