Pink Floyd Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

4th March 2022

Format Info

LP - black vinyl

180 Gram, Mono reissue of Pink Floyd’s utterly seminal, game-changing debut album Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.

It still sounds like nothing else. Remastered in 2017 from the original Mono analogue tapes by James Guthrie, Joel Plante and Bernie Grundman, Piper At The Gates Of Dawn was released in 1967 following the band’s burgeoning reputation as a truly psychedelic group bedevilled by LSD drug rumours and a reputation for being, well, weird. The only album that featured the songs of founding member Syd Barrett, Piper sits in that weird place in the public imagination as being so well known yet buried in the popular rock canon that it’s easy to forget how truly alien, revolutionary and gob-smackingly beautiful it can be. Of course, other groups had experimented with psychedelia before but listening to the straight up revolutionary take on rock music exemplified on opener Astronomy Domine it feels like the whole thing blasted off from this moment.

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn managed to mine the occult,  British folk lore and modern Pop Art, combining it with song structures that twist and spiral in and out of focus powered by the engine of Barrett’s obtuse approach to song writing that would frequently peel back the odd long enough to reveal startling moments of beauty and clarity. The jaw-dropping thrill of Interstellar Overdrive, with those doomed to all hell dual guitar and bass lines divebombing with menacing, looming speed and looseness foretold punk by at least 10 years before it breaks down into a freaked-out jam of epic proportions.

Even for the permissive, out-there-man world of the late 60s major label record industry the bods at EMI must have felt their brains melting out their ears half way through Piper, that and their future profits. The sheer audacity of much of the recordings here owe much to both the openness of the culture at the time to embrace this new music and also the genius of Barrett. Barrett’s imagination is in full flow here, recording at the EMI studios in Abbey Road and allowing his whims full flight permission. His nous for songcraft laced with lysergic detail and an ache for an imaginary Arcadian England are everywhere, on the pretty, experimental songs like Scarecrow and the eastern scaled Matilda Mother.

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is so ahead of its head you can hear umpteen genres of music growing from its roots and as an artistic statement arguably show the talents of Syd Barrett at their peak. It’s a true joy to listen to this record and testament to a time, place and feeling that neither the band, nor anyone really, ever truly captured similarly or again.

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