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The Piper At the Gates of Dawn (40th Anniversary Complete Edition)

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Album Review

This two-CD set is a well-intentioned (and, purely on its own terms, excellent) assembly of the two different mixes, stereo and mono, of Pink Floyd's 1967 debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, issued by EMI Records for the 40th anniversary of its release. And if it stood alone, with no other version of the album out there, it could be recommended without hesitation — the original stereo and unedited mono versions of the album (of which the latter is totally new to CD) have been given state-of-the-art digital transfers, and those two mixes are different enough so that they're both worth hearing. The balances on the instruments on various songs is sometimes radically different, and it's clear that there were so many ideas tried in the mono mix (which was done first) that didn't make it to the stereo mix, and other ideas that were unique to the stereo version. The only problem with this two-CD set is that it stands distinctly in the shadow of a more expensive and ambitious Piper at the Gates of Dawn [3-CD Deluxe Edition], which includes a brace of outtakes plus the five single-only sides issued by the band during 1967. And anyone who would be interested in the stereo and mono mixes of Piper would almost certainly be a natural audience for that third CD of material. So most Floyd fans who would buy this double-CD set should just skip past it and go for the triple-disc set. The latter comes in a handsome hardcover book format and offers fans of the early Pink Floyd a chance to do something for the first time in the CD era (and for the first time since the year 1967 and maybe 1968) — immerse themselves in the Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd sound. That includes not only the stereo and mono mixes of the album on two separate digital platters, but also the band's three early singles, plus two previous unreleased alternate takes (an "alternative version" of "Matilda Mother" and "Take 6" of "Interstellar Overdrive"), plus a booklet replicating Syd Barrett's collage artwork from 1965. That's the way to hear this material — this double-disc set should be left to the timid neophyte fans who, if they have any ears at all, will soon want to upgrade to the triple-set. ~ Bruce Eder & Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Why the mono tracks?

I have both copies of Piper, but usually skip the mono tracks. Still, it's nice to hear the extras that aren't on the original album.

Classic album at a great price!

Classic album, three discs at a great price. I love having both mono and stereo so I am very pleased with this set. Overall couldn't be happier with the whole product.


Formed: 1965 in London, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Some bands turn into shorthand for a certain sound or style, and Pink Floyd belongs among that elite group. The very name connotes something specific: an elastic, echoing, mind-bending sound that evokes the chasms of space. Pink Floyd grounded that limitless sound with exacting explorations of mundane matters of ego, mind, memory, and heart, touching upon madness, alienation, narcissism, and society on their concept albums of the '70s. Of these concept albums, Dark Side of the Moon resonated strongest,...
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The Piper At the Gates of Dawn (40th Anniversary Complete Edition), Pink Floyd
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