Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)

It was a strange time for music. The mid 1970’s was all about progressive rock. This was both positive and negative at the time. Of course, Pink Floyd took notice and crafted a more progressive rock style into their music. This album is proof of that.

It’s actually devoted to Syd Barrett, their original guitarist and songwriter. Apparently after recording The Dark Side Of The Moon, Pink Floyd were stumped to know where to go musically. Memories of their old band mate inspired this album’s material. Ironically Syd himself walked into the studio when the band were recording the Shine On You Crazy Diamond parts. How sad and strange…

That being said, this is a superb listen. Let’s dive in and have a listen to the album.

We begin with Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 1-5) which has ethereal sounds, a keyboard based flute and the feeling that we are going to be transported into something really great here. The lonely flute melody sticks out, it’s not a fast track, and it never was intentionally so. Some trippy keyboard sounds back up this part of this song. David Gilmour’s Fender Stratocaster then enters. My God, it’s good. His playing sounds fantastic here. The sound is nice and bright. Mysteriously, the sound almost fades into oblivion, before we hear THAT four note guitar figure, which sounds ghostly. Nick Mason and the others come into play afterwards, driving the song rhythmically. The song just flows and evolves here. It sounds mega emotional, even though there are no lyrics here just yet. The sound slows down once more, just before going uptempo again. Pink Floyd sound like a solidly united musical front here, not willing to back down for anyone or anything. Then Roger Waters finally starts singing the chorus, and goodness, it is mind blowing. A nice development of things, clearly being about Syd Barrett. It’s a lament for their lost band member, and the performance here is fantastic. After all this, we have Dick Parry playing a beautiful saxophone solo and some trippy and interesting guitar parts in the background. The song then fades out gracefully and nicely as well, before we jump into the next piece on the album.

The next song Welcome To The Machine begins with some mechanical noises, before launching into an acoustic number about railing against the record industry. It’s easily the weakest song on the album, and even then it’s worth a listen. Some brilliant playing is here, Pink Floyd had no equals with the sort of music that they were making in this era. It’s more a sonic journey this one, but hey, Pink Floyd were experts at this sort of thing. After more Theremin like noises, the song ending is rather strange. Without spoiling it, it is worth following along for the listen.

Have A Cigar is a very funky piece again about the trappings of the music industry. It is musically better than the previous song, with a friend of theirs (Roy Harper) singing this song. There are many descriptions of the nasty business of the album based record industry of the time: “And did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train…” Obviously Roger Waters was fed up of being prodded by record executives to sell more records. Indeed, this is true of many rock bands, why sell out to compromise artistic integrity? There is no point, but the funky guitar solo at the end rocks hard, segueing into the next song.

Wish You Were Here is a sad acoustic ballad about missing someone who you have not seen in a very long time. It may or may not be specifically about Syd Barrett, but is likely so. It’s a great radio ready number for the masses. It uses a comparative analysis to observe different situations at hand. The slide guitar and melodies here are beautiful, a very nice song indeed. The wind blows this track away at the end, before we enter into the next piece.

The next piece, Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Pts. 6-9) revisits the first part of the album, just in a very different way. We have some different keyboard and guitar based melodies here this time, whilst still keeping the theme of the album going. It is very well structured here. It then suddenly burst into a shuffle sort of groove based section here, before leading us back into the main melody of the song. It sounds a bit more messy a mix than the first sections of this song, but it is intended to be so. High pitched keyboard sounds propel this number along. We then go back to David Gilmour’s stunning guitar parts, and Roger Waters sings about the long lost Syd Barrett legend that the band dearly missed. The backing vocals are mint here as well. The whole piece is thoroughly consistent throughout. The trippy riff comes in after the singing is complete, and then we finalise our musical trip with a beautiful, almost jazzy section to boot. The keyboard brings a groove based piece to light with more funky, quacky sounding guitar playing. We then return to familiar territory with the ethereal keyboard sound, and lastly enter the final, very relaxing section of this song. After some gentle music, we conclude the album here, feeling very satisfied.

This album is just as good as Dark Side Of The Moon, although not as popular. It should be essential listening for Pink Floyd fans though. A very decent and overall excellent musical accomplishment. Pink Floyd were at their best with Dark Side Of The Moon and Wish You Were Here. It’s a great listen here, don’t miss it.

9/10

Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1991)

Primal Scream became a success with this album. Prior to this, they were very desperate to make some sort of success and had released some rather ordinary rock material. It’s not dissimilar a journey that fellow contemporaries Underworld had experienced. Once the single Loaded arrived, it was played heavily in clubs and underground raves everywhere.

This album came next. It is a genuine classic in its own right. It has a fusion of psychedelic and electronic sounds done so well that their earlier mediocre rock efforts are forgivable. Let’s listen through this, track by track.

Movin’ On Up is just that. It’s a gospel house like piece and introduced the group into their new format. The stoned sounding singing from Bobby Gillespie suits this piece very well. It’s a quick and catchy piece with a variety of instrumentation to boot. The screaming guitars are fantastic here. A nice start to the album.

Slip Inside This House was originally done by the 13th Floor Elevators on their own Easter Everywhere album. It features the ‘amen break’ and some great textures and a superb bassline. Still, the Primal Scream boys here match the 13th Floor Elevators effort with this cover. It’s catchy and brilliant. Welcome to the 1990s, ladies, and gentlemen.

The next piece Don’t Fight It, Feel It is another great piece featuring female vocals which suit this piece perfectly. “I’m going to live the life I love, I’m going to love the life I live.” is chanted here. It sounds very danceable and good quality, and unlike most dance music, this is not a throwaway piece. Some tripped out sounds are here too to keep you listening on.

After that, we go downtempo and heavily psychedelic with Higher Than The Sun. It talks directly about hallucinogenic drugs and enhancing one’s experience with such experiences from that. The stoned vocals are here again from Bobby Gillespie, the lead singer. It’s a brilliant and openly druggy piece. You can easily hear how inspired these guys were making this piece.

Inner Flight comes next. Some great vocal melodies kick off a minor key track, with a psychedelic keyboard patch that sounds a lot like Coldplay’s Clocks. No second-guessing where Coldplay stole that one from. But hey, it’s chilled and relaxing. Let the music guide you on this journey, as it is tasty listening. The outro has a wonderful vocal melody to boot.

Come Together is an extended piece, going over 10 minutes long. It’s a neo-hippie call to arms. It’s an ode to music and a very good one. There are numerous sounds, well-chosen and a great sample is here about the true nature of music. If you wish to hear a song that will destroy barriers for music listeners, this should be it. It never seems boring at all through the 10 minutes at all. Smile and enjoy the numerous textures and singing here.

The original Andy Weatherall Loaded arrives with a sample from a cult film at the start, before going into Cuban style beats, piano, real bass guitar, and a melancholy slide guitar melody. Horns and fiddles join the mix too. It’s a truly great piece of music, and is very moving and enjoyable, all the way through. It proves that even using computers, human beings can create a great and emotional piece of music. The world of music never was the same after this song, in that respect.

After that, Damaged arrives. It’s a downtempo piece and sounds very gentle in approach. It sounds melancholic and loving towards a partner but has some great vocal harmonies in it as well. It’s a reflection on a past love but works well here. Some nice Fender Stratocaster sounding playing is here to top it all off amongst everything else. Good job.

I’m Comin’ Down is a very low-tempo and subdued piece. It, of course, refers to a post MDMA/Ecstasy come down, or a comedown of a drug of a similar sort. It has some truly interesting and wonderful saxophone and other electronic-based sounds here. It’s a gentle and kind piece to listen to. This album is really very awesome in many ways, and this proves the musicality of Primal Scream right here. A must-listen for relaxation.

Higher Than The Sun – A Dub Symphony In Two Parts has the legendary bassist Jah Wobble from early era Public Image Limited featured on this track. It’s very much a reprise of Higher Than The Sun and acts as an almost concept album like idea for a track. Although not officially a concept album, Screamadelica could be considered one. Some space like tripped out sounds makes up this piece. Good to hear that these guys had many ideas for our own listening enjoyment. The bassline and breakbeats are classy too.

The last cut, Shine Like Stars, sounds Syd Barrett-esque with the twinkling melody-based sound. It’s simply a nice song to finish off this album. It’s gentle and reassuring, sounding almost like King Crimson. Mint.

This album saved Primal Scream, both financially and musically. It sounds so well done, even today, blowing a lot of your mainstream R & B away. If you like to hear the most psychedelic electronic sounds out there, you should listen to this album. You will not be disappointed.

9/10

The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love (1967)

After the release of Are You Experienced, Jimi Hendrix and his Experience band went to work to deliver the follow-up. It was also released in 1967 and confirmed Jimi Hendrix’s place in history. It’s perhaps not as strong as the first offering by the group but is still a great album. Let’s dive in and have a listen.

We begin with EXP is a blast of science fiction in musical terms. Science fiction was not very popular in movie culture until much later. This proves the forward thinking on the subject of U.F.Os by the group. An interesting intro.

It leads into Up From The Skies, which features a good wah-wah guitar part and some calm vocals by Jimi Hendrix. It proves the ability of the group to create a nice sounding and variable piece musically. It’s just chilled, which is great.

Spanish Castle Magic is a loud, raw and driven piece by the group. It features Jimi Hendrix playing a Mosrite guitar, as opposed to his typical Fender Stratocaster, which is unusual. Still, it works well and sounds great.

Wait Until Tomorrow tells a tale of lost love in an instant. The song is a great story like tale in this respect, but Hendrix sounds so optimistic about it all, it’s forgivable to cover a difficult subject. It’s a good piece by the group.

Next up is Ain’t No Telling. Even though this one is not as strong a piece as the other songs on the album, it sounds just really great. It references Cleopatra too. It’s really short, but good listening.

The next piece is legendary. Little Wing features excellent guitar work by Jimi Hendrix himself with some imaginative lyrics. It has been covered by a lot of artists from all genres, cementing its relevance, even today.

The centrepiece of this album follows. If 6 Was 9 speaks about being independent and doing one’s thing lyrically. It does this in such a Hendrix style way and is such an impressive statement from him. Great stuff from Jimi Hendrix. The instrumentation is just as good as the lyrics, both intertwine in importance. Brilliant.

You Got Me Floatin’ is a great pop piece by Jimi Hendrix. It’s short enough and catchy enough to make it onto the album. Although this album may seem not as impressive to others out there, it’s a solid number, even on its own. It demands listening.

Castles Made Of Sand is another short and sweet piece. It refers to the fact that nothing lasts forever. Despite all this, Jimi Hendrix’s great music is still popular today. It’s such well-done music that one listens to it and feels impressed by what is offered. The outro is superb.

The following song is sung by bassist Noel Redding. She’s So Fine does sound very good indeed, and references the hippies of the time and the strangeness of the lady spoken about. It’s a good piece with some great drumming as well from Mitch Mitchell. Not at all bad.

Back to Hendrix on vocals now arrives One Rainy Wish. It talks about dreaming and the perceptions of such dreams, talking in particular about golden roses. It’s a little weaker, but still a great song by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. This whole album is so consistent, even though it’s not Hendrix’s best. Well done.

Little Miss Lover has some funky like wah-wah guitar parts and a groove to match. It’s a good piece, and very poptastic. Not bad a sonic journey.

Axis: Bold As Love is the final and title track. It refers to an emotion that is often ignored by others. It’s not the most original Hendrix piece, but speaks directly about colours and relating them to emotions. An epic way to finish the album, and what a great listen we have heard.

This recording further cemented Jimi Hendrix’s place in rock history. Although he only made three official records during his short lifetime, his influence has lasted ever since he recorded these superb albums. Do yourself a favour and give this one a good listen. It’s so surreal and imaginative sounding that it is a wake-up call to all music lovers out there.

9/10

The 13th Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere (1967)

The 13th Floor Elevators were on a roll, despite some drug possession troubles with the local police. Their first album had attracted some attention over the quality of their music. There were some quality pieces on it.

This album is even better than the first album. It is a more definitive and branched out style of tunes. A wider variety of instrumentation is here. Let’s dive in and have a listen.

It begins with the extended Slip Inside This House. Yes, this is the song that Primal Scream reworked on their own Screamadelica album. It’s a very good song, however. It’s a hippy sort of song but has beautiful acoustic guitar propelling it along. The guitar solo is mint too.

The following song Slide Machine has some wicked slide guitar, more gobbling Ostrich style sounds and plenty of audio space. By this meaning, the simplicity of the music gives the song an easy listen. It’s a simple and wonderful piece.

She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own) is up next. It’s a simply listenable pop piece. The instruments combine for a wall-of-sound style listening experience. Consistent in comparison to other bands, even around this time.

Nobody To Love is a melancholy piece with fuzz guitar, gobbling galore and pacing drums. It shows the variety of the 13th Floor Elevators and the ability of the band to create such music way back in the 1960s.

A Bob Dylan cover follows. (It’s All Over Now) Baby Blue is a bittersweet ballad that demands listening. The undercurrent of melancholy that exists throughout this album likely reflected their real-life situation, which was becoming difficult for the group. It’s a really great cover nonetheless. You can really hear the emotion in this song, especially towards the end. Brilliant.

The following piece Earthquake is more uptempo, with some fascinating sounds included in the song. The lyrics are rather random but excellently written. There is some sweet electric guitar playing in it with a bit of feedback. It’s an awesome listen overall.

Dust exhibits such a sad feeling in the song that one hears the direct emotion from Roky Erickson’s singing and feels immediately sad. It’s such a good song, it deserves multiple listens. What a beautiful song indeed.

Levitation is about an out of body experience, judging by the lyrics of the song. It’s a trip alright, but feels optimistic and joyful. It’s a great piece about the said experience. These guys were obviously heavily into drugs, and it shows here. “I’ve got levitation,” indeed.

The next song, I Had To Tell You is a short and sweet ode to music, with female backing vocals included. It also has harmonica to boot. Is there anything that the 13th Floor Elevators could not express? Probably not. It’s a good piece by the group.

The closing song is Postures (Leave Your Body Behind). It’s a laid back piece, likely about tripping. It sounds solid, a nice way to finish this recording. It takes its time but doesn’t seem at all boring.

Although being essentially a cult band, the 13th Floor Elevators had some great songs in their arsenal. Sadly, Roky Erickson was arrested for drug possession and the group disbanded shortly afterward. It’s a sad ending to such wonderful music. But at least we have the recordings here to enjoy. Check out the remastered reissues of the 13th Floor Elevators, worth doing so as well.

A great listen.

9/10

The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds Of The 13th Floor Elevators (1966)

Some say you can’t judge a book, or an album, by its cover. With this album, you can. A bunch of young men from southern U.S.A. delivered this album way back in 1966 and became cemented in history for this. And what a trip this album is. Let’s dive in and have a listen to it.

You’re Gonna Miss Me begins our musical trip, and it gives us our unique sound for a garage and psychedelic rock band. It features unique screaming from the singer Roky Erickson, which surely metal legends copied later on. It has clanging Fender style guitar sounds, harmonica and an Ostrich like sound gobbling away in the background. Nice.

Roller Coaster is up next and is much more down-tempo until the midsection hits you. But still, it is a pure head-rush of psychedelic music. The lyrics are just hippy nirvana. It has more gobbling too. It’s a great extended piece by the 13th Floor Elevators.

The next place, Splash 1, is a slow-moving ballad style piece. It’s reassuring in its melody, something which many bands can never do. Specific emotional delivery is often ignored by musicians in songs. The 13th Floor Elevators do not ignore this, it’s a great song.

The next cut Reverberation (Doubt) begins with a note being hit on the tremolo system of a Fender Stratocaster, before leaping into a danceable piece with surreal lyrics. It’s a hippy delight.

Don’t Fall Down sounds like a continuation of Splash 1 but still, it has its own personality. Beautiful acoustic guitar lurks away in the background of this song, but the chanted chorus is uplifting indeed.

Fire Engine follows after the previous song, with vocalised sirens done so well indeed. “Let me take you to the empty place on my fire engine.” It’s a real trip this one. And brilliant too, sonically light years away from other bands of the time. Brilliant.

The next cut Thru The Rhythm is a slightly weaker cut. But still, it’s good stuff to listen to. One cannot help but feel a better mix would have helped this song. But still, it’s a good song anyway.

Following up is the melancholy piece You Don’t Know. It’s a better piece than the last one, with absolutely tripped out lyrics. Roky Erickson sings very well here, he was a unique singer in many ways that was underappreciated over the years. Good effort.

Kingdom Of Heaven is the slowest song on this album, but it’s never dull for a moment. “The kingdom of heaven is within.” It’s a really beautiful piece and downtempo to boot.

Monkey Island is a trip galore, as the title suggests. The guitar riffs here are excellent, showing the musical prowess of the band. Roky Erickson’s vocals here are top, singing and screaming perfectly, with a great monkey impersonation at the end. Excellent.

The last cut, Tried To Hide, sounds like a great pop sort of song for the time, with harmonica. It finishes the album nicely, and we can say that we have heard quite possibly the first psychedelic album ever made.

This album has received cult status over the years and has given The 13th Floor Elevators their deserved place in history. So many musicians came out of the woodwork after the release of this album. The cover of the album does not lie about the music, it’s the trippiest thing that was recorded in its release in 1966. Give this a listen if you dig psychedelic music.

8/10

Coldplay – A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)

After the success of their first album, Coldplay went further in their second recording in many aspects. They branched out and developed their sound to the point where they used some tasty instrumentation for us to hear. They put it all into this, their second album.

A Rush Of Blood To The Head refers to the sudden decisions that people make on impulse. It’s an interesting way to acknowledge things, let alone name an album. But this album is a good listen for sure.

We enter this album with Politik, a great piece defining life and times. It’s a good song and not actually about politics. It’s a piano driven piece with extra arrangements and instrumentation which are tasty.

The following song In My Place may lack meaning but it’s a great poppier piece of work than what you’d expect. Chris Martin sounds so reassuring throughout, despite the fact the lyrics are far from that. A good single to boot.

God Put A Smile Upon Your Face has a strangely tuned acoustic guitar, a pounding rhythm and Chris Martin trying to figure out if he is a bad person when he sings this one. It’s an underrated Coldplay piece and a great song. Good to hear.

The Scientist is not at all a happy song. It’s about breaking up in a relationship and going back to the start of it all. It’s a tearjerker ballad for sure. The piano is this is incredibly beautiful, as is the song itself. It’s now a classic song in rock history, and deservedly so.

The intricate piano-led ballad Clocks sounds so great it is often one of Coldplay’s most played songs on commercial airtime. It’s a good one as Chris Martin sings beautifully about closing walls and ticking clocks. We all run out of time some day.

The eastern sounding Daylight follows. It has a string section which has an unusual sound but adds spice to the mix. It’s a semi-psychedelic piece that doesn’t sound out of place. It holds up very well.

Green Eyes is a firey and passionate love song to a lady with green eyes. It’s relatively simple compared to the other songs on this recording, but it’s still excellent. For the most part, it’s just Chris Martin and an acoustic guitar, but it works so well on many emotional and intellectual levels.

Warning Sign reminds the listener to hold onto love. It’s a profound and mature sounding song that develops with a variety of instrumentation before Chris Martin desires to crawl back into a woman’s open arms. Very good indeed.

The follow up is quite weak. A Whisper is a good song, but not special. Despite this, it’s psychedelic enough in its own right to promote a neo-psychedelic vibe. In that respect, it does better than the other elements of the song. But it still sounds weaker than the other songs.

The title track A Rush Of Blood To The Head refers to human stupidity as we mentioned earlier. The song itself is okay, but not incredibly special. It’s an interesting way to cover the best and worst of human emotion though.

Amsterdam comes as the last song, and it’s nothing special really, as the song before it. It does have a nice ending but just seems way too slow. We end the album now understanding the concept of having A Rush Of Blood To The Head.

Coldplay went mega after the release of this album. It inspired legions of musicians to follow. The only problem after the release of this album was that Coldplay sold out the quality of their music once they achieved success. This album, along with Parachutes are Coldplay’s best efforts. It is a good way to begin the 21st century musically.

8/10

Underworld – 1992-2002 (2003)

It’s rare for a compilation to be so good in overall quality. Underworld consisted of three English men who had various musical experience prior to working together. Karl Hyde, Rick Smith, and DJ Darren Emerson worked together during the 1990s, with the latter leaving early on in the 2000s to pursue his own musical direction. The other two core members remain today. Despite all that, this album is totally underrated and well worth listening to, as it sums up that period of time of their music making.

It’s a double album and a limited edition run. You won’t find it on Spotify or in stores, so order this online if you wish to hear it. It’s totally worth it. It’s the best of techno based electronic music.

We start off with Bigmouth, which is a harmonica driven piece with techno beats and beautiful textures. It builds up and breaks down nicely. No lyrics on this one but it sounds awesome. It goes on for about 9 minutes in total, so be patient with this awesome track.

Following up is the original Dirty mix. This is where the album really kicks into action. A repeated electronic riff goes through the piece, and it sounds beautiful to listen to. It goes well over 10 minutes, but every single second is captivating. It finishes off with a direct sound sample from the original Star Wars movies.

Mmm…Skyscraper I Love You is a visionary piece that is ultra psychedelic and features some awesome lyrics about seeing God and Jesus, Elvis, fresh meat and a little whipped cream. Mint. After the main song, it breaks down into a nice chill piece with the most dreamy electric guitar and sounds you can think of. It’s a long journey but a visually musical piece too. Well done.

Rez follows with a continuous electronic riff with the breakdown for a Cowgirl like connection for DJ intermixing, as both pieces were recorded at around the same time. Helicopter like drums and a danceable beat keep this one going for the longevity of the piece. It’s one of Underworld’s best.

The next piece, Spikee is a great punky song with delayed vocals from Karl Hyde. It’s a dance-driven piece which doesn’t stop until the end. It has some warped electric guitar at the end which finishes the piece well. Less traditional than you’d expect, but good all the same.

The following piece is Dirty Epic, a remix of the original Dirty. It’s a poppier version of the song and fits well into the album nicely. It’s not a traditional Underworld piece, but with clarinet, it spices things up.

Dark and Long (Dark Train) is a remix of the original Underworld song Dark and Long. It’s an awesome sort of thing you would listen to prior to going out to a nightclub. With some wonderful synth sounds and the more traditional Roland techno style sounds, this is a wonderful listen to hear from the end of side one.

Cowgirl begins side two and is a take on the country scene but is anything but country. The weirdest lyrics are prevalent before bursting into a totally wicked dance song. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.

The group’s hit Born Slippy (Nuxx) is the group’s most popular and mainstream track. It talks about falling in love with a girl, before “shouting lager, lager, lager” and other strange lyrics as well. It segues into the partial said Nuxx piece, although is cut down for this recording. Real fans of Underworld ought to check out the extended version on YouTube for a good dose of the original.

Following up is Pearls Girl, which starts off with underwater sort of sounds before emerging into some cut up sound effects including a sped up Amen Break in the style of Drum and Bass. It’s got some unusual lyrics here too, including mentioning water everywhere and Einstein. It’s a satisfying listen.

Jumbo follows and is a little weaker than previous tracks but is still a good listen. It does seem a little repetitive but has some Acid like sounds throughout it.

Push Upstairs is a more House Music-driven piece with a repeated piano riff and references to sex upstairs. It’s a little more unusual than the other pieces before but shorter than you’d expect.

The Techno piece Moaner goes on a little bit too long but is still concise. Karl Hyde sounds aggressive here, as he talks possibly about a cheating relationship. It’s not as an easy listen as you’d think.

The pastiche Shudder/King Of Snake starts off with wonky guitar parts and has some great samples throughout, sounding very similar to Donna Summer’s I Feel Love. It’s another great piece to dance along to.

8 Ball was specifically made for the film The Beach featuring Leonardo Dicaprio in it. It wasn’t released as a song until this record. Which makes it more essential than you’d think. It has layered guitar parts and a melody that is irresistible. Magic.

Two Months Off finishes the compilation nicely, with some repeated lyrics. “You bring light in” may refer to an LSD trip, but the song is wonderful. It ends the album with both your brain and body energized from the listening experience.

This album sure is a winner. It’s pure sonic bliss. If you feel that this is your cup of tea, seek out a copy of the album on Amazon before it’s gone. Essential for EDM party heads who crave a more intellectual listening experience.

9/10