Pink Floyd had been pioneers of bizarre, infiltrating the mainstream with radical experiments — from the psychedelic insanity of the Syd Barrett period to the widescreen filmic soundscapes of The Dark Side of the Moon. A long time later, most of those strikes (the lavish studio results, melding rock and electronics) have been endlessly copied and re-contextualized. However these guys had been usually forward of the curve.
Some choices on this checklist really feel bizarre throughout the Floyd catalog, just like the psych-jazz doodling of “Up the Khyber.” Others are bizarre for anybody, just like the rubber-band-anchored “The Laborious Approach,” an try to report music with out standard devices.
The standard might fluctuate from monitor to trace — they cannot all be classics — however in line with the Floyd’s spirit of journey, every thing right here is attention-grabbing.
10. “On the Run” (from 1973’s The Darkish Aspect of the Moon)
Although it is (rightfully) thought of a excessive watermark of studio expertise, The Darkish Aspect of the Moon started its life onstage, refined and finessed all through 1972. (On the time, it featured the working subtitle “A Piece for Assorted Lunatics.”) Whereas each track made the ultimate LP, one was drastically revamped: “On the Run,” which explored the anxiousness of contemporary journey, advanced from a cool, “Any Color You Like”-styled instrumental into an digital collage partly created with their new EMS Synthi AKS synthesizer. With its sequenced rumbling patterns, white-noise hi-hats and helicopter-like wobbles, it turned one in every of rock’s final headphone tracks.
9. “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” (from 1970’s Atom Coronary heart Mom)
It sounds fairly dumb on paper: Rock roadie Alan Types prepares his morning meal and calmly lists his favourite breakfast meals, set to the soundtrack of fingerpicked folks and baroque-y keyboards. However someway the mixture feels charming — just like the extra playful, much less heavy model of the “not terrified of dying” bit from Darkish Aspect. “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” would not want the sound of scorching bacon, however that is Pink Floyd in any case.
8. “Completely Curtains” (from 1972’s Obscured by Clouds)
For its first three-and-a-half minutes, “Completely Curtains” is standard early ’70s Floyd, with Richard Wright constructing average suspense from sheets of organ and piano. Then there is a very sudden shift: Obscured by Clouds, the soundtrack to Barbet Schroeder’s movie La Vallée, ends with over two minutes of mysterious vocalizations. (In keeping with Echoes: The Full Historical past of Pink Floyd, it is a spiritual chanting of the Mapuga tribe, as documented within the film.)
7. “The Laborious Approach” (from 2011 The Darkish Aspect of the Moon Immersion field set)
Pink Floyd had already been experimenting with discovered sounds for years, however they went deeper down the rabbit gap with the “Household Objects” project — a proposed Darkish Aspect follow-up that concerned creating music from atypical gadgets. “We would put up the rubber bands and get a bass line going, and that was a complete day’s work – after which drums should be added to that,” engineer Alan Parsons advised UCR in 2019. “We had been simply going nuts: ‘That is gonna take years of painstaking recording time.'” So that they ultimately shelved the thought altogether, properly transferring on to the extra standard soundscapes of Wish You Were Here – although they did salvage some wine-glass environment for “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.” Pink Floyd later launched two of those experiments on reissue field units, together with “The Laborious Approach,” constructed on a cool rubber-band bass groove.
6. “A Saucerful of Secrets and techniques” (from 1968’s A Saucerful of Secrets and techniques)
Having dismissed one-time mastermind Barrett early within the classes for his or her second LP, Pink Floyd struggled to seek out their footing. One answer: getting even weirder. Roger Waters mapped out this 12-minute monitor via visuals, drawing diagrams on items of paper to symbolize the construct from horror-film atmosphere (“One thing Else”) to soothing keyboard vistas (“Celestial Voices”) that previewed their ’70s grandeur. “‘A Saucerful of Secrets and techniques’ was a vital monitor; it gave us our course ahead,” Gilmour advised Guitar World in 1993. “For those who take ‘A Saucerful of Secrets and techniques,’ ‘Atom Coronary heart Mom’ and ‘Echoes’ — all lead logically to Darkish Aspect of the Moon.”
5. “Interstellar Overdrive” (from 1967’s The Piper on the Gates of Daybreak)
You would argue that every thing on Pink Floyd’s debut LP, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, ought to make this checklist — the band got here out of the gate at peak psychedelia, led by Barrett’s other-planet genius. However the album’s weirdest second is that this almost 10-minute instrumental freak-out, constructed on an unnerving chromatic riff and descending right into a hellish carnival of echoing guitar noise and Farfisa organ.
4. “Up the Khyber” (from 1969’s Extra)
Working within the movie medium allowed Pink Floyd to stretch, seemingly out of desperation. More, the soundtrack to Schroeder’s movie of the identical identify, usually appears like a band operating skinny of concepts, muttering to one another, “Er, why do not we attempt one like this?” Take, for instance, “Up the Kyber”: The one Floyd track credited to Wright and Nick Mason alone, it adopts an unlikely psych-jazz vibe, the duo banging away haphazardly on organ, piano and tom-toms.
3. “A Spanish Piece” (from 1969’s Extra)
Given the unimaginative title, it is no shock this Extra instrumental interlude looks like an afterthought. At barely one minute lengthy, it is primarily simply David Gilmour improvising fluid Spanish guitar licks over a muted kick drum — a really un-Floyd-like environment. The weirdest half is the whispered vocal, with its cringe-y pretend accent and contours like, “Hear, gringo: Snort at my lisp, and I kill you.”
2. “The Grand Vizier’s Backyard Celebration” (from 1969’s Ummagumma)
As a bare-bones drummer who couldn’t sing or play tuned devices, Mason wasn’t well-equipped to report any type of solo monitor, not to mention a nine-minute album nearer. Nonetheless, Pink Floyd had been at their wonkiest on the double-LP Ummagumma, having earmarked one solo studio monitor for every member — and out of that idea got here “The Grand Vizier’s Backyard Celebration.” With its random jumps from studious flute (by way of the drummer’s then-wife, Lindy) to stuttering percussion overdubs, it appears like a extra somber tackle Frank Zappa’s chopped-up musique concrete by way of Lumpy Gravy. “I tried to do a variation on the compulsory drum solo,” Mason wrote in Inside Out: A Private Historical past of Pink Floyd. “I’ve by no means been a fan of gymnastic exercises on the equipment, on my own or anybody else.”
1. “A number of Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Collectively in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict” (from 1969’s Ummagumma)
Years earlier than Pink Floyd’s dead-end “Family Objects” experiment, Waters tried an identical concept on “A number of Species,” one in every of a number of tedious solo items on Ummagumma‘s studio facet. Even for the Floyd, who received awfully avant-garde of their early days, this one checks the persistence: It is principally simply looped, manipulated noises that, because the clunky title suggests, approximate the environment of cartoon chipmunks scurrying round a cave. “It isn’t truly something; it is a bit of concrete poetry,” Waters rightly noted in 1970. “These had been sounds that I made, the voice and the hand slapping had been all human generated – no musical devices.”
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