SYD BARRETT – ” Terrapin ” January 1970

Posted: March 19, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The Madcap Laughs, Syd Barrett’s first solo album, opens with this track, a deceptively spartan blues riff that bears no trace of the glittering psychedelia that colored Pink Floyd’s Barrett-led The Piper At The Gates of Dawn. Recorded in a single take by producer Malcolm Jones (who would never have it that easy again), “Terrapin” is so hushed that you can hear each scrape of Barrett’s pick against his acoustic guitar as an overdubbed electric languorously traces its melody line, both of them abruptly hanging here and there to throw the whole thing just slightly off-kilter. The lyrics start surprisingly straightforward for Barrett (“I really love you, yes I do”) but grow more densely surreal as “Terrapin” stretches on and on, with Barrett reinforcing the refrain “’Cause we’re the fishes and all we do / The move about is all we do” through undersea imagery and the song’s subtle, watery undulation. Barrett’s mental decline is one of rock’s great tragedies, and while his solo work is understandably uneven, tracks like “Terrapin” offer an accessible entry point to one of music’s most idiosyncratic minds.

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