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Ummagumma review
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Review of Ummagumma

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I can't think of many albums where the cover is actually the best thing about it. Ummagumma by Pink Floyd is one of those situations. I mean, stop a minute and have a look at the album cover. It is actually pretty damn cool. I'm not a photographer, so I'm not sure how they did it in the pre-copy and paste world. I'm sure someone knows and would care to elaborate.
And now to the music. Its a double album. One of the discs is a live album, the other is the studio album. The live album is okay. I'm not a fan of live albums, but as far as they go, Ummagumma's live part isn't at all bad. They are quite lengthy tracks, with only four songs on the disc, yet it takes about half an hour to listen to them. The song 'Careful With That Axe, Eugene' is one of the best live performances of a song I have yet to hear. The sudden terrifying and unexpected scream from Roger Waters nearly sent me to an early grave, especially as I had to turn up the volume in order for me to hear it at first. 'Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun' is another good example from the live album. 'A Saucerful Of Secrets' did go on a bit, however. I think it may have been longer than the original studio version, and that was a long song.
But, then we come to the studio album. It is another half hour of the most pretentious nonsense a human being could possibly endure without being driven insane. It opens with Sysyphus. According to Wikipedia, it is a "musical interpretation of the Sisyphean challenge", which is basically some Greek bloke pushing a rock up a hill, only for it to roll down again. The process then repeats for a few thousand years. I may be the only one, but I didn't get that reference in this musical interpretation. Another horrifically bad song is 'Several Species Of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict'. Don't let the exciting name fool you. Basically, it is a whole six minutes of a man making annoying animal noises, then for him to speak in a Scottish accent (Actually my favourite part of the studio album). Then, you have 'The Grand Vizier's Garden Party' (Don't ask me what that is about)and a few other delights.
Overall, the 5 / 10 ranking I gave it comes from the Live album and the album cover. If it was just the studio album, it would a lovely 0 (Maybe a 1 for Roger Waters' Scottish accent.) I would recommend buying it, however, purely for the live section and maybe to see how badly Progressive Rock can get if you don't keep it in check. Thankfully, Pink Floyd vowed never to release anything like this again, and went back to making good records.

Added by John Homer
5 years ago on 6 November 2012 17:47

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