March 16, 2007

Cover Me: Interstellar Overdrive

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

Exactly 40 years ago Pink Floyd recorded Interstellar Overdrive, the instrumental monster on their debut album The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Today it is still a popular live track in the jam band scene. No wonder, it is one of the best things written by Syd Barrett.

The opening hook of the piece is a distorted, descending guitar riff played in unison by the band. This riff eventually turns into improvisation, including modal noodlings, percussive flourishes on the Farfisa organ, and quiet interludes. The song gradually becomes almost structureless and tempo-less, punctuated only by strange guitar noises. Eventually, however, the entire band restates the main theme, which is repeated with decreasing tempo and more deliberate intensity until it finally concludes.

Three covers from the Live Music Archive (click on the date to read more).

MP3: Camper Van Beethoven - Interstellar Overdrive
(live at the 9:30 Club, Washington D.C., USA - 2006/10/10)
MP3: moe. - Interstellar Overdrive
(live at The Fllmore, San Francisco, CA, USA - 2000/10/14)
MP3: Particle - Interstellar Overdrive
(live at the Ice Palace Sound Stage, Miami, FL, USA - 2003/10/29)


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