Friday, February 1, 2013

Music | Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun

To say that Pink Floyd is a seminal band is rhetoric. It has been said before and will be said again. More often than not, the entry point would have been “The Wall” or “The Dark Side of the Moon”, with the latter brought up if you started with the former and “Money” being the entry track – after all it was one of the major singles and one used on many an occasion as a soundscape to any report or any scene about – drum roll – money. “Time” is another option and the tick tock is how I started. But there was Pink Floyd before all that.

Formed in 1963 by two architecture students Roger Waters and Nick Mason as Sigma 6, it went through name and personnel changes, and landed Syd Barrett on the guitar. Mad genius that one; one plagued by a darker demon – depression. Come December 1967, the demon overtook so much that David Gilmour was brought onboard, leaving Syd to continue as a nonperforming songwriter. His tenure ended in 1968 with a final contribution being “Jugband Blues” on “A Saucerful of Secrets”. “The Dark Side of the Moon” was not released till 1973, so in between the hallowed Syd period and that masterpiece, Pink Floyd continued doing what David later referred to as musical “noodling”. It was still the height of psychadelia, their brand of psychadelia that many progressive bands are indebted to. As far as I am concerned, they were not painting a barren musical landscape. Curiously titled “Ummagumma” album offered my standout track from that period – “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.” A welcome option if like me you are currently enduring winter with daytime temperatures well below freezing. 

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