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Pink Floyd - London 1966-67 (remaster) Print E-mail

A new, remastered, 20-bit reissue of Pink Floyd "London 1966-1967", which features a full length studio version of "Interstellar Overdrive" and the otherwise unheard "Nick's Boogie", has just been released on the Pucka label.

The tracks were recorded at the now defunct Sound Techniques Studio, London, on the 11th and 12th of January 1967 for Peter Whitehead's "Tonight Let's Make Love In London" film.

The recording sessions were filmed, and some of the footage from the session and from Whitehead's film is included on the CD as bonus content, that can be viewed on PCs and Apple Mac computers.

The CD brings together a couple of very interesting recordings from the Syd Barrett-era line up; one of the tracks ("Nick's Boogie") is unreleased elsewhere, and was found lurking in a desk some twenty years after it was recorded.

The recording of "Interstellar Overdrive" on the CD is a special version recorded for the film, and clocks in at 17 minutes. It is a good, full-length run through of the track, familiar to most. There's lots of deep bass in this version (typical of late '66/early '67 renditions), and, as can be seen in the accompanying video, lots of guitar experimentation by Syd Barrett.

"Nick's Boogie" is a fascinating, atmospheric track, held together with Mason's purposeful tattoo. Principally a two-hand performance with Syd, it is a testament to tape recovery techniques these days that the moulding reel that this was hiding on, was renovated - and so well. Both tracks sound wonderful and belie their origins - they are crisp, clear, have fantastic depth and resonance.

This is in part because this release boasts "Super Bit Mapping", a 20-bit digital mastering process, which on a blind A-B listening test with an older version of this release, revealed more depth and clarity. Although, like all such tests, this can be very subjective and dependent, too, on the auditioning equipment. If you have an older copy (particularly the most recent, previous reissue) you may not notice much or any difference.

Pink Floyd London 1966-1967Turning now to the CD-ROM content, you are met with an eye-catching menu. All content (sensibly in Quicktime format to ensure compatibility across platforms) is presented in a relatively small window in the centre of the screen, so no controls to pause, fast forward/rewind or most importantly, resize the footage. This seems a little poorly thought out...

However, if you browse the contents of the CD on your computer, you can find all the individual video clips in the ASSETS directory, launch them directly from there, and have full control over them - including resizing.

Unfortunately, they have only included Interstellar Overdrive in the footage, and not Nick's Boogie. However, it is the full studio performance, albeit edited into footage of the day - bodypainting, shots of the 14 hour Technicolour Dream concert, the band performing at UFO, and so on. Other clips that you can select consist of interview footage from the 1960s of Mick Jagger, David Hockney, Michael Caine, Julie Christie, and an overview by the director, Peter Whitehead. The interviews are interesting relics of the 60s, very dated but fascinating all the same.

In terms of footage quality, the sound quality is very good throughout. Picture quality is good, if a little pixelated at times and certainly not as smooth as a DVD would be - especially when there is fast movement on the screen.

The CD brings together two fine, early Syd Barrett-era Floyd tracks, well-played and well-recorded, along with some footage of them playing it. Whilst there are small niggles with it (relating to the footage presentation) it is the best we've got at the moment. A couple of years back, another company were looking to release the footage on DVD, but this collapsed in a mire of issues over the rights, so don't expect that any day soon!

[UPDATE: this has now been released on DVD, and is reviewed on this site]

The CD can be ordered through these special links: USA, Canada, UK/Elsewhere, Germany, or France.

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