Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Interstellar Encore – Pink Floyd [#636]

R-1738078-1240176164.jpeg.jpgA bootleg so bootleggy you can smell the sweaty socks. Interstellar Encore is one of many Pink Floyd bootlegs donated to my collection by a former work colleague who had a similarly large music library to mine, although admittedly, most of his music was a bit more….”bootleggy” in nature.

Of course, back then, the tagging of MP3s was in its infancy and some people used to just dump a load of MP3s into a folder of a CD with no organisation and pass it around like a spliff at a hippy party. Carefully written sleeve inserts would get mixed up and any questions about which MP3 belonged to which album quite often resulted in snorts of derision.

So, as a result of how it happened, my version of Interstellar Encore might differ from 99% of the people out there with the actual Interstellar Encore bootleg although on research the track listing does seem to match up. But, such is the nature of illicit downloads and bootlegs; only a true fan would tell you whether it was actually the Filmrore West Interstellar Encore version of Embryo that I have or if it was the Biding My Time in Croydon version.

Like I care.

Incidentally, if you’re still enjoying this music project, I would appreciate a little publicity. One thing that fires me up when doing this project is knowing I have a readership. While it’s not exactly interactive like say The Existential Compost, The Compostual Existentialist or u/stegzy on Reddit, a look at the (very basic) site stats shows me that I do have some visitors, but having more keeps my typing fingers itching!

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Insane Times – Various Artists [#634]

 

61FhX7u36eLInsane Times: 25 Psychedelic Artyfacts from the EMI Vaults is a compilation album of really odd music. I’d say completely odd but the inclusion of Bonzo Dog, Yardbirds and Kevin Ayres kind of bring the oddness down a bit. It is though, very much the Psychadelic Rock version of the folk anthology Gather in the Mushrooms

Amongst the bands appearing in this compilation are Mandrake Paddle Steamer, Simon Dupree & the Big Sound, The Lemon Tree and The Orange Bicycle with some oddly familiar yet new to many songs. I saw this compilation as a gateway to new-to-me and interesting acts from the psychedelic era, about the time when the Beatles were farting about with Sergeant Pepper and lots of drugs and indeed, there are subtle beginnings of some huge prog acts within this album and bands in which young prog stars cut their teeth.

Very much an interesting selection.

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Goodbye Mr Pink Floyd – Roger Waters [#538]

goodbye-mr-pink-floydSeen by many as Water’s two fingered salute to the band that still to this day makes him a pretty packet of royalties, Goodbye Mr Pink Floyd is a live bootleg concert compilation album recorded in Canada in 1987.

The album features Waters performing Pink Floyd faves from Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon, Animals, Final Cut and The Wall with only Radio Waves and The Powers That Be from his solo album Radio K.A.O.S (which doesn’t feature on the music project).

Probably just to show Waters era Floyd was a golden age. Seeing as he wrote most of it.

 

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From the Dark Side of the Moon – Mary Fahl [#501]

Darksideofmoon_albumNo, I’d never heard of Mary Fahl until I came across this album either. Mary Fahl is an American singer song writer and in 2007 I obtained an unofficial advance of today’s album which is a song-for-song reimagining of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Mrs Gnomepants Mk1 used to say that cover versions are only valid cover versions if the artist doing the covering makes the cover their own. It’s only really recently that I’ve began to appreciate this statement fully.

I’ve always been fond of cover versions, my love of tribute artists like Iron Horse, Beatallica, Polka Floyd and Weird Al proof of this, so when it came to my first listen of  Mary Fahl I was already full of expectations. Imagine my joy when Mrs Gnomepants Mk 1 came into the room where I was listening to it and said that she really enjoyed this version of her favourite Pink Floyd album. That kind of sealed it for me.

If you’re a big fan of Floyd’s Dark Side, then you might enjoy this too. Fahl has certainly put a lot of effort into producing the album and it’s remarkable how a female voice can change the dynamic of the sound  originally made by Roger Waters. Fahl’s Dark Side has garnered a little bit of a cult following amongst some nerdy types which only adds to the enjoyment.

Then as a kind of postscript to this entry, while searching Youtube for examples of Fahl’s work, I came across her collaboration/guest appearance with Renaissance’s Annie Haslam. Again, highlighting how the music and artists I like are all connected somehow.

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From Oblivion – Pink Floyd [#500]

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 10.39.49Bootlegs bootlegs bootlegs. They killed live music you know.

From Oblivion is a compilation of bootleg recordings of gigs by Pink Floyd. Only this isn’t. The album in my collection is labeled From Oblivion but looking at track listings around the internet, we have the correct track listing for the first 4 tracks then completely gaga for the rest which appear to be bootlegs from the Dark Side of the Moon tour.

Still. Good music. And, whenever I feel like I want to go to a Pink Floyd concert, I can bob this on the stereo, go and stand in the far side of the room, turn the lights off and charge myself £80 for the privilege.

 

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Final Cut – Pink Floyd [#469]

FloydFC-Cover01The twelfth studio album by Pink Floyd.

It still amuses me to think about a former acquaintance of mine insisting that the only Pink Floyd album available on CD was Animals and that his copy was a rare limited edition. Yet several visits to HMV  and a brandishing of a fistful of CDs in a face later I was still to hear an apology or admission that he was an idiot.  Still, I like to also imagine that he spent some time in his later life, dropping the soap in the showers at the local penitentiary.

Final Cut often comes across as a Roger Waters solo album and, indeed, legend has it that at this point in the band’s career, the other members of the group couldn’t be arsed had fallen out and eventually Waters was to go his own way leaving Gilmour to ruin or enhance the band depending on your point of view. A concept album about the futility and effects of war on those that are sent out to do the dirty while the privileged stay at home and enjoy their riches.

I really like this album. It always sends me on a journey through bitterness via anger and culminating in a shiver down my spine. I’m also of the opinion that it should be compulsory listening for MPs before voting on whether to go to war. I dream that, come the revolution, my MP, Chris Heaton-Harris (who has me blocked on Twitter), will be forced to listen to this album whilst tied naked to a chair in Daventry Country Park on a cold wet Wednesday in February.

However, the album is divisive amongst fans of the band with four camps forming, those that see it as Waters’ final push to break the band apart and hating it, those that see it as a swan song for the band and love it, and those that don’t feel strong about it either way. I sit firmly in the fourth camp, those that really like it and don’t care. What do you think?

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Dogs and Sheeps – Pink Floyd [#381]

Dogs and Sheeps - Pink FloydMore bootleg nonsense from Pink Floyd. This time just before Animals was produced and just after Wish You Were Here was released.

Interesting if only for listening to the evolution of some of the familiar songs in Animals.

 

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The Division Bell – Pink Floyd [#378]

DIRTY+DANCINGThe Division Bell – Pink Floyd

Steelrattus here again, with the last of my guest posts in this seven day run. And a great album to finish on, coincidentally, for me at least.

The Division Bell is the second of the two albums that I actually know quite well, or at least I’ve listened to it a lot. It’s another album that dates back to my time at university, Surrey University to be specific. <Anecdote>Along with the aforementioned wonderful UniversityRichard™ who introduced me to lots of music, I had another friend called Simon Levy. I will admit I was a bit of a twat towards Simon, to begin with. I felt like Simon was trying to muscle in on the small clique I was a member of, and being of low self esteem I didn’t like it, and didn’t really know better. But despite the frosty start I did eventually warm to Simon. Much like Richard he was a “music pusher”, albeit on a much smaller scale. Simon only pushed me towards two artists, Pink Floyd and Roger Waters. I remember Richard being quite wary of Pink Floyd, specifically The Wall, for which he’d give me a there-be-dragons-here look when I mentioned it. Anyway, I consumed the tapes that Simon recorded for me, and enjoyed them. I graduated in 1995, and The Division Bell was released in 1994, so it just crept in prior to the end of my degree.</Anecdote> To this day I remain a definite Pink Floyd and Roger Waters fan, with a caveat. I’ve been lucky enough to see The Wall live, twice, and I now have a much better understanding of Richard’s there-be-dragons-here look; it’s a hard hitting album if you grapple with its story. I also have a debt of thanks to Simon for the introduction, but sadly along with being an idiot when I first met him I was also an idiot and lost touch with him post-university, and have never been able to find him since to at least say, “thanks… and sorry”.

The Division Bell comes from what I describe as third generation Pink Floyd – I’m not sure if these are official designations, but they work for me. I see first generation Floyd as their early 60s psychedelic stuff with Syd Barrett, and that’s where the caveat comes in because I don’t like this era at all. Second generation Floyd I identify with Barrett’s departure, although I don’t think they hit their stride until Dark Side of the Moon. Third generation Floyd follows the departure of Roger Waters in 1985. There have only been three albums post-Waters, of which this is one. The music from this phase can be very… nice, but the albums lack the bite that Waters added to varying degrees, and at times feels they feel positively anaemic.  I do enjoy both A Momentary Lapse of Reason, the first of the albums without Waters released in 1987, and The Division Bell, even though they’re both a mixed bag. I even have a karaoke version of Coming to Life, from The Division Bell, but it’s bloody hard to sing.

An interesting fact that I didn’t know is that the album name was suggested by Douglas Adams, apparently over dinner and in return for a donation to his favourite charity. It can’t have required much effort though as it was a lyric from one of the tracks on the album, High Hopes.

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Dawn of the Piper – Pink Floyd [#342]

Dawn+Of+The+Piper+1967More Barrett era recording studio off cuts shoved onto yet another CD for die hard fans of the Floyd’s psychedelic phase.

One for the Floyd anoraks.

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Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd [#336]

Dark_Side_of_the_MoonWhen I was 17, the former acquaintance now known as Shitbag said to me:

“Pink Floyd don’t make any CDs anymore. You’ll not find this in HMV so don’t go looking”

So naturally I went looking, opening up a whole new world to me. I’d been aware of Pink Floyd for several years up to that point, but mostly only for their work The Wall. But as we learnt in Animals, there was a lot more to the band. Indeed, much later works like A Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell just proved that there was still a lot to be produced and earlier albums like Atom Heart Mother and A Saucerful of Secrets proved there was a lot more to discover.

Darkside of the Moon was the second Pink Floyd album I bought. At the time a lot was going on in my life. It was also a time when the new millennium was approaching and with it esoteric disaster, spiritual end times and a new age of yogurt weaving, tofu knitting and miso misery was dawning.

There was also a total eclipse of the sun that was to be visible from the British Isles and Cornwall was to be the best spot to view it from. So, to avoid the crowds I planned an excursion to the nearest westerly point my girlfriend and I could reach without breaking the bank. Having bundled the tent and the king size duvet into the Citroen AX, all that was left was to make a mix tape for the car as entertainment.

Driving through rural Wales with the album on the car stereo blaring out in time to every twist, turn, 60mph stretch, open road and chicane it was uncanny. Culminating in coming down the hill into the picturesque village of Aberdaron on the western Llyn Peninsula just as Pink Floyd broke into Eclipse was possibly on of the most inspiring and thought provoking moments of my life. It was as if the album was written for the journey, the experience and the event.

Synchronicity at its best. Although next time I’ll try the whole experience again while watching Wizard of Oz and see how that works out.

I also have Dark Side of the Sky. A live recording of a performance of this album, but I see little point in writing a separate entry for it.

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Crazy Diamond – Syd Barrett [#319]

CrazyDiamondSticking with bearded half mast corduroy wearing hipsters; there was a time in the noughties when Syd Barrett was cool. Long after the weird guy had left or been ejected from Pink Floyd, albums showcasing some of the never heard before work circulated on the internet and were snaffled by fans of both the band and the tragic genius that was Barrett.

Of course at that time in his life, Barrett was too mad and daft to even know that this was happening. At least that was the story. I recall seeing a picture of Barrett in the press around that time showing him as a Tesco bag carrying, anorak wearing odd ball. Which I thought was sad.

One guy I worked with claimed that he knew more about Barrett than Barrett. Some said he was Barrett’s secret love child. Others whispered about him being a bit weird and how he had a peculiar musty smell that came from the Tesco carry bag he kept his anorak in. I suspect it was he that gave me this album. Whatever the origin of the album, no doubt I gathered it in my Tesco carry bag, put on my anorak and rushed home to listen.

Crazy Diamond is a triple CD comprised of recordings of Barrett from his recording sessions during his moments of clarity. There are lots of out takes and lots of tracks where he is clearly not all there. Outside of Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Barrett is not an easy choice to just wander up to and listen to. You have to know about the tragedy, the pain, the madness  and the mythos behind the man and the band. It’s all well and good to approach the album with musical ears and listen, absorb the sounds and the lyrics, but there’s an extra flake to the music. A flake that sticks out like some sort of musical 99 with raspberry topping and nut sprinkles. A flake that people without the knowledge dismiss and thus misinterpret the whole album.

And if that sounds like a load of guff. Maybe it was.

 

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Classic Rock: Symphonic Rock – Various Artists [#276]

Classic Rock: Symphonic RockClassic Rock: Symphonic Rock – Various Artists

This is another compilation where the core idea works but the choices of tracks don’t.

Curiously, it appears that 70% of the artists featured on the album have previously featured on this project, so if you’ve missed those entries you’ll find that the links take you to those articles.

Anyway, Classic Rock: Symphonic Rock has a relatively good mix of tunes really but not ones I’d have chosen to highlight how rock can be symphonic. It’s a little too…. “twee”…for my liking. There are far better bands that could have featured on this compilation. There’s no Queensryche. No Meatloaf. The Yes option is pretty much mundane and the inclusion of Clannad, of all bands, confuses me no end. Clannad are not what I’d call rock for a start.

Tracklist

1-01 Vangelis Pulsar
1-02 Sky Toccata
1-03 Hawkwind Urban Guerilla
1-04 Focus P’s March
1-05 Electra Scheidungstag
1-06 Gentle Giant The Advent Of Panurge
1-07 Triumvirat A Day In The Life
1-08 Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe Brother Of Mine
1-09 Roger Waters The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range
1-10 Procol Harum A Salty Dog
1-11 Mike Batt Losing Your Way In The Rain
1-12 Clannad Sirius
1-13 Jon Lord Aria
1-14 Barclay James Harvest Child Of The Universe
1-15 Jon & Vangelis So Long Ago, So Clear
2-01 Mike Oldfield Sentinel
2-02 Moody Blues* The Story In Your Eyes
2-03 Rick Wakeman Catherine Howard
2-04 Electric Light Orchestra Standin’ In The Rain
2-05 Alan Parsons Project, The Damned If I Do
2-06 Herd From The Underworld
2-07 Jethro Tull Aqualung
2-08 Gong Ard Na Greine
2-09 Vanilla Fudge You Keep Me Hanging On
2-10 Ekseption 5th Of Beethoven
2-11 Aphrodite’s Child It’s Five O’Clock
2-12 Strawbs Autumn
2-13 Camel Tell Me
2-14 Genesis The Silent Sun
2-15 Yes Heart Of The Sunrise

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#124 – Barretts Revenge – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd - Barrett's Revenge - Original LP Cover Barretts Revenge – Pink Floyd

Rare recordings of Pink Floyd stuff from when Syd Barrett was steering and some nice bootlegs too.

This is one for the fans.

I am a fan.

 

 

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Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd [#103]

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 08.50.13Atom Heart Mother by Pink Floyd

AHM is clearly a fixed point in Pink Floyd history. It shows the fledgeling dissolution of the psychedelic Post Barratt years and emergence of the Waters era.

This would be an unusual album to start with on any  aural discovery voyage of the works of Pink Floyd but it depends on what aspect of music you approach it from. The first track, Atom Heart Mother is an instrumental with accompanying brass band while the final track, the quirkily titled Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast is one of those experiments with sound which some listeners might switch off from.

I like it. I also have a limited edition Trance Remix version of this album which even better.

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Album #74 – Animals – Pink Floyd

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 12.26.00Animals – Pink Floyd

The first time I heard this album back in 1991 I was told “You’ll not find this in HMV”. Curiously I did.

This is one of those defining life moment CDs. The ones where every track initialises memories of times past, people long gone and places you’ve not been to in a very long time.

As an introduction to Pink Floyd, Animals was a good place to begin. Political and observational lyrics define this as a Roger Waters masterpiece, a far flung difference to the earlier psychedelic shenanigans of Syd Barratt’s Floyd. It’s by no means the first but it’s one of the best. Clearly a pre-The Wall album and most definately Pink Floyd.

Listen especially to the Dr Whoesque Radiophonic Workshop like track Sheep.

I love this album. It is life affirming in a negative way. Shattering the illusions of the nuclear-age and dancing upon the tattered remains of the pre-Thatcherite British society. Dark, scathing and very well observed. Perfect.

ADDENDUM: I alsohave a “Limited Edition” Trance remix version of this album. It’s shocking. You’d have to be in a trance to like it.

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Album #68 – Amused to Death – Roger Waters

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 15.06.11 Amused to Death – Roger Waters

I don’t know what it is about pissed off rock musicians. They whinge and moan about society and how hard it is and how corrupt and awful people in power are. Then they jump on their yacht and sail off into the sunset to their mansion in Cuba or somewhere.

Being a bit of a Floyd fan I was recommended Amused to Death by my hippy friend Blair who always had a good music recommendation that would tickle the old conspiracy tentacles.

Waters moans about the influence of media and television on society and war.Saw him live once though. Think the smile on his face at the end of the concert said the most. It was a kind of “Thanks for your money suckers!” look.

Maybe I miss the point. Media only has the power it has over people because we let it. These days, with the power of media in our own hands, we perversely continue to suckle on the teats of our media mummies rather than actually getting out and making our own media. Like writing a blog. Or making a film. Or singing our own songs. None of which will necessarily make you a living unless you’re really good at it, have the right face and you know the right people.

If you like being angry and helpless to do anything, this is the album for you. If you don’t like being angry, do something about it.

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Music Project–Album #41–A Saucerful of Secrets–Pink Floyd

image

A Saucerful of Secrets–Pink Floyd

Album 40 was A Saucerful of Pink one of the many Floyd tribute albums. This, however, is the real deal. The second Floyd album and the first without Syd Barratt, although he did write the track Jugband Blues, which features on this album.

 

It shows as early Floyd. Bizarre lyrics, lots of moog and weirdness. Just my cup of tea.

It’s also interesting to contrast albums from this era of Floyd to later eras such as A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

See, if it was this, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Ummagumma that was my introduction to Floyd, I would have gotten into them a lot earlier. It’s so far away from The Wall it’s practically down the garden path, across the road and under the tree in the neighbouring field. Right up my street.

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Music Project – Album #40 – A Saucerful of Pink: A Tribute to Pink Floyd

A Saucerful of Pink: A Tribute to Pink Floyd by Various Artists

Somebody once said to me “You know when a band is good by the number of tribute acts”. Someone else once said to me “Turn this fucking racket off”. This album illustrates why both these people were correct.

This album is the result of a group of lesser known artists such as Psychic TV, Sky Cries Mary, Eden, Alien Sex Fiend and Controlled Bleeding gathering together to tortuously mutilate 2 hours of Pink Floyd instrumentals and songs. Some say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. After 30 minutes of this album I challenge them to repeat that claim without a grimace on their face.

To be fair, some of it isn’t too bad. Nothing is “individual” or stands out. I suspect this is another album heading its way to the digital recycle bin in the sky. Of course, if you’re brave you’re welcome to ask me to upload it somewhere for you…..

I swear, my musical tastes have become a lot more conservative in recent years….

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Music Project – Album #33 – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

imageA Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd

 

Oh you knew it was going to happen. This is the problem when you have 2 computers, one of which you use sparingly, and don’t sync them. Well it’s happened. The first one out of sequence.

So there I am, being diligent and thinking of you dear reader, and I think “I know, I’ll listen to the next album while I wfh”. What happens? I see this album. It begins with an A. A – M. Fucksticks.

I’ve already gone on to A-N.

Never mind. Fortunately, as this is already a repost, I can jig about in the backend and you’ll never know. Unless of course you were keeping an eye on it. But as there are only a few readers at the moment, I’ll let it lie.

So, A Momentary Lapse is possibly, in my opinion, the best of the Dave Gilmore led Floyd albums.

I came to Floyd rather late. I knew of The Wall but didn’t really have much of an interest in Floyd back then. It wasn’t until 1990 when Shitbag played me Animals and said: “You’ll never find these on CD you know”

A challenge.

So I nipped out to Penny Lane Records on Penny Lane and picked up this album along with Animals and Gong’s Angel’s Egg: Radio Gnome Invisible Part II just to prove him wrong.

Shitbag was a pink sweater wearing parsnip brain.

A Momentary Lapse is a nice “Background” album. It’s not in your face (though One Slip is a little brisk). I managed to do a good 51 minutes of work while it was on.

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