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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 11 December 2001
UPDATE 2013. Finally come across a DISCOVERY edition for £7.50. So as this is one of my fav Floyd albums I thought I would risk the purchase, having already got the 1994 remaster, to hear if there was any difference in sound quality. OMG yes. I was surprised by the quality improvement of "THE WALL" when I heard the 2011 over-haul and "Obscured by Clouds" is justly refreshing. My original review concerned the 1994 digital remaster and it's packaging. This new cd's booklet is similar (only 8 pages) with lyrics but no synopsis. The only negative point of having an improved sound is the extra clarity given to the audio glitch on "The gold it's in the..." at about 2mins40sec (also present on 1994 remaster).

Here is my original review from 2001...

This album was recorded and released between sessions for The Dark Side Of The Moon. If that makes it sound like it was a rushed job then you are mistaken. OBC was the second soundtrack provided for Barbet Schroeder. The first was More for the 1969 film More. Now Schroeder wanted music for his latest movie La Vallee (The Valley).

I personally love this 40 minute album. It is one of the most musical of any of the Floyd's albums. (For example The Final Cut had great lyrics but not such great tunes; and Meddle had great tunes but maybe some of the lyrics were weak). This welds both together to create an album that borders rock to soft rock. Much in the same way David Gilmour achieved on his 1978 stunning solo album David Gilmour (I also rated that 5*).

If you have only recently discovered Pink Floyd through the outstanding compilation Echoes then you will not be familiar with any of these titles. However, don't let that put you off purchasing this much underrated Floyd classic. To get a feel off what to expect musically then listen to Meddle (1971); particularly tracks 2,3,4. Or on Echoes the track Echoes for the style of singing and some of the sound. Some of that sound can be heard to on Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) too. There are a lot of us fans who do not understand why there are not any tracks for OBC on Echoes.

For me this album ranks very highly in the Floyd catalogue. It is a varied display of ballads (verging on love songs), moody and atmospheric pieces and all out rock instrumentals. The ten tracks are proper songs/tunes, with no over-the-top soloing, or weird sound montages (as found on More and Ummagumma). Wright's piano and keyboards are wonderfully light (almost comparing to his work on the Wish You Were Here album) and his voice sounds so young a relaxed (unlike on The Division Bell, 1994). Mason's drums are a pleasure to listen for and his trademark cymbal playing is a key feature of Childhood's End. Gilmour's guitar work is used to fuse the band as apposed to lead it from one of his solos, except on the opening track which rocks. Waters is the main lyricist and the themes are varied. Even touching on his father's death in WW2. He would later become obsessed (for lack of a better word) with this theme. This is set to a bouncy little tune called Free Four.

2011 update: The 1994 digital remaster edition is one of only a few Floyd albums to be better packaged in the CD format as opposed to the original vinyl. The 24 page booklet gives both lyrics and a synopsis of the movie and has several pictures from the film. The original vinyl had just the sleeve and a plain white dust jacket. The 2011 Discovery edition has an 8 page booklet and a cardboard gatefold sleeve to house booklet and cd.

Thanks for reading.
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on 12 June 2005
Probably the most underrated album in the Pink Floyd catalog. This is the one that came after 'Meddle' and before 'The Dark Side of the Moon'. In comparison to these two, 'Obscured by Clouds' was somewhat of a step backwards to the 'More' and 'Ummagumma' era, with hardly any easily identifiable signs to the masterpiece that was about to follow.
Even as a massive Pink Floyd fan, this was the album I discovered last in their discography. No one ever seems to talk about it or mention it in great details when covering the band's legacy. Indeed obscured, if not by clouds than definitely by Meddle and Dark Side. However, it is a fact that I still find myself listening to it quite a lot, more than any of their offerings from the 60's or 80's.
Most of the songs here are in a similar style to the 4-5 minutes long songs in 'Meddle' and 'Atom Heart Mother', just with a slightly different sound, and a more prominent electric guitar. But though you can say that all the songs are "small" or simple, with none of the grand features of Floyd, they are all, nevertheless, excellent.
Not even one track is out of place or weak. 'Absolutely Curtains' is a hidden classic, 'Childhood End' and 'The Gold Is In The...' are typically brilliant Gilmour rock stompers, while 'Stay' and 'Wot's... Uh The Deal' are two beautiful ballads. If anything, this album just suffers from bad titles (Wot's the deal?). Interestingly enough, it also features possibly the "driest" sound they ever made.
It is Pink Floyd's most humble record, but you're gonna to love it.
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on 14 November 2005
I bought this during a stint of buying many of the lesser known Pink Floyd albums, and originally I found it hard to get into, because it's basically just an entire album of hauntingly beautiful songs (you know how good their tunes can be): it seemed a bit gratuitous, dare I say self-indulgent. However, after accepting that it has none of the political commentary of "The Final Cut" or the anguished cry about what it means to be human found on "Dark Side of The Moon", I came to love it. It's brilliant for listening to when you're a bit tired, worn out and just want to listen to something lovely and simple (if you could ever sully the Pink Floyd name by calling their music "simple"). Its beauty hits you from the first listen and it's worth the tenner or however much you pay for it. I didn't give it 5 stars because I don't think it really makes you feel how some of the other albums can make you feel: it soothes you, but it doesn't really uplift or comfort you as much as you know Pink Floyd can. It's also got none of the subtle complexities of, say, "Animals" or even "A Saucerful of Secrets". Nonetheless, this is an underappreciated gem. If you liked "Meddle" or "Atom Heart Mother" you will like this.
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on 8 September 2000
This is a strange one - it never appears in retrospectives of the band's work, being a soundtrack, but actually stands up well as an album in its own right.
The band certainly thought some of the tracks stood alongside the rest of their material - the two opening songs appear on several bootlegs and in fact are very much of the 'shine on' mode of stadium psychedelia.
Musically the album forms a natural bridge between 'Meddle' and DSOTM with the band learning to write shorter songs that don't descend into whimsy.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2005
Like "More", this is a relatively low budget soundtrack to a film by Barbet Schroeder. Or should we say that Schroeder made two films to Floyd's music, as the latter fared a lot better? This is highly enjoyable rock music from a period when the band were still, creatively, a democracy. The three successive tracks, "Childhood's End" (Gilmour), "Free Four" (Waters) and "Stay" (Wright) are first-rate. Waters in particular seems to be in buoyant mood, even though his lyrics are as biting as ever.
The two opening instrumentals ease you in, pleasant if not especially remarkable, while the closer, "Absolutely Curtains" provides vivid and poignant climax. The rest of the songs are either tasteful and reflective or unfettered rockers. "The Gold It's In The.." features some lively guitar work.
"Obscured By Clouds" is an indication that, for all their grand ambition, Pink Floyd were sometimes more effective with three-minute songs. This is one of their better albums and possibly their most accessible.
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on 9 February 2014
Having been a long term fan of Dark Side of the Moon and the Floyd in general I was eager to hear more of their extensive back catalogue. I had never heard any of the tracks on Obscured by Clouds before but was immediately drawn in to the laid back psychedelic trip this album entails. Opener "Obscured By Clouds" is an instrumental blending spacy synths with cosmic blues guitar lines. Rocker "The Gold It's In The..." describes a journey, maybe a Pink Floyd world tour? "Childhood's End", which has a touch of the funk about it, questions man's transitory existence, whilst "Stay" carries a much more personal message to a loved one. Released the year before Dark Side of the Moon, this album is less bombastic and much less well known, but ultimately points in the same direction and hints at what was just around the corner for the Floyd. Plug into some decent speakers and enjoy.
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on 15 June 2016
I bought this to fill a gap in my Pink Floyd collection as I'd never owned it, I remember now why I didn't bother in the past. It's not a bad album it's just not great, the songs are OK but nothing memorable. There isn't a song on it that would make me put it back on again to through the whole album until it played again.
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on 5 February 2016
The start of something special? Was this the first sign of the things to come (apart from the last track)? I'd like to think so, certainly Roger Waters lyrics were definitely sharpening and David (guitar legend) Gilmour was starting to find his feet - so to speak - has to be in your PF collection. Even if you're not a die hard fan.
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on 25 May 2001
Obscured By Clouds is the soundtrack to the Barbet Schroeder film La Vallee, and it plays that way. Of course, it's possible to make the argument that Pink Floyd's music of the early '70s usually played as mood music, similar to film music, but it had structure and a progression. Here, the instrumentals float pleasantly, filled with interesting textures, yet they never seem to have much of a purpose. Often, they seem quite tied to their time, either in their spaciness or in the pastoral folkiness, two qualities that are better brought out on the full-fledged songs interspersed throughout the record. Typified by "Burning Bridges" and "Wot's...uh the Deal," these songs explore some of the same musical ground as those on Atom Heart Mother and Meddle, yet they are more concise and have a stronger structure. But the real noteworthy numbers are the surprisingly heavy blues-rocker "The Gold It's in The-," which, as good as it is, is trumped by the stately, ominous "Childhood's End" and the jaunty pop tune "Free Four," two songs whose obsessions with life, death, and the past clearly point toward Dark Side of the Moon. ("Childhood's End" also suggests Dark Side in its tone and arrangement.) As startlingly advanced as these last two songs are, they're not enough to push the rest of Obscured by Clouds past seeming just like a soundtrack, yet these tunes, blended with the sensibility of Meddle, suggest what Pink Floyd was about to develop into.
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on 29 May 2000
Released just a year before the epic "Dark side of the moon," "Obscured by clouds" is often overlooked by many people. It is generally a good all round album with only the final track being a let down. The best tracks include "The gold its in the..." "Chilhood's end" and "Free Four," This an album i would strongly recomend to even the casual Pink Floyd fan.
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