Pink Floyd’s “Atom Heart Mother” Special Edition Contains Unreleased Performance Video

Reissued this year is Pink Floyd’s 1970 album Atom Heart Mother, the band announced on social media. On December 8, the album will be available on CD. The star of the show is a Blu-Ray DVD that includes a mini-documentary that goes behind the scenes with newly discovered performance video from Japan’s 1971 Hakone Aphrodite Festival. “The set contains some unique memorabilia–a special photo book containing many rare, never-seen-before photos, reproductions of the pamphlet, poster, concert ticket, and flier distributed at the event,” the band writes on their social media post on X. “Originally only released in Japan in 2021.” The piece went on, “The 16-minute suite ‘Atom Heart Mother,’ is the only known footage of Floyd performed at Hakone Aphrodite.” For a long time, nobody knew where the master film was filmed or how it was made.

But the original 16mm film was found in a fan’s garage fifty years later. After arduous digitization, restoration, and remastering procedures, this improved video will eventually be distributed outside of Japan. Pink Floyd’s fifth studio album, Atom Heart Mother, became their first to reach the top of the UK charts. 1994 had a remastering on CD, and 2011 saw another. Though it is available for preorder on Pink Floyd’s website, Amazon, or through a nearby record shop on Record Store Day, the package will be issued on December 8. The entire “Atom Heart Mother” suite is about twenty-five minutes long, but the band eventually shortened it to fifteen minutes during a live performance by leaving out the brass and choir portions because they were too problematic. The 2006 book Echoes: The Complete History of Pink Floyd states that the band’s final live performance of the suite occurred in Amsterdam, Netherlands, in 1972. Atom Heart Mother received a somewhat mixed response from critics, however some, including all of the band members, gave the record an entirely negative review.

The album was described as “a load of rubbish” by David Gilmour in a 2002 Guitar World Presents Pink Floyd edition. “We were at a real down point,” he went on. I believe that during that time, we were kind of scraping the barrel. Roger Waters once claimed, “If somebody said to me now–right–here’s a million pounds, go out and play Atom Heart Mother, I’d say you must be fucking joking,” as reported by The Word on BBC Radio 1 in 1984. It’s obvious that Pink Floyd and this album have a fascinating relationship. Gilmour performed the suite again in 2001 as part of the Chelsea Festival, this time alongside co-composer Ron Geesin, who gave a presentation on its history, in spite of his critical comments. With the impending release, fans will now be able to possess a further piece of that history.

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