Pink Floyd
Ummagumma


5.0
classic

Review

by oltnabrick USER (23 Reviews)
April 26th, 2014 | 42 replies


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist


There is an usual and unfortunate agreement when discussing Pink Floyd’s 1969 double album Ummagumma; the live portion of the album is one of the greatest live albums of all time, while the studio album is potentially the worst thing that they have ever released (which is funny considering how uninspired their albums in the 1980s and early 1990s were). But I’m here to try and convert listeners and to spread awareness on one of the most overlooked records in the Pink Floyd discography.

The double-record splits an impressive 87 minute running time between four live tracks and five tracks of original material. The live side of the album stretches out a handful of tracks from A Saucer Full of Secrets and The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn. The songs seem to build ever so gracefully over long stretches of time (usually doubling the studio tracks length), seemingly intending to create an uneven psychedelic atmosphere. The added jams worm their way into the original songs and add a tangible sense of menacing psychedelia that’s unique to Pink Floyd.

Tracks like “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” cover the listener’s natural senses with spacey sounding farfisa organ and tribal drums that are played with timpani mallets as they create a trippy wall of sound. The crown jewel of the live portion of Ummagumma, “A Saucerful Of Secrets,” while given a gorgeous rendition, is injected with a slowly rising, constantly penetrating sense of dread near the two minute mark that could be the defining moment of the entire live portion of the album.

The studio portion of the album which includes five tracks was an idea that the band had come up with prior to recording; each member gets to write one full side of a vinyl record. The idea of each member getting their own song seemed to be a little self-indulgent but for a band like Pink Floyd it hardly was, especially when it worked to a great success with The Beatles on their later albums like Revolver. For most of the album Pink Floyd float around rarely acknowledging the normalcy of typical pop song writing and instead use obscured, minimalist techniques. Most of the material on this side of the album can be difficult to enjoy if you're a new fan, or not used to such unusual songs and structures. Wright's four-part instrumental epic, "Sysyphus", ranges from horrific to Arcadian throughout its fourteen minute run time. Roger Waters' "Grantchester Meadows" is easily the most immediate track on the album, and strangely enough one of the very few non-psychedelic tracks of Floyd's psychedelic era, especially on this album which is widely considered their most experimental album. David Gilmour's three-part "The Narrow Way" shows his superb songwriting; both guitar and vocals. It is very easy to see here that he was the main reason behind Pink Floyd's mainstream success in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The final effort (and my personal favorite cut), "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party," is done by drummer Nick Mason and features a flute intro, extravagant drum solos, and strange effect during the middle of Part 2 that sounds like something Autechre would produce had someone given them an acoustic drum kit during their Confield-era releases.

Pink Floyd's previous two records (three if you count the soundtrack for More) were certainly psychedelic, and fairly weird but in comparison to the psychedelic beast that is Ummagumma there really is no real competition. This is easily the defining moment for them and it sees Pink Floyd at their creative peak.



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user ratings (944)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
msm008 (3)
It's an album(the studio one) that Pink Floyd decided to never do again and that was a good thing. H...

Hernan M. Campbell STAFF (4)
Ambitious, but not necessarily momentous....

YetAnotherBrick (2)
Oh hey, that's a pretty weird sound. I like the animal noises in the background, too. But where are ...

Jawaharal (3.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheRealVermicide9013
April 25th 2014


232 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not bad tbh. God exists, maybe there is a cure for the swag virus after all

MrSirLordGentleman
April 25th 2014


4590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered
Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict"

Still laugh everytime I read that title

TheSpaceMan
April 25th 2014


2533 Comments


ace review man, you definitley convinced me to spin this again

MrSirLordGentleman
April 25th 2014


4590 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh, wait, oltna reviewed this?, since when do you review prog?

You're breakng time-space limits

Rowan5215
April 25th 2014


27250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Grand Vizier's is horrible in every sense but yeah pos'd

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


16060 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

sweet review

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

dannyboy89
April 25th 2014


12100 Comments


Pos'd.

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


14823 Comments


Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict is my jam

Digging: Off Minor - The Heat Death of the Universe

BigPleb
April 25th 2014


37367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Back to sleep Jac, cmon now.

Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins on Io

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


14823 Comments


Sleep is for the living

BigPleb
April 25th 2014


37367 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm gonna sleep now actually, night night.

Rowan5215
April 25th 2014


27250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Several Species goes hard how can you hate that Scottish monologue

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


4507 Comments


while given a gorgeously rendition

Change "gorgeously" to "gorgeous"

but for a band like Pink Floyd it hardly was especially when it worked to a great success with The Beatles on their later albums like Revolver

Put a comma after "was" to break up the ideas and give the sentence a smooth flow ;)

For most of the album Pink Floyd float around rarely acknowledging the normalcy of typical pop song writing and instead use obscured, minimalist techniques.

I like this sentence alot ~

Wright's four-part instrumental epic, "Sysyphus"

Put in a comma after the song title as well

and strange a effect during the middle of Part 2

Drop "a" in this bit (unless I'm missing something and your referring to "a" as the key of a or something like that)


Really liked the review Olt, and it's interesting to see you discuss music I wouldn't normally associate you with. It's up to you of course, but I think you should write more because you've got alot of potential ;)

YakNips
April 25th 2014


12172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice dude

Digging: Vi Som Alskade Varandra Sa Mycket - Den sorgligaste musiken i varlden

Veldin
April 25th 2014


1404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet. One of the few Floyd albums I've not heard and this review is quite convincing. I'll
definitely be checking this out later.


Digging: Kayo Dot - Coffins On Io

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


4507 Comments


Recommended by reviewer: Autechre - Confield

haha yesss

Phlegm
April 25th 2014


5239 Comments


maybe there is a cure for the swag virus after all


Digging: Dean Blunt - Black Metal

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
April 25th 2014


19959 Comments


Haven't heard this one, nice review

Digging: The Smith Street Band - Throw Me In The River

SCREAMorphine
April 25th 2014


1758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review dude.


KriegdemKriege
April 26th 2014


1307 Comments


I'm not a fan of either side.



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