Various Artists - "None of Us Is Pink: The Neptune Pink Floyd Tribute Vol. 1"
(Neptune Pink Floyd, 3-CD web download)
From Aural Innovations #32 (November 2005)
Neptune Pink Floyd is a long running on-line fan community dedicated to the legendary band. The Neptune Pink Floyd Tribute is a 3-CD compilation of musicians/fans from around the world performing a variety of Pink Floyd tunes... grassroots fandom having a good time. And the entire collection is free for anyone who wishes to download it. All the info is accessible through links at the bottom of the NPF home page (www.neptunepinkfloyd.co.uk), including instructions for download of the music and all the artwork (a full color 28 page booklet, all done by members of the community). These folks really went all out!
I recognize very few of the contributing artists, but the recordings and performances are overwhelmingly excellent. And looking over the songs covered I was very pleased to see that it's not just all the expected Floyd classics, no surprise when you get 49 hardcore fans involved. I've long argued that if you're going to record a cover of someone's music you should put your own stamp on it rather than just doing a faithful, from the mold clone. And while there is certainly a lot of that here I was more open minded in this case as it's a group of hardcore fans having fun and offering the results for free. And kudos to all because they do a damn fine job!
I won't describe all 49 contributions but will run through some of the ones that were highlights for me. From CD 1, Keychain Logic's "Pigs (Three Different Ones)" is a very cool, bouncy, punky interpretation. Many of the guitar parts recall the original, but the band do a great job of injecting their own personality into the song. Soundgate's "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" is outstanding, being a 9 minute, slowly building, spaced out but beat driven freakout tune. A creative combination of electro dance beats and the freaked out spaciness of the original. Tony Chalkley's "Matilda Mother" pulls out the sitars and tablas for a trippy psychedelic raga fest. Swedish Whistler's cover of "Vegetable Man" is a punky, rocking take on the original that I love. I was already familiar with this one as they had contributed it to one of Dario Antonetti's Vegetable Project volumes. (Another fan project worthy of your attention. Check it out at www.oggettivolanti.it). Jeff Lutes' "Fat Old Sun" really resonated with me, not for any imaginative reinterpretation, but just for the pure passion he put into it. And ya just gotta love the cool electro jazzy grooves of Josip Radiae's "Corporal Clegg".
"Lucy Leave" by The Cyberjajas on CD 2 is a real treat, that song being an unreleased Syd Barrett penned rarity from 1965. "One Of These Days" is a personal Floyd favorite of mine, and I enjoyed the Coarse's take on the instrumental, adding symphonic, almost new agey keyboards, but going ultra freaky with the guitar and electronics, culminating in the driving rocker this song needs to be. Very cool. Arcadian Woodsmen do an outstanding job of capturing the spaced out intensity of "Set the Controls For The Heart of the Sun", coming across like a space rock-progressive blend. Tony Chalkley returns with another winner of an entry with his sonic aggression acid-noise cover of "Astonomy Domine". And Crime Inc. get a big thumbs up for tackling "Atom Heart Mother", their 15 minute rendition not only being firmly in the spirit of the original, but also really capturing a classic early 70's sound. Deeeeeep space and very impressive!
CD 3 is titled "Dark Side of the Moon plus", and as you might expect it features covers of the entire Dark Side album "plus" some others. Whoever compiled this did a great job as each track runs smoothly into the next, as if you are listening to a whole album, yet each track is performed by a different artist. Very cool. I was impressed that Which One's Pink?, the band who covers "Great Gig in the Sky", found a such an amazing singer to handle the Clare Torry vocals. Effektor do a very interesting version of "Us & Them", making it a dreamy but electro beat driven pop number. Ditto for The Moist Biscuits who contribute both "Brain Damage" and "Eclipse", adding a spacey groove laden vibe to the songs. Among the standout "plus" tracks is Beats Working's outstanding cover of "See Emily Play". And Garrett N. does a does a beautifully floating version of "Crying Song". It's amazing what can happen when dedicated fans throw all their collective passion and effort into one pot.
For more information you can visit the Neptune Pink Floyd web site at: http://www.neptunepinkfloyd.co.uk.
Those of you with broadband shouldn't hesitate as you can be downloading all 3 CD's in moments! Note that it's in lossless SHN format, downloadable using Bittorrent. For those unfamiliar with that terminology, there is an explanation on the web site. If you don't have broadband (pretty much making download impossible) then you can join the NPF community and sign up for a vine. It's currently circulating on various vines around the world.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz