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Pink Floyd|Atom Heart Mother

Atom Heart Mother

Pink Floyd

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Appearing after the sprawling, unfocused double-album set Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother may boast more focus, even a concept, yet that doesn't mean it's more accessible. If anything, this is the most impenetrable album Pink Floyd released while on Harvest, which also makes it one of the most interesting of the era. Still, it may be an acquired taste even for fans, especially since it kicks off with a side-long, 23-minute extended orchestral piece that may not seem to head anywhere, but is often intriguing, more in what it suggests than what it achieves. Then, on the second side, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Rick Wright have a song apiece, winding up with the group composition "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" wrapping it up. Of these, Waters begins developing the voice that made him the group's lead songwriter during their classic era with "If," while Wright has an appealingly mannered, very English psychedelic fantasia on "Summer 68," and Gilmour's "Fat Old Sun" meanders quietly before ending with a guitar workout that leaves no impression. "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast," the 12-minute opus that ends the album, does the same thing, floating for several minutes before ending on a drawn-out jam that finally gets the piece moving. So, there are interesting moments scattered throughout the record, and the work that initially seems so impenetrable winds up being Atom Heart Mother's strongest moment. That it lasts an entire side illustrates that Pink Floyd was getting better with the larger picture instead of the details, since the second side just winds up falling off the tracks, no matter how many good moments there are. This lack of focus means Atom Heart Mother will largely be for cultists, but its unevenness means there's also a lot to cherish here.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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Atom Heart Mother

Pink Floyd

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1
Atom Heart Mother
00:23:41

John Alldis Choir, Other - Meriel Dickinson, Alto - Roger Covey-Crump, Tenor - Peter Bown, Engineer - David Gilmour, Composer, Other - Roger Waters, Composer, Bass - Margaret Cable, Alto - David Thomas, Bass - Brian Kay, Baritone - Pink Floyd, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Norman Smith, Executive Producer - James Guthrie, Mastering Engineer - Joel Plante, Mastering Engineer - Richard Wright, Composer, Other - Nick Mason, Composer, Other - Alan Parsons, Engineer - Rosemary Hardy, Soprano - Brian Etheridge, Baritone - Peter Hall, Tenor - John Alldis, Conductor - Ron Geesin, Composer - Bryn Evans, Baritone - Patricia Sabin, Alto - Kenneth Woollam, Tenor - Haflidi Hallgrimsson, Cello - John Whitworth, Tenor - Hazel Holt, Soprano Saxophone - Jessica Cash, Soprano - Eleanor Capp, Soprano - Unidentified EMI session musicians, Brass - Peggy Castle, Alto - Lynne Hurst, Alto - Geoffrey Mitchell, Other - Celia Piercy, Alto - John Huw-Davies, Baritone

(P) 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

2
If
00:04:30

Peter Bown, Engineer - David Gilmour, Other - Roger Waters, Composer, Lyricist, Other - Pink Floyd, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Norman Smith, Executive Producer - James Guthrie, Mastering Engineer - Joel Plante, Mastering Engineer - Richard Wright, Other - Nick Mason, Drums - Alan Parsons, Engineer

(P) 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

3
Summer '68
00:05:28

Peter Bown, Engineer - David Gilmour, Other - Roger Waters, Bass - Pink Floyd, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Norman Smith, Executive Producer - James Guthrie, Mastering Engineer - Joel Plante, Mastering Engineer - Richard Wright, Composer, Lyricist, Other - Nick Mason, Other - Alan Parsons, Engineer

(P) 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

4
Fat Old Sun
00:05:23

Peter Bown, Engineer - David Gilmour, Composer, Lyricist, Other - Pink Floyd, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Norman Smith, Executive Producer - James Guthrie, Mastering Engineer - Joel Plante, Mastering Engineer - Richard Wright, Other - Alan Parsons, Engineer

(P) 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

5
Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast
00:13:00

Peter Bown, Engineer - David Gilmour, Composer, Other - Roger Waters, Composer, Other - Pink Floyd, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Norman Smith, Executive Producer - James Guthrie, Mastering Engineer - Joel Plante, Mastering Engineer - Richard Wright, Composer, Other - Nick Mason, Composer, Other - Alan Parsons, Engineer - Alan Styles, Speaker

(P) 2016 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Pink Floyd Music Ltd., marketed and distributed by Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Appearing after the sprawling, unfocused double-album set Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother may boast more focus, even a concept, yet that doesn't mean it's more accessible. If anything, this is the most impenetrable album Pink Floyd released while on Harvest, which also makes it one of the most interesting of the era. Still, it may be an acquired taste even for fans, especially since it kicks off with a side-long, 23-minute extended orchestral piece that may not seem to head anywhere, but is often intriguing, more in what it suggests than what it achieves. Then, on the second side, Roger Waters, David Gilmour, and Rick Wright have a song apiece, winding up with the group composition "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" wrapping it up. Of these, Waters begins developing the voice that made him the group's lead songwriter during their classic era with "If," while Wright has an appealingly mannered, very English psychedelic fantasia on "Summer 68," and Gilmour's "Fat Old Sun" meanders quietly before ending with a guitar workout that leaves no impression. "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast," the 12-minute opus that ends the album, does the same thing, floating for several minutes before ending on a drawn-out jam that finally gets the piece moving. So, there are interesting moments scattered throughout the record, and the work that initially seems so impenetrable winds up being Atom Heart Mother's strongest moment. That it lasts an entire side illustrates that Pink Floyd was getting better with the larger picture instead of the details, since the second side just winds up falling off the tracks, no matter how many good moments there are. This lack of focus means Atom Heart Mother will largely be for cultists, but its unevenness means there's also a lot to cherish here.
© Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

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