Pink Floyd and The Incredible String Band.
It is fortunate indeed that EMI took the view that the planned studio LP should be supplemented by a live LP, as the live one is better on the ear than the other one. Having said that, the studio record is, on the whole, actually very good. The 4 guys in the band took about a quarter each to fill it, obviously with them all chipping in to each other’s stuff to a greater or lesser extent, and it works quite well.
Side 3 opens with Richard Wright’s offering: “Sysyphus – Parts 1-4”. This word is more usually spelt “Sisyphus”, but being derived from ancient Greek, clearly either translation is acceptable. This was a chap from Greek mythology, and therefore not any real person, who so angered the gods that he was condemned for eternity to push a heavy boulder up a steep mountainside, where of course it rolled down again, and he had to start all over again. If this were true, tourists would flock to see this 4,000 year old man performing this feat.
Anyway, Part 1 opens with a booming, loud, sonorous, death march sort of thing, which does have a certain appeal. It then descends into a tuneful but jarring piano solo. Part 2 is more of this but different, and enlivened by some very tasteful Gilmour guitar work. Part 3 is completely different, being a fairly quiet, dreamy, almost ghostly organ solo.
Part 4 opens with the most jarring note on the album, a loud screaming minor chord in a high register maintained for four beats. There is then some more of this slightly upsetting keyboard stuff, but the cadence is a brilliant return to that “death march” opening main theme, with a most pleasing effect.
By the way, where did that name “Ummagumma” come from? Nobody really seems to know, but the general consensus is that it is Cambridge slang for sex.
As a double album, the cover is of course a gatefold one, and the inner bit contains photos of the group. This is the one of Rick Wright: