Released chronologically and in batches of four, the first batch of the new Pink Floyd vinyl reissues campaign allows time to contemplate their earlier output, all too often overshadowed by the behemothic late-70s releases when reissues are rolled out. Of course the vinyl format doesn’t allow for extra material, but there’s still something reassuring about the format as the needle slips into the groove on these new 180gm discs – remastered from the original analogue tapes – that you just don’t seem to get from a CD tray sliding effortlessly into the player.
Everyone knows 1967’s debut The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, a cosmic whirlpool of a record mixing Syd Barrett’s winsome frippery such as The Gnome, Bike or Lucifer Sam with the lengthier, more intricate Astronomy Domine and Interstellar Overdrive, which gave a hint of what would follow. Barrett was all but gone on 1968’s A Saucerful Of Secrets, contributing the lonely Jugband Blues while the added guitar of David Gilmour began to colour the likes of Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun and the title track as experimentation took over from psychedelia.
1969’s More is often overlooked because it’s a soundtrack (one of two the band would record for Iranian director Barbet Schroeder), but the brutal heavy metal of The Nile Song and the more relaxed Cirrus Minor stand as fine additions to Floyd’s epic canon. Ummagumma, released the same year, was a double album, boasting an excellent live disc featuring the band’s earlier epic tracks, and a less impressive studio disc where each member took their solo turn. Listening to the likes of Several Species Of Small Furry Animal Gathered Together In A Cave And Grooving With A Pict or The Grand Vizier’s Garden Party, it’s amazing to think that Dark Side… was a mere four years away!