Syd Barrett- the Godfather of psychedelica

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Whenever you think of Roger “Syd” Barrett, a certain repartee of words come to mind.  Words such as “Genius”,  “tortured soul”,  “loner”, “gifted”, “lost boy”, “eccentric”, “stunning”, “unique”,  “funny”, “misunderstood”, “delightful”, “casualty of fame” , “LSD misuser”, “extraordinary” , “lovable”, “vulnerable”, “magnetic” roll off the tongue. You see, our Syd was special. Not only was he an extremely talented singer-songwriter, visceral artist and charismatic front-man, he was the catalyst for so many things.

Not only did he influence Paul McCartney, Pete Townshend, Blur, Kevin Ayers, Gong, Marc Bolan, Tangerine Dream, Julian Cope and  David Bowie, but he influenced Televison Personalities’ Dan Treacy, to the point where he wrote a tune “I know where  Syd Barrett Lives”.  Moreover, it  was Treacy’s love for Syd, which influenced his music, that caught Alan McGee’s  eye, which resulted him in setting up Creation Records with Joe Foster and Dick Green, which changed the British musical landscape forever, releasing a high calibre of Indie rock, shoegazing, post-punk experimental music, including a cover of Barrett’s Vegetable man by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

So, in essence, Syd Barrett is the godfather of Psychedelica, the original technicolour blue-print for British music. As a songwriter, Barrett was exemplary and, like his meandering nomadic riffs, Barrett was very much in his chimerical element. He was the bona-fide daydreamer, who drifted into his own imaginative world, recalling childhood inspiration from fairy tales, poems and fables. From the early days of Pink Floyd, performing musical covers of blues, RnB, Bob Dylan and Frank Zapper, whilst emerging from the Psychedelic underground music scene, Barrett would quickly master his own brand of spontaneity, which would later shape the style of Pink Floyd’s  quasi-jazz, extended guitar intervals.

Despite having a short-lived musical career, Barrett, had achieved so much in 4 years of his recording career. From the comical grooviness of “Arnold Layne”, to the  spiked stomping surrealism of “See Emily Play”, to the dream sequence of “Apples and Oranges”, to the masterpiece that is “The Pipers at the gates of Dawn”, to the sardonically dark, insane “Vegetable Man” to the zany, eerie fanfare of “Jugband blues”, to the raw outburst of “The Madcaps Laughs”, to the sublime, poignancy of “Opel”, Barrett broke the mould in terms of musical structure, lyrical content, stage presence and studio production. He was a mass of contradictions, on one hand he was reserved, aloof and then on the other, he was a flamboyant showman whose infamous  live performances would gesticulate like a mystical phoenix rising from the ashes.

Whether Barrett was singing from his concentric clouds or  from his distant shore, Barrett  sang from a faraway place. Whereas the acoustic strums lay bare the melancholy, the desolate, windswept poet within, it was through the starry-eyed, paradoxical, wistful psychedelia which characterised Barrett as an artist and would catapult Pink Floyd to global success.

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd

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As a debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is an exemplary work of art, a masterpiece that placed Pink Floyd firmly on the map of psychedelic, experimental folk-infused rock. Named after the children’s book “The Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn was recorded from February to May 1967, released in August 1967 and remains one of the most influential albums of all time. Through the stunning cover artwork by Vic Singh and eclectic mix of tracks, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn is a paradoxical album, whose child-like wonder and storytelling narrative captures the vulnerability and  mystical essence of Syd Barrett. A psychedelic prophet, Barrett was a mass of contradictions, whose  poetic lyrics and vocal delivery was etched in simplistic and boyish charm. As the principle singer/song writer of the band, Barrett was the bona-fide front man, whose good looks, charisma and enigmatic persona captivated  his audience, which was a blessing and a curse.

Through the tribal brotherhood and theatrical performances of Pink Floyd, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn internalised the free-thinking, free flowing, flamboyant spirit of the 60s. It’s a surge of spontaneity, with a boundless energy which expands and leaps at every opportunity into other dimensions. Whereas some albums, from the same era, used a more rigid formula, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn thrives on change and versatility, utilising the vox as a standalone instrument, which could convey emotions, abstract imaginary and primitive feelings in a series of extended intervals.

It’s a phenomenal album, whose divine musicianship and multi-textured tracks delve deep into the subconscious of Barrett, whilst remaining an intriguing journey into the unknown. Through the somewhat unstructured and unpredictable poise of the album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn lifted the bar and made self-indulgence and extended intervals, interludes and crescendos into a bohemian art-form, which fitted in nicely with the counter-culture of the tune in, drop out, free-loving generation.

It’s essentially a guitar laden album, overlapping in the groovy cool and Eastern influences of the 60s, whilst bordering on the avant-garde. Along with the scuzzy and Sci-fi psychedelia, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn nestles in a mass of darkness, colliding from the debris, whilst ignited by the UV radiation, making it one of the most innovative and original albums of its time.

1) Through the muffled narration, “Astronomy Domine”, reaches out for yonder, sending out signals to its mothership, whilst watching the poignant pieces float by. It’s a fierce contender, whose pulsating beats, throbbing riffs and cascading harmonies synchronise in juxtaposition, in frictional cycles, amongst the thunderous drones and hissing gas. Along with the slippery farfisa and descending riffs, “Astronomy Domine”, quantum leaps into a parallel universe, gliding back and forth, introducing us to the wondrous space-horror-infused psychedelia world of Pink Floyd. Through the digital beeps and space slopes, “Astronomy Domine”, orbits into the space explorations of the 60s, travelling on a higher frequency, whilst becoming intoxicated by the flowery sounds of the summer of love. It’s an epic opener of “The Piper At The Gates of Dawn”, a multi- faceted trip, that circumnavigates amidst the white noise, curves and scribbles into the psychedelic realms of a mind expanding existence. Along with the uber under-stated cool delivery of Pink Floyd, “Astronomy Domine”, showcases the cool, calm collective demeanour of the band articulated with a quintessential English stiff upper lip, whilst concealing the chaos and vulnerability that lurked behind the self-indulgent improvisation and child-like spontaneity.

2) Through the throbbing riffs, “Lucifer Sam” pulsates with a formidable force, descending down a dark alley, amidst the farfisa haze. It’s a mesmerising  track, whose purring riffs capture the witchy-woo seduction of  horror-infused psychedelia.  Through the quivering riffs, “Lucifier Sam” is steeped in intrigue and suspense, capturing the zeitgeist thrills and chills of the groovy 1960s. A song written about Barrett’s Siamese cat, “Lucifer Sam”, dances with the devil, doing a Beelzebub bop, aside the rattle, creaks and shakes in a spiral spin of shadows.

3) With Richard Wright accompanying Barrett on vocals, and originally influenced by Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, “Matilda Mother” revisits the chapters of Once Upon a Time and cradles its pain from the tree top with silver bells and wistful yearnings. Through the jangly riffs and heavenly hammond, “Matilda Mother” wanders and marches up to the top of the hill, whilst guided by the ghostly harmonies. It’s a misty ride, which takes an excursion on a magic carpet, chanting in code, floating above the clouds towards an Eastern horizon.  

4) Like a Hammond horror camping in the wilderness, “Flaming” casts its shadows amongst the howling werewolf and foggy dew. It’s a psych-folk infused track, sleeping under the stars, whilst waking from the night terrors. It’s an intriguing track, which simultaneously resides in the darkness, whilst shining its technicolor torch. Through the farfisa vortex and spinning vocals, “Flaming” drifts between mystical realms, riding its unicorn whilst talking to the cosmic cuckoo birds. Along with the overlapping Lowrey organ and Tack piano, “Flaming” is classically crafted, customised by the mechanical toys and jangly bells, creating a mayhem of nostalgia and wistful ambience.

5) “Pow R. Toc H.” lifts its vibe and gathers its tribe through the quirky animalistic chants. It’s through the “bum che che” and “doy doy”, that “Pow R. Toc H.” introduces a sort of “Trippy beat boxing”, arguably ahead of its time which stylistically complements the whimsical wilderness of the track. What could be described as an assault of birds and beasts in a confined space, its through this primitive form of “beat boxing” that “PowR. Toc H.” borders on the absurd and invites you into a surreal and abstract world. Vocally free in the conventional sense, “PowR. Toc H.” is an experimental and instrumental track, whose safari beats saunter freely amongst the chilled out piano and hammond haze. It’s a quasi-jazz interlude of free-styling improvisation, pounding beats, spinning erratic riffs, abrupt destruction and primal pandemonium, abducted by the zany space riffs.

6) Through the pulsating beats and brusque narrative, “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk” shakes and stirs in a slumberous heap of spinning psychedelia. It’s a snooze button on speed, whose adrenaline infused  riffs, toss, turn and tangle in its rude awakening. Through the steady bass murmurs, “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”, seethes and drowses, aside the looping levitation and whimsical chatter. Through the spiked flutters and farfisa fog,  “Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk”, back-flashes and clatters amongst the groggy grooves in an interlude of self-indulgent bedlam. It’s the lyric, “Music seems to help the pain, seems to cultivate the brain”, that encapsulates the harrowing sentiments of the song, which is intensified through the menacing vocal delivery.

7) “Interstellar Overdrive” takes off in full glory, spinning its concentric  wheels, accelerating at high velocity along a hallucinatory highway. Vocally free, “Interstellar Overdrive”, burns at both ends in a surge of nimble-fingered dexterity, hijacked by the  rudimentary forces of space-prog rock and Industrial dark wave. An uncompromising  track, “Interstellar Overdrive” soars in an escalade of climbing, crashing, jittery riffs and rhythmic repetition, in a swirly whirl of spinning riffs. What sounds like a space apocalypse, “Interstellar Overdrive” sets a precedence for psychedelic rock, which sounds improvised, harrowing and animated, and whose digital beeps provide a horror-esque backdrop amidst the hammond haze. Along with the throbbing beats and crawling clatter, “Interstellar Overdrive” grips you by jugular, in a duality of light, reflecting from the darkness and shaped by the ectoplasmic electronica. It’s a visceral voyage, ahead of its time, tormented by the phantasmal pop-ups, in an extended game of space invaders, shooting down the drones, whilst sinking in a technicolour wormhole.

8) “The Gnome” is a folk-psych infused track, whose stripped down acoustics, offers a story-telling narrative. An enchanting track, “The Gnome” taps into Barrett’s child-like wonder and penchant for intermixing innocence with intrigue and mythology. Through the vibraphone and celesta twinkles, “The Gnome” rises to ethereal heights, whilst  floating aside the token eerie vocals. A pristine production, notably it’s the crisp pronunciation of lyrics such as “Grimble Grumble”, which draws upon the quintessential quaintness of  Barrett in his prime, at a time when music was still experiencing the “British Invasion” and English eccentricity was a creative and free-spirited force.

9) Inspired by chapter 24 of the ancient Chinese tome “I Ching”, “Chapter 24″ is a divine track, whose arcane lyrics unravel a series of cryptic reference points and poetic musings. Lyrics such as “The time is with the month of winter solstice when the change is due to come…”  and  “… thunder in the other course of heaven…” , captures the spiritual essence and zen influences of the late 60s. A mesmerising track, “Chapter 24″ showcases Barrett’s skill at orchestrating music which creates an abstract and alternating soundscape. Through the crashing cymbals and  slithering zurna, “Chapter 24″ awakens the senses and whose alchemic dust drifts from its esoteric vault. Along with the elongated vocals and overlapping harmonies, “Chapter 24″  rises into majestic realms, beaming in full glory and blinded by the sun-drenched synths. A commanding track, it’s through primal hums and sonic screeches that “Chapter 24″ metamorphasises into an all consuming transcendental state.

10) Through the taps and clickety clocks and Eastern pipes, “The Scarecrow” rotates and hangs as a standalone psych-infused folk track. It’s a fleeting and quirky track, whose stripped down acoustics are enlivened by the vortex of drones, which are fazed out by the seasonal gust of wind.

11) “The Bike” is an abstract ride on a psychedelic penny farthing, sending out a cosmic invitation, whilst plodding along a solitude path. It’s a genius catharsis, an eccentric expedition into the chimerical, whimsical and aloof world of Barrett, which is delightful and dark in equal measures. Through the sprightly riffs, “Bike” bobs dandily, in all its gentlemanly attire, whilst flapping around in its red and black cloak. Through the hallucinatory horns and ground-moving shudders, “Bike” slides down a hill into a rabbit hole, visiting Geraldine the honky-tonk mouse, playing a Tack piano in the back room, amongst the ostentatious gingerbread men and celesta clatter. Through the collective vocal harmonies, “The Bike” rides in flamboyant union, evoking a sense of calm grandiose, which is disrupted in “a room of musical tunes”. Rummaging through the dusty boxes of wind up robots, “The Bike” sees its distorted reflections through the xylophonic mirrors, whilst getting tangled by the eerie violins and tormented by the demonic ducks.

The Madcap Laughs

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Following his exit from Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett began to work on his debut solo album,  The Madcap Laughs,  in April 1968, which would continue  until July 1969, following a series of fragmented recording sessions. Released in January 1970, The Madcap Laughs was credited with five producers, including Barrett himself: Peter Jenner (1968 sessions), Malcolm Jones (early-to-mid-1969 sessions),  David Gilmour and Roger Water (mid-1969 sessions).

With guest musicians from Willie Wilson and Robert Wyatt, The Madcap Laughs was a Labour of Love, an intimate affair, whose stripped down acoustics lay bare the inner turmoil Barrett was experiencing during this time. It’s a pain capsule, which unearths, the deep sentiments  and emotional sensibility of Barrett’s dark soul, whilst producing a trippy-folk, blues, infused  catharsis. It’s an erratic roll out of off-kilter tracks, tilting its axis whilst orbiting into No Mans Land. In the unconventional sense, The Madcap Laugh does what it says on the tin. It’s a poignant album, an unhinged screwball rolling down a hill, revealing its absurdity whilst flourishing through its creativity.

Like the The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, The Madcap Laughs draws upon the literacy influences of Barrett, whilst remaining original and individualistic. It’s paradoxically anecdotal, an album which runs freely, whilst carrying a heavy load, obscured by the darkness, but shines from the light.

Significantly with producers such as David Gilmour and Roger Waters on board, The Madcap Laughs shakes hands with Pink Floyd’s, whilst liberating Barrett into the wilderness.

1) If there was ever a song which epitomised Barrett’s exodus from Pink Floyd, into the shores of hermitage and wild abandonment, “Terrapin” would be it in a nutshell, or in this case a Turtle-shell. It’s a dazey opener, whose acoustic and luminous riffs encapsulates the paradoxical realms of Barrett’s soul. Like a turtle plodding humbly across the gravelly, coastal path, “Terrapin” exudes the earthy realness, self-protecting and vulnerability of Barrett, whilst floating on the wayward currents into an astral world of chimerical bliss.

2) What sounds like an inebriated Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis hybrid, “No Good Trying” arches its bow-guitars at a jaunty angle, pointing downwards, in a lackadaisical daze of disjointed mayhem. Staying true to its psychedelic origins, “No Good Trying” is breezily erratic, and whose butter-finger riffs slide, scribble and scatter through the rock fuzz aside the rumbling beats.

3) “Love You” sings from the roof tops, flashing its frilly knickers in a sprightly whirl of intoxicated, carefree passion. Through the quirky lyrics and head spinning tempo, “Love You” wears its flirty heart on its sleeve, whilst inflamed by its romantic musings. Through the high-pitched tinkles and bobbing beats, “Love You” is an intimate knees up, under a sun-drenched sky, in an underground wah celebration of cosmic love.

4) Through the murky razor riffs, “No Man’s Land” lingers between the groovy tail end of 60s, whilst tilting towards 70s glam rock. Along with the tapping beats and brooding bass, “No Man’s Land” slithers and strides, carrying its weight through the metallic fuzz. It’s an edgy and mesmerising track, whose insular narration psycho babbles into an arcane underworld. Exuding an understated cool, “No Man’s Land”  is a great reminder of Barrett’s skill at condensing intricate guitar arrangements into an abstract motif.

5) “Dark Globe” is tragically beautiful and whose vulnerability and raw melancholy oozes out of every plectrum pore. It’s an exquisite track, whose stripped down acoustics reveal the shadowy and jittery sentiments, whilst synchronising with the raw vocals. Through the lovelorn lyrics, “Dark Globe” points to the moon, whilst gazing from the gutter. It’s sorrow personified, whose aching heart pulsates, pleads and dangles from its perforating core.

6) “Here I Go” has all the makings of a one man band, singing up close at an intimate gig. It’s a sprightly track, whose jaunty and ostentatious riffs bop and jangle aside the tapping beats. Along with the deadpan delivery, “Here I Go” is infectious, happy-go lucky, endearing, honest and comically narrated. It’s a step back from the darkness, loosening its reins, rhythmically harmonised, evoking a sense of organic spontaneity, delivered in one take.

7) Originally recorded as the prowling, space-prog, psychedelic “Clowns and Jugglers”, “Octopus” is an enchanting trip into the subconscious mind of Barrett, inviting you through a maze of erratic passages, getting lost in the darkness, whilst guided by the light. It’s a signature track, which is a reminder yet again of Barrett’s imaginative, powerful and perplexing songwriting skills. It’s borderline genius, whose dexterous strumming dips and elongates and commands its stage. It’s a snazzy, sleek production, whose interlude of bluesy riffs takes on a showmanship likened to Bo Diddley, whilst delivery its own pastiche of rumbling guitar-laden bliss.

8) Staying true to Barrett’s penchant for fairy tales and fantasies, “Golden Hair” unravels its Rapunzel riffs in a dreamlike state, awakening from the farfisa fog  and creating a cavernous motif. Based on the 1907 poem by James Joyce, “Golden Hair” is a fleeting track, whose haunting beauty is reflected in the xylophonic echoes, whilst being swept away from the whooshing percussions.

9) “Long Gone” sees the return of Barrett’s ingenious skill at creating folk-infused psychedelia, which is etched in nostalgia and coated in darkness. It’s a great track which beams its Spanish-esque riffs, in a backdrop of sun-drenched haze, whilst sky-jacked by the farfisa fuzz.

10) “She Took a Long Cold Look” evokes a raw sense of melancholy, whose sentiments are captured in the nimble-fingered and dipping acoustics. It’s a pensive view of broken dreams, clinging to the remnants of yesteryear, whilst reflecting from its indifferent core. A folk ingrained track, “She Took a Long Cold Look” is simplistically crafted and whose vocal out-takes reinforce the raw, earthy sentiments of Barrett’s soul.

11) “Feel” strums its inflamed strings against Barrett’s mournful vocals into a psych-folk vortex, spinning through the passage of time. Written by Alex Chilton and Christopher Bell, “Feel” is steeped in sentimentality, evoking a sense of loss, sorrow and deep yearnings. Through the ebb and flow of riffs, “Feel” slams, splutters, flicks and curves into the reverberating waves, travelling  faraway into an underwater abyss.

12) Through the grainy out-takes, imperfections and arrhythmic vocals, “If It’s in You” encapsulates the raw emotions, wistful nostalgia and erratic spirit of Barrett during the making of Madcap Laughs. It’s Barrett’s psyche personified, a fragile soul, clinging between alternating states of consciousness, whilst creating a spiritual symbiosis. Through the nonsensical lyrics, “If It’s in You” evokes an improvised child-like vulnerability, streaming from his subconscious, revealing the darkness, whilst projecting the light. It’s an unusual track, whose low-fi spontaneity and unprocessed ambience was a rarity of its day.

13) “Late Night”, is singed with Eastern delight and nocturnal blues, whose swaying sitars curve and cascade like comets colliding on a galactic tide. It’s a mesmerising track, whose translucent tones, swirl, jangle and ascend aside the tabla beats. Along with the poetic lyrics and pensive vocals, “Late Night” exudes a transcendental state that twinkles in juxtaposition against the dexterous riffs, towards a wondrous horizon.

Barrett by Syd Barrett

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1970 was an interesting year for music. It was the year of many great distinguished albums which have stood the test of time, and still remain relevant and influential today. Albums such as Fun House by The Stooges, Paranoid by Black Sabbath and Bridge Over Troubled by Simon And Garfunkel, were all making waves and creating a solid blue-print for generations ahead. Their music was uncompromising, they defined Hard-rock, avant-rock, folk-rock and led us through to what would become an eclectic decade of prog-rock, disco, soul, hard-rock, heavy metal, Country-rock, reggae, blues-rock, soul, Hip-Hop, synth-pop, new-wave and punk music.

Yet 1970 was also the year of the reluctant rock star, who stayed true to his musical roots and was an authentic product of his own vulnerability and his artistic integrity. 1970 was a significant year for the year of music as it will always be the year that crystallised Barretts’s solo catalogue of work, that would sanctify his mental, emotional state and erratic behaviour. 1970 would be the year both The Madcap Laughs and Barrett were released and would bare the soul of this gifted and tortured artist. Where The Madcap Laughs was very much a raw and stripped-down catharsis, Barrett would see Syd return to his psychedelic origins and create a more abstract, impressionist, surreal, mystical body of art.

Overall Barrett was a more polished production, whereas The Madcap Laughs was a heart on sleeve commentary, Barrett consolidated his own Jungarian process, through the magic of his creativity. It’s an album which delves deep into the shadows, whilst projecting a kaleidoscopic looking glass. It’s sensory overload, streaming synesthesia, whilst revisiting past lives. Produced by David Gilmour, with Gilmour on bass guitar, Richard Wright on keyboards and Jerry Shirley on drums, Barrett the album is sugar-coated with dark-romanticism, and reiterates Syd’s love of nature, nostalgia and children’s literature, with the thematic use of animal imagery. It’s a captivating , delightful and intriguing album, which firmly places Barrett, in the tortured genius category, gaining cult status amongst the dionysians, misfits and moon-children.

1) “Baby Lemonade” tinkles and side-saddles from the wild west back to the land of the living, leaping on a dream bubble and emerging as a psychedelic prophetic. Through the illuminated riffs, “Baby Lemonade” returns Barrett to his bluesy roots, floating majestically through the farfisa fog, passing the macabre clowns, sipping the acid rain lemonade. It’s hauntingly beautiful, which firmly sets Barrett apart from his Madcap Laugh predecessor, incorporating a more multi-instrumental and atmospheric soundscape. Through the dead-pan vocal delivery and eerie ambience, Barrett awakens the ghosts of psych horror and regresses and renews his groovy demeanour. Along with splashes of percussions and jangly riffs, “Baby Lemonade” effervesces, staggers and descends back down to earth.

2) “Love Song”  saunters carefree along a quintessential English, psyc-folk path. It’s a sprightly track whose celesta piano, flutters its dandy wings, amongst the honey-bee stung tempo and bobbing bass. It’s a wondrous track, oozing a Georgian grandiose previously depicted in The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, conveying a sort of romantic outing by the river-side on a hazy farfisa day.

3) Through the Hazy Hammond prowling stomps and melodic riffs, “Dominoes” chills, thrills and prods the listener into a hallucinatory trance. It’s a mesmerising track, whose stream of razor riffs and back-track tingles cut deep into the recesses of psych-horror aesthetics.  Through the hypnotic vocals and pristine enunciation, “Dominoes”  offers an abstract narration, whilst encapsulating the dark emotive essence of Barrett. Overlapping with the extensive interval of sauntering riffs, dazey drones and rumbling beats, “Dominoes” unleashes a­­­­­­­­ ps­­ych-jazz improvisation, creating a palpable yet jittery soundscape, drifting effortlessly into the realms of blues acid-rock.

4) “It Is Obvious” astral travels via the translucent tones, hovering above the quasi-jazz-psych infused folk. It’s a pagan-trippy excursion, drifting above the tree-tops amongst the birds and stars, wandering in and out of the hammond haze into metaphysical realms of consciousness. Through the humble vocal delivery, “It Is Obvious” recalls Barrett’s cool, modest, yet vulnerable reserve, giving us a glimpse into his aloof self. Dreamy but earthy, free-flowing but stagnant, “It Is Obvious” is Barrett in a nutshell. It’s a track written from his higher-self, conversational yet evasive. It’s a sentimental journey, where Barrett travels over the childhood chalk pits of Cambridge, where he remembers his roots whilst gazing down from lofty heights.

5) What could be a mystical love-child of Diddley and Beefheart, “Rats” is a discordant, scatty, acerbic, spellbinding track, staying true to its bluesy roots whilst creating a shrouded shamanic mantra. It’s a primitive outpour, an inflamed catharsis, smouldering from the ashes, whilst regenerating from the flames. Through the heavy strumming, wayward riffs and idiosyncratic grumbles, “Rats” effortlessly transmutes into cohesive chaos, whilst harnessing its energy through the tapping beats. It’s a track that becomes psyched up, pulsated with a fixated fluidity, metamorphosing through the sexually charged crescendo, whilst soaring smoothly into another realm of consciousness.

6) “Maisie” is your comatosed blues track, a slow burner whose motif is deepened through the macabre musings. It’s an intriguing track, whose illuminate riffs, flicker and clatter aside the tip-toeing beats. It’s dark poetry whose lurking bass slithers stuporously into a neon, tribal underworld, smouldering a shock-rock ambience.

7) “Gigolo Aunt” nonchalantly strolls its groovy blues trail along a hippy trippy track, surfing the whaling riffs on the sardonic sea. Based on Jeff Beck’s “Hi Ho Silver Lining”, “Gigolo Aunt” is simultaneously  steeped in acerbic wit and bitter-sweet romanticism. Through bolstering bass, “Gigolo Aunt” takes a quantum leap over the hallucinogenic hurdles, passing through the farfisa fuzz. It’s a hypnotic track whose interval of unhinged riffs and shrieks, self-indulges and spellbinds in equal measures.   It’s an abstract purge of emotions, ambling on the surface, whilst sinking into the shadows. Through the industrial droplets and runaway ripples, Barrett ingeniously depicts his subconscious self, giving us a glimpse once again inside his self-contained, emotional leakage.

8) “Waving My Arms in the Air/I Never Lied to You” is a breezy, idiosyncratic track, whose whirly riffs, acoustic riffs and piano plods creates an off-beat, bohemian, free-flowing work of art. Along with the unorthodox vocals and sleepy interlude, “Waving My Arms in the Air/I Never Lied to You” captures the oblique, wistful  and originality of Barrett’s music. He was a one-off, whose creativity effortlessly poured from every iota of his soul.

9) Written after a love-affair, “Wined and Dined” is a melodic, psych-infused track, whose acoustic riffs twinkle aside the translucent slides and farfisa fuzz. Like a lucid dream, “Wined and Dined” nestles between dusk to dawn, exuding a dazey uncertainty, sentimental yearnings whilst radiating a lustrous serenity.

10) “Wolfpack” sees Barrett unleash a more art-rock soundscape, singing from stellar heights whilst hovering on his prog-rock cloud. Like a more underground Bowie track, “Wolfpack” reaches out to its tribe and creates a wistful fusion of blues, psychedelic rock. Vocally raw, Barrett delivers the goods through a more polished production whilst retaining his chaotic and propulsive presence.

11) Drawing influences from Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children, “Effervescing Elephant” is a sprightly, quirky, comical and enchanting track whose customised crickets and elephant sounds provide the abstract, cartoonish narration for this folky fable. Through the anthropomorphic use of the tuba instrument, Barrett brings the “Effervescing Elephant” to life, emulating the sounds of an elephant and creating a 3D effect.Through the acoustic strums and exhaustive delivery, Barrett stirs up our imagination and delights us with his off the wall originality. Like so many of Barrett’s songs, “Effervescing Elephant” draws influences from children’s literature, reminding us yet again of Barrett’s penchant  for storytelling and nurturing the eternal child within.

 

The pebble that stood alone, And driftwood lies half buried, Warm shallow waters sweep shells… So the cockles shine… (Opel)

Shine on you crazy diamond. Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light… (Shine on you crazy diamond)