Immediately following Syd Barrett’s firing, Pink Floyd started a five-year quest to find their new artistic direction. All four band members were encouraged to experiment and toss out different ideas to see what would eventually take hold. David Gilmour later felt the band’s lack of focus, and he mocked Atom Heart Mother, one of the group’s most avant-garde recordings from the 1970s.
David Gilmour told Mojo in 2001, “We didn’t know where we were going in terms of recording. But we were pretty good live. We were very good at jamming. But we couldn’t translate that onto record. Gradually, a direction revealed itself to us. A line that began with the ‘Saucerful of Secrets’ track all the way to ‘Echoes’, via the long piece ‘Atom Heart Mother'”.
“That was a good idea. But it was dreadful. I listened to that album recently. God, it’s shit, possibly our lowest point artistically. Atom Heart Mother sounds like we didn’t have any idea between us. But we became much more prolific after it.”
Several live renditions of the “Atom Heart Mother” suite were attempted by The Floyd, including one at Hyde Park the year it was released. ‘Atom Heart Mother’ wasn’t the vehicle that would allow the band to realize their dreams, despite the fact that they were taken with the concept of a whole suite of songs and compositions.
During an interview with The Word in 2008, Gilmour told, “All I’ve ever tried to do is play music I like listening to. Some of it now, like ‘Atom Heart Mother’, strikes me as absolute crap. I no longer want or have to play stuff I don’t enjoy.”
Gilmour also told Prog that ‘Fat Old Sun’ was really underrated. He commented, “It’s fantastically overlooked.” This was in 2022
Then, in 2017 while talking with Uncut he said, “It’s one of those songs where the whole thing fell together very easily. I remember thinking at the time, ‘What have I ripped this off? I’m sure it’s by the Kinks or someone.’ But since whenever it was – 1968, ’69 – no one has ever yet said, ‘It’s exactly like this.’ It’s a nice lyric, I’m very happy with that.”