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View Full Version : Syd Barrett: 1946 - 2006

2006-07-12, 04:49
Syd Barrett, the original guitarist with Pink Floyd, died on July 7th. He was 60 years old. He was active with Pink Floyd with their first album Piper at the Gates of Dawn in 1967. After he left the group he did two studio albums: The Madcap Laughs and Barrett in 1969 and 1970. Since then he has produced very little new work but still retains a strong following amongst fans of older Pink Floyd.

It seems the reason he was thrown out of the band was that he was too undisciplined and it made it hard for the other members to play with him. Some of his lack of discipline may have been from being so imaginative and creative. He was a creative force in the band that I think continues to this day, where they continue to play unconventional music or odd musical sounds. I believe that Roger Waters was a driving force in having him removed from the band and for that role I've always resented him. I also think that Roger Waters the bass player is a self pitying, narcissistic miserable fuck who after his concept albums The Wall and The Final Cut, was finally thrown out of the band himself in 1983.

I see Syd Barrett and Roger Waters as being opposites, with Barrett having a raw Dionysian approach to music that lacked discipline, and Roger Waters having a studied Apollonian approach to music that lacked passion.

I have some music of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd here for download. The first two are from the soundtrack Tonite Let's All Make Love In London from 1967.

Pink Floyd - Nick's Boogie (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Pink Floyd - Tonite Let's All Make Love In London soundtrack - Nick's Boogie.mp3) 14 MB
Pink Floyd - Interstellar Overdrive (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Pink Floyd - Tonite Let's All Make Love In London soundtrack - Interstellar Overdrive.mp3) 19 MB

Note the pattern of Interstellar Overdrive. It has a structured beginning and end, with a middle part which is chaotic and in which just about anything is played. That structure in their songs has been repeated in many of their songs later on even after Syd Barrett left, such as in Meddle - Echoes and Animals - Sheep. There is a shorter version of Interstellar Overdrive on their first studio album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Here is a track from that album:

Pink Floyd - Bike (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Pink Floyd - the piper at the gates of dawn - bike.mp3) 5 MB

A Single from around that time period that I like a lot is Scream Thy Last Scream. It has that same structure where it breaks down in the middle to chaos and the song concludes with the beginning theme. It also is similar to the song Heroin by Lou Reed the way it gets faster. If you play the song at half speed, which is one octave lower, you will hear in the song Syd Barrett singing over it in his regular voice along with some background sounds, which produced the high sounding voice singing in the background when played at normal speed. For your curiosity that should be easy enough for you to do using a digital audio editing tool such as Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/). Here is the song:

Pink Floyd - Scream Thy Last Scream (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Pink Floyd - Scream Thy Last Scream.mp3) 4 MB

With Syd Barrett out of the band he did his two studio albums, and later in 1989 some odds and ends from his solo work were released on an album called Opel. First I have the song Opel, which is haunting. Then are two more cheerful songs, showing another side of Syd Barrett's music and abilities.

Syd Barrett - Opel (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Syd Barrett - Opel.mp3) 7 MB
Syd Barrett - Here I Go (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs - Here I Go.mp3) 4 MB
Syd Barrett - Effervescing Elephant (http://www.p2pjihad.org/eclectica/Syd Barrett - Barrett - Effervescing Elephant.mp3) 2 MB

Songs like Interstellar Overdrive gave me confidence to actually try and make music myself, because of the relaxed nature where just about anything could count as music. In the band "August Tower" that I started out with, I played the saw at first before buying a keyboard, and there was a guitarist as well. We were not good players but we enjoyed making crazy music similar in structure and concept to the old Pink Floyd songs. Here is an example of such a song made originally in 1992, that was overdubbed with keyboards later in 2001. Note the structure of the song we do where it starts and ends with the same theme, and has a chaotic middle part in which anything can be played. Also note at 4:30 into the song we both say with the feigned British accent "I haven't got a title for it yet". That's a reference to the beginning of the song Let's Split from the album Opel, where Syd Barrett says that he doesn't have a title for the song.

August Tower - the hoppem psychedelic song (http://www.tatom.org/eclectica/August Tower - the hoppem psychedelic song.mp3) 12 MB

Such amateur and relaxed sounding music serves a good purpose because it lowers the entry barrier into creating music for people who might have otherwise thought that they couldn't create music themselves.