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CD-wise - what we have here is a reissue of a reissue.
26 September 2011 saw the JAMES GUTHRIE and JOEL PLANTE CD Remasters of the Pink Floyd catalogue hit the shops to pretty much universal praise (they were transferred at Das Boot Studios and all single issues were known as 'Discovery Editions'). These have been superseded by the 15 January 2016 'Pink Floyd Records' Reissues – in most cases featuring upgraded artwork but still using the 2011 Remaster.
The August 1967 debut album "The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn" is PFR1, June 1968's second album "A Saucerful Of Secrets" is PFR2 while June 1969's Soundtrack From The Film "More" is PFR3 (all Stereo) and so on. Their fourth release, the half-live, half-studio November 1969 double-album "Ummagumma" is PFR4.
So what's new (if anything)? The 2011 2CD set had specially commissioned artwork for the CDs (most of which I personally thought were meaningless rubbish images) - these 2016 replacements have swapped out those with a picture CD for each – usually always album artwork. PRF4 also has a tri-gatefold card sleeve, title sticker (on the shrink-warp) and although the colour booklet is still 16-pages long, it is newly laid out. You get the striking and iconic original Hipgnosis gatefold artwork (the famous equipment shot on the rear LP sleeve is repro'd on the last page of the booklet in near perfect quality), lyrics to all the songs (including live) and new band images from the period. A very cool inclusion is a proof set of photographs of each band member - going some way towards showing how they were spliced to make that 'window within a window' effect. I'd call it more coherent even if it does lack an essay enlightening the listener as to the history of the band and these new 1969 studio tracks.
But the real deal here is the AUDIO - and for those of us who remember our crackly SHDW 1/2 vinyls all too well - the sonic upgrade in the 2011 Remasters is massive. The Live Set is fantastically clear - the trippy drums and keyboard sound stage so much more centered - and that scream during "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" launches out of your speakers with frightening reality (as it was no doubt originally intended to do). Same too on the studio side - big improvements. Let's get to the Grantchester Meadows...
UK re-released 15 January 2016 - "Ummagumma" by PINK FLOYD on Warner Music Group/Pink Floyd Records PFR4 (Barcode 5099902893723) is a 2CD Remaster of the October 1969 double-album. This 2016 reissue has the same Barcode and International Catalogue Number as the 26 September 2011 'Discovery Edition' on EMI 50999 028937 2 3 but has the addition of 'Pink Floyd Records' catalogue numbers (PRF1, PRF2 etc) and upgraded artwork. As both releases have the same barcode, if you want 2011 rather than 2016, then you may have to specify this when purchasing. It plays out as follows:
CD1 "Live Album" (39:40 minutes): 1. Astronomy Domine [Side 1] 2. Careful With That Axe, Eugene 3. Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun [Side 2] 4. A Saucerful Of Secrets Recorded at Mothers Club, Birmingham, 27 April 1969 and Manchester College Of Commerce, 2 May 1969
CD2 "Studio Album" (47:02 minutes): 1. Sysyphus - Part One [Side 3] 2. Sysyphus - Part Two 3. Sysyphus - Part Three 4. Sysyphus - Part Four 5. Grantchester Meadows 6. Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict 7. The Narrow Way - Part One [Side 4] 8. The Narrow Way - Part Two 9. The Narrow Way - Part Three 10. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party - Part One - Entrance 11. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party - Part Two - Entertainment 12. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party - Part Three – Exit The double-album "Ummagumma" was released 8 November 1969 in the UK on Harvest SHDW 1 / 2 and in the USA on Harvest SKBB 388 (7 Nov 1969). Produced by PINK FLOYD (Live) and NORMAN SMITH (Studio) – it peaked at No. 5 in the UK LP charts and No. 74 in the USA. On CD2 - Richard Wright wrote all of "Sysyphus", Roger Waters wrote "Grantchester Meadows" and "Several Species..." - David Gilmour wrote all of "The Narrow Way" and Nick Mason wrote all of "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party".
The Live Set was a clever way (in some respects) for the four piece Pink Floyd to close the Syd Barrett chapter while the studio set showed they were moving on. And I'm amazed at how good the transfer is - "A Saucerful Of Secrets" giving it some Sixties Psych. The crescendo Part One of "Sysyphus" sounds good but not as clean as the piano solo Part Two. And those organ notes that lead in Part Four give way to vibes and bird noises that used to sound so far away they were irritating. Can't say I'm a fan of the doomy organ later on - hasn't aged well.
But if I was to pick out one track that astonishes - it's the Waters written "Grantchester Meadows" where bird tweeting slips the song in - the acoustic guitar and kingfisher lyrics clear as a bell - such an amazing clarity to the solo too. The five-minute "Several Species..." once again features percussion noises mixed up with animal tweets and chirps and by the time the indecipherable echoed lyrics come in - it may sound good but it's insufferable.
Guitarist David Gilmour's "The Narrow Way" comes as a Roy Harper-type blessed relief - gorgeous acoustic guitars swirling around your speakers as they mix with way-up-the-fretboard slide guitar notes - all of it filling up an ethereal vibe. It's one of my fave tracks on the album and to hear it sound this good is an absolute blast (I can also sequence fade-out that crude segue into Part Two at the end). The heavy-heavy grunge guitars of Part Two just sounds like period noodle to me now - but its rescued by the seven minutes of lyrics and very-Floyd Part Three.
Mason chooses a flute to open his three-parter "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party" but it’s soon abandoned for experimental drum sounds and percussion noises – again great audio – but noodle that may have been interesting then but only feels ludicrously self-indulgent now. And it ends on fifty seconds or so of flute.
My problem with "Ummagumma" is that even when I struggled with it back in the day, I liked Pink Floyd. But five decades haven't been kind to the worst early excesses of the band - this sort of Experimental knob constantly pawned off on us as some kind of genius because it bears the PF moniker.
Fans will adore it for sure and Hell, probably bought it back in September 2011 (especially given the fantastic Das Boot Studios audio upgrade). But the uninitiated need to hear first, because 1970's "Atom Heart Mother", 1971's "Meddle" and 1972's "Obscured By Clouds" were so much musically better...
Love this album, so it was a no brainer to get the CD. The only problem I have was the disks are they looked used and had water marks on both the cds, I’ve purchased a few CD’s from Amazon and the product was great but the one distributor who had what I wanted seemed to send used not new cd’s all in all I’m pleased...
Emballage nickel provenant de vos services, y'a rien a dire mais en écoutant ce double, je fus un peu déçu du résultat. Bien sur, le premier disque reprend en live les deux premiers albums que j'ai aimé et le second album est un ensemble de musique expérimentale qui me change de leur son habituel. Pour moi, c'est un des moins bon de ce groupe.
Erwähnenswert ist die Erweiterung dieser CD mit Liveaufnahmen aus dieser Zeit (1969). Die Musik ist eine ganz andere Welt, jedenfalls muss man das damals so erfahren haben. Selbst heute ist sie einfach völlig anders. Absolut ungewöhnlich- auch nur was für Floyd-Fans.
Bonjour, Non, ce produit ne correspond pas à mes attentes. Les deux vinyles sont neufs par contre la pochette à été abimée, certainement durant le transport, en bas sur le fond et le coins correspondant et en haut au milieu sur les deux parties contenant les vinyles. Le disque à dû être manipulé si violemment que les disque ont percutés les pochettes par l'intérieur jusqu'à les fendre, voir photo jointe. Dommage vous comprendrez aisément que je vais hésiter avant de racheter un vinyle chez vous. R. Bouziane