The Flat Earth Society

Other Discussion Boards => Arts & Entertainment => Topic started by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 06:38:33 AM

Title: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 06:38:33 AM
Pink Floyd was the band that got me "into" music, back in 2005. I haven't listened to much of their stuff in years, so this weekend and next weekend, I'm going to do a complete listen-through of their material, in chronological order, and post a short review of each thing here.

"Chronological" is applied somewhat loosely; I won't be starting with their first release, but rather with their earliest released recording, a DVD called London '66-'67 with two extended early Floyd improvisations. Then I'll begin on the early singles, interleaved with their early albums in the order they were released. I won't include most compilations, but I will include Relics, which is largely just down to personal preference.

I plan to finish with their Live 8 appearance in 2005, the last time the four members of post-'60s Floyd ever performed together. Then I'll return when The Endless River gets released, to post a review of that.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 02:08:26 PM
London '66-'67
(aka Tonite Let's All Make Love in London)
Film (directed by Peter Whitehead)

Recorded: 11-12 January 1967
Released: 19 September 1995

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)

Track listing

1. Interstellar Overdrive (Barrett, Mason, Waters, Wright) (16:46)
2. Nick's Boogie (Mason) (11:55)

Review

This is a film of collated imagery of the London 1960s psychedelic scene, with Pink Floyd performing what was then one of their staple tunes, Interstellar Overdrive, as accompaniment. About a third to half of the footage is of Pink Floyd playing; the rest is footage from various nightclubs around London. It was later re-released on DVD, with Nick's Boogie (an entirely improvised number to make the most of available studio time) as a bonus track.

The structure of Interstellar Overdrive is a riff consisting of powerful, descending chords in E major, followed by extended, loosely structured improvisation, followed by a return to the main riff. It's fairly simple, and in my view this recording showcases it at its best. This performance doesn't have the studio editing that would go into "perfecting" the album version later that year, making this a raw, unbridled glimpse of early Floyd.

It's quite remarkable how Syd and Richard (who each have a Binson Echorec tape echo device hooked up to their respective instruments) manage to play so well together, despite the very loose structure of this piece. The one-chord vamp seems to rise and fall, with Syd gradually drifting further and further from playing an actual melody, at times just making toneless plucking noises or running his slide up and down his guitar's strings. This is made all the more eerie by the echoes from the Binson, and Richard is always right there on the same page as Syd, whatever he's doing.

Turning to the other two members of the group, Roger and Nick mainly keep a steady beat going throughout the piece, but towards the end they start to get a little more involved in the improv as the whole thing nears its climax. It's quite hilarious to watch the same Roger Waters who would go on to write The Wall rocking out on his bass with a big grin on his face. Meanwhile, Nick is the same old Nick he would always be; just along for the ride, but never trying to get into the limelight.

As it turned out, the band had booked more studio time than they needed, giving them time to play another piece. Since they didn't have one prepared, they decided to improvise something based around a rhythm Nick played on the toms using mallets. This one ends up with a much darker feel than Interstellar Overdrive, with the Binson echoes dominating most of the piece, and Roger doing some of his best bass work I've ever heard. The piece ends with a short drum solo from Nick.

The band members themselves look much younger and less sure of themselves than they would in later films. Also, Rick looks very out of place wearing a white shirt and tie, while the rest of the group are dressed very casually. One thing's for sure, though; they all deliver rock-solid performances that put much of their later, more polished work to shame.

All in all, an interesting look at the band's early history, which would later prove to be their best recorded improvisation with Syd, and a very tight performance that would take Gilmour-era Floyd some time to match. This is 29 minutes of footage no psychedelic rock fan should miss.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 02:31:09 PM
Arnold Layne / Candy and a Currant Bun
Single
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/arnold)

Recorded: January-February 1967
Released: 10 March 1967

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett.

Side A

Arnold Layne (2:52)

Side B

Candy and a Currant Bun (2:38)

Review

Saddam put it best: "psychedelic pop". These are a healthy mix of silly pop songs and Syd-era Floyd's trademark echoey guitar and organ.

Arnold Layne is a song about a guy who steals ladies' underwear from washing lines. It reprimands him, and encourages him to not "do it again". It also includes a short organ solo. Like most Floyd attempts at singles, it ends up sounding overly silly and just short enough that it doesn't really go anywhere, but at least these early singles are charmingly silly.

Candy and a Currant Bun was originally titled "Let's Roll Another One", but it had to be rewritten so as not to be about drugs to appease the censors of 1960s Britain. This is perhaps my favourite Syd-penned single, and I prefer it to the A-side. In addition to the silly, cutesy lyrics, this song includes a few verbal gags (after the line "please, you know you drive me wild", a deadly-serious voice repeats "drive me wild"), and ends with some thoroughly Binson'd organ.

While this is enjoyable, it's not nearly as good a debut single as it could have been. Worth hearing if you like throwaway pop.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 02:46:08 PM
See Emily Play / Scarecrow
Single
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/emily)

Recorded: May 1967
Released: 16 June 1967

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett.

Side A

See Emily Play (2:53)

Side B

Scarecrow (2:08)

Review

More psychedelic pop, coming up! These aren't quite as silly-sounding as the previous single, despite See Emily Play being about a girl playing with her toys. The band also backed off on the echo a little, although See Emily Play still has a lot of organ, as well as a sped-up piano section.

Compared to the three other singles up until now, Scarecrow is rather subdued and conventional. It also Floyd's first significant use of vocal harmonies, sounding almost Beatlesque, except for the organ and the steady clapping rhythm. This track would later appear on their debut album.

This is entirely skippable, since the A-side would later appear on Relics and the B-side on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Get those instead; Floyd was always better as an album band.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 03:38:54 PM
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/piper)

Recorded: February - May 1967
Released: 5 August 1967

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

Side A

1. Astronomy Domine (4:12)
2. Lucifer Sam (3:07)
3. Matilda Mother (3:08)
4. Flaming (2:46)
5. Pow R. Toc H. (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason) (4:26)
6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk (Waters) (3:05)

Side B

1. Interstellar Overdrive (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason) (9:41)
2. The Gnome (2:13)
3. Chapter 24 (3:42)
4. The Scarecrow (2:11)
5. Bike (3:21)

Review

Side A is just about the strongest LP side any band could hope for on a debut album. Mixed in with the usual psychedelia (Astronomy Domine, Flaming and Pow R. Toc H.), we also get a couple of more straightforward pop tunes (Lucifer Sam and Matilda Mother), as well as Roger's first song (Take Up Thy Stethoscope and Walk) -- certainly a long way from the Roger-led Floyd that would churn out The Wall.

I really can't stress how catchy the first six tracks on this album are. Syd was a master of intertwining pop with psychedelic rock, and most of these tracks have elements of both. For me, the highlight of side 1 is Pow R. Toc H., which has no lyrics, but it does have an excellent opening consisting of weird noises, both sound effects and wordless vocal sounds. After a minute or so of this, the remainder of the track is mainly instrumental improvisations.

Roger's effort is a bit unexpected; he seems to have largely copied Syd's songwriting style for his first attempt, and the result isn't that bad. It fits in nicely with the flow of the album, and has lyrics that seem to be about being given various ridiculous treatments from a doctor.

Side B is a little more inconsistent, I think. While the tracks are all enjoyable, it feels more like a collection of singles than a coherent album side. The exception is Interstellar Overdrive, and I still find this version of it mind-numbingly dull. I get the impression they edited it down to fit on an album by removing all the "uninteresting" bits, resulting in nothing but echoey guitars (some overdubbed, as there is definitely a second guitar track at times) for most of it.

I will say that the segue into The Gnome is very well done; this may well be the only album in existence where a 10-minute psychedelic improvisation makes a segue into a silly pop song about a gnome. I never liked Chapter 24 too much, but I enjoyed it more than I remembered on this listen-through; and Scarecrow I already reviewed as the B-side to See Emily Play.

And then there's Bike. Syd has really pulled out all the stops here, as this sounds like a truly demented perversion of all your favourite '60s pop elements. It's almost pop, but it's like you're listening to pop through a kaleidoscope, and the lyrics are directed at a girl, boasting about various things (including a bike) that the singer has. The last thing he boasts about is "a room full of musical tunes, some rhyme, some jing, most of them are clockwork". The last two minutes of the album then consist of various ringing, chiming and beeping noises.

This is the only Floyd album which Syd Barrett had a significant influence over, and it is a truly excellent showcase of his talents. Absolutely essential.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 04:16:40 PM
Apples and Oranges / Paint Box
Single
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/apples)

Recorded: October 1967
Released: 18 November 1967

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)

Side A

Apples and Oranges (Barrett) (3:08)

Side B

Paint Box (Wright) (3:33)

Review

Apples and Oranges represents a significant departure from Floyd's signature sound up until now. While their established material relies heavily on organ and echo effects, this song uses a much more conventional guitar riff, and is the first time Floyd made significant use of guitar feedback. The guitar on this track is somewhat reminiscent of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album.

The lyrics have also condensed into something more mainstream; the subject matter is meeting a girl at a grocery store (hence "apples and oranges"). Again, this sounds more like something the Beatles would write than anything Floyd released previously.

Paint Box represents Wright's first songwriting attempt, and it kind of meanders around without going anywhere. The lyrics seem to describe the protagonist as having a generally disorganised lifestyle, but apart from that, there's no discernible meaning or point. The highlight is the decent-but-not-great piano solo.

This is Floyd's first single that fails to particularly thrill me. It's not bad, there's just nothing original about it. Go and listen to the Beatles instead.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 04:43:03 PM
It Would Be So Nice / Julia Dream
Single
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/nice)

Released: 12 April 1968

Band lineup

Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)
David Gilmour (guitar)

Side A

It Would Be So Nice (Wright) (3:47)

Side B

Julia Dream (Waters) (2:37)

Review

This single is the first thing Floyd released following Syd's departure from the band, and their sound is already markedly different, having replaced Syd's experimental psychedelia with David's bluesy licks. The other thing that's different about this single is the songwriting; neither track was written by Syd. At this point, the band was trying to find a new direction, with Rick and Roger having had only one songwriting experience apiece.

While this isn't a shining beacon of what post-Barrett Floyd would become, I don't think it's bad. I find It Would Be So Nice to be a very catchy pop song, if you're into that sort of thing. As with many of Rick's early songs, it seems to describe a general dissatisfaction with interpersonal relationships; whether that's a reflection of his personal life, or just the way he wrote songs, I don't know. The chorus consists of the single sentiment "it would be so nice to meet sometime", which I read to mean that in spite of social difficulties, the protagonist would still like to spend time with someone occasionally. Maybe I'm just reading too much of my own life into it.

The B-side is a slow song with typical pretentiously symbolic Waters lyrics; no doubt a precursor to The Wall. It also features Gilmour experimenting with the Binson Echorec, although the resultant sound is still distinctively different from Syd's playing.

I prefer this to Apples and Oranges, but it's nowhere near the calibre of Syd's songwriting on the first two singles. Entirely missable.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 05:50:59 PM
A Saucerful of Secrets
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/saucerful)

Recorded: August 1967 - May 1968
Released: 29 June 1968

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar on "Remember a Day", "Set the Controls" and "Jugband Blues")
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Roger Waters (bass)
Nick Mason (drums)
David Gilmour (guitar, except "Remember a Day" and "Jugband Blues")

Side A

1. Let There Be More Light (Waters) (5:38)
2. Remember a Day (Wright) (4:33)
3. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters) (5:28)
4. Corporal Clegg (Waters) (4:13)

Side B

1. A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) (11:57)
  I. Something Else
  II. Syncopated Pandemonium
  III. Storm Signal
  IV. Celestial Voices
2. See-Saw (Wright) (4:36)
3. Jugband Blues (Barrett) (3:00)

Review

This album was recorded over the period of time when David joined and Syd left the band. As a result, it's much more inconsistent than its predecessor; the best tracks are the one that Syd wrote himself, and the ones the band recorded after his departure (presumably Roger and Rick had had time to improve their songwriting by then). Unfortunately, this leaves half of side A ("Remember a Day" and "Set the Controls") as meandering filler.

Setting that aside for a moment, Let There Be More Light is a great start to the album, considering that the band had just lost its lead songwriter and guitarist. It's an early example of how well this band's vocal talents could work together when they wanted to; Roger, Rick and David all share the lead vocals on this track. The instrumentation is also well executed, opening with an organ solo over a dramatic vamp (which would in fact be reused as "Dramatic Theme" for a film soundtrack the following year), and ending with a fade-out guitar solo over the main vamp used for the verses. Not absolutely spectacular, but a great opener.

Remember a Day seems like one of Rick's early attempts to write a song in the vein of Syd's pop style, and completely failing to produce anything interesting. Set the Controls is a sinister Waters concoction that he inexplicably insists on performing on tour even today; as always, the album version consists of terrible lyrics and a mind-crushingly boring vamp, with lame improvisations that do nothing to improve things. That's five and a half minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Things start to look up again for side A with Corporal Clegg, the first of many, many songs Waters would write about lasting effects of wars on personal lives. Largely motivated by his father's death in World War II, he more or less made a career out of this theme from the late '70s onwards. However, I digress. Corporal Clegg is a decent piece, and a nice wrap-up for side A. It's also one of only two Pink Floyd tracks ever to feature vocals by Nick Mason, which makes this album the only Floyd album (aside from compilation albums) to have vocals from all five band members.

Then we get to side B, perhaps at once the best and the most depressing collection of music Floyd would release in the '60s. The title track is an absolute masterpiece; unlike the lengthy track on Piper, this isn't an extended jam, but a multi-part suite with a lot of tape editing effects thrown in. Something Else, the opening part, consists of a general atmosphere of building tension, with repeated percussive hits growing more rapid.

Eventually, it builds up to a climax and in comes Syncopated Pandemonium. This is a drum loop very similar (perhaps it's the same recording?) to the one played on Nick's Boogie, although it's actually a tape loop here. Over the top of this, there are some backwards cymbal hits, coupled with guitar noises made by Gilmour dragging his slide up and down. The overall atmosphere is one of... well, syncopated pandemonium.

This gradually gives way to Storm Signal, a short section that sounds like -- you guessed it, a storm signal! It's hard to describe, but the combination of the organ and percussion in this section sounds exactly like the calm before a storm. And a storm it is; the tour de force of the album, the Celestial Voices finale to the title track, consists of a powerful repeating 16-chord organ performance, gradually getting louder with every repeat. After a couple of repeats, a lone vocal (I think it's Gilmour) comes in over the top; it's completely wordless, just singing a note over each chord. As the chord sequence repeats, the vocals intensify, with more and more harmonies being layered on top, and finally resolving to a major chord. Splendid.

See-Saw is another Wright song; similarly to Remember a Day, this also deals with nostalgia about childhood. This one has a more specific theme, though; it's about a brother and sister who are very close, and gradually drift apart as she grows up and gets married ("she grows up for another man"). The chorus goes "another time, another day, a brother's way to leave" -- perhaps more insight into Rick's personal life? I find this depressing to listen to, in a good way, but it pales in comparison to the next track.

Jugband Blues, the album closer, is the only song written and sung by Syd. It opens with the lines "it's awfully considerate of you to think of me here / and I'm awfully obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here". Syd seems to be intentionally avoiding any form of rhyme or meter, instead making a very direct statement about his parting with the band. After the lyrics, the song gets more and more discordant. A Salvation Army band was brought in to play on this song, but they aren't playing anything in particular; it just sounds like each one instrument is playing its own separate melody. Meanwhile, Syd does some fantastic psychedelic guitar work over the top.

Finally, the cacophony of brass instruments cuts off suddenly, leaving only Syd strumming an acoustic guitar. He sings the last four lines of the album, and the last four lines he would ever sing with Pink Floyd: "and the sea isn't green / and I love the queen / and what exactly is a dream? / and what exactly is a joke?". Another fantastic album ending from Syd, although this time, it leaves me feeling mainly depressed rather than impressed. The guy was a genius, but was about to disappear from the music business forever.

In summary, side A is half-decent, half-crap, side B is amazing but extremely depressing. It's up to you if you think that sounds like your bag of tea.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 06:19:17 PM
Point Me at the Sky / Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Single
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/point)

Recorded: 4 November 1968
Released: 17 December 1968

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Side A

Point Me at the Sky (Gilmour, Waters) (3:35)

Side B

Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Gilmour, Waters, Wright, Mason) (5:45)

Review

This record was not particularly noteworthy or successful at the time of its release; in fact, it was at this point that Floyd decided to stop making singles and focus on albums. However, what makes it noteworthy is that it is the earliest example of a Gilmour/Waters songwriting collaboration, which would become a mainstay of '70s Floyd.

Personally, I think Point Me at the Sky is their best single since See Emily Play. It's fairly standard psychedelic rock, with two slow, organ-driven verses contrasted with guitar-driven choruses on alternating I-IV power chords. The lyrics are science-fictiony, telling the story of a flying machine that travels to space (hence "point me at the sky"). There may or may not be an intended jab at the Apollo program; Floyd's lyrics at this early stage were so vague that it's difficult to tell.

The B-side is just a 6-minute improvised jam, with Roger saying "careful with that axe, Eugene" and screaming in the middle of it. This is the first usage of a scream in Pink Floyd's music, but this piece would go on to become a staple of their live shows for years to come, and Roger would eventually come to use screaming frequently in his later career. Anyway, this version of the song isn't that great, but it provided the spark that finally ignited post-Barrett Floyd's original sound.

I think this single is worth hearing, if only because it's the first time this band found a steady footing.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 27, 2014, 06:56:04 PM
The Committee
Film (directed by Peter Sykes)

Released: 1968

Review

I can't find much information about this film, nor a copy of the film itself; all I could find was a download of Pink Floyd's musical contributions to it in MP3. This seems to have been bootlegged onto vinyl from a VHS recording of the film, and then digitised at some point, as I can hear multiple different kinds of noise on it.

There's no band lineup listed, because I don't know if this was before or after Syd left. The guitar parts sound like Gilmour, but there was a brief time for which they were both in the band at the same time. There's no track listing because these tracks don't have names; they're just tagged as various parts of "The Committee".

The first part is a pretty cool jam, with the somewhat unconventional feature of being completely backwards. (The download I found included both forwards and backwards versions of it, but the music is backwards in the "forwards" version, so I'm guessing it was backwards in the original film.) Part 2 is pretty catchy, starting out with bird sounds similar to the start of Cirrus Minor, and then suddenly turning into something like surf music.

Parts 3, 4 and 6 are just organ/guitar chords playing behind conversations happening in the film; the conversation is in the foreground, but the music is interesting to hear nevertheless. Part 5 is pretty interesting, with a repeating, one-note bass line similar to part VI of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, and echoey, staccato piano notes.

Part 7 seems like a shortened performance of Careful With That Axe, Eugene without the screaming, and part 8 sounds quite similar to the final part of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (though I don't think it's exactly the same). Maybe this was an early version of that piece.

Anyway, I just wanted to include this for completeness. It's such an obscure film that I can't imagine anyone caring too much about this, and while the music is nice, there's nothing unique that makes it worth seeking out.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 28, 2014, 11:00:34 AM
More
Film (directed by Barbet Schroeder)

Released: 4 August 1969

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Main Theme (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
Ibiza Bar (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
The Nile Song (Waters)
Cymbaline (Waters)
Party Sequence (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
Green is the Colour (Waters)
Quicksilver (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
Cirrus Minor (Waters)
More Blues (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
Crying Song (Waters)
Up the Khyber (Mason, Wright)
Dramatic Theme (Waters, Wright, Gilmour, Mason)
Green is the Colour (reprise) (Waters)

Short fragments of Main Theme are also repeated several times throughout the film.

Songs I didn't spot that are on the soundtrack album

A Spanish Piece (Gilmour)

Review

I'm already familiar with the soundtrack album Pink Floyd released for this film, but I had never seen the film itself, so I decided to take this opportunity to do so.

This is the second film to be scored by Pink Floyd, and the first one for which they produced actual songs, though most of the material is still just incidental music. The incidental music actually works a lot better in the context of the film than on the album, and most of it is worked into the film's setting by means of a tape recorder playing, or sometimes a live band, which I find to be a nice touch. Only a few pieces (Main Theme, Quicksilver and Dramatic Theme come to mind) have no in-setting presence. I also didn't hear A Spanish Piece anywhere, but it's so short and appropriate for this film's setting that it would be easy to miss as being a Floyd song.

The film itself is an interesting watch; while most of the dialogue is in English, there are a few scenes in French, German and Spanish, which make it hard to follow at times. It tells the story of a German hitch-hiker, Stefan, who finds himself in Paris with no money. He befriends a guy he meets in a poker game when he runs out of money, and together they manage to scrape up some cash through less-than-honest means. During this time, he meets a girl called Estelle, and there begins the main plot.

Throughout the film, it is gradually revealed that Estelle is a drug addict. She introduces Stefan to marijuana, and invites him to come with her to the Spanish island of Ibiza. He agrees, and in doing so, begins a gradual decline that would take him through experimentation with heroin and LSD at the encouragement of Estelle. Meanwhile, Estelle is revealed to have questionable connections with a mysterious Dr. Wolf, who owns a number of businesses on the island.

At the end of the film, Stefan has become addicted to heroin, and it is revealed that Estelle has always been an addict and has hidden her habit from him the whole time. She also reveals, in exchange for a dose of heroin, that she has been sleeping with Dr. Wolf behind his back. At this point, Stefan goes outside and begs one of the local inhabitants for some heroin. The film ends with him dying from an overdose.

While it is plagued by poor acting and screenwriting at times, it does work quite well as a romantic tragedy. As the film goes on, it becomes more and more clear to the viewer that Estelle is too unstable to maintain a relationship with, something Stefan is blinded to by a combination of love and drugs. Near the end of the film, he has an opportunity to leave Ibiza and return to Paris, which he passes up in order to stay with Estelle.

Right, now for the music. The incidental music is fairly typical early Floyd, albeit more subdued than usual most of the time in order to create a particular atmosphere for a scene. Much of it is heavily driven by Rick's Farfisa organ chords, with the notable exception of Up the Khyber, which consists of tense piano chords over one of Nick's signature mallet tom rhythms, very similar to the "Syncopated Pandemonium" section of A Saucerful of Secrets.

The songs are substantially more interesting. Cirrus Minor and Green is the Colour are both slow, tranquil acoustic songs, ostensibly about hallucinogenic drug use. The Nile Song and Ibiza Bar are very similar, bordering on hard rock, and both have lyrics which seem to be either about bad experiences with drugs, or using drugs to escape bad experiences. Cymbaline; which, along with Green is the Colour, would become a touring staple for the next couple of years; is one of Waters's better early songwriting endeavours, and tells of an uncertain journey with a lot of tense imagery. This could refer to experimentation with new drugs, or refer to the overall plot of the film, as it is used at a key turning point when Stefan decides to go with Estelle to Ibiza.

Then there's A Spanish Piece, which is Gilmour's first Floyd song. Well, "song" may be somewhat generous. It consists of an acoustic guitar playing and a guy with a faux Spanish accent drinking tequila and threatening to kill someone if they laugh at his lisp, and is the only track I didn't hear in the film. Not that it's a huge loss.

So there it is. I was pleasantly surprised by the film, and while it isn't great, I would say it's worth at least one watch. The soundtrack album is worth getting for the songs, but you can skip the incidental music.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 28, 2014, 01:38:15 PM
Ummagumma
Live/studio double album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/ummagumma)

Recorded: April - June 1969
Released: 25 October 1969

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Side A (live)

1. Astronomy Domine (Barrett) (8:32)
2. Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) (8:49)

Side B (live)

1. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters) (9:27)
2. A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) (12:48)

Side C (studio)

1. Sysyphus (parts 1-4) (Wright) (13:28)
2. Grantchester Meadows (Waters) (7:26)
3. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict (Waters) (4:59)

Side D (studio)

1. The Narrow Way (parts 1-3) (Gilmour) (12:17)
2. The Grand Vizier's Garden Party (Mason) (8:46)
  I. Entrance
  II. Entertainment
  III. Exit

Review

This is really best thought of as two distinct albums; a live album of previously-released material, and a studio album consisting of solo projects from each band member. I'll review each half separately for that reason.

The live record contains excerpts from two different concerts in mid-1969, and is exemplary of their touring style at the time, containing four long, mostly improvised songs. Every one of these performances is longer than the corresponding studio recording of that track, with the added time consisting mainly of extended improvisation.

Astronomy Domine opens the album, and this is the only live track I think is inferior to its studio rendition. It's not that it's bad, but this song always felt somewhat hollow without Syd. The extended improvisations in the middle are what save this version from being completely unmemorable.

Careful With That Axe, Eugene sounds much more energetic here than it did in the studio, with Roger's screams being much more chilling, and everyone seeming to stretch their legs a bit more during the improvisations, but is structurally very similar to the studio release. Even Set the Controls is half-decent here, this being the least objectionable version of it owing to the large deviation taken from the main vamp during Rick's organ solo. At times, there is no vamp at all, just organ sounds and echoes thereof creating a very eerie atmosphere.

The live album reaches its climax with A Saucerful of Secrets, which somehow manages to outdo even the majesty of its studio recording. Most of the song is played similarly to the studio version, but with the added spontaneity and enthusiasm that comes from playing to a live audience; and, of course, the drum loop is not a tape loop here, but a live performance. The real high point comes in the final "Celestial Voices" section; instead of the relaxed, atmospheric organ and vocal harmonies on the record, this turns into a full-band rock jam over the ending chord progression, with Gilmour singing his heart out as the sole vocalist on this version. I can't describe how amazing this sounds here. Just listen to it.

Now, the studio half of this album. It's a bit of a gimmick; rather than make an album together, the band elected to each produce half an LP side's worth of material independently. The results varied widely, depending on the experience each band member had with writing songs; while Roger and Rick had been coming up with material for the band for two years now, Gilmour and Mason had until now been mostly passive participants, only playing the material they were given. At the same time, the trends seen here are an interesting preview of the direction the band would take in the future, when one member or another became the dominant force.

Rick's piece, Sysyphus, is a four-part instrumental, and is my favourite of the four individual efforts. It begins with a grandiose, pompous opening theme (part 1), which soon gives way to an interesting, multi-layered piano piece (part 2). After a brief period of silence, part 3 comes in, with some very interesting rhythmic interplay combined with what sounds like sped-up piano. Part 4 is a very relaxed affair to round things off, fading out almost to silence, before suddenly returning to the main opening theme.

Roger contributed two shorter tracks for his part. The first of these is a slow, acoustic number about the meadows in Grantchester, England, describing the tranquility of the place. I find it quite similar to Cirrus Minor, especially since it also includes chirping bird noises, among other animal sounds. Towards the end, as the main song fades out, the sound of a fly buzzing around becomes the dominant event, and the song ends with the sound of a person making a few attempts at swatting the fly, finally being successful.

As the fly gets swatted, Roger's second piece comes in immediately. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict -- the title says it all, really. This piece consists of various sped-up vocal and percussive effects to create the impression of a large number of small furry animals, well, grooving. The last minute or so has Roger doing his best impression of a craggy Scotsman, while around him one of the animals makes an occasional squeaking noise.

I would love to tell you how David's performance goes, but I slept through most of it. No, but all kidding aside, this consists mainly of some guitar wankery and crappy lyrics. The vocal melody is quite well done, and features David harmonising with himself, but the lyrics are terribly written and the song just goes nowhere. I'd like to put this down to his inexperience with songwriting, but On an Island (his 2006 solo album) follows exactly the same pattern.

Nick, rather surprisingly, brings some life back into the album with 7-minute half-drum solo, half-studio edited percussive composition. The intro (Entrance) and outro (Exit) to his piece feature his wife playing flute, which wraps the composition nicely and provides closure to the album. The percussion part that takes up most of it is very well executed, if a bit long. I hadn't expected Nick to pull off something this enjoyable.

And there you have it. Ummagumma is definitely worth getting for the live album, but the novelty of the studio album somewhat outstrips its musical value. I enjoy it, but the band members don't work nearly as well independently as they do together, and so it fails to live up to the expectations set by Piper and Saucerful.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on September 28, 2014, 04:23:23 PM
Interstellar Zappadrive
Live bootleg
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/zappa)

Recorded: 25 October 1969
Actuel Music Festival, Amougies, Belgium

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)
Frank Zappa (guitar on "Interstellar Overdrive")

Track listing

1. Astronomy Domine (Barrett) (9:52)
2. Green is the Colour (Waters) (4:11)
3. Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) (9:45)
4. Tuning Up With Zappa (2:30)
5. Interstellar Overdrive (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason) (20:34)
6. Tuning Up (:52)
7. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters) (12:08)
8. A Saucerful of Secrets (Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour) (17:59)

Review

You didn't really expect me to leave this out, did you?

This bootleg provides a unique insight into the format of '69 Floyd's live shows, as well as being an historic document of the only known Zappa performance with Pink Floyd. It's far from the best unofficial recording I've heard, but considering the time period, it's survived rather well.

Astronomy Domine kicks things off, and this is exactly the same arrangement heard on Ummagumma. I find the organ solo here to be more interesting than on the aforementioned release, but it's otherwise much the same. Green and Careful are played together as a piece, which works very well. As usual, Green is the Colour is far better live than in the studio, with the band doing some extended jamming over what would be the fade-out on the album version. Then Careful is very similar again to Ummagumma; nothing to see here.

Then comes the fun part. An announcement is made (in French) that Frank Zappa will be joining Pink Floyd for the next song, to much cheering from the audience. The head of Interstellar Overdrive has evolved substantially since 1967, growing an extended organ flourish intro, and being performed as hard rock rather than psychedelic rock (the feel is very similar to The Nile Song). But then Zappa picks up his guitar...

Suddenly, the improvisational bulk of Interstellar Overdrive sounds like something straight off Hot Rats or Chunga's Revenge. It's incredible the extent to which Frank's presence manages to mould this tune into something even greater than it already is. Frank and Roger in particular seem to bounce off each other well; at one point, Roger begins making a ticking noise on his bass similar to the intro to "Time", which Frank quickly cottons onto and begins building that into his solo.

David and Rick get some time in the spotlight too, but by now, the band is grooving along like the Mothers in the middle of King Kong, and the result is a completely different Interstellar Overdrive from anything else I've heard. After Rick's solo, the band and Zappa perform a good six minutes or so of additional improvisation leading up to the return to the head, which itself is played with a lot more improvisational fanfare and little fills than usual, sounding much more like the Mothers than we're used to from Pink Floyd. Tasty.

Unfortunately, the next song is Set the Controls, which manages to be even more of a letdown than Dinah-Moe Humm. This is, once again, the same arrangement as on Ummagumma, although (perhaps simply as a result of the poorer quality of the tape) I find this not to be quite as ambient. Somehow, the band keeps this up for 12 minutes without falling asleep.

Highlight number two of this tape comes with A Saucerful of Secrets. This comes with a much longer Something Else than previously, with David and Rick taking turns between Echorec chaos and ambient organ chords, repeatedly teasing us with a build-up and then falling back down. Finally, after over five minutes, we get the real McCoy; David drowns out everyone else with some fantastic Echorec abuse and Syncopated Pandemonium begins.

Syncopated Pandemonium runs for over five minutes itself, sounding somewhat like Return of the Son of Monster Magnet at times -- perhaps some of the inspiration the band took from Zappa earlier had stuck. Anyway, this extended bout of chaos only makes Storm Signal, and the inevitable ensuing Celestial Voices chords, so much sweeter when they finally arrive.

I don't need to tell you by now that Celestial Voices is, in this reviewer's opinion, one of the most beautiful compositions Pink Floyd ever committed to tape. The way this finale builds up in live performances is truly orgasmic; from Rick playing (on this tape, barely audible) slow chords on the organ, to Nick joining in with a steady rock beat, to David bringing his guitar into the mix, and then finally his powerful soaring lead vocal to complete the picture.

This is just my little indulgence. The sound on this tape is poor enough that unless you're as into Zappa as I am, it probably isn't worth your time. Highlights are Interstellar Overdrive (of course) and A Saucerful of Secrets, and it's worth hearing at least one live Green is the Colour, but the rest of this material is covered just as well on Ummagumma.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 03, 2014, 06:10:11 PM
Zabriskie Point
Film (directed by Michelangelo Antonioni)

Released: 9 February 1970

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Pink Floyd.

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Heart Beat, Pig Meat
Crumbling Land
Come In Number 51, Your Time is Up (aka Careful With That Axe, Eugene)

Numerous incidental music was also recorded for the film, but not included on the original soundtrack album. (Some of it was later included on a bonus disc for the CD release.)

Review

Well, this was a pleasant surprise. While Pink Floyd had a much more minor role in the scoring of Zabriskie Point than in More, only having three songs in the film amidst contributions from various other artists, the film itself was a lot more engaging and left a more intense impression on me.

The plot concerns two lovers brought together from opposite echelons of society. I find myself having to look up their names, because rather significantly, they do not refer to each other by name for the bulk of the film. Their names (Mark and Daria) are only used by people they know in their mundane lives; Mark being a student fighting oppressive police brutality in California, and Daria being an employee of a very wealthy businessman.

I won't go into too many more details, because it is a fantastic film and you really should watch it to find out the rest. It was quite intense with imagery and symbolism at times, so I think I'll be watching it again myself to pick up on all the things I missed. I also appreciated the panoramic shots of desolate Californian countryside, including the titular Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, where the two protagonists spend most of their time together.

Onto the music, then. Heart Beat, Pig Meat opens the film, and is really the highlight as far as new Pink Floyd material goes. It consists of a regular, repetitive beat (no doubt the "Heart Beat"), with various sound effects and organ licks making up the variety. It's certainly unique as a Floyd piece, although I wouldn't be surprised if this was the inspiration for Speak To Me three years later.

Crumbling Land is a generic country rock song, and Zabriskie Point is full of generic country rock by various bands, so I didn't even register this as being by Pink Floyd during the film. There's really not much more to say about it; it stands alone amongst Floyd material as a cutesy country ballad, but it's also not a style they did particularly well.

And then there's the retitled re-recording of Careful With That Axe, Eugene, sans the titular lyric. Number 51 is musically quite similar to Eugene, but various wordless vocal noises (fed through a Binson Echorec, naturally) from Roger dominate the first couple of minutes, something which would later find its way into live renditions of Eugene. Also, the mix is substantially different from any previous version, with Roger's screaming being way up in the foreground. This recording accompanies the violent explosions at the very end of the film, and is the last piece of music in Zabriskie Point, save for the closing credits. It fits this slot very well, and this already-powerful monster improvisation seems to take on a new life in the context of the film.

Floyd's incidental music is somewhat difficult to pick out from the rest, since Antonioni had fairly specific requirements that suppressed Floyd's own style to a degree, so I don't have much to say about that.

Well, that's that. This is the first film I've watched as part of this review-fest that I would describe as "great", and not just for the Floyd, which is somewhat underwhelming this time around. This is something no film enthusiast (and I know we have a few here) should miss.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2014, 08:41:42 AM
Atom Heart Mother
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/atom)

Recorded: February - August 1970
Released: 2 October 1970

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Also featuring EMI Pops Orchestra and John Alldis Choir on "Atom Heart Mother".

Side A

1. Atom Heart Mother (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason, Ron Geesin) (23:44)
  I. Father's Shout
  II. Breast Milky
  III. Mother Fore
  IV. Funky Dung
  V. Mind Your Throats Please
  VI. Remergence

Side B

1. If (Waters) (4:31)
2. Summer '68 (Wright) (5:29)
3. Fat Old Sun (Gilmour) (5:22)
4. Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (infinite, with about 13 minutes of music)
  I. Rise and Shine
  II. Sunny Side Up
  III. Morning Glory

Review

Holy cow! Who'd hoof thought the meandering works of late '60s Floyd could lead up to something so mooving? This record begins with nearly calf an hour of udder brilliance, followed by a few shorter compositions which graze out the studio part of Ummagumma by comparison. I ain't got no beef with this.

It's not just the music which makes this album such a special part of Floyd's catalogue. If you buy a copy of this album on CD, it comes complete with a double-sided sheet with two nonsense recipes, one of which is written in German. The English one (from what I recall; I've long since lost my physical copy of the album) consists of a set of progressively larger animals stuffed inside one another, starting with (I think) a chicken and ending with a camel.

Side A of this record is, in this reviewer's opinion, the single best 24 minutes Pink Floyd ever committed to tape. It's a six-movement epic with orchestral and choral parts composed by Ron Geesin, and overdubbed on the band's original studio track while Pink Floyd was on tour. The result is remarkably coherent; the band, orchestra and choir seem to work together as if they had performed the piece in a single take.

Geesin's talents really shine here, with some of the band's more eccentric improvisations accompanied by equally eccentric brass outbursts, yet with one never eclipsing the other. Other highlights include a cello solo followed by a Gilmour lap steel solo, as well as Funky Dung, a groovy blues jam with overdubbed nonsense chanting from the choir. There are also odd sound effects and interjections at times; notably, the sound of a motorbike accelerating heralds the second refrain, and much later in the piece, a heavily-distorted voice announcing "silence in the studio!" fills the same role.

The centrepiece of Atom Heart Mother is a 9-bar chord progression originally created by Gilmour. The band developed this into a shadow of the piece that we have here while on tour, and then Geesin wrote an orchestral melody which rides atop Gilmour's guitar as naturally as if it had been there from day 1. This is repeated a few times throughout the piece, finally returning as its conclusion, with choral accompaniment added to its majesty.

Flip the record to Side B, and the powerful climax of the title track is immediately contrasted by the calm, acoustic opening to If. This piece, a melancholy song by Roger describing possible outcomes of various premises, ending with "if I were a good man, I'd talk with you more often than I do", musically sounds like a midway point between Grantchester Meadows and Brain Damage. Similarity to the latter is strengthened by references to insanity ("if I go insane, please don't put your wires in my brain"). This represents a new maturity to Roger's songwriting that would carry Pink Floyd through the '70s.

Summer '68 highlights why lyrical duties would soon be relegated to Roger exclusively. The music is somewhat interesting, being rather similar to Rick's songs on A Saucerful of Secrets, but the lyrics really make me cringe. There seems to be no attention given to rhyming or meter, but unlike Syd's deviation from standard lyrical formulation, there doesn't seem to be any artistic intent here. They're just poorly written lyrics.

Summer '68 climaxes with a big brass send-off (possibly the same orchestra as on side A), and as the reverb from the ending dies out, the church bells which begin Fat Old Sun fade in. David's lyrics aren't quite as cringey as Rick's, and the music is certainly an improvement from The Narrow Way. The highlight of the track comes after David stops singing and picks up his guitar, giving a taste of the inspired blues rock solos he would deliver for the decade to come.

Side B is saved from being just a collection of decent songs by the closing 13-minute song about breakfast. Yes, this song opens with the sound of a dripping tap, followed by roadie Alan Styles moving around a kitchen and talking about what he likes to eat for breakfast. The three movements of this piece are entirely separate musical performances, with a return to the breakfast sounds in between.

The band parts of Breakfast get progressively more interesting as the song proceeds. Rise and Shine is a moderately-paced tune mostly driven by piano and organ parts which serves as little more than a cutesy intro, while Sunny Side Up is much slower and consists of three acoustic guitars and a lap steel. This is one of the most relaxing Floyd pieces I've ever listened to, and throughout the piece, there are various sounds of Alan eating and/or cooking breakfast.

Sunny Side Up fades out, we have Alan talk a bit more about getting the band ready for a gig, and then the tour de force of side B comes in. Morning Glory is played over an organ chord progression that somehow gives the feeling of continuously ascending. First comes a piano solo from Rick, and then David's guitar joins the fun. The guitar solo is good, but it's mixed into the background at times, so it's hard to stay focused on it for long. Yet again, the effect is made more interesting by the continued presence of Alan talking about his breakfast.

The band stops playing, Alan leaves, and the dripping tap returns in a locked groove, giving the track effectively infinite length. Overall, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast is far more interesting for the atmosphere it creates than for any specific feature of the instrumentation. This atmosphere is constructed not only from the band's instruments, but from the sound effects and talking about Alan's breakfast.

In my view, this album is the best thing Floyd ever released. While some of the songs on side B are little more than throwaway pop tunes, the bulk of the album (the title track and Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast) more than make up for that, turning this into a remarkable amalgamation of rock band, orchestra, choir and breakfast. If you listen to any pre-Dark Side Floyd album, make it this one, and be sure to buy the CD so you get a copy of the essential recipes.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2014, 10:26:24 AM
Relics
Compilation album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/relics)

Recorded: 1967 - 1969
Released: 14 May 1971

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar on side A and "Bike")
Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar on side B, except "Bike")
Richard Wright (keyboards, trombone on "Biding My Time")
Nick Mason (drums)

Side A

1. Arnold Layne (Barrett) (2:56)
  * Originally released as a single (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44552#msg44552).
2. Interstellar Overdrive (Barrett, Waters, Wright, Mason) (9:43)
  * Originally released on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44561#msg44561).
3. See Emily Play (Barrett) (2:53)
  * Originally released as a single (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44558#msg44558).
4. Remember a Day (Wright) (4:29)
  * Originally released on A Saucerful of Secrets (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44570#msg44570).
5. Paintbox (Wright) (3:33)
  * Originally released as the B-side to "Apples and Oranges" (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44563#msg44563).

Side B

1. Julia Dream (Waters) (2:37)
  * Originally released as the B-side to "It Would Be So Nice" (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44564#msg44564).
2. Careful With That Axe, Eugene (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (5:45)
  * Originally released as the B-side to "Point Me At the Sky" (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44574#msg44574).
3. Cirrus Minor (Waters) (5:18)
  * Originally from the film More (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44630#msg44630).
4. The Nile Song (Waters) (3:25)
  * Originally from the film More (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44630#msg44630).
5. Biding My Time (Waters) (5:18)
  * Previously unreleased.
6. Bike (Barrett) (3:21)
  * Originally released on The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44561#msg44561).

Review

As is typically the case with compilation albums, this seems to have been put together by the record company to make an extra buck and keep Pink Floyd in the public eye. There's little thought given to sequencing or the flow of the album, and "Interstellar Overdrive" fades out rather than segue into "See Emily Play", which would have been an awesome way to preserve the continuity at the end of the album version.

I've included it here for two reasons. One, it includes some early singles in album form, and although it was not the first Pink Floyd compilation album to do so, it was the first to achieve widespread popularity. Two, and more importantly, it contains a single track ("Biding My Time") which has never been released on any other album.

I've reviewed most of these tracks in their original contexts already, and most of them (especially the Piper cuts) work much better in their original context than they do here. Of note, though, is the fact that some tracks ("Paintbox", "Julia Dream" and "Careful With That Axe, Eugene") appear here in stereo for the first time. "Interstellar Overdrive" is also stereo here, but it's a false stereo rendering of the original mono mix rather than an actual stereo mix. Aside from that, these tracks are identical to those I already reviewed.

So, Biding My Time. This track alone is an excellent reason to seek out this album, and it's truly mind-boggling that it was never released prior to this, because it's really fucking good. It opens with a quiet, reflective jazzy riff and some lyrics, sung by Roger, about the protagonist wanting to relax and enjoy "the fireside, and the warm light, and the love in her eyes".

Then, out of nowhere, there's a key change and the band drops straight into the most raw blues rock you'll ever hear from Pink Floyd. Three solid minutes of Pink Floyd just rocking out, with Rick on trombone instead of keyboards for a change, makes this the least Floydy Floyd you'll ever hear. It's a pity they forgot how to stop being serious and just jam in their later years, because they were quite capable of it when they wanted to be.

This is worthwhile getting just for Biding My Time, but you can skip the other tracks and just get the original albums instead. This just doesn't work as an album.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2014, 11:35:17 AM
Meddle
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/meddle)

Recorded: January - August 1971
Released: 30 October 1971

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, rhythm guitar on "San Tropez")
David Gilmour (guitar, second bass on "One of These Days", harmonica on "Seamus")
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)
Seamus (howling on "Seamus")

Side A

1. One of These Days (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (5:57)
2. A Pillow of Winds (Waters, Gilmour) (5:10)
3. Fearless (Waters, Gilmour) (6:08)
  * Includes "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Rodgers, Hammerstein)
4. San Tropez (Waters) (3:43)
5. Seamus (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (2:16)

Side B

1. Echoes (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (23:29)

Review

Meddle is an excellent follow-up to Atom Heart Mother, and they both have similar structure; one side being a single long track, and the other having numerous shorter songs. The most significant difference is that while Atom had tracks written by individual band members, each having their own strengths and weaknesses, this is the first Pink Floyd album to be dominated by Waters/Gilmour collaborations, and that makes a world of difference.

One of These Days is instrumental, except for a single line spoken by Nick Mason ("one of these days, I'm going to cut you into little pieces"). It's based around a bass line Roger came up with, using the Binson Echorec to create a triplet rhythm -- as far as I know, the first time Pink Floyd deliberately set the Echorec to produce echoes in time with the music. On top of that, there are some interesting tape effects, with backwards cymbal crashes leading into forwards synth chords, the whole thing culminating in a lap steel solo. Very nice, and perhaps Floyd's best short opener.

A Pillow of Winds sounds like a cross between If and Fat Old Sun. It has Roger's propensity for writing slow, acoustic songs, combined with David's blues licks, creating a sound that would identify Pink Floyd for many years to come. Fearless carries on this trend of combining Roger and David's talents into something that is greater than the sum of its parts, with lyrics about Roger's passion for football. I'm about as far from a sports fan as you can get, but even I can't help but be moved by this piece, which culminates in a chorus of You'll Never Walk Alone.

San Tropez and Seamus round out side A with a bit of fun. San Tropez is a song Roger wrote about Saint-Tropez in France, with a much lighter, catchier feel than the other tracks on side A. Seamus is just a silly blues about a dog named Seamus, who can be heard howling on the recording. Say what you will about it being a throwaway, directionless song, but I find it provides the perfect foreshadowing of things to come on side B; the calm before the storm, if you will.

Ah yes, side B. Echoes begins as simply and subtly as it possibly can; with a single, high C# note on piano, played through a Leslie speaker. It sounds like a sonar pulse, and as the other instruments come in over the course of the first two minutes of the song, there is a general feeling of being underwater that I can't quite explain. This music creates the image in my head of a beautiful coral reef, slowly being lit up by a new dawn.

The vocals on Echoes are magnificent, and it has the best lyrics since Syd left the band. This is an early example of how well David and Rick could harmonise together, a pairing that would frequently characterise the Pink Floyd sound going forward. It's hard to describe what the lyrics are about, since they really just create imagery moreso than telling a narrative or making a point.

After the first two verses, we get a guitar solo from David. This is, without a doubt, the best performance he has delivered since joining the band in 1968, soaring majestically over these chords like a dolphin surfacing for air, leading us to the second distinct part of the song. The band abruptly segues from the slow-paced intro vamp into an uptempo funk feel, with the bass and especially the organ driving the beat forward, while David's guitar continues bringing up the front line.

This isn't really a solo, though; more like isolated, sporadic improvisations, between which there is either just the vamp, or an organ fill from Rick. With Roger and Nick keeping a solid beat going the whole time, the overall effect is really fantastic. Eventually, this fades out, to be replaced with a steady synth drone and a guitar fed backwards through a wah pedal. The latter effect results in a guitar tone that sounds eerily similar to whale song, adding to the undersea imagery of the piece.

The whale song gradually gives way to a tense two-chord vamp which slowly builds in intensity over several minutes, eventually building up to the third and final verse of the song. Afterwards, Rick and David jam for a while on piano and guitar, which slowly fades out into echoing voices slowly ascending in pitch, concluding the album. It's certainly more focused than Atom Heart Mother, although I find some parts drag on for a while after they've stopped being interesting, which is why I prefer the earlier track.

This album marks a transitional point from '60s psychedelic Floyd to '70s progressive Floyd. Full disclosure: I actually prefer the former, so my opinions are likely to be biased from here onwards. I do like this album though, a lot, and I think it makes a great pairing with Atom Heart Mother. Being more accessible than its predecessor, I would recommend this as a starting point to anyone interested in exploring Pink Floyd's material.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 04, 2014, 01:56:57 PM
Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii
Film (directed by Adrian Maben)

Recorded: October - December 1971
Released: September 1972

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, guitar on "Mademoiselle Nobs")
David Gilmour (guitar, harmonica on "Mademoiselle Nobs")
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)
Mademoiselle Nobs (howling on "Mademoiselle Nobs")

All tracks authored by Pink Floyd, except where noted.

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Speak To Me (Mason)
Echoes, Part 1
Careful With That Axe, Eugene
A Saucerful of Secrets
One of These Days
Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (Waters)
Mademoiselle Nobs
Echoes, Part 2

Review

This is the first released film with Pink Floyd in which the main focus is their music. I'd only seen the Director's Cut before now, so I watched the original 1972 version this time. It's a lot shorter, with only the band's performances and not the mock studio footage, which is really just filler anyway.

The opening piece isn't titled in the film, but it is an early version of Speak To Me, from their upcoming album The Dark Side of the Moon. The first minute or so of the film is completely black, and then abruptly cuts to footage of a ruined street in Pompeii. The film features various shots of ruins in Pompeii, in addition to Pink Floyd performing in the main amphitheatre. One of the aims of the film was to show the band playing in a deserted venue, as a response to concert films which place excessive focus on the audience.

Except for Speak To Me, the film is bookended by Echoes, as the band were promoting Meddle at the time of filming. This live version of Echoes, split between the "funky" section and the "whale song" section, has a much more raw feel to it than the polished rendition on Meddle. It's interesting to see the band perform this song, but they also don't do anything in particular with it that they didn't on the album, making this sound like a carbon copy of the studio recording. It's good, but nothing you won't get on Meddle unless you like watching shirtless guys with long hair.

Between the two parts of Echoes are the real treats. Eugene and Saucerful, as the weathered veterans of Floyd set lists, are as interesting as ever; in particular, I find it interesting to watch just how the band makes all the sound effects in Saucerful. Set the Controls is the other veteran, which is as dull as ever, except for the second half of the improvisations where Rick does his own thing on the organ.

One of These Days is something of a disappointment. It's not a bad performance, it's just that the studio version uses a lot of tape editing to get the sounds which make it unique as a piece, something completely lost in this live rendition. Somewhat unexpectedly, they would finally nail a live version of this 17 years later on Delicate Sound of Thunder, but more on that later.

Finally, Mademoiselle Nobs is a version of Seamus with a different dog and no lyrics. Roger plays the guitar on this while David takes a harmonica solo and Rick plays the dog. It's as much of a fun, silly tune as it was on Meddle, and in this case, there's not much to be disappointing with.

I love this film, as I find it to be a priceless document of pre-Dark Side Floyd. I don't want to leave the impression that I have something against it, it's just that I've already highlighted how great Eugene and Saucerful are live, and the rest of it is mainly regurgitated album material, so there's not much to cover that I haven't already.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 05, 2014, 08:56:49 AM
La Vallée
(aka Obscured by Clouds)
Film (directed by Barbet Schroeder)

Released: 11 July 1972

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)
Mapuga tribe (chanting throughout film, and on "Absolutely Curtains" on soundtrack)

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Obscured by Clouds (Waters, Gilmour)
Burning Bridges (Waters, Wright)
The Gold It's in The... (Waters, Gilmour)
Wot's... Uh the Deal? (Waters, Gilmour)
Childhood's End (Gilmour)
Mudmen (Gilmour, Wright)
Free Four (Waters)
Absolutely Curtains (Wright)
Obscured by Clouds (reprise) (Waters, Gilmour)

Songs I didn't spot that are on the soundtrack album

When You're In (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
Stay (Waters, Wright)

I fully expect I'd notice these if I rewatched it, I just didn't the first time for whatever reason.

Review

As it turns out, this is the least Floydy of the films Floyd have yet scored. While the soundtrack album is almost entirely made up of actual songs rather than incidental music, the film doesn't make use of them very extensively, often mixing them way into the background at the same time dialogue is taking place. As such, I decided to listen to the soundtrack album again before reviewing.

Speaking of dialogue, while this film does have the occasional English conversation -- or, more frequently, an isolated English line or two -- the majority of the dialogue is in French, which makes this film quite difficult to follow for a non-French-speaker. The plot, as far as I can discern, is the story of travellers who go exploring the wilderness in New Guinea and find themselves in the midst of the Mapuga tribe.

The motivations of the characters are difficult to pinpoint from the start due to the language barrier, although the protagonist is a woman who seems to be motivated by her desire to obtain a large feather from the island before returning home. She bands up with a group of travellers seeking out an area marked on a map as "obscured by clouds", hence the alternative title.

The latter half of the film is more difficult to follow than the first, because once they meet the Mapuga tribe, the story is heavily dialogue-driven, which left me with nothing to do but sit and listen for Floyd songs. There are some interesting scene choices; nudity is not specifically sought out, but nor is it shied away from, and one memorable scene depicts the Mapuga tribe bashing pigs to death with tree branches in preparation for a meal.

As for the music, this album is noteworthy because it expands the collaborative songwriting that characterised Meddle. Much of this material is written by Roger and David together, although my favourite track (Mudmen) is a David/Rick pairing. There's are also two very unusual Roger/Rick songs; Burning Bridges, which uses the same melody as Mudmen, except with lyrics set to it; and Stay, which is a simply phenomenal combination of Rick's piano style and Roger's lyrics.

As well as the songwriting, the album's sound also contains hints of things to come the following year. This is the first Pink Floyd album with significant use of synthesiser, which Roger, David and Rick took turns operating; a premonition of the heavily synth-driven "On the Run" that would appear on their next studio album.

The album, as a whole, works much better than the soundtrack album for More. Side A is very solid, without any filler or bad tracks. Obscured by Clouds/When You're In is a strong instrumental combo to open things up, followed by three quite different songs. Burning Bridges is slow and reflective, putting David/Rick vocal harmonies to good use, while The Gold It's in The... is a merry, uptempo number about enjoying life ("they say there's gold but I'm looking for thrills"). Wot's... Uh the Deal? is another reflective song about... well, as far as I can tell, about going through life itself. Mudmen is a fantastic side closer, an instrumental with excellent organ and guitar work.

I don't much like Childhood's End or Free Four, but even here, there's a certain maturity to the songwriting that you wouldn't find on, say, Ummagumma. Stay is another slow, reflective tune, this time piano-driven, and is the only song on the album with Rick singing lead. I really like this, and it's the highlight of side B for me. Absolutely Curtains rounds things off with some ambient organ, synth, electric piano and percussion work, slowly fading out into chanting from the Mapuga tribe.

This album, better than anything else so far, highlights the change in direction Pink Floyd had taken in the past three years. The More soundtrack was full of ambient incidental music, along with some attempts at songwriting, with mixed results. This album is much more song-focused, with much more directed lyrics and mature melodies. It's hardly essential Floyd, mainly just because it was preceded and followed by much better albums, but it's worth a listen if you're looking for something different.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 05, 2014, 12:40:44 PM
The Dark Side of the Moon
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/moon)

Recorded: June 1972 - January 1973
Released: 1 March 1973

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Clare Torry (vocals on "The Great Gig in the Sky")
Dick Parry (saxophone on "Money" and "Us and Them")

All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. Speak To Me (Mason) (1:13)
2. Breathe (Waters, Gilmour, Wright) (2:46)
3. On the Run (Waters, Gilmour) (3:35)
4. Time (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (7:04)
  * Includes a reprise of "Breathe".
5. The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright, Clare Torry) (4:48)

Side B

1. Money (Waters) (6:23)
2. Us and Them (Waters, Wright) (7:50)
3. Any Colour You Like (Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (3:25)
4. Brain Damage (Waters) (3:50)
5. Eclipse (Waters) (2:03)

Review

This was the album that first sparked my interest in music. Not only is it more focused and consistent than anything Floyd did previously, but it is also their first album for which each side runs continuously, without pauses between tracks. This feature is something later Floyd works, and Roger Waters's solo albums, would adopt as their modus operandi. It's also a feature I really appreciate, as it seems to meld the album together, and which would later attract me to other artists which do the same thing, such as Frank Zappa.

This album and I have had our disagreements, but now that I listen to it again, it occurs to me that that's probably because I used to overlisten to this, and to Floyd in general. Like, a lot. Now that I hear it again with fresh ears, the reason why I fell in love with this record is coming back to me. This album represents a level of direction and coherence most bands would never even approach. It's a concept album about "things that make people mad", with a central theme of insanity, and on both counts it delivers spectacularly.

Side A is a 20-minute condensation of a human life. Speak To Me and Breathe, often paired as one track on CD releases, represent the time in which a child has come into the world, and is being schooled on its quirks and oddities. Speak To Me itself is one of the most dramatic album openers I've ever heard, beginning with a repeating heartbeat sound, and slowly building up with sound effects and people talking about insanity, finally climaxing in a woman screaming (a sample from Clare Torry's performance on The Great Gig in the Sky) to segue into Breathe.

Speaking of people talking about insanity, that's a running theme throughout the album. Pink Floyd brought various people around the studio (including Paul McCartney, whose responses didn't make it onto the final album) in to ask them their thoughts on various broad topics, such as insanity, death, money and so forth. These answers appear throughout the album, in contexts where they add their own meaning to a song.

On the Run is an excellent example of this. The backing music consists of a synthesised piece put together by Roger and David fooling around with a VCS 3, but the main source of variation in the track comes from sound effects including boarding announcements, what sounds like a train passing by, and of course snippets of speech from the studio volunteers. This piece can be thought of as representing the disorienting, fast-paced frenzy of adult life.

Time is a song about time, or the lack of it. It represents a midlife crisis, in which the protagonist realises that they have wasted years of their time without even noticing it go by, and suddenly life seems much shorter than it once did. It also includes a beastly guitar solo from David, followed by a reprise of Breathe as the protagonist returns to their roots ("home again, I like to be here when I can").

As the last notes of Time fade out, in comes the tour de force of side A. The Great Gig in the Sky is a reflective piano composition from Rick, which starts out simple and quiet, with lap steel accompaniment. A voice talks about not being afraid to die, and then the majesty of this piece takes full swing. Clare Torry, a session vocalist at the time, was asked to perform an improvisation over the backing track, and perform she did. This wordless vocal track, with Clare's voice being essentially used as an instrument, sounds more powerful and inspired than any saxophone solo I've ever heard, almost moving me to the point of tears. This performance is just beyond words.

Side B kicks off with Money, a blues rock song about, uh, money. As far as I can tell, the main attraction to this song is that it's in 7/4, since the song itself feels somewhat out of place here. The guitar solo is good, but not great, and the cross-fade into Us and Them just adds to the feeling that Money was recorded as a single and tacked into the concept album as an afterthought.

Us and Them is based on The Violent Sequence, an unused Rick composition from Zabriskie Point, although it's been developed substantially into a proper song. The lyrics deal with the absurdity of war, dwelling on the fact that the soldiers who die in battle are "only ordinary men", and "who knows which is which, and who is who?". These are probably my least favourite lyrics on the album, although that perception might be influenced by knowing how over-the-top Roger would take songs about war in years to come. The high point for me is a sax solo from Dick Parry, which really works well over these powerful chords.

The final refrain of Us and Them segues directly into Any Colour You Like, an extended instrumental jam, and (as far as I remember) the only ever Gilmour/Wright/Mason collaboration without a Waters writing credit. The song is a simple I-IV progression, the same as Breathe, though in a different key. It starts out with a very psychedelic-sounding synth solo, where Rick's synth is passed through a feedback delay timed to the beat of the song, resulting in a cascading effect of each synth note repeating in various places across the stereo image.

There's a brief midsection in which two Gilmour guitar tracks take turns presenting short, improvised licks, leading into a guitar solo proper to round off the affair. Then the chords from bridge of Breathe get repeated, but instead of a return to the D minor vamp, the key changes to D major, and Brain Damage starts.

The album is concluded by a pair of songs, written by Roger, dealing directly with the matter of insanity. As far as I'm aware, this material was largely inspired by Syd Barrett's descent into madness. This finale is proof that Roger's writing really does work best in small doses; unlike later albums which would be almost entirely authored by him, these songs work so well partly because they give closure to a collaborative effort, in which each band member contributes his own piece of the puzzle.

After Eclipse finishes, the heartbeat which opened the album returns, and we're left with one final thought from one of the in-studio victims: "There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark."

I'd forgotten why I loved this album so much once upon a time, and this listen has brought it back to me. All of the songs here are direct and to the point, with no room left for extended improvisation, and as a result all of the solos that do appear are kept short and sweet as well. The whole thing has a sense of unity, partly due to being a concept album, but also because of the continuous playback on each side, which makes it work much better as an album than as a collection of songs. Unmissable.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: EnigmaZV on October 06, 2014, 09:59:12 PM
Pink Floyd is wonderful!

If you haven't already, you should check out a band called "The Tea Party" I don't know of anyone who likes Pink Floyd who doesn't also like them.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 11, 2014, 01:48:28 PM
Pink Floyd is wonderful!

If you haven't already, you should check out a band called "The Tea Party" I don't know of anyone who likes Pink Floyd who doesn't also like them.

I may well do, when I'm done with this listen-through.

I got sick of reviews for a while, but I'm back, baby! Let's get this show on the road.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on October 11, 2014, 03:27:33 PM
want moar
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on October 11, 2014, 03:37:58 PM
Wish You Were Here
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/wish)

Recorded: January - July 1975
Released: 12 September 1975

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Dick Parry (saxophone solo on "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" part V)
Roy Harper (lead vocal on "Have a Cigar")

All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I-V) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright) (13:38)
2. Welcome To the Machine (Waters) (7:30)

Side B

1. Have a Cigar (Waters) (5:24)
2. Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour) (5:17)
3. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts VI-IX) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright) (12:29)

Review

In the wake of the enormous commercial success of The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd produced a second concept album with two concurrent and related themes. First, the album and the very long "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" which makes up more than half of its length are calls out to Syd, who was very put off by commercial success. Second, the remaining tracks explore the harsh realities of the music industry, and the fact that success has its pitfalls.

The music used to convey these themes is a lot darker than anything Pink Floyd did previously. We begin with the first half of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a 14-minute track containing two verses about Syd Barrett's short but bright music career, sung by Roger, but otherwise instrumental. The instrumentation is much more structured than Floyd's previous jams, though; the track is clearly separated into alternating guitar solos from David and synth solos from Rick. David's solos are bluesy as usual, while Rick's are very simple and reflective. Finally, Dick Parry takes a sax solo after the vocals. It's good, but the solos get repetitive fast without band members being able to bounce ideas off each other like they used to.

Dick's solo fades out to end the opening track. It's a long, slow fade-out, and it actually gives the impression that the music is getting further away, not just quieter. This actually turns out to be a cross-fade into Welcome To the Machine, which opens with a steady, mechanical drone. Some clunking and whirring later, David begins singing about "the machine", a symbol of the music business churning young musicians into commercial products. It even goes so far as to say "it's alright, we told you what to dream", criticising popular media for reinforcing the idea that commercial success is something to strive for.

Side A ends with another slow synth solo from Rick, maintaining the aural presence of a machine throughout the 7-minute song, until finally a mechanical click stops the solo abruptly and the song ends with the faint sound of a crowd of people laughing. It's not one of my favourite Floyd songs, but it certainly conveys its message extremely well.

Have a Cigar is a slow, bluesy, almost sleazy number about a greedy record company executive who cares more for money and record sales than for the music itself, sung by Roy Harper. Like Welcome To the Machine, this song contains some fairly direct criticism of the music industry, ending with the sentiment "did we tell you the name of the game, boy? We call it riding the gravy train."

The segue from Have a Cigar into Wish You Were Here is one of my favourites. The guitar solo that closes Have a Cigar cuts to the sound of a radio, continuing to play Have a Cigar. Someone then tunes the radio through a few short sound bytes, including some which run with the general theme of the album, including a woman saying "now would you take this star nonsense?", before finally tuning into the Wish You Were Here guitar riff. The radio operator picks up a guitar and plays along, and so the next song starts.

Wish You Were Here rounds off the songs about the music industry, and this is a much more direct and personal commentary towards listeners rather than the industry itself. It challenges the listener: "Do you think you can tell Heaven from Hell? ... Did they get you to trade your heroes for ghosts?"; and at the same time seems to call out to Syd: "Running over the same old ground / What have we found? The same old fears / Wish you were here".

Wish You Were Here crossfades into the sound of wind blowing, ushering in the tour de force of the album, which begins with a simple, one-note bass line. The conclusion of Shine On You Crazy Diamond enters with one Rick and David solo apiece, before returning to the final verse for Syd, this time more directly alluding to his own disillusionment with commercial success ("pile on many more layers, and I'll be joining you there").

The concluding six minutes of the album are again instrumental, but I find these much more interesting than the opening solos. Part VIII is a funky jam, not quite as catchy as those you'll find on Atom Heart Mother or Meddle, but the closest thing you'll get to Pink Floyd rocking out post-Dark Side, dominated by Rick's clavinet and synth parts. Part IX is a final send-off for Syd, written entirely by Rick, with his most beautiful Minimoog solo of the album.

This isn't one of my favourite Pink Floyd albums. It's good, and it's one of the last examples of Roger, David and Rick all working together, but it just feels like the band is going through the motions instead of doing anything particularly creative. I say dispense with the concept albums and bring back the extended instrumental jams.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on November 04, 2014, 06:57:25 PM
want moar

Come on, Animals and The Wall aren't that bad.  You can get through them.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on November 19, 2014, 10:04:01 PM
want moar

Come on, Animals and The Wall aren't that bad.  You can get through them.

I stand by this.  Also, did you get The Endless River yet?  It's getting mixed reviews, but it does appear to be better than The Division Bell.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 22, 2014, 01:03:11 PM
Animals
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/animals)

Recorded: April - December 1976
Released: 23 January 1977

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.
All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. Pigs On the Wing (part I) (1:25)
2. Dogs (Waters, Gilmour) (17:03)

Side B

1. Pigs (Three Different Ones) (11:25)
2. Sheep (10:25)
3. Pigs On the Wing (part II) (1:23)

Review

This album would be the first of several to be almost entirely dominated by Roger. To a large extent, this came about as a result of both David and Rick working on their first solo albums during this period, and therefore having their creative energies focused elsewhere. David's only contribution is co-authorship of Dogs, which is easily the best track on the album; while Rick's signature dissonant chord progressions are missing entirely. The result is a much more monotonous product, lacking the complexity brought to its predecessors by extensive collaboration.

The bookending number was written fairly late in the game by Roger, as a simple acoustic piece entirely performed by Roger. The lyrics are directed towards his then-wife, Lady Carolyne Christie. In keeping with the self-evident theme of the album, this song uses animals as metaphors; in this case, pigs on the wing appear to symbolise antagonists, though the song isn't detailed enough to establish any more significant symbolism than that.

Side A is almost entirely taken up by Dogs, which consists of sporadic verses interspersed with extended instrumental sections. The song is very much driven by David's guitar, though it does feature a synth solo from Rick. The vocals are shared between David and Roger; David sings the first half in second person, while Roger takes on the persona of a dog for the latter part. The song is a fairly cynical take on businessmen (symbolised by dogs), characterising them as being "trusted by the people that [they] lie to, so that when they turn their backs on you, you get the chance to put the knife in." The instrumentation in Dogs is the highlight of the album, with David having spared just enough creativity from his solo album to give us a break from Roger's total inability to come up with interesting melodies.

Most of side B is occupied by two fairly lengthy songs, both of which were written and sung by Roger. The crude animal symbolism continues; Pigs (Three Different Ones) characterises three people as pigs; the first, and the only one not to be a specific person, is again the typical businessman (apparently the lyrics in Dogs didn't constitute enough tomato-throwing at this particular breed). The latter two are Margaret Thatcher, whose verse delightfully describes her as a "fucked up old hag" and expresses Roger's desire to shoot her ("[you're] good fun with a handgun"); and Mary Whitehouse, a strongly conservative British social activist, who is "nearly a treat, but [...] really a cry".

Distasteful lyrics aside, the enjoyable bit of this track comes between the second and third verses. David takes a rather long guitar solo, but with effective use of a vocoder, his guitar sounds more like a pig than a musical instrument. The solo isn't particularly interesting but for this sound effect, although it still manages to outdo Roger's vocals.

Pigs fades out into the sound of sheep baaing, over which an electric piano solo brings in the start of Sheep. This song contains my favourite lyrics of the album, describing a hilariously perverse scenario in which captive sheep learn karate and rise up against their masters. As with Pigs, it contains an extended instrumental middle section, including semi-improvised parts from both David and Rick. In this case, the instrumental section culminates in a distorted recital of Psalm 23 (beginning with "the Lord is my shepherd"), with lyrics suitably perverted for the theme of the song.

This album has its moments, most of which are in Dogs, but overall it feels like an exercise in concept over substance. It focuses extremely narrowly on the concept of animals as symbolism, to the point of neglecting musical creativity or making any concrete points. In this reviewer's opinion, this is what happens when you take a band whose best moments were built on collaboration and let one member take charge. Sadly, this situation would only get worse over the next six years.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 22, 2014, 08:58:41 PM
The Wall
Studio double album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/wall)

Recorded: July - December 1978
Released: 30 November 1979

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
David Gilmour (guitar, bass)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.
All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. In the Flesh? (3:16)
2. The Thin Ice (2:27)
3. Another Brick in the Wall (part I) (3:21)
4. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (1:46)
5. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) (3:59)
6. Mother (5:32)

Side B

1. Goodbye Blue Sky (2:45)
2. Empty Spaces (2:10)
3. Young Lust (Gilmour, Waters) (3:25)
4. One of My Turns (3:41)
5. Don't Leave Me Now (4:08)
6. Another Brick in the Wall (part III) (1:48)
7. Goodbye Cruel World (:48)

Side C

1. Hey You (4:40)
2. Is There Anybody Out There? (2:44)
3. Nobody Home (3:26)
4. Vera (1:35)
5. Bring the Boys Back Home (1:21)
6. Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour) (6:23)

Side D

1. The Show Must Go On (1:36)
2. In the Flesh (4:15)
3. Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour) (4:20)
4. Waiting for the Worms (4:04)
5. Stop (:39)
6. The Trial (Waters, Bob Ezrin) (5:13)
7. Outside the Wall (1:41)

Review

If Animals was concept over substance, this is self-indulgence over coherence. Supposedly, it tells the story of a rock star named Pink, but there are so many pointless diversions that it's difficult to be certain exactly what it's getting at. Instrumentation is very hit-and-miss; some songs, like Is There Anybody Out There?, are very effective in using sounds to create the intended atmosphere. Other times, like in Comfortably Numb, we get generic rock with seemingly no correlation between the music and the lyrics.

It all starts out so simply; side A begins with what serves as an introduction to the rock opera. The first track isn't part of the story so much as it hints that there is a story to come; Roger is addressing the listener directly as a performer, saying "if you wanna find out what's behind these cold eyes, you'll just have to claw your way through this disguise". I think the intent was that the rest of the album would do just that, although it just seems to make the author's disguise more opaque.

The remainder of side A tells the story of a child Pink's early years, going through losing his father in a war (Another Brick in the Wall (part I)), being abused by teachers at school (ibid., part II) and being fawned over by an overly protective mother (Mother). This would all be very neat and edgy, if not for the fact that it feels like a needlessly long rehash of Speak to Me/Breathe from The Dark Side of the Moon. Mother has a pretty good guitar solo, I guess, but it hardly redeems the entire side.

Side B is where things start to get confusing. We have a song, Goodbye Blue Sky, which is apparently about young Pink's home town being bombarded in an air raid. You might expect that this is relevant to the story, but no; the next track jumps straight to -- er, to nowhere, because Empty Spaces is a shortened version of What Shall We Do Now? (which appears in full in the film version), except that the lyrics which make the song about something have been replaced with filler. Nice one, Roger.

The rest of side B goes through Pink as a young adult finding a woman to sleep with (presumably a groupie), abusing her, then getting depressed when she leaves him and committing suicide. You might want to read that sentence twice, just to let it sink in. Yes, Pink commits suicide halfway through the album. And then there's another whole two album sides about stuff he did. After he killed himself. Yes.

At least, I think they're about Pink. It's difficult to tell with songs like Hey You, which is one of Roger's better compositions musically, but seems to be completely irrelevant to the storyline. Is There Anybody Out There? is of interest mainly because it samples David's whalesong guitar from Echoes, but that just made me wish I was listening to Meddle instead. Nobody Home is surprisingly good, sounding quite different from the rest of the album due to the prominent use of piano (played by producer Bob Ezrin, not Rick).

Vera, Bring the Boys Back Home and Comfortably Numb form a sort of medley, and I can only assume this section was intended to give the listener time for a quick nap before they need to turn over the record again. The lyrics entail Roger mumbling something about a singer called Vera Lynn, before a choir demands that "the boys" be brought home. This is a fairly clear reference to war, and presumably by extension to Pink's lost father, so we can reasonably assume that this is central to the story.

Guess again. Comfortably Numb is a song about a doctor waking up Pink after what seems to be a drug overdose (presumably this is still the attempted suicide from earlier), and Pink saying that he is comfortably numb. Then we get a guitar solo, because hey, who doesn't want to get up and play the guitar when they can barely stand after poisoning themselves?

Blessedly, we only have one more side to go from this point. It starts off with Pink not wanting to continue to play a show; maybe he realised how boring his solo in Comfortably Numb sounded, and didn't want to inflict that on an audience. Whatever the reason, we then have a "surrogate band" who likes lining various people up against a wall and telling them they should be shot, followed by a couple of songs continuing in that vein which seem to be a parody of Nazi rallies. What this all has to do with Pink's story is anyone's guess.

Finally, The Trial manages to bring some redemption to the whole affair. The story of Pink and his imaginary wall is concluded with him trying himself for his supposed crimes, though to be honest, I'm too confused by now to know what he's supposed to have done. The judge, however, claims that his offences "fill [him] with the urge to defecate", which is quite appropriate, because that's exactly how listening to this album makes me feel.

This album fails to tell a coherent story, it fails to maintain a consistent concept, most of the tracks aren't musically interesting and the lyrics are extremely whiny and self-indulgent. The few interesting moments wouldn't even fill a single LP side, let alone a double album. This is the epitome of '70s rock overindulgence, and the sad thing is that it comes from a band who once produced much better records. Don't buy this record unless you're a collector of ridiculously expensive frisbees.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on November 22, 2014, 10:22:58 PM
Haven't you ever heard a rock opera before?  This is like if I were going to review Ziggy Stardust and started it out with, "The first song is apparently about some kind of apocalyptic scenario, the second is about some dead guy and a lot of filibustering about how great love is, and then in the third track there's suddenly what I can only assume is an escaped mental patient babbling about electric eyes and ray guns.  I have no idea what any of these songs have to do with each other."  You're not reading a novel here.  Songs are typically used to establish mood or describe key events, but transitions - lines like "Meanwhile..." or "And then he had a flashback..." - aren't going to be spelled out for you.  They never are.  You're supposed to use your head and fill in those parts of the story yourself.

Also, you misinterpreted a lot of the lyrics, particularly with the metaphors and symbolism, which this album is full of.  The latter verse of "Mother" is meant to describe Pink falling in love and getting married.  "Empty Spaces" poses the question of how to complete the building of the Wall, which is answered in "Young Lust" as infidelity, further isolating Pink from the positive aspects of his life.  At the end of the song, he calls his wife on the phone, only to assume when he hears a man answer the phone that she too is cheating.  He does abuse the groupie, but "Don't Leave Me Now" is directed at his wife, not her.  And he hardly kills himself.  The failure of his marriage constitutes the completion of the Wall, and he vows to isolate himself from society - or at least from love, companionship, etc.

Side C is mainly about Pink's self-reflection following this, beginning with "Hey You" in which he begins to doubt his decision to isolate himself and pleads futilely for human contact.  Side D is when Pink starts hallucinating and imagining that his concert is really a Nazi rally...yeah, it's a bit hazy from there, but whatever.  Anyway, "The Trial" is essentially him realizing that everyone needs other people in their lives to function, and so destroys the Wall.  The main point I'm trying to make is that it seems very odd to me that apparently your biggest problem with this album was the storyline.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 22, 2014, 10:53:23 PM
Haven't you ever heard a rock opera before?

Not one with a coherent plot.

The main point I'm trying to make is that it seems very odd to me that apparently your biggest problem with this album was the storyline.

Not exactly. My two big problems with it are:


Either one by itself would be fine; a good story stands well on its own, and a bad story can be enjoyable if the music is good. The Wall is neither of those.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: EnigmaZV on November 24, 2014, 04:36:14 PM
I'm curious as to what you thought about the Movie version of "The Wall"
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 24, 2014, 04:58:37 PM
I'm curious as to what you thought about the Movie version of "The Wall"

I'll be reviewing that soon enough. Just wait until I get over the nausea induced by having to endure the album again.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Rama Set on November 24, 2014, 04:58:59 PM
Haven't you ever heard a rock opera before?

Not one with a coherent plot.

The main point I'm trying to make is that it seems very odd to me that apparently your biggest problem with this album was the storyline.

Not exactly. My two big problems with it are:

  • It focuses on storyline at the expense of all else.
  • It isn't even that great at telling a story.

Either one by itself would be fine; a good story stands well on its own, and a bad story can be enjoyable if the music is good. The Wall is neither of those.

Do you consider Jesus Christ Superstar to be a rock opera?
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on November 24, 2014, 05:46:55 PM
I'd be willing to bet that Parsifal knows virtually nothing about Jesus Christ Superstar.  I'm not sure what point you're making, though.  It's a musical, and so can communicate its story visually as well as through the music.  Rock operas are just a bunch of songs, so they pretty much have to jump around in the narrative.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 29, 2014, 10:27:34 AM
Is There Anybody Out There?
The Wall Live 1980-81
Live double CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/walllive)

Recorded: 7-9 August 1980, 13-17 June 1981, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London
Released: 23 March 2000

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Surrogate band (1980)

Andy Bown (bass)
Snowy White (guitar)
Peter Wood (keyboards)
Willie Wilson (drums)

Surrogate band (1981)

Andy Bown (bass)
Andy Roberts (guitar)
Peter Wood (keyboards)
Willie Wilson (drums)

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.
All lyrics written by Roger Waters.

CD 1

1. MC: Atmos (1:13)
2. In the Flesh? (3:00)
3. The Thin Ice (2:49)
4. Another Brick in the Wall (part I) (4:13)
5. The Happiest Days of Our Lives (1:40)
6. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) (6:19)
7. Mother (7:54)
8. Goodbye Blue Sky (3:15)
9. Empty Spaces (2:14)
10. What Shall We Do Now? (1:40)
11. Young Lust (Gilmour, Waters) (5:17)
12. One of My Turns (3:41)
13. Don't Leave Me Now (4:08)
14. Another Brick in the Wall (part III) (1:15)
15. The Last Few Bricks (Waters, Gilmour) (3:26)
16. Goodbye Cruel World (1:41)

CD 2

1. Hey You (4:55)
2. Is There Anybody Out There? (3:09)
3. Nobody Home (3:15)
4. Vera (1:27)
5. Bring the Boys Back Home (1:20)
6. Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour) (7:26)
7. The Show Must Go On (2:35)
8. MC: Atmos (:37)
9. In the Flesh (4:23)
10. Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour) (7:05)
11. Waiting for the Worms (4:14)
12. Stop (:30)
13. The Trial (Waters, Bob Ezrin) (6:01)
14. Outside the Wall (4:27)

Review

For the most part, the performances here are very similar to their studio counterparts. Even many of the guitar solos are played exactly as they appeared on the album, although some of them (Another Brick in the Wall part II and Young Lust, for example) are then supplemented with longer improvisations. However, the additional material helps to make the whole seem slightly more well-rounded, and as such, I found this to be a more pleasant listen than the studio album, though still very lacking.

The performance opens with Vera Lynn's "We'll Meet Again" playing in the background, the song which is referenced later in the show by "Vera". Shortly thereafter, a drab announcement follows, asking people not to set off fireworks or to use any recording equipment during the show. During the announcement, there is sound of guitars and organs in the background gradually rising in intensity, although the announcer claims that "the band is not quite ready yet". This is one of the more interesting moments, as at this early stage, you can still delude yourself into thinking the band is building up to something worthwhile.

The announcement is then abruptly drowned out by the opening chords of In the Flesh, and from here the performance is the one we know and, er, know from the studio album. Noteworthy deviations are the inclusion of What Shall We Do Now? and an extra verse in The Show Must Go On, which were edited out from the studio release, and a new piece titled "The Last Few Bricks", an instrumental medley containing sections from various other songs in the show. This piece was inserted to give the roadies time to finish constructing a wall on stage during the first half, before the last brick was inserted during "Goodbye Cruel World".

For my money's worth, the extended improvisations in the established songs mostly don't serve any real purpose; they feel like they're there just to pad out the performance, and the solos are short and go nowhere. The extra verse in The Show Must Go On is about as dull as the rest of that song, but What Shall We Do Now? is one of my favourites on this release, and I wish it hadn't been cut from the original.

The Last Few Bricks is the real gem here, though. Much like the Tommy Overture, by taking fragments of various different compositions from a mundane rock opera and condensing them into just a few minutes, it manages to evade the pervasive feeling of dragging on too long that the rest of this concert exhibits. Sadly, this track occupies just three minutes of a nearly two-hour release, and soon enough we're dragged back into Roger's self-indulgent whining.

Another noteworthy moment comes with Roger yelling aggressively at the audience to have a good time at the start of Run Like Hell, and dedicating that song to "all the weak people in the audience". For all his faults, Roger certainly can pull off the role of a menacing antagonist very well, so this brightens up the last few tracks slightly.

Overall, this is a slightly better release than The Wall proper, so if you haven't heard either and are determined to listen, I would recommend getting this rather than the studio release. This recording is also of historical interest, as it is a document of the last time this band lineup would play together for 24 years. However, like its studio predecessor, it fails to work particularly well as a coherent whole, and is sadly lacking in terms of musical creativity.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on November 29, 2014, 04:14:35 PM
Pink Floyd - The Wall
Film (directed by Alan Parker)

Released: 14 July 1982

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright* (keyboards)

* Richard Wright was not a member of Pink Floyd at the time of the film's release, but as most of the material here is taken from the album recordings, his keyboard playing appears throughout the film.

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.
All lyrics written by Roger Waters, except "The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot".

Songs included (in order of appearance)

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (performed by Vera Lynn) (Michael Carr, Tommie Connor, Jimmy Leach)
When the Tigers Broke Free
The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forgot (reprise) (Michael Carr, Tommie Connor, Jimmy Leach)
In the Flesh?
The Thin Ice
Another Brick in the Wall (part I)
When the Tigers Broke Free (reprise)
Goodbye Blue Sky
The Happiest Days of Our Lives (incl. quote from Money)
Another Brick in the Wall (part II)
Mother
What Shall We Do Now?
Young Lust (Gilmour, Waters)
One of My Turns
Don't Leave Me Now
Another Brick in the Wall (part III)
Goodbye Cruel World
Is There Anybody Out There?
Nobody Home
Vera
Bring the Boys Back Home
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)
In the Flesh
Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour)
Waiting for the Worms
Stop (incl. quotes from Your Possible Pasts and 5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity))
The Trial (Waters, Bob Ezrin)
Outside the Wall

Review

Yes, the saga continues. Fortunately, the film version isn't nearly as painful to sit through as the studio or live albums, mainly thanks to some interesting animation by Gerald Scarfe, as well as other visual cues to pick up the bits of the story left out by the music.

The track listing is somewhat different from the album; while What Shall We Do Now? was included here, as well as a new song, When the Tigers Broke Free, the film excludes Hey You and The Show Must Go On. The transition between what were the first and second halves of the album thus feels rather abrupt; rather than Hey You effectively serving as an interlude between the pre-wall and post-wall parts of the story, the completion of the wall immediately leads into Is There Anybody Out There?, greatly altering the dynamic of the narrative.

Other changes include a resequencing of songs in the first third of the story, and references to some of Roger's other lyrical works. The teacher in The Happiest Days of Our Lives snatches a book of poems from younk Pink and reads aloud to the class in an attempt at humiliation, with the lyrics being an excerpt from Money. Later, in Stop, an adult Pink is reading out more of his own poetry, which includes two of Roger's unreleased (at the time) songs; Your Possible Pasts (from The Final Cut) and 5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity) (from The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking, Roger's first solo album).

Thanks to the visual component, the film manages to convey the story of Pink much better than audio alone. Rather than the linear storyline implied by the album, Pink often switches between an adult, an adolescent and a child, even being a child meeting himself as an adult at one point. Clarification is provided as to the main setting by way of the opening scene, in which Pink is sitting in his room with his eyebrows shaved off, unresponsive to anything going on around him. This is later the setting for Comfortably Numb, in which Pink's manager attempts to rouse him prior to a show.

There is generally more emphasis on war in the film version than either of the albums, beginning with With the Tigers Broke Free, which is used to accompany the scene of Pink's father dying in battle. This persists throughout the film, with televisions appearing in strange places, usually showing some sort of war-themed programme, and Pink as a child walks through the aftermath of a battle between Nobody Home and Vera. This is a nice change of pace, as the film maintains some consistent focus, as opposed to the album which seems to jump between themes a lot.

Gerald Scarfe's animations come to a climactic finale in The Trial, with established caricatures of Pink's teacher, wife and mother testifying against him while he is propped up against a cartoon wall, leading up to the dramatic ending in which the wall is violently torn down. I find this to be quite reminiscent of the violent closing scene of Zabriskie Point, 12 years earlier. Finally, Outside the Wall plays over the closing credits, and it's finally over.

I won't go so far as to say this is particularly great, but of the three versions of The Wall I've endured in the past week, this is definitely the only one I would rate as being decent. The story certainly gains something from having visual aids, and the visuals also help to prop up the music in parts where it drags on; Comfortably Numb is a particularly good example of this. I'd say this is certainly worth watching, although I'm not sure I'd want to watch it again in a hurry.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 06, 2014, 10:16:21 AM
The Final Cut
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/final)

Recorded: July - December 1982
Released: 21 March 1983

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums, except "Two Suns in the Sunset")

Michael Kamen (piano, harmonium)
Andy Bown (organ)
Raphael Ravenscroft (saxophone)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Andy Newmark (drums on "Two Suns in the Sunset")

Also featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Kamen.

All tracks authored by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. The Post War Dream (3:02)
2. Your Possible Pasts (4:22)
3. One of the Few (1:23)
4. The Hero's Return (2:56)
5. The Gunner's Dream (5:07)
6. Paranoid Eyes (3:40)

Side B

1. Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert (1:19)
2. The Fletcher Memorial Home (4:11)
3. Southampton Dock (2:13)
4. The Final Cut (4:46)
5. Not Now John (5:01)
6. Two Suns in the Sunset (5:14)

Review

Except for a few brief guitar solos from David, this album is really more like a Roger Waters solo album than a Pink Floyd album. This impression is furthered by the fact that Roger and David weren't on speaking terms with each other during its recording, working separately in the studio; combined with the fact that this would be the last new material Roger would write under the Pink Floyd name.

Consisting mainly of discarded material from The Wall, the main redeeming feature of The Final Cut is that it's half as long as its older brother. Michael Kamen's piano playing helps to save the album from sounding completely like rehashed filler, making The Gunner's Dream the highlight of side 1. Then on the other hand, we have songs like The Hero's Return and The Final Cut, which seem to be little other than excerpts from the already-milked-to-death life story of Pink. Finally, there's The Fletcher Memorial Home, which (coupled with Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert, which serves as an intro) is just five and a half minutes of Roger whining on about various national leaders waging war against each other. The title is taken from his father's middle name, Fletcher, who was killed in such a war -- clever, you see?

Not Now John is the only song where David gets a vocal part; musically, it sounds like a rehash of Another Brick in the Wall with more sound effects. The lyrics in the second verse deal with the banality of Hollywood filmmaking ("who cares what it's about as long as the kids go?"), which is apt, because that seems to have been exactly Roger's approach to the making of the film adaptation of The Wall.

Two Suns in the Sunset is a song about a nuclear holocaust; the second Sun being a nuclear explosive "in the east, even though the day is done". This song is the nail in the coffin for Waters-led Floyd; with Rick having left the band entirely, Andy Newmark taking over drumming from Nick Mason for this track, and soloing duties taken by Raphael Ravenscroft on saxophone, this is as unFloydy as Floyd gets. Gone are the psychedelic jams; gone are the fanciful lyrics about bikes, breakfasts and bright ambassadors of morning; gone is the collaboration that made this band tick in their heyday. Pink Floyd has come full circle, and we're back to the solo band member doodling away that we heard on Ummagumma. And frankly, Roger's work on Ummagumma is more interesting than this.

I like this album more than The Wall, but only because it's shorter. Do yourself a favour and skip them both.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 06, 2014, 02:30:34 PM
The Final Cut
Film (directed by Willie Christie)

Released: 1983

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)

Michael Kamen (piano, harmonium)
Andy Bown (organ)
Ray Cooper (percussion)

Also featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Kamen.

All tracks authored by Roger Waters.

Songs included (in order of appearance)

The Gunner's Dream
The Final Cut
Not Now John
The Fletcher Memorial Home

Review

So, this is basically a few songs from the album set to footage of people doing things vaguely related to the music. The protagonist (I think; it's hard to tell who's playing what role) is played by the same actor who portrays the school teacher in The Wall, who seems to be the father of someone who died in a war (who is meant to be the gunner in The Gunner's Dream, I think). There seems to be some sort of storyline where he gets his revenge against the people responsible for the war in The Fletcher Memorial Home, though I'm not sure what the rest of the film has to do with that.

Highlights include Roger getting shot during The Final Cut (at the line that was originally "I'll tell you what's behind the wall", which got cut short by a gunshot when it was taken out of The Wall for use in The Final Cut) and Margaret Thatcher getting shot during The Fletcher Memorial Home (who wouldn't want to see that?). The Not Now John section also made me laugh, as the female backing vocals were fairly poorly lip-synced by a group of women in stereotypical Japanese dress.

There's also an attractive young woman who goes around stroking people's faces and various objects, although I really don't have any idea what she's supposed to represent.

Once again, this is better than The Wall by virtue of being shorter, and by that token it's also better than the album it's based on, but I wouldn't say it's particularly good. Watch at your own risk.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 07, 2014, 07:14:29 AM
Works
Compilation album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/works)

Recorded: 1967 - 1973
Released: 18 June 1983

Band lineup

Syd Barrett (guitar on "Arnold Layne", "See Emily Play" and "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun")
Roger Waters (bass)
David Gilmour (guitar, except "Arnold Layne" and "See Emily Play")
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.

Side A

1. One of These Days (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (5:50)
  * Originally released on Meddle (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45271#msg45271).
  * Includes part of "Speak to Me", from The Dark Side of the Moon (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45379#msg45379).
2. Arnold Layne (Barrett) (2:52)
  * Originally released as a single (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44552#msg44552).
3. Fearless (Waters, Gilmour) (6:08)
  * Originally released on Meddle (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45271#msg45271).
  * Includes "You'll Never Walk Alone" (Rodgers, Hammerstein).
4. Brain Damage (3:50)
  * Originally released on The Dark Side of the Moon (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45379#msg45379).
5. Eclipse (1:45)
  * Originally released on The Dark Side of the Moon (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45379#msg45379).

Side B

1. Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun (5:23)
  * Originally released on A Saucerful of Secrets (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44570#msg44570).
2. See Emily Play (Barrett) (2:54)
  * Originally released as a single (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44558#msg44558).
3. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict (4:47)
  * Originally released on Ummagumma (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg44631#msg44631).
4. Free Four (4:07)
  * Originally released on Obscured by Clouds (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg45373#msg45373).
5. Embryo (4:39)
  * Previously unreleased (recorded in 1968).

Review

Despite numerous remixes and crossfades to try to make this assortment of early Floyd tracks flow together nicely, it still comes across as simply a collection of old songs. On the other hand, hearing early Floyd again is like a breath of fresh air after Animals, The Wall and The Final Cut. I most definitely enjoyed this.

With the exception of Arnold Layne, Side A consists entirely of material from Meddle and The Dark Side of the Moon, making this a brief catalogue of early progressive Floyd. Side B proceeds to showcase Floyd's earlier psychedelic side, again with one exception (Free Four). The tracks in both cases are generally close to being the cream of the crop; I personally don't have a taste for Set the Controls or Free Four, but it's still a worthy sampler for anyone who doesn't feel like listening through all of Pink Floyd's early albums.

The reason I included this compilation is that the final track isn't included on any other Pink Floyd album. Embryo is a song from 1968, written by Roger during their "we lost Syd, now what?" phase, and is very mellow even by '68 Floyd standards. It would have fit in quite well on More, with the same ambient organ, piano and acoustic guitar backing which makes that album such a relaxing listen. The lyrics, sung by David, tell the story of an embryo floating around in a womb in the first person. Overall, one of the better songs that should have been in More -- it would have been better than A Spanish Piece, at any rate.

It's difficult to sum up, because Floyd's style changed so much between the late '60s and early '70s, making this album seem like two completely disjoined halves. These songs aren't all the picks I would have made, but they're also nowhere close to being the worst possible choices. I guess you should listen to this if either you like early Floyd and want to hear Embryo, or you're curious about early Floyd and want a quick run-through without having to listen to each album in turn. It's far from essential, but it's also not bad, and definitely an improvement on Relics.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 07, 2014, 09:59:21 AM
A Momentary Lapse of Reason
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/lapse)

Recorded: October 1986 - May 1987
Released: 7 September 1987

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright* (keyboards)

Tony Levin (bass)
Also featuring numerous other session musicians (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Momentary_Lapse_of_Reason#Personnel).

* Wright had returned to the band in all but name for legal reasons; he had entered a contractual agreement a number of years prior which prevented him from rejoining Pink Floyd.

All tracks authored by David Gilmour, except where noted.

Side A

1. Signs of Life (Gilmour, Bob Ezrin) (4:24)
2. Learning to Fly (Gilmour, Ezrin, Anthony Moore, Jon Carin) (4:53)
3. The Dogs of War (Gilmour, Moore) (6:05)
4. One Slip (Gilmour, Phil Manzanera) (5:10)
5. On the Turning Away (Gilmour, Moore) (5:42)

Side B

1. Yet Another Movie / Round and Around (Gilmour, Patrick Leonard) (7:28)
2. A New Machine (part I) (1:46)
3. Terminal Frost (6:17)
4. A New Machine (part II) (:38)
5. Sorrow (8:46)

Review

From the ashes of Roger's attempt to kill the Pink Floyd name and continue in the vein of The Final Cut as a solo artist, David began work on the first ever Floyd album not to have any material written by Roger. In some respects, this may be considered a David Gilmour solo album in the same way that The Final Cut may be considered a Roger Waters solo album. However, with everyone in the band on speaking terms again, the return of Rick to the group, and the intention for the trio to tour with the support of some of the session musicians who worked on the album, this feels more like Pink Floyd than anything else since Wish You Were Here.

The lyrics are where this material really suffers. While the music is far more interesting than anything on The Wall or The Final Cut, the clarity of focus is lost somewhat, as a band which had learned to rely on Roger to write their words scrambled to come up with something of their own to say. There is some redemption in that the first lyrical piece, Learning to Fly, seems to lampshade this fact; it seems to be David's way of expressing his feelings of trying to get an all-but-defeated group of musicians off the ground again.

Aside from Learning to Fly, side A consists of an instrumental opener which, while very enjoyable, feels like a rehash of the opening to Shine On You Crazy Diamond, with ambient synths backing a slow, bluesy guitar solo. The remaining three tracks continue the theme of combining abysmal lyrics with decent tunes. The Dogs of War is a particularly bad example, where David seems to be trying to prove that Pink Floyd doesn't need Roger to write compelling songs about tragedies of war, and ends up demonstrating the opposite. As is typical of this album, the song is saved from being a complete disaster by a pretty awesome sax solo in the middle.

Side A ends with a fade-out on one of Gilmour's better guitar solos since Animals, ten years ago, and then we get to turn the record over. Unlike side A, side B is almost entirely credited to David as author, but is rescued from being a second lyrical abomination by the extended instrumental (and my personal favourite track on the album), Terminal Frost. This track is a piece with the two parts of A New Machine, which is almost entirely driven by David's lead vocal, although they've done some interesting thing with synths to make his voice sound robotic. Surprisingly, though, A New Machine's lyrics don't make me want to cringe. These three tracks are definitely the highlight of the album for me.

That leaves the songs that bookend side B, both of which follow the overall pattern of "good music, terrible lyrics". This wouldn't be such a bad thing if Sorrow didn't come across as a failed attempt at a lyrically-driven tour de force for Pink Floyd's return. Personally, I find this finale to be a waste of perfectly good magnetic tape, with the closing solo coming across as pointless meandering, the likes of which we haven't heard since Comfortably Numb. A disappointing end to what could have been a half-decent album.

Overall, I find this album to be fairly inconsistent. When it's good (Signs of Life and especially Terminal Frost), it's really good, and you can start to believe that Pink Floyd doesn't need Roger to carry on. But when it's bad (The Dogs of War and Sorrow), it's like listening to a whole album full of Fat Old Sun and Childhood's End. Pink Floyd without Roger just doesn't work any better than Pink Floyd with only Roger; this band shone in the early '70s because the band members work well together, but they aren't nearly as good apart. Roger put it best when he wrote The Wall: "Together we stand, divided we fall".
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 12, 2014, 02:02:24 PM
Delicate Sound of Thunder
Concert film (directed by Wayne Isham)

Recorded: 19-23 August 1988, Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, New York
Released: 13 June 1989

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards)

Tim Renwick (guitar)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Scott Page (saxophone)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Gary Wallis (percussion)

Margaret Taylor (vocals)
Rachel Fury (vocals)
Durga McBroom (vocals)

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (part I) (Wright, Waters, Gilmour)
Signs of Life (Gilmour, Bob Ezrin)
Learning to Fly (Gilmour, Ezrin, Anthony Moore, Jon Carin)
Sorrow (Gilmour)
The Dogs of War (Gilmour, Moore)
On the Turning Away (Gilmour, Moore)
One of These Days (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
  * Includes a fragment of Speak to Me (Mason)
Time (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
On the Run (Waters, Gilmour)
The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright, Clare Torry)
Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour)
Us and Them (Waters, Wright)
Money (Waters)
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)
One Slip (Gilmour, Phil Manzanera)
Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts II, IV, V) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)

Review

Of all the films Pink Floyd have been involved in the making of, this is their first true concert film. London '66-'67 and Live at Pompeii both depicted Pink Floyd performing, but that wasn't the sole focus of either of those films; rather, both were art films that were augmented by the presence of Pink Floyd's music. Delicate Sound of Thunder was filmed on Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason tour, and therefore prominently features music from that album; and, of course, there is no Roger.

Meanwhile, the band has been augmented with a replacement bassist; a saxophonist; additional guitar and keyboard players; a percussionist who seems to carry most of the rhythmic burden while Nick plods away in common time; and, of course, three female vocalists who also dance around and generally look pretty when they're not singing. I guess that's the kind of band you can afford when you've had one of the most popular albums ever made in stores for the past decade and a half.

The first third of the show is where I really appreciated that eye candy. Aside from the first part of Shine On, which is really just keyboard and guitar solos over a drone, the first 40 minutes or so is taken up by Momentary Lapse material. Some of it (read: Signs of Life) is interesting as ever, made moreso by the accompaniment of a film track which is fairly cleverly synchronised to the music. The pieces with climactic guitar solos, Sorrow and On the Turning Away, seem to gain a bit of life here as compared to their studio recordings. The real let-down is, once again, The Dogs of War -- quite honestly, I'm amazed this band could sing those lyrics with a straight face.

All of a sudden, the show takes a turn for the better, as Guy hits the opening bass note to One of These Days. And away we go; David's lap steel seeming to soar as high as the inflatable pig being released above the band. Time is a pleasure to hear again, especially Rick's vocal parts; the only solo lead vocal Rick gets in this video, and his first since he sung this tune on The Dark Side of the Moon.

On the Run livens things up with an amusing video depicting a guy looking suspiciously like Roger lying in a hospital bed. As the tune goes on, the bed accelerates out of the hospital and along a runway, with its occupant looking continually more disturbed with the fact that his bed is rising into the sky. As the video builds to a climax, the explosion at the end of On the Run is matched by a live explosion on stage. An interesting take on a classic instrumental.

As the on-stage explosion dies down, Rick plays the opening chords to The Great Gig in the Sky, and then it's our lovely ladies' turn to shine. Each of Rachel, Durga and Margaret (in that order) takes a turn at the wordless lead vocal part in this beautiful tune; while none of them can match the majesty of Clare Torry's original performance, they do prove to be a force to be reckoned with.

Up next is Wish You Were Here, which seems to take on new meaning in the wake of Roger's departure. Originally, this song was an ode from Roger and David to Syd; now, David sings alone, a band leader by circumstance. Us and Them is nice to hear, but nothing special; but Money is the real treat of the Dark Side material. The midsection, originally a typical bluesy Gilmour solo, has been extended into a jam rarely seen in such late Floyd.

First, Gilmour's solo leads us into a reggae run-through of the blues progression, with the entire band jamming together. Then the band drops out and Guy delivers a groovy bass solo, followed up with a keyboard solo from Rick. We even get a chorus of "ooh"s from the dancing girls, which quite frankly, I could do without. This jam builds up to the inevitable conclusion to David's guitar solo and return to the vocals (which have also been ruined by interjections from the ladies in this arrangement).

Comfortably Numb is interesting here, mainly for the poor man's replacement for Roger's vocal part which got tacked on. The doctor is played here by a dissonant harmony consisting of Rick, Guy and Jon, which can't live up to Roger's performance on The Wall, but it stands surprisingly well on its own. The guitar solo makes up for that loss; David seems much more inspired here than he did on the original.

Then David seems to feel the audience could use a quick nap before the concert ends, so he throws in another Momentary Lapse song. My favourite part of One Slip is when Jon pulls a face, looking downright revolted at the fact that he's expected to sing these lyrics. Then we get a Run Like Hell, with Guy filling in vocal duties for Roger, and the show is over. The remaining parts of Shine On, which were cut out at the beginning, play over the closing credits for the film; David doesn't do too bad of a job on the vocal part, which was originally sung by Roger, and the rest is essentially played as on the album.

This concert could have been much more interesting had it been recorded in 1974, when Pink Floyd were in their prime, touring The Dark Side of the Moon and playing early versions of what would become Dogs and Sheep. But alas, nobody thought to haul out the cameras until 1988, so we get the next best thing. This performance varies between pretty good and mind-numbingly dull, and typically those two correspond to the "classic" Floyd material and the new songs. I wouldn't recommend this if decent concert footage existed of Floyd as they were a decade prior, but given the lack of alternatives, this is the best document of live Floyd you'll get.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 13, 2014, 07:55:07 AM
The Division Bell
Studio CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/division)

Recorded: January - December 1993
Released: 28 March 1994

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards)

Tim Renwick (guitar)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Dick Parry (saxophone)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Gary Wallis (percussion)
Bob Ezrin (keyboards, percussion)

Sam Brown (vocals)
Durga McBroom (vocals)
Carol Kenyon (vocals)
Jackie Sheridan (vocals)
Rebecca Leigh-White (vocals)

With Stephen Hawking's artificial voice on "Keep Talking".

Track listing

1. Cluster One (Gilmour, Wright) (5:58)
2. What Do You Want From Me? (Gilmour, Wright, Polly Samson) (4:21)
3. Poles Apart (Gilmour, Samson, Nick Laird-Clowes) (7:04)
4. Marooned (Gilmour, Wright) (5:29)
5. A Great Day for Freedom (Gilmour, Samson) (4:17)
6. Wearing the Inside Out (Wright, Anthony Moore) (6:49)
7. Take It Back (Gilmour, Samson, Laird-Clowes, Bob Ezrin) (6:12)
8. Coming Back to Life (Gilmour) (6:19)
9. Keep Talking (Gilmour, Wright, Samson) (6:11)
10. Lost for Words (Gilmour, Samson) (5:14)
11. High Hopes (Gilmour, Samson) (8:31)

Review

Just when you thought Pink Floyd couldn't get any worse, David Gilmour marries a woman who is an even worse lyricist than himself. Polly Samson's incredible talent with words really makes the instrumental tracks on this album stand out from the rest. Couple that with the fact that much of the music is little other than rehashes on established material, and there really isn't much of value on this record.

That's not to say that it doesn't have its enjoyable moments; they're just incredibly rare, and usually moments that seem like they've been cut straight out of other Floyd albums. Cluster One is a pleasant listen, but like Signs of Life before it, it feels like a slight rearrangement of the intro to Shine On You Crazy Diamond, featuring minimal piano and guitar parts over a synth drone. What Do You Want From Me? is pretty much just Have a Cigar, but with Roger's lyrics replaced by Polly's.

Poles Apart and Marooned offer a brief respite from the brutal onslaught. Poles Apart is a cute little ballad with some of the less objectionable lyrics on this album, speaking out to both Syd and Roger as former bandmates. Marooned is another Gilmour/Wright instrumental; the last to be released during Wright's lifetime. I'd have to say that Marooned is the high point of the album for me; it doesn't come across as a rewrite of an old song like the opening piece, and consists of a pretty good lap steel solo from David over a series of chords that is unmistakeably of Rick's creation, displaying the same talent for writing good backing music as he displayed on The Great Gig in the Sky and the final part of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

A Great Day for Freedom is a song about Gilmour's feelings regarding the fall of the Berlin Wall and the perceived liberation of eastern Europe. The title is somewhat ironic, as the song ends with the lyrics "I turned and I looked at you / and all but the bitter residue slipped away". To be honest, this song isn't as bad as I remember it; it's not great, but the lyrics don't make me want to cringe, and it ends with a decent guitar solo from David.

Wearing the Inside Out is Rick's song of the album, composed and sung by Rick, with lyrics by Anthony Moore. While it doesn't compare to Rick's early pieces -- See-Saw, Summer '68, Stay, and even It Would Be So Nice -- it's nice to have a break from the monotony of David's music and Polly's lyrics. The lyrics are darker than the rest of the album, and while they are somewhat vague, they seem to refer to Rick's extended absence from the band ("I murmured a vow / of silence and now / I don't even hear when I think aloud") and return to songwriting ("I'm with you now / Can speak your name / Now we can hear ourselves again").

All too soon, the album thrusts another Gilmour/Samson number upon us once more. Take It Back is difficult to review, because just listening to it makes me want to distract myself with something else. It sounds like an awkward cross between classic Floyd, '90s pop music, and the worst lyrics ever committed to paper.

Coming Back to Life is the only track on the album credited only to David Gilmour. On any other Pink Floyd album, this would be cause for a quick snooze, but in this case it means relief from Polly Samson's lyrics for a while. The music isn't all that interesting, though, and I quickly found myself losing attentiveness. Keep Talking isn't much better, Stephen Hawking's voice being the most interesting part of the song. While David Gilmour's second guitar solo accompanies a return of the pig-like guitar tone from Animals, this only furthers the impression that this album is riding on Pink Floyd's earlier successes.

The album ends as unimpressively as it began. Lost for Words is entirely unmemorable; generic pop musically, and on par with most of its companions on this album lyrically. High Hopes is to The Division Bell as Sorrow is to A Momentary Lapse of Reason; a pompous finale that comes across as a failed attempt to end the album in some deep and meaningful way. Its one saving grace is a pretty good lap steel solo from David at the end.

If you need any proof that Roger was an indispensable part of post-Syd Floyd, this is it; just as The Final Cut is proof that David and Rick were indispensable parts of the same band. This album has its moments, but they are moments that lend themselves well to augmentation from Roger's inclination to write compelling lyrics and to produce solid concept albums. This band has all the disadvantages of the post-Syd Floyd, trying to find its own footing; but none of the advantages of being young and open to new direction. This is a band making a sort of music they aren't good at making, and as the last album released while all of its members were still living, this was their final chance to shine. And they didn't.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 14, 2014, 09:37:48 AM
La Carrera Panamericana
Film (directed by Ian McArthur)

Released: 2 June 1992

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards)

Tim Renwick (guitar)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Gary Wallis (percussion)

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour)
  * Originally released on Delicate Sound of Thunder.
Pan Am Shuffle (Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
Yet Another Movie (Gilmour, Patrick Leonard)
  * Originally released on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Sorrow (Gilmour)
  * Originally released on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Signs of Life (Gilmour, Bob Ezrin)
  * Originally released on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Country Theme (Gilmour)
Mexico '78 (Gilmour)
Big Theme (Gilmour)
Run Like Hell (reprise) (Waters, Gilmour)
  * Originally released on Delicate Sound of Thunder.
One Slip (Gilmour, Phil Manzanera)
  * Originally released on A Momentary Lapse of Reason.
Small Theme (Gilmour)
Pan Am Shuffle (reprise) (Gilmour, Wright, Mason)

Review

This is a film consisting of video footage of the 1991 six-day Carrera Panamericana motor race across Mexico (in which David Gilmour and Nick Mason took part), with a soundtrack composed and performed by Pink Floyd. This review is somewhat out of sequence, due to the fact that I was unable to obtain a copy of this film until after I had reviewed The Division Bell.

The film itself is somewhat interesting, showing various aspects of the race rather than simply non-stop footage of cars driving around (as I had expected). There are interviews with various participants, as well as footage of casual conversations, some parts showing cars being repaired, other parts displaying the reaction of locals (usually very positive; one town had a full-on marching band to welcome the racing cars).

There is also some footage of the original race in the 1950s, some of which is almost unbelievable. In the 1991 race, the organisers arranged it in various sections so that roads were closed by authorities for the high-speed portions, while cars were limited to around 50 km/h passing through towns. The 1950s footage, however, shows cars racing straight through towns without any sign of slowing down, sometimes crashing into things at race speeds, as well as numerous fatal accidents. It's little wonder they had to cancel the race after 1954.

The '91 race wasn't entirely devoid of its share of problems. Many of the cars had mechanical problems; early on, one of them had its rear axle snap in half, which seemed to be quite a job to repair. Later on, David Gilmour (with Steve O'Rourke, Pink Floyd's manager, reading the map as a passenger) went into a corner too fast and rolled down a cliff. Incredibly, the only serious injury sustained was Steve O'Rourke's broken leg.

As for the music, this is significantly better than the albums Pink Floyd were producing during this period. In fact, I'll go as far as to say it's my favourite release since Wish You Were Here. The songs from Momentary Lapse are often edited down, bypassing the poor lyrics and fitting very nicely into the film soundtrack. While the original material is evidently intended to be secondary to the film, this ultimately has the effect of making it work much better than Floyd's contemporary songs; without the pretense of trying to create a marketable product, the band is liberated to simply play the music they like.

The results are varied, but inevitably enjoyable; Small Theme is probably my least favourite, consisting of little other than a series of sustained synth chords, but even that fits in well with the race ending. On the other end of the scale, Pan Am Shuffle is a bluesy improvisation over a fairly simple shuffle vamp, with David on guitar and Rick doing organ and one of his classic Moog solos. I found this to be a highly enjoyable listen, and is the first track to be credited to all three remaining band members since Any Colour You Like. The rest of the songs are instrumentals penned by David, and all work really well in their context in the film.

I hadn't seen this film before, and I went in expecting it to be more of the same stuff we got on A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised; this is some of the most organic, unpretentious music Floyd has made in two decades, largely thanks to the musicians getting to stretch their legs on instrumental pieces instead of confining themselves to making conventional albums. Pass right by the post-Roger studio albums and get this film instead.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 17, 2014, 10:24:53 AM
Pulse
Concert film (directed by David Mallet)

Recorded: 20 October 1994, Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London
Released: June 1995

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards)

Tim Renwick (guitar)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Dick Parry (saxophone)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Gary Wallis (percussion)

Sam Brown (vocals)
Claudia Fontaine (vocals)
Durga McBroom (vocals)

DVD 1

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I-VII) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
Learning to Fly (Gilmour, Bob Ezrin, Anthony Moore, Jon Carin)
High Hopes (Gilmour, Polly Samson)
Take It Back (Gilmour, Samson, Ezrin, Nick Laird-Clowes)
Coming Back to Life (Gilmour)
Sorrow (Gilmour)
Keep Talking (Gilmour, Wright, Samson)
Another Brick in the Wall (part II) (Waters)
  * Includes fragments of:
    - Another Brick in the Wall (part I) (Waters)
    - The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Waters)
    - Another Brick in the Wall (part III) (Waters)
    - Dogs (Waters, Gilmour)
One of These Days (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)

DVD 2

Speak to Me (Mason)
Breathe (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
On the Run (Waters, Gilmour)
Time (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
  * Includes a reprise of "Breathe".
The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright, Clare Torry)
Money (Waters)
Us and Them (Waters, Wright)
Any Colour You Like (Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
Brain Damage (Waters)
Eclipse (Waters)
Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour)
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)
Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour)

Review

This film is made up of footage from one night on the Division Bell tour of 1994. On that tour, they would play the usual set of new songs with cherry-picks from the back catalogue for the first set, but would then come back and perform The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety for the second. As such, this album contains a complete live performance of that album, which is by far the highlight.

The first set isn't bad, either; with the exception of Take It Back and Keep Talking, which never fail to bore me to death, the other new material seems much more lively here than on previous releases. I particularly enjoy these versions of High Hopes and Sorrow, and Tim Renwick's guitar playing helps to liven up Learning to Fly.

Then there's the throwback material; this version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond is noteworthy for being the most complete you'll ever find in a live release, containing most of the first half intact, and continuing into the third verse after the saxophone solo. Parts VIII and IX are missing, but there are no live releases which include those. The quality of the performance hasn't varied much since Wish You Were Here; it's still mildly interesting, but drags on with far too much of the same.

The first set closes with Another Brick in the Wall part II (which, aside from decent guitar solos from David and Tim, is entirely skippable) and One of These Days. I had forgotten how amazing this version of One of These Days is; it's easily the best performance on disc 1, and it's even better than the one on Delicate Sound of Thunder, with a longer and more interesting bass solo, and a much tighter performance all around. The first down beat after the "one of these days" vocal is extremely powerful, and David's ensuing lap steel solo seems to surround the listener in a way that the studio version doesn't quite capture. An incredible finale to the opening set.

While the second set is enjoyable, it has its high and low points relative to the album. Speak to Me is a high point, with an extended heartbeat intro that starts as people are milling into the venue and taking their seats, leading up to the climactic opening to Breathe. The first few tracks are okay, with a strong point being a return of the video footage in On the Run that we saw in Delicate Sound of Thunder.

The Great Gig in the Sky is easily the high point of this set for me, with Sam Brown, Durga McBroom and Claudia Fontaine doing their best to fill Clare Torry's shoes. I find that Sam captures the raw intensity of Clare's original performance far better than Rachel did on Delicate Sound of Thunder; she was putting so much into her performance at one point that I was convinced her head was going to explode. Durga and Claudia don't let her take all of the glory, either; this is one fantastic Great Gig all around.

The second half of the set is somewhat more disappointing. Money is similar to the Delicate Sound of Thunder arrangement, but seems to be a fairly loose jam moreso than alternating solos, and overall I think this version is less interesting. Us and Them is played as always, leading up to what should rightfully be the high point of the set; but Any Colour You Like is a huge letdown here. Rick's keyboard solo might as well not even have been attempted, and David's guitar isn't too interesting either.

All things considered, I was grateful by the time the segue into Brain Damage came around, with Brain Damage and Eclipse being their usual dramatic ending to the set, but not in any way more noteworthy than their studio counterparts. Encore material consists of Wish You Were Here, Comfortably Numb and Run Like Hell performances that are almost identical to those on Delicate Sound of Thunder; the main difference of note here is that Guy Pratt pulls off a much better rendition of Roger's lines in Run Like Hell.

I would have to say that, after watching it again, I think this is a better representation of live Floyd than Delicate Sound of Thunder. The new material has a certain energy to it that is lacking on the older release, and the old material is done better or just as well here (with the exception of Money). This also captures a concert from the last ever Pink Floyd tour, so there is some historical value to it as well. Definitely worth watching for any Floyd fan.


P.S.: Unlike with Delicate Sound of Thunder, there are significant differences between the film and album versions of Pulse. Notably, some tracks are taken from different concerts, so Any Colour You Like might be more interesting there; also, the album version has the return of a classic Syd Barrett song that hadn't been performed since the late '60s. Therefore, I will be reviewing the album version as well in a few days.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 20, 2014, 05:28:21 PM
Pulse
Live double CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/pulse)

Recorded: 17 August - 29 October 1994, various locations in Europe
Released: 29 May 1995

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright (keyboards)

Tim Renwick (guitar)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Dick Parry (saxophone)
Guy Pratt (bass)
Gary Wallis (percussion)

Sam Brown (vocals)
Claudia Fontaine (vocals)
Durga McBroom (vocals)

CD 1

1. Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I-VII) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright) (13:35)
2. Astronomy Domine (Barrett) (4:20)
3. What Do You Want From Me? (Gilmour, Wright, Polly Samson) (4:10)
4. Learning to Fly (Gilmour, Anthony Moore, Bob Ezrin, Jon Carin) (5:16)
5. Keep Talking (Gilmour, Wright, Samson) (6:52)
6. Coming Back to Life (Gilmour) (6:56)
7. Hey You (Waters) (4:40)
8. A Great Day for Freedom (Gilmour, Samson) (4:30)
9. Sorrow (Gilmour) (10:49)
10. High Hopes (Gilmour, Samson) (7:52)
11. Another Brick in the Wall (part II) (Waters) (7:08)
 * Includes fragments of:
    - Another Brick in the Wall (part I) (Waters)
    - The Happiest Days of Our Lives (Waters)
    - Another Brick in the Wall (part III) (Waters)
    - Dogs (Waters, Gilmour)

CD 2

1. Speak to Me (Mason) (2:30)
2. Breathe (Waters, Gilmour, Wright) (2:33)
3. On the Run (Waters, Gilmour) (3:48)
4. Time (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (6:47)
  * Includes a reprise of "Breathe".
5. The Great Gig in the Sky (Wright, Clare Torry) (5:52)
6. Money (Waters) (8:54)
7. Us and Them (Waters, Wright) (6:58)
8. Any Colour You Like (Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (3:21)
9. Brain Damage (Waters) (3:46)
10. Eclipse (Waters) (2:38)
11. Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour) (6:35)
12. Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour) (9:29)
13. Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour) (8:36)

Review

Listening to this hot on the heels of the Pulse film got to be a bit much, particularly towards the end, as the encore material isn't very interesting. Much of the material here is taken from different concerts than the film, but even so, it sounds very much the same in most places, so I'll only review the bits that were noticeably different.

First, Shine On You Crazy Diamond cross-fades into the distorted voices that are familiar from the opening to The Piper at the Gates of Dawn so many years ago. Yes, this band has whipped out Astronomy Domine for the first time in 25 years, and while this piece has lost some of its psychedelic edge as the band has shifted focus and acquired young musicians from a new generation, it's still one of the highlights of disc 1. The arrangement here is much closer to the original studio version than the extended jams of the late '60s, and whoever's on guitar -- I suspect it's Tim, because it doesn't sound like David -- does a smashing impression of Syd's original guitar style on this track.

Then, cruelly yanking this juicy morsel away from us after a few short minutes, the band launches into a perfect rendition of What Do You Want From Me?, managing to convey the same intense dullness released on The Division Bell. The remainder of disc 1 is mainly identical to the DVD, except for the inclusion of Hey You and A Great Day for Freedom and the exclusion of Take It Back (no loss there) and One of These Days.

Hey You is nice to hear again, although this performance feels lacking in comparison to both the studio and live versions of The Wall, where this was a rare highlight of an otherwise very mundane rock opera. Jon Carin takes Roger's vocal part, a passage which must have strained Roger's voice at the best of times, and does a very good job with it up until the highest few notes (in the lyric "don't tell me there's no hope at all"), when his voice begins to crack. Thankfully for him, the backing vocalists step in to provide some additional oomph in the word "all", although I don't know why David didn't just have the band play this one in a lower key.

The Dark Side of the Moon segment isn't as much of an improvement over the DVD as I had hoped. Time and Money are better here, though I think I still prefer the Delicate Sound of Thunder versions of both, and otherwise these songs are all the same versions as found on the DVD (Breathe, On the Run, Great Gig, Us and Them) or not noticeably different (Speak to Me, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage, Eclipse). Finally, the encore set rounds things off with the same routine from the video, and we're done.

This is a pretty good album, but it's not really worth getting this and the DVD; they're similar enough that you might as well get the film version. Unfortunately, two of the highlights only appear on one release each; Astronomy Domine on the CD and One of These Days on the DVD. So, if you really want to hear it all, you'll want to get both and just listen to the additional tracks on this release.


Incidentally, Any Colour You Like on this CD is the last officially released recording of any Pink Floyd tour, being from the 23 October show at Earls Court. This review therefore represents the end of Pink Floyd's touring career, though not the end of the line altogether; there are still two more reviews to go.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 20, 2014, 11:33:43 PM
Live 8
Televised benefit concert

Recorded: 2 July 2005, Hyde Park, London

Band lineup

Roger Waters (bass, acoustic guitar on "Wish You Were Here")
David Gilmour (guitar)
Richard Wright (keyboards)
Nick Mason (drums)

Set list

Speak to Me (Mason)
Breathe (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
  * Includes the Breathe reprise.
Money (Waters)
Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour)
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)

Review

This is the classic '70s Pink Floyd lineup performing together for the first time in 24 years, and Pink Floyd at its best in even longer than that. The main detractor from this show is the limited set list; with the return of Roger as the band's frontman, it's sad to see them run through only a handful of songs. There's also the fact that the cameras seem to be intent on focusing on Roger and David and neglecting the other members -- even some of the supporting musicians get more screen time than Rick -- but that doesn't detract from the music.

The opening Speak to Me/Breathe feels like a demonstration of what Pulse could have been. Speak to Me is fairly short here by comparison with that release; no repetitions of the same loops dragging on for two minutes, this is a short and sweet concert intro. Breathe here also seems to have caught its breath; without the extravagant assortment of session musicians that has accompanied this band at every show in the past two decades, the music is a lot less cluttered, sounding a lot more like the original release on Dark Side, and a lot better.

Money gets a similar treatment, right from the very start, with Roger playing the downbeat at the same place over the cash register loop as the original (as opposed to every other bass player attempting this song, who inevitably starts two beats early). The "wooh-ooh" interjections between David's vocal lines have also been mercifully stripped away, leaving us with what is once again a much simpler and better rendition than either Delicate Sound of Thunder or Pulse. On the down side, we don't get the extended midsection jam that appears on those releases, but David does at least engage in some improv during the last 12 bars of his solo rather than playing the usual notes right off the album.

Roger shows us the frontman this band has been missing since the '80s at the start of Wish You Were Here, announcing that "we're doing this for everyone who's not here, but especially of course for Syd". Actually stepping up and talking to the audience (other than the occasional "thank you") is something David never quite got around to, and now it feels like the band is whole again. Unusually, Roger takes the vocals in the second verse of Wish You Were Here, not quite managing to hit all the right notes, but nevertheless giving a moving performance.

The band finishes off (in a very permanent sense) with Comfortably Numb, and this might well be my all-time favourite version of this song. The band seems to be really into it, playing as if it were 1974 and they'd never been apart more than a few days. Roger is back into his role as the doctor, and David really works out on guitar like only a 60-year-old rock star can. But as I said, this set list is way too short, and all too soon this veteran ensemble puts down their instruments for the last time.

As the other three band members are getting ready to walk off stage, Roger assertively gathers them together, arms around each other, to face the audience in one last farewell. It's really great to see them on such good terms, after all the bad blood between them for so many years. This could have been a great show, if only they'd had time for a wider variety of material. But it is what it is, and it's a pretty good performance as it stands.


(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/live8)

The band in their final farewell on stage together; from left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Richard Wright.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 21, 2014, 12:21:28 PM
The Endless River
Studio CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/endless)

Recorded: 1969, 1993, 2013-2014
Released: 10 November 2014

Band lineup

David Gilmour (guitar, keyboards, bass)
Nick Mason (drums)
Richard Wright* (keyboards)

Also featuring numerous other session musicians (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Endless_River#Personnel).

* Richard Wright passed away in 2008, but as most of this material was recorded prior to that, he appears on this album posthumously.

Track listing

1. Things Left Unsaid (Gilmour, Wright) (4:27)
2. It's What We Do (Gilmour, Wright) (6:18)
3. Ebb and Flow (Gilmour, Wright) (1:56)
4. Sum (Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (4:49)
5. Skins (Gilmour, Wright, Mason) (2:38)
6. Unsung (Wright) (1:08)
7. Anisina (Gilmour) (3:17)
8. The Lost Art of Conversation (Wright) (1:43)
9. On Noodle Street (Gilmour, Wright) (1:43)
10. Night Light (Gilmour, Wright) (1:43)
11. Allons-y (1) (Gilmour) (1:58)
12. Autumn '68 (Wright) (1:36)
13. Allons-y (2) (Gilmour) (1:33)
14. Talkin' Hawkin' (Gilmour, Wright) (3:30)
15. Calling (Gilmour, Anthony Moore) (3:38)
16. Eyes to Pearls (Gilmour) (1:52)
17. Surfacing (Gilmour) (2:47)
18. Louder Than Words (Gilmour, Polly Samson) (6:37)

Review

I'll put it bluntly: This is the best album Pink Floyd has released in 40 years. It's not without its share of faults, but with the guise of pretentious concept album stripped away, the band is able to get on with making good music like they did in the days of Meddle. The main negative point is that it's too long; there's some material here which just doesn't add anything of value, and seems like a reworking of older material.

The first three tracks are a great example of that. They're an enjoyable listen, but they come across as an instrumental rendition of Shine On You Crazy Diamond with some minor tweaks, so for the first 12 minutes, I was fully expecting this album to be as much of a disappointment as The Division Bell.

Then Sum comes in, and everything changes. There isn't a single bad track between Sum and Talkin' Hawkin', which is partly down to this section also being entirely instrumental, save for more sampling of Stephen Hawking's voice in Talkin' Hawkin'. My favourites would have to be Skins and the Allons-y/Autumn '68/Allons-y piece (which includes a 1969 recording of Rick playing the Royal Albert Hall pipe organ, seamlessly edited into the new material). But the variety here is what really strikes me; it's not exceptionally varied material, but considering the monotony we've come to expect from Pink Floyd over the past few decades, this really stands out.

It's also their first album since The Dark Side of the Moon to work so well together as a piece. Listening to these tracks, they don't feel like distinct tracks, but rather a single coherent piece of music (broken up in three places according to the album sides used on the double LP release).

The album takes a turn for the worse again as we head into the last four tracks. Calling, Eyes to Pearls and Surfacing are merely a reversion to The Division Bell levels of dullness, but it's Louder Than Words that really puts a damper on what could have been a fantastic album. It's the only track on the album to feature lyrics, again written by Polly Samson, and these may well be the worst lyrics ever released on any Pink Floyd album. I'll go as far as to say they're worse than The Dogs of War, and The Dogs of War has really awful lyrics.

If it were up to me, I'd get rid of the first three and last four tracks and have sides B and C switch places, so that the album begins with The Lost Art of Conversation, Talkin' Hawkin' is followed by Sum, and Anisina is the beautiful finale. Even so, this album is well worth a listen as it is, but mainly for the middle section (from Sum to Talkin' Hawkin'). I stand by my claim that, even with the insubstantial opening and closing passages, this is the best album Pink Floyd has released since The Dark Side of the Moon. Not outstanding, but better than Floyd has been in a long, long time.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 21, 2014, 12:29:39 PM
Part II: The Solo Albums

It struck me, while reviewing Floyd's catalogue, that I was making occasional references to band members' solo projects that I haven't heard in a long while (or, for a few of them, ever). I therefore intend to review all five members' solo projects in chronological order, beginning with Syd's The Madcap Laughs in 1970, and (almost) finishing with Metallic Spheres, a 2010 album by The Orb featuring David Gilmour.

My final review will relate to a special event which isn't strictly a solo project, but that only one of the members of Pink Floyd was involved in. No prizes for guessing what it is if you're familiar with Pink Floyd's ancillary catalogue.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 24, 2014, 12:44:27 PM
Syd Barrett
The Madcap Laughs
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/madcap)

Recorded: May 1968 - August 1969
Released: 3 January 1970

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

Side A

1. Terrapin (5:04)
2. No Good Trying (3:26)
3. Love You (2:30)
4. No Man's Land (3:03)
5. Dark Globe (2:02)
6. Here I Go (3:11)

Side B

1. Octopus (3:47)
2. Golden Hair (Barrett, James Joyce) (1:59)
3. Long Gone (2:50)
4. She Took a Long Cold Look (1:55)
5. Feel (2:17)
6. If It's In You (2:26)
7. Late Night (3:10)

Review

Following his departure from Pink Floyd in 1968, Syd Barrett displays once more his remarkable talent for writing demented pop music on this solo record, and on that front little has changed. The main piece of the sound from Piper that's noticeably absent here is Rick's Farfisa organ; at the same time, Syd himself has shifted to much more predominant use of acoustic guitar, both of which result in an album that is much less psychedelic than his work with Floyd.

These songs are often characterised by eccentric chord progressions, often with unusual timing of changes; as well as fanciful yet dark, sometimes obtuse lyrics, sung in his inimitable idiom. The first four tracks contain all of these features in moderation, Terrapin and Love You being my favourite picks, but the last couple of tracks on the side are where it gets really interesting.

Dark Globe is especially gloomy, containing the oft-quoted lyric "wouldn't you miss me at all?", usually interpreted as his last call out to his former bandmates. The music to Dark Globe actually reminds me of early David Bowie, curiously enough. Side A is then rounded off with one of my all-time favourite Barrett compositions; Here I Go would be a typical nonsense pop song, if not for Syd's idiosyncratic way with both the almost-but-not-quite standard chord progression and childish-yet-sage lyrics.

As with side A, side B gets much more interesting towards the end. I enjoy listening to it, but the first few tracks feel a bit samey; with the exception of Golden Hair, based on a James Joyce poem, which is a lot slower and more reflective than the other tunes. If It's In You brings more perverted pop music, this time with a repeating vocal motif which is particularly difficult for Syd to sing, as heard at the start where he fumbles the first take.

Finally, Late Night is a beautiful closer, featuring a return of the slide guitar from Interstellar Overdrive against a much more mellow backing track. The slide guitar here actually sounds similar to a lot of late '60s/early '70s Floyd; with both David Gilmour and Roger Waters helping to produce this album, perhaps Syd was inadvertently continuing to influence the sound that made Pink Floyd such a big hit in the '70s, even as his own career faded into obscurity.

I actually enjoyed this more than I remembered, and I remembered enjoying it quite a lot. The high points of the album (Dark Globe, Here I Go, If It's In You, Late Night) are simply magnificent, but even at his worst, Syd Barrett had an ear both for quirky pop tunes and eccentric lyrics. It's certainly more consistently good than its contemporary Pink Floyd album, Ummagumma. Highly recommended to anyone, whether you like Pink Floyd or not.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 26, 2014, 08:53:15 AM
Syd Barrett
Barrett
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/barrett)

Recorded: February - July 1970
Released: 14 November 1970

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett.

Side A

1. Baby Lemonade (4:10)
2. Love Song (3:03)
3. Dominoes (4:08)
4. It Is Obvious (2:59)
5. Rats (3:00)
6. Maisie (2:51)

Side B

1. Gigolo Aunt (5:46)
2. Waving My Arms In the Air (2:09)
3. I Never Lied To You (1:50)
4. Wined and Dined (2:58)
5. Wolfpack (3:41)
6. Effervescing Elephant (1:52)

Review

This album very audibly suffers from Syd's deteriorating mental state. As he became more and more difficult to work with in the studio, the opportunities to simply get a song down on tape became rarer and rarer, and as a result the quality of performance on the release suffered. That's not to say it's altogether a bad album, but it's much less consistent than Madcap, having fairly severe ups and downs. That said, the ups on this album are my all-time favourite solo Barrett songs.

With David Gilmour and Richard Wright both appearing prominently on this album, there are parts which sound like the contemporary Atom Heart Mother-era Pink Floyd. The backing music on It Is Obvious reminds me fairly strongly of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, for instance. Many of these tracks, especially the ones recorded later in 1970, seem to be carried along by David and Rick's rhythm work, while Syd seems to falter in and out of prominence as the lead vocalist and guitarist.

The tracks which stand out as being worthwhile Barrett songs are almost exclusively those recorded between February and May; on side A, those are Baby Lemonade, Rats and Maisie. The album's opener is a return of the silly dysfunctional pop music from Madcap, while the latter two deviate from that formula somewhat into one-chord rock jams, with Syd doing little more than talking the lyrics, but the effect is really enjoyable. Maisie in particular is the highlight of side A for me; Syd sounds like he's completely out of touch with what the other musicians are doing, but I find that's what really makes this track.

Gigolo Aunt brings a turn for the better, being both an unusually standard pop tune for Syd in terms of melody and an unusually coherent performance for this album. Syd's guitar still seems to be in a different room from the rest of the band, and the lyrics are still unmistakeably of Syd's creation. This is, without a doubt, the highlight of side B, and possibly of the album (I'd rate it about on par with Maisie).

The remainder of side B follows the overall pattern of the earlier recordings being better, those being Waving My Arms/I Never Lied To You (which make up a mini-medley with a segue between them) and Wolfpack. Wolfpack is another foray out of Syd's usual silly pop comfort zone and into pop rock, and aside from the one-chord jams getting a bit old, it's a pretty great tune.

Finally, Effervescing Elephant is the exception to the rule that earlier tracks are better. It's the only track recorded in July that I really enjoy. Very unusually for this album, Syd was on top form for this recording, and it's also unusual in that it's much more like his early pop material than the rest of the album. It's a cutesy, almost childish tune about an elephant who warns other animals about a tiger, only for the tiger to decide he wanted a large meal and eat the elephant instead.

This album is worth listening to if you enjoy The Madcap Laughs, but Madcap is overall a better album, so get that one first. The main highlights of this one are Baby Lemonade, Maisie, Gigolo Aunt and Effervescing Elephant; the rest of it ranges from almost as good as those four to entirely missable. This isn't a flattering final farewell for the floundering former Floyd foreman, whose career was cut tragically short by his mental health issues shortly after its release, but it's all we have to document his later work.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 26, 2014, 12:13:38 PM
David Gilmour
David Gilmour
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/gilmour)

Recorded: December 1977 - January 1978
Released: 25 May 1978

Band

David Gilmour (guitar, keyboards, harmonica)
Rick Wills (bass)
Willie Wilson (drums)
Mick Weaver (piano)

Carlena Williams (backing vocals)
Debbie Doss (backing vocals)
Shirley Roden (backing vocals)

All tracks authored by David Gilmour, except where noted.

Side A

1. Mihalis (5:46)
2. There's No Way Out of Here (Ken Baker) (5:08)
3. Cry From the Street (Gilmour, Electra Stuart) (5:13)
4. So Far Away (5:50)

Side B

1. Short and Sweet (Gilmour, Roy Harper) (5:30)
2. Raise My Rent (5:33)
3. No Way (5:32)
4. It's Deafinitely (4:28)
5. I Can't Breathe Anymore (3:04)

Review

David Gilmour is at his best when he doesn't try to take himself too seriously. The first three tracks are some amazing bluesy dadrock, of a calibre sadly lacking in Pink Floyd's albums of the era, Animals and The Wall. From there, things begin to go downhill as David's attempt at meaningful lyrics begins to creep in.

Mihalis is my personal favourite on this album, as a fairly simple, slow instrumental with David doing what he does best on guitar. There's No Way Out of Here is largely saved by having lyrics which aren't written by David and a decent backing tune, and Cry From the Street has such a groovy guitar riff to it that I can easily forgive the cringey lyrics.

So Far Away is where things start to go pear-shaped, as David leaves behind his blues home turf for a slow ballad, and it just doesn't work. Even Raise My Rent, an instrumental, doesn't really do much for me here, and most of the rest of side B consists of similarly poor attempts at lyrically-driven songs. Side B is saved from being a complete disaster by the instrumental It's Deafinitely, which is based on a groove very similar to Sheep, along with a bluesy guitar workout that would have made Animals a better album had it appeared on Sheep.

There's at most half an album's worth of good material on this record, but at the same time, it's not significantly better than or different from David's work with Pink Floyd. If you're into bluesy dadrock, you'll probably love this album. Otherwise, don't bother yourself with it.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on December 26, 2014, 02:07:41 PM
I just realised that I left out the film soundtrack from The Body, partly composed by Roger Waters in 1970. My excuse is that keeping track of five independent solo careers in chronological order is hard.

I'll get to it either next, or after Wet Dream.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on January 03, 2015, 08:28:32 AM
Ron Geesin and Roger Waters
Music From The Body
Film soundtrack
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/body)

Recorded: January - September 1970
Released: 28 November 1970

Band

Ron Geesin (guitar, cello, keyboards, other instruments)
Roger Waters (guitar, bass)

David Gilmour (guitar on "Give Birth to a Smile")
Richard Wright (organ on "Give Birth to a Smile")
Nick Mason (drums on "Give Birth to a Smile")
Uncredited female chorus (backing vocals on "Give Birth to a Smile")

All tracks authored by Ron Geesin, except where noted.

Side A

1. Our Song (Geesin, Waters) (1:24)
2. Sea Shell and Stone (Waters) (2:17)
3. Red Stuff Writhe (1:11)
4. A Gentle Breeze Blew Through Life (1:19)
5. Lick Your Partners (:35)
6. Bridge Passage for Three Plastic Teeth (:35)
7. Chain of Life (Waters) (3:59)
8. The Womb Bit (Geesin, Waters) (2:06)
9. Embryo Thought (:39)
10. March Past of the Embryos (1:08)
11. More Than Seven Dwarfs in Penis-Land (2:03)
12. Dance of the Red Corpuscles (2:04)

Side B

1. Body Transport (Geesin, Waters) (3:16)
2. Hand Dance - Full Evening Dress (1:01)
3. Breathe (Waters) (2:53)
4. Old Folks Ascension (3:47)
5. Bed-Time-Dream-Clime (2:02)
6. Piddle in Perspex (:57)
7. Embryonic Womb-Walk (1:14)
8. Mrs. Throat Goes Walking (2:05)
9. Sea Shell and Soft Stone (Geesin, Waters) (2:05)
10. Give Birth to a Smile (Waters) (2:49)

Review

This is almost entirely a Ron Geesin album, as Ron's tracks are by far the most plentiful and the most interesting on here. It's interesting to hear his style alone, rather than as the orchestral and choral additions to Atom Heart Mother, and I'm really beginning to gain an appreciation for how creative he was as an independent composer. Roger's few tracks on the album, by comparison, are fairly plain acoustic pieces, comparable to Grantchester Meadows and If.

It's easy to see Ron's influence on Several Small Species (from Ummagumma) too, particularly in More Than Seven Dwarfs in Penis-Land, which is entirely composed of many overdubbed vocal parts, making up a chorus of what are apparently supposed to be dwarves. Ron's material otherwise mainly comes in the form of eccentric compositions involving conventional instruments, usually some combination of banjo, mandolin and cello, with the occasional piano. It's difficult to pick favourites because the album is obviously intended as a piece; most tracks either segue or cross-fade continuously, with only a few breaks for the entire album.

The biggest highlights of the album, though, are the tracks where Ron and Roger work together. This is where they each get to their most experimental, piecing together compositions from various sound effects, often using body sounds in line with the film's theme. Our Song is the best example of this, with Body Transport being another particularly strange composition, apparently intended to give the impression of having one's body carried somewhere, although the people doing the carrying seem to be quite deranged and the piece ends with a loud clatter and the sound of Ron and Roger laughing.

The vocal antics in Body Transport are very well balanced by the lengthy set of instrumentals from Old Folks Ascension through Embryonic Womb-Walk, finally resolving to the fantastic Mrs. Throat Goes Walking, a groovy piece with a fairly standard rock 'n' roll backing track, nicely contrasted with nonsense wailing (probably from Ron; it doesn't sound like Roger to me). Sea Shell and Soft Stone is the dramatic closure of Ron's contribution to the album, an instrumental rearrangement of Roger's earlier track, Sea Shell and Stone.

The final track, written solely by Roger, features the entire 1970 line-up of Pink Floyd performing together with a female chorus. The music sounds quite similar to the chorus of Point Me at the Sky, complete with a very similar guitar tone from David, but the additional of the female singers makes the overall piece quite different from anything else from Pink Floyd's catalogue I can recall (though much of Roger's later solo material would bring back this prominent usage of female vocalists).

This is better than I expected, and frankly, it's a lot better than Ummagumma as well. The only track I didn't enjoy at all was Chain of Life, mainly because that's basically another four minutes of Grantchester Meadows, but the rest of this is very enjoyable and fits really well together. There isn't too much of any one aspect, with Roger's tendency towards writing conventional rock music very nicely balancing Ron's tendency to experiment. Highly recommended to anyone, not just Floyd fans.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on January 03, 2015, 12:37:54 PM
Richard Wright
Wet Dream
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/dream)

Recorded: January - February 1978
Released: 15 September 1978

Band

Richard Wright (keyboards)
Snowy White (guitar)
Mel Collins (saxophone, flute)
Larry Steele (bass)
Reg Isidore (drums)

All tracks authored by Richard Wright, except where noted.

Side A

1. Mediterranean C (3:52)
2. Against the Odds (Wright, Juliette Wright) (3:57)
3. Cat Cruise (5:14)
4. Summer Elegy (4:53)
5. Waves (4:19)

Side B

1. Holiday (6:11)
2. Mad Yannis Dance (3:19)
3. Drop In From the Top (3:25)
4. Pink's Song (3:28)
5. Funky Deux (4:57)

Review

Much like David, Rick's strength is definitely in the music and not the lyrics. The music is very consistently good throughout this album, showcasing his distinctive synth sounds and jazz-influenced chord progressions that were missing from The Wall, but the instrumental tracks turn out better simply by a lack of lyrics.

Mediterranean C, Cat Cruise and Waves are the instrumentals of side A, with Rick generally taking a back seat, content to compose ambient backing tracks and allow Snowy and Mel to strut their stuff with the lead parts. This album is guitarist Snowy White's first chance to prove himself, and evidently Pink Floyd had opinions of his talents as high as I do, because he would later reappear in the shadow band for The Wall live, as well as many of Roger's solo tours.

Side B opens with a fairly boring, but somewhat uplifting lyrical number, Holiday. Mad Yannis Dance is an unusual change for the album, being a waltz consisting mainly of a simple, composed synth melody in place of the usual guitar and sax solos. This dramatically crossfades into Drop In From the Top, the second instrumental of side B, an organ-driven shuffle with a pretty nice guitar solo from Snowy.

Pink's Song has the least painful of Rick's lyrics on the album, and I'm pretty sure these lyrics are about Syd, as they speak to a "quiet, smiling friend of mine" who "helped set us free" and has "lost their way". Finally, the album closes with a song so funky it has "funk" in its name, with the funky rhythm being made up of different bass, organ, electric piano, guitar, synth and saxophone parts, while the drums keep a fairly steady backing rhythm going.

This isn't an album for you if you like in-your-face, action-packed melodies or well-written lyrics, but Rick was always a master of staying in the background and putting good organ and synth textures and chords behind other people's music. If you can appreciate slow-moving chord progressions and ambient instrumentation for themselves, you'll probably love this album; otherwise, it's not your cup of toast.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on January 09, 2015, 10:46:37 AM
Nick Mason
Nick Mason's Fictitious Sports
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/sports)

Recorded: October 1979
Released: 3 May 1981

Band

Nick Mason (drums)
Carla Bley (keyboards)
Robert Wyatt (vocals, except "Can't Get My Motor To Start")
Karen Kraft (vocals on "Can't Get My Motor To Start")
Chris Speddling (guitar)
Steve Swallow (bass)
Michael Mantler (trumpet)
Gary Windo (clarinet, flute)
Gary Valente (trombone)
Howard Johnson (tuba)
Terry Adams (keyboards, harmonica)

Carlos Ward (additional vocals)
D. Sharpe (additional vocals)
Vincent Chancey (additional vocals)
Earl McIntyre (additional vocals)

All tracks authored by Carla Bley.

Side A

1. Can't Get My Motor To Start (3:39)
2. I Was Wrong (4:12)
3. Siam (4:48)
4. Hot River (5:16)

Side B

1. Boo To You Too (3:26)
2. Do Ya? (4:36)
3. Wervin' (3:58)
4. I'm a Mineralist (6:16)

Review

Coming hot on the heels of The Wall, this album is a refreshing stark contrast with Floyd's contemporary works. In fact, unlike any of the other four members' solo projects, most tracks on this album bear no resemblance whatsoever to anything Floyd did at any point in their career. This is largely down to the fact that Nick Mason had never participated very much in songwriting with Pink Floyd, and didn't see fit to take this opportunity to start, so all of these songs are written by jazz pianist Carla Bley. In fact, aside from playing drums and co-producing the album, the rock drummer's claim to be the artist for this album seems to be little other than a marketing tactic.

It's difficult to sum up the album as a whole, because it jumps around in style a lot from track to track, and also in the quality of the lyrics and vocal performances. The music is consistently excellent, whatever form it takes in that specific track. Hot River sounds most similar to Pink Floyd to me, with a slide guitar part which reminds me of David Gilmour's solo in High Hopes; the others vary between uptempo blues rock-ish feel-good tunes (Boo To You Too); slow, melancholy, more traditional jazz (Siam, Do Ya?); and the downright weird (Can't Get My Motor To Start, Wervin'). The other two tracks, I Was Wrong and I'm a Mineralist, sit somewhere between those broad categorisations.

The "downright weird" ones are where this album works best, partly because they fit its fanciful lyrics much better than the music that tries to take itself seriously, but also simply because that's where Carla is at her most interesting. That did make the album as a whole somewhat of a disappointment, as the first track was by far my favourite and set very high expectations, but it wasn't a bad listen. The final track, I'm a Mineralist, is the only one that approaches those expectations; the main theme is centred around alternating arpeggios on a diminished scale, but it goes through sections that are wildly different from that at times. It's very creative and interesting, even if it drags on a bit longer than its ideas are worth.

This album really doesn't fit in this thread, moreso than any others I've reviewed so far. It's not a Pink Floyd album, it doesn't sound remotely like a Pink Floyd album, and it actually kept me interested all the way through at a time when Pink Floyd were touring The Wall. It's also difficult to recommend, because it's so different from anything else I've heard that I don't know what to compare it to. I guess the best I can do is "listen to it if you like good music".
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on January 31, 2015, 10:30:31 AM
David Gilmour
About Face
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/face)

Recorded: 1983
Released: 5 March 1984

Band

David Gilmour (guitar, bass)
Jeff Porcaro (drums)
Pino Palladino (bass)
Ian Kewley (keyboards)

Steve Winwood (keyboards)
Anne Dudley (synth)
Bob Ezrin (keyboards)
Jon Lord (synth)
Steve Rance (programming)
Luís Jardim (percussion)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
The Kick Horns (brass)

Vicki Brown (backing vocals)
Sam Brown (backing vocals)
Mickey Feat (backing vocals)
Roy Harper (backing vocals)

Also featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra (arranged by Bob Ezrin and Michael Kamen).

All tracks authored by David Gilmour, except where noted.

Side A

1. Until We Sleep (5:15)
2. Murder (4:59)
3. Love On the Air (Gilmour, Pete Townshend) (4:19)
4. Blue Light (4:35)
5. Out of the Blue (3:35)

Side B

1. All Lovers are Deranged (Gilmour, Townshend) (3:14)
2. You Know I'm Right (5:06)
3. Cruise (4:40)
4. Let's Get Metaphysical (4:09)
5. Near the End (5:36)

Review

This album opens with a five-minute wall of '80s synths and drum machines. I didn't even listen to the lyrics, partly because I knew they would be abysmal, but also because the epic '80s hit was sufficient to sell me on the track's merit. This is nicely juxtaposed with Murder, a more conventional acoustic piece, and I'll forgive the awful lyrics which are all-too-obviously likening Roger's role in Pink Floyd's recent breakup to committing murder because it has a nice fretless bass solo in the middle.

Love On the Air is the first of two tracks to feature lyrics by Pete Townshend of The Who, and they are just awful enough to make this one of my favourite cheesy '80s ballads. It's full of cringe-worthy imagery of radio transmissions, awkwardly placed backing vocals and boring chord progressions. The only thing that sounds out of place for the '80s here is the organ, but I can live with that.

The Blue Light brings us back down to reality in the harshest way possible, with more easily distinguishable Gilmour lyrics. As far as the music goes, this is basically a disco arrangement of Run Like Hell; and as usual, it's a well-placed solo (organ this time) which makes up the most interesting part. Out of the Blue finishes side A with a stock-standard Gilmour attempt at a powerful tour de force, much in the vein of On the Turning Away. I don't need to tell you by now that the lyrics make a mockery of that attempt (I hope).

Flipping to side B, we get more cheesy '80s pop, accompanied by more of Townshend's lyrics. Again, the '80s cheesiness lends a certain charm to this track, without which it would no doubt be entirely worthless. Speaking of worthless, You Know I'm Right seems to be another commentary on Pink Floyd's breakup, but this time without the fretless bass solo to rescue it from disaster.

The most interesting thing about Cruise is the abrupt shift to reggae near the end, after which point it continues to be as boring as reggae as it was as rock. For Let's Get Metaphysical, David makes the decision he should have made from the start of the album; he goes instrumental, and this is an excellent blend of his signature blues guitar with an orchestral backing. It actually sounds very similar to Castellorizon, the opening track he would create for On an Island 22 years later, though it lacks the sound effects that would appear later.

Near the End feels like another pointless flop of a tour de force, and I'm pretty sure the lyrics are (yet again) about Roger and the Pink Floyd breakup. To be fair to the album as it stood in 1984, this wouldn't feel like such an old routine if I didn't know he would keep going on about it right up until The Division Bell, but I just can't stomach more of this. It's not even like the music is there to keep things going; it seems to exist only to prop up the lyrics, a horrible strategy for David. This album couldn't have ended on a worse note.

The one saving grace at the end is that after the lyrics, David takes a rather interesting guitar solo. The first half is played on an acoustic, then there are a few bars where David plays the same part on both acoustic and electric guitars, and from there his electric takes over for the fade-out. I can't help but feel that I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel for nice things to say here, but it's certainly better than the rest of the track.

I'm not sure if it's just the fact that I'm coming back to this material fresh after a few weeks off, but I enjoyed this album much more than I remembered or expected. Yes, much of it is a mesh of Pink Floyd's rock style with '80s pop music, but that's what makes it so charming and unique. As I said about David's previous solo album, he's at his strongest when he doesn't take himself too seriously, and that holds true for this as well. I'd recommend this over David Gilmour, but not by much, and only for the '80s cheese.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 01, 2015, 09:06:02 AM
Zee
Identity
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/identity)

Recorded: September 1983
Released: 9 April 1984

Band

Richard Wright (keyboards, synth, percussion)
Dave "Dee" Harris (guitars, keyboards, synth, percussion)

All tracks authored by Richard Wright and Dave Harris.
All lyrics written by Dave Harris.

Side A

1. Confusion (4:17)
2. Voices (6:21)
3. Private Person (3:36)
4. Strange Rhythm (6:36)

Side B

1. Cuts Like a Diamond (5:36)
2. By Touching (5:39)
3. How Do You Do It (4:45)
4. Seems We Were Dreaming (4:57)

Review

The '80s onslaught continues, this time with a synthpop album which showcases a side of Rick rarely seen in his work with Pink Floyd. The entire album is characterised by cheesy synth textures and obnoxious percussion sequencing. The lyrics, while not brilliant, are at least well suited to this style of music. I enjoy this album.

It's difficult to go into a large amount of detail, because each track generally starts out with a fairly solid motif and continues with it all the way through. It doesn't feature any remarkable high or low points, but does remain consistently enjoyable throughout. As usual with Rick, the focus seems to be on mood and atmosphere rather than taking the limelight, with some extra detail and most of the vocals being filled in by Dave Harris.

My main criticism is that instead of going nuts with the synth effects and reaching their creative potential, Rick and Dave still try to produce some semblance of conventional songs. My favourite tracks are the ones where they pile on extra '80s synthpop special sauce, in particular Strange Rhythm, By Touching and How Do You Do It. The latter features an interesting scat performance, which (as far as I can tell) actually uses a single sample of Rick saying "doo".

I like this album, primarily because I enjoy cheesy synthpop, and there are moments here where the cheese gets taken way over the top. Musically, it has some interesting ideas, but not nearly enough to sustain an entire album. On the whole, I'd say it compares favourably with Wet Dream, but not by very much. It would be well suited as background music, but you'll quickly find your interest slipping away if you try to listen actively as I have.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 01, 2015, 10:10:02 AM
Roger Waters
The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/hiking)

Recorded: February - December 1983
Released: 30 April 1984

Band

Roger Waters (bass, rhythm guitar)
Eric Clapton (lead guitar)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Andy Newmark (drums)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
Michael Kamen (piano)
Andy Bown (organ, 12-string guitar)

Raphael Ravenscroft (horns)
Kevin Flanagan (horns)
Vic Sullivan (horns)

Madeline Bell (backing vocals)
Katie Kissoon (backing vocals)
Doreen Chanter (backing vocals)

Also featuring:All tracks authored by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. 4:30 AM (Apparently They Were Travelling Abroad) (3:12)
2. 4:33 AM (Running Shoes) (4:08)
3. 4:37 AM (Arabs With Knives and West German Skies) (2:17)
4. 4:39 AM (For the First Time Today, part 2) (2:02)
5. 4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution) (4:49)
6. 4:47 AM (The Remains of Our Love) (3:09)

Side B

1. 4:50 AM (Go Fishing) (6:59)
2. 4:56 AM (For the First Time Today, part 1) (1:38)
3. 4:58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin) (3:03)
4. 5:01 AM (The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking) (4:36)
5. 5:06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes) (4:48)
6. 5:11 AM (The Moment of Clarity) (1:28)

Review

In the wake of the Roger-led Floyd era, Roger decided to resurrect an old idea for a rock opera that was conceived around the same time as The Wall. Primarily due to being half as long as its elder sibling, but also because of the less self-indulgent nature of the story, I find this album to be much more interesting overall. Yes, it lacks the contributions of David Gilmour and is very obviously not a Pink Floyd album, but Eric Clapton has stepped in to take over lead guitar duties, which helps to add some colour to the result.

Right from the start, it becomes obvious that this is meant as a piece rather than as a series of tracks. Indeed, there aren't many tracks that would stand well alone at all, and the transitions between tracks aren't easy to spot unless you know where they're supposed to be. The overall structure has an occasional song proper, interspersed with slow, acoustic numbers where Roger lazily relates the story.

Speaking of the story, it's not particularly easy to follow, but in this album's case I can excuse the lack of clarity because the framing narrative is a man lying in bed during the early hours of the morning, drifting in and out of sleep. The moments when he is half-awake are marked by the sound of a clock ticking, and usually also his wife talking to him, but most of the album chronicles his dreams instead.

For the first third of the album, he dreams about travelling through Europe, picking up some hitch-hikers, one of whom is a woman who finds him attractive. Abruptly, he dreams that he wakes up to find Arabs with knives in his hotel room, but soon becomes aware that he is dreaming, and drifts into dreaming of making love to a woman (presumably the hitch-hiker he picked up) in a German hotel instead.

4:41 AM (Sexual Revolution) is about him waking up in the middle of that dream and trying to make love to his wife, who promptly refuses and goes back to sleep. This seeds his next dream, involving a series of relationship problems which lead to him taking his family out to live in the country (The Remains of Our Love / Go Fishing), his wife falling in love with another man (For the First Time Today / Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin), and him getting cast off onto the highway and becoming a hitch-hiker himself (the title track).

The album comes to a head with Every Stranger's Eyes, one of the few songs that stands well by itself, which is about finding enlightenment in realising that everyone is just as lost as the protagonist (the titular line being "I recognise myself in every stranger's eyes"). He then realises the way to avoid the relationship problems he's just been dreaming about, and wakes up in time for the final track, where he reaches out to find that his wife is awake and still in bed with him.

I find this to be a better album, both conceptually and musically, than The Wall. It's certainly easier to relate to if you haven't been through the experiences of rockstardom that caused Pink Floyd to build their metaphorical wall in the '70s, and it has a much more positive finality to it. Add that to the fact that this is the last album Roger would record with his voice in decent shape, and you have one of the better solo records by a Floyd member. If you like late '70s Floyd, this album is a must-listen.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 20, 2015, 01:10:07 PM
Mason + Fenn
Profiles
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/profiles)

Released: 29 July 1985

Band

Nick Mason (drums, keyboards, percussion)
Rick Fenn (guitar, keyboards)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Craig Pruess (synth bass on "Malta")

David Gilmour (vocals on "Lie For a Lie")
Maggie Reilly (vocals on "Lie For a Lie")
Danny Peyronel (vocals on "Israel")

All tracks authored by Rick Fenn and Nick Mason, except where noted.

Side A

1. Malta (6:00)
2. Lie For a Lie (Fenn, Mason, Peyronel) (3:16)
3. Rhoda (3:22)
4. Profiles (parts I-II) (9:58)

Side B

1. Israel (Fenn, Peyronel) (3:30)
2. And the Address (2:45)
3. Mumbo Jumbo (3:53)
4. Zip Code (3:05)
5. Black Ice (3:37)
6. At the End of the Day (2:35)
7. Profiles (part III) (1:55)

Review

Nick's contribution to the ongoing stream of '80s synthpop has one major strong point that David and Rick (Wright)'s albums lack; it is almost entirely instrumental. Indeed, Lie For a Lie is the weakest track on the album, both as a result of the fairly amateurish composition, and because David's voice sounds like he just wants to get the singing out of the way so he can go have a fap. Aside from those three minutes of torture, though, this is a pretty solid record.

Malta and Rhoda are both delicate, yet powerful instrumentals in their own right, maintaining an intriguing blend of the kind of amateur synth sounds that could only come out of the '80s, along with Rick Fenn's guitar and Mel's saxophone. But it's the ten-minute Profiles that really makes side A for me.

I wouldn't have expected instrumental synthpop to be able to keep me interested for this long, but Mason and Fenn manage to pull it off by mixing and matching their instruments; the layering of weird percussive effects, synths, electric piano and even organ combines with this track's beautiful melodies to produce something that rivals and exceeds most of the other Floydians' solo projects of the era (and even much of the contemporary Floyd material as a band). Parts of this actually remind me of Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast, only played with synths, but don't let that description throw you off -- there's a lot more to this composition than you'll find on Alan's breakfast table.

Israel, the second lyrical track, is somewhat less weak than Lie For a Lie, partly due to the absence of David's exceptionally lazy-sounding '80s vocals, but it also just seems to be a better thought-out composition overall. It's nothing to write home about, especially in the middle of the '80s where it could blend right into a lot of what was on MTV at the time, but it's a pleasant listen.

Thankfully, side B only goes uphill from there. And the Address is extremely catchy, sounding something like Safety Dance performed by mid-'70s Led Zeppelin, albeit entirely instrumental. One cross-fade later, and suddenly I'm listening to smooth jazz, replete with bluesy solos from both guitar and what seems to be a sampled flute. By this point, I'm really really loving side B, but it seems like it's going to be a tall order to top Mumbo Jumbo with the remaining few tracks.

Zip Code is a decent attempt. This track is a -- well, I don't even know what it is. It's got lots of percussion and synth flying out of nowhere, combined with something that could either be a very distorted guitar solo or a very heavily mangled synth, topped off with the occasional sound effect racing its way across the stereo image. I'm at a loss to describe this any more succinctly, but it is probably the best use of the synthpop genre I've heard to date.

Black Ice continues the eerie blend of synthpop and hard rock, this time adding organ and saxophone as if to further make it difficult to put into words exactly what I'm hearing. Sadly, it's also the last really great track on the album; the closing couplet of tunes comes across as an over-thought attempt to end the album with a tone of finality, and seem to lack the fearsome creative energy that pervades the rest of the album.

There are a few tracks that don't really add much to this record, but really, this is one of the better Floyd solo records I've listened to so far. I suspect part of the reason for that result is Nick's relative lack of ego; he never tried to step out into the spotlight as much as Roger and David did, and was always willing to collaborate. Whatever the reason, the strange blend of rock and synthpop works extremely well here; well worth a listen for anyone.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 20, 2015, 01:11:26 PM
The more perceptive among you may have noticed that I've skipped something. I'll return to it soon; some things are harder to source than others, and I don't always want to hold up my reviews while I wait to be able to listen to a specific record.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 21, 2015, 03:41:48 AM
David Gilmour
David Gilmour Live 1984
Concert film

Recorded: 30 April 1984, Hammersmith Odeon, London
Released: September 1984

Band

David Gilmour (guitars, piano)
Mick Ralphs (guitar)
Gregg Dechart (keyboards)
Raphael Ravenscroft (saxophone, keyboards, percussion)
Mickey Feat (bass)
Chris Slade (drums)
Jody Linscott (percussion)

Roy Harper (guest vocals on "Short and Sweet", percussion on "Comfortably Numb")
Nick Mason (guest drums on "Comfortably Numb")

All tracks authored by David Gilmour, except where noted.

Songs included (in order of appearance)

Until We Sleep
All Lovers are Deranged (Gilmour, Pete Townshend)
There's No Way Out of Here (Ken Baker)
Short and Sweet (Gilmour, Harper)
Run Like Hell (Waters, Gilmour)
Out of the Blue
Blue Light
Murder
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)

Review

This film documents David's About Face tour, and most of the material here is taken from his solo albums. Most of these songs are also played as they appear on the albums, which means that most of what I've said about David Gilmour's solo albums thus far applies here too. I'll focus on the bits which are different for this review.

The first point of note is that after There's No Way Out of Here, David invites Roy Harper to join him on stage for the next song. Roy's first words are "is this my walk-on part in the war?"; a reference to his appearance on Wish You Were Here nine years prior, and undoubtedly also a reference to the problems going on between David and Roger. Roy seems to be a much more engaging performer than David, which livens up this version of Short and Sweet moreso than the album version.

Run Like Hell is dragged kicking and screaming into the '80s, with the synth solo being taken on a bright red keytar. From here, the band moves through three more straight renditions of boring songs, with the exception being the end of Blue Light. After the organ solo, the band all drops out except for Chris and Jody, who proceed to swap fours for a while (although Jody doesn't seem to do much except tap her bongos for her parts in the spotlight), and the band then gradually comes back in an instrument at a time. It's not a spectacular performance, but with a film this dull, beggars can't be choosers.

The band leaves the stage after Murder, and when they return for the encore, David says that Nick Mason will be joining them for the next song, and adds "better make it one he knows", to much cheering. Sure enough, the band then launches into a rendition of Comfortably Numb. This arrangement is clearly a precursor to the Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse versions, with the doctor's voice being made up of a harmony between Mickey and Gregg. It's entirely unmemorable except for the ending, where David takes one of his better Numb solos as the ending credits go by.

I won't say this film is bad, and it's probably better constructed than the individual albums its songs are taken from, so it would make a good introduction to David's solo work. But really, you're much better off watching Delicate Sound of Thunder if you want a good time.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on February 21, 2015, 10:09:23 AM
Pete Townshend
White City: A Novel
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/white)

Recorded: 1985
Released: 30 November 1985

Band

Pete Townshend (guitar)
Steve Barnacle (bass)
Mark Brzezicki (drums)
John Bundrick (keyboards)

Tony Butler (bass)
Peter Hope-Evans (harmonica)
David Gilmour (guitar)
Chucho Merchan (bass)
Pino Palladino (bass)
Simon Phillips (drums)
Clem Burke (drums)
Phil Chen (bass)

Jackie Challenor (backing vocals)
Mae McKenna (backing vocals)
Lorenza Johnson (backing vocals)
Emma Townshend (backing vocals)
Ewan Stewart (recitation)

Also featuring Kick Horns:
Simon Clarke
Roddy Lorimer
Dave Sanders
Tim Sanders
Peter Thoms

All tracks authored by Pete Townshend, except where noted.

Side A

1. Give Blood (5:44)
2. Brilliant Blues (3:06)
3. Face the Face (5:51)
4. Hiding Out (3:00)
5. Secondhand Love (4:12)

Side B

1. Crashing By Design (3:14)
2. I am Secure (4:00)
3. White City Fighting (Gilmour, Townshend) (4:40)
4. Come to Mama (4:40)

Review

This album reminds me of exactly why I stopped listening to The Who. Townshend's music consists mainly of repeating motifs that aren't particularly good to begin with, and his lyrics typically take the form of repeating phrases which do little to further the concept this album is supposed to have. The only track on side A that didn't leave me bored to tears was Face the Face, which is saved by a decent groove. However, Townshend's abilities are not what I'm here to critique.

The third track on side B, White City Fighting, was originally written for About Face. David asked both Pete Townshend and Roy Harper to provide lyrics, but ended up not using the material, and each of them used the piece themselves instead. I only intend to review this version, though, because it's the only one to feature David on guitar.

Unfortunately, this seems like it was excluded from About Face with good reason. This song makes Love On the Air look like a poetic masterpiece by comparison, and played here by Townshend's band, it sounds flatter and duller than even the worst material on David's album. I might come back and review Roy Harper's version for comparison, once I've had a chance to get the memory of this one out of my mind.

I'm already regretting wasting 38 minutes of my life on this tripe. Save yourself some brain cells and listen to The Division Bell instead.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on March 07, 2015, 01:33:19 PM
When the Wind Blows
Film (directed by Jimmy Murakami)

Released: 24 October 1986

All tracks authored by Roger Waters and performed by The Bleeding Heart Band, except where noted.

The Bleeding Heart Band

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
Jay Stapley (guitar)
John Gordon (bass)
Matt Irving (keyboards)
Nick Glennie-Smith (keyboards)
John Linwood (programming)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Freddie Krc (drums)

Clare Torry (backing vocals on "Towers of Faith")
Paul Carrack (keyboards and vocals on "Folded Flags")

Songs included
Taken from the film soundtrack listing. I am uncertain of the precise ordering in the film.

When the Wind Blows (David Bowie, Erdal Kızılçay)
 * Performed by David Bowie.
Facts and Figures (Hugh Cornwell)
 * Performed by Hugh Cornwell.
The Brazilian (Tony Banks, Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford)
 * Performed by Genesis.
What Have They Done? (Chris Difford, Glenn Tilbrook)
 * Performed by Squeeze.
The Shuffle (Paul Hardcastle)
 * Performed by Paul Hardcastle.
The Russian Missile
Towers of Faith
Hilda's Dream
The American Bomber
The Anderson Shelter
The British Submarine
The Attack
The Fall Out
Hilda's Hair
Folded Flags

Review

This is an animated drama that ended up being almost exactly what I expected for something Roger Waters was involved with in the '80s; a predictable and dull story about tragedies of war. Most of the music is incidental music, and the actual songs are typical Roger sob stories that would have been well placed on The Final Cut.

Without the scaffolding of a concept album as his modus operandi, Waters ends up producing nothing but crappy songs. Sadly, the film isn't that great either; it's a story of two incredibly boring people who get radiation sickness following a nuclear holocaust and die. The main redeeming feature of this film is that it seems like a step up after White City. Do not watch.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Saddam Hussein on March 07, 2015, 04:24:06 PM
Sounds kind of like a poor man's Grave of the Fireflies.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on March 08, 2015, 09:14:30 AM
Syd Barrett
The Peel Session
Studio EP
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/peel)

Recorded: 24 February 1970
Released: 25 January 1987

Band

Syd Barrett (guitar)
David Gilmour (bass, guitar, organ)
Jerry Shirley (percussion)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

Track listing

1. Terrapin (3:02)
2. Gigolo Aunt (3:35)
3. Baby Lemonade (2:37)
4. Effervescing Elephant (:57)
5. Two of a Kind (Richard Wright) (2:28)

Review

This is a collection of Syd Barrett recordings from 1970, released many years later, perhaps to fill the void left by Pink Floyd's temporary breakup in the '80s. Whatever the reason, these recordings provide an interesting glimpse into Syd's live sound; much more raw and chaotic than his studio albums, these recordings contain live-in-studio performances for the Top Gear radio show which lack the endless retakes and overdubs required to coalesce Syd's unpredictable '70s performances into coherent albums.

This is of interest mainly for its historical significance; aside from Two of a Kind, a fairly uninteresting tune which has its authorship disputed between Syd and Rick, these recordings are the same songs previously released on Syd's studio albums, just littered with more mistakes. A forgettable indulgence unless you're a hardcore Barrett fan.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on April 03, 2015, 03:46:47 PM
White of the Eye
Film (directed by Donald Cammell)

Released: 20 May 1988 (originally shown at Cannes Film Festival, 9 May 1987)

All tracks authored and performed by Nick Mason and Rick Fenn, except where noted.

Songs included
Taken from the film soundtrack listing. I am uncertain of the precise ordering in the film.

Intro
Jam
Murder Number One
Vesti La Guibba (Ruggero Leoncavallo)
 * Performed by Luciano Pavarotti.
Customized Stereo
In Bed at Day's End
You Sexy Thing (Errol Brown)
 * Performed by Hot Chocolate.
Green Onions (Booker T. Jones, Steve Cropper, Donald Dunn, Al Jackson)
 * Performed by Nick Mason, Rick Fenn and George Fenton.
Slim Jenkin's Joint (Jones, Cropper, Jackson, Lewis Steenberg)
 * Performed by Nick Mason, Rick Fenn and George Fenton.
Do You Still Hunt?
I Call That Hotel Home
The Grand Tour (Moras Wilson, Carmel Taylor, George Richey)
 * Performed by David Keith.
Why Me?
Peanut Butter
A Country Boy Can Survive (Hank Williams Jr.)
 * Performed by Hank Williams Jr.
Murder Number Two
Joanie
Want Some Soup Mom?
I Can't Believe You Done That
Puke
You Can't Kill What's Already Dead
Don't You Fuckin' Move Bitch
Mommy?
Danielle Gets the Key
Car-Chase
Psycho Killer
Malher's 2nd Symphony (Gustav Mahler)
 * Performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta.
Ten Years Gone

Review

I went into this completely uncertain of what to expect, both musically and cinematographically. On both counts, I was interested but not enthralled; this manages to be a decent film with a decent score, but nothing more than that.

The film is held back by a storyline that jumps back and forward in time, abruptly and sometimes in quick succession, without always being clear when events are occurring. Coupled with the fact that the characters have no clear motives for their actions, this makes them exceptionally difficult to relate to. Cammell seems content to lean on generic thriller tropes, including moderately graphic murder scenes, to keep the viewer interested rather than building meaningful characters and dialogues.

Musically, White of the Eye is slightly stronger, with more of the interesting synth and guitar ditties we heard on Profiles, with varying appropriateness for the film's mood. The real tragedy here is that Mason and Fenn don't seem to have progressed beyond their work on Profiles; as well-constructed as the music is, they seem to be a one-trick band, which is probably why this would be their last collaboration of any significance. Still, the short-lived musical duo managed to maintain my interest in the film even during the story's less captive moments.

I'm not sure whether to recommend this or not. I'm glad I watched it, and it's certainly better than any of the other feature films I've reviewed in this thread (with the exception of Zabriskie Point), but at the same time it fails to present as much more than a generic thriller. It's probably worth a watch if you're into films; otherwise, don't bother.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on April 03, 2015, 07:03:10 PM
Roger Waters
Radio K.A.O.S.
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/kaos)

Recorded: October - December 1986
Released: 15 June 1987

The Bleeding Heart Band

Roger Waters (guitar, bass, shakuhachi, keyboards)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Jay Stapley (guitar)
Ian Ritchie (keyboards, saxophone, programming)
Graham Broad (drums, percussion)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
John Phirkell (trumpet)
Peter Thoms (trombone)

Suzanne Rhatigan (backing vocals)
Katie Kissoon (backing vocals)
Doreen Chanter (backing vocals)
Madeline Bell (backing vocals)
Steve Langer (backing vocals)
Vicki Brown (backing vocals)

Nick Glennie-Smith (synth on "The Powers That Be")
Matt Irving (organ on "The Powers That Be")
John Lingwood (drums on "The Powers That Be")
Paul Carrack (vocals on "The Powers That Be")

Clare Torry (vocals on "Home" and "Four Minutes")

Also featuring the Pontardoulais Male Voice Choir, led by Noel Davis and arranged by Eric Jones.

Characters
Jim Ladd as Jim the radio host
BBC Master computer as Billy
Margaret Thatcher as herself (sampled)

Californian Weirdos
Shelley Ladd
Jack Snyder
Ron Weldy
J J Jackson
Jim Rogers
John Taylor

All tracks authored by Roger Waters.

Side A

1. Radio Waves (4:58)
2. Who Needs Information (5:55)
3. Me or Him (5:23)
4. The Powers That Be (4:36)

Side B

1. Sunset Strip (4:45)
2. Home (6:00)
3. Four Minutes (4:00)
4. The Tide is Turning (After Live Aid) (5:43)

Review

It's rare that I criticise a Roger Waters album for not being long enough, but that's exactly the main problem with this record. The amount of material used to fill a single LP just isn't sufficient to tell Billy's story in full, which is perhaps why the liner notes expand on some of the finer details. There were other songs written for the album that got scrapped but were included in the tour, and it didn't help that Roger added a happy ending at EMI's insistence that Four Minutes was too bleak, forcing additional material to be culled to make room for The Tide is Turning.

That aside, this is Roger's best work in a long time. I prefer it to Pros and Cons, The Final Cut and even The Wall. That's no doubt partly down to the cheesy '80s synths and drum sequencing, but Roger also (barring aforementioned problems with length) presents a much clearer and more interesting concept than any of those previous works. The album is presented as a fictional radio station (for which it is named), hosted by Jim Ladd, who narrates throughout the album. Much of the narration takes place while Billy (a cripple who is able to speak over the phone using speech synthesis) is on the line, and the interplay between those two characters forms the foundation for the plot.

The first few tracks deal with Billy's history and situation; at home in Wales, his brother Benny gets into trouble with the law for a crime he didn't commit and ends up in prison. Billy then moves to California, where he calls into a local radio station, marking the start of the album. Like much of the album, this part of the story is inspired by real-life events in the mid-'80s; the crime for which Benny is convicted is based on the manslaughter of David Wilkie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_David_Wilkie) by striking Welsh miners.

From The Powers That Be onwards, the album gets much more directly political, leading up to what would (were it not for EMI's objections) have been the climactic ending, Four Minutes. At the start of Four Minutes, Billy informs Jim that "they pressed the big red button" and that there will be a nuclear holocaust in four minutes' time. The end comes with a sample of Margaret Thatcher announcing that "our own independent nuclear deterrent has helped to keep the peace for nearly forty years", just as the nukes go off.

Musically, this is some of Roger's most varied solo work. While it doesn't have the depth of anything his former bandmates had released, each of these songs stands quite well on its own, in stark contrast with the strongly album-focused nature of Pros and Cons. He also seems to have left behind the classic Floyd sound, allowing his backing musicians to find their own groove, which helps a lot. For example, The Powers That Be has some catchy interplay between the horns and guitars during the chorus which is distinctively unFloydlike, and helps to add character and distinctiveness to the album.

The Tide is Turning quite obviously doesn't belong here, and is highly unusual for Roger in that it has a very positive outlook on current events, having been inspired by the charity performances at Live Aid. The song suggests that the social climate is changing to favour peace and cooperation over war; Roger makes the bold claim that Live Aid "wrested technology's sword from the hands of the warlords". It comes across as one of the weaker tracks on the album, partly because it just doesn't add anything to the story.

This album certainly isn't without its flaws, but it represents a calibre of composition and performance we haven't seen from Roger in the past decade. The story doesn't involve Roger dramaticising his own life as the protagonist for once, and instead he focuses on real issues to create a relevant commentary on then-current events. Coupled with the solid songwriting and steady backing band, this is an album that every Pink Floyd fan should hear.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on April 04, 2015, 03:21:27 PM
Syd Barrett
Opel
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/opel)

Recorded: 1968-1970
Released: 17 October 1988

All tracks performed solo by Syd Barrett, except "Clowns and Jugglers", featuring:

Mike Ratledge (organ)
Hugh Hopper (bass)
Robert Wyatt (drums)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

Side A

1. Opel (6:26)
2. Clowns and Jugglers (Octopus) (3:27)
3. Rats (3:00)
4. Golden Hair (Barrett, James Joyce) (1:44)
5. Dolly Rocker (3:01)
6. Word Song (3:19)
7. Wined and Dined (3:03)

Side B

1. Swan Lee (Silas Lang) (3:13)
2. Birdie Hop (2:30)
3. Let's Split (2:23)
4. Lanky (Part One) (5:32)
5. Wouldn't You Miss Me (Dark Globe) (3:00)
6. Milky Way (3:07)
7. Golden Hair (instrumental version) (1:56)

Review

Yet another collection of early Syd recordings, this one mainly consists of just Syd playing guitar and singing. The alternate versions of previously released songs are generally better done elsewhere; exceptions being Clowns and Jugglers and the instrumental version of Golden Hair, which are both fantastic on this release. But it's the new material that really sets this album apart.

Most of the new songs on side A are fairly boring, evidently suffering from the lack of overdubs that the material included on The Madcap Laughs and Barrett would later accrue. The title track is interesting while Syd is singing, but the verses are separated by lengthy portions of strummed chords. Dolly Rocker isn't much better, with Word Song being a highlight of side A; it just consists of Syd saying various words while strumming the same chord repeatedly, which I find entertaining in spite of its inanity.

Side B brings a huge improvement right from the start, with Swan Lee being one of the best Syd songs I've yet heard; an exemplary presentation of Syd's inimitable eccentric rock 'n' roll. The next major highlight is Lanky, which is a lengthy instrumental consisting entirely (it would appear) of improvisation; parts of it sound a lot like the midsection of Interstellar Overdrive, albeit with more percussion and less organ. Milky Way, as the final new song on the record, doesn't disappoint either.

Unmistakeably a Barrett album, and with all the standard flaws and caveats that come with his unhinged post-Floyd career, this has more variety than Madcap and more soul than Barrett. Overall, I'd rate it as on par with those releases, and definitely better than The Peel Sessions. A must-hear for any Syd fan.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on April 11, 2015, 10:45:49 AM
Roger Waters
Amused to Death
Studio CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/amused)

Recorded: 1988-1992
Released: 7 September 1992

Band

Roger Waters (bass, synth, guitar)
Jeff Beck (guitar)
Geoff Whitehorn (guitar)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Tim Pierce (guitar)
B.J. Cole (guitar)
Steve Lukather (guitar)
Rick DiFonso (guitar)
Bruce Gaitsch (guitar)
Patrick Leonard (keyboards, programming)
John "Rabbit" Bundrick (organ)
James Johnston (bass)
Randy Jackson (bass)
John Pierce (bass)
John Patitucci (bass)
Graham Broad (drums)
Denny Fongheiser (drums)
Jeff Porcaro (drums)
Brian Macleod (snare, hi-hat)
Steve Sidwell (cornet)
Luis Conte (percussion)

Additional vocalists

Marv Albert
Katie Kissoon
Doreen Chanter
N'Dea Davenport
Natalie Jackson
P.P. Arnold
Lynn Fiddmont-Linsey
Jessica Leonard
Jordan Leonard
Don Henley
Jon Joyce
Stan Farber
Jim Haas
Rita Coolidge
Alf Razzell

Also featuring Guo Yi and the Peking Brothers (dulcimer, lute, zhen, oboe, bass).

All tracks authored by Roger Waters.

Track listing

1. The Ballad of Bill Hubbard (4:19)
2. What God Wants (part I) (6:00)
3. Perfect Sense (part I) (4:16)
4. Perfect Sense (part II) (2:50)
5. The Bravery of Being Out of Range (4:43)
6. Late Home Tonight (part I) (4:00)
7. Late Home Tonight (part II) (2:13)
8. Too Much Rope (5:47)
9. What God Wants (part II) (3:41)
10. What God Wants (part III) (4:08)
11. Watching TV (6:07)
12. Three Wishes (6:50)
13. It's a Miracle (8:30)
14. Amused to Death (9:06)

Review

I'm quite ambivalent when it comes to this album. On the one hand, it has the direct, biting lyrics Roger used to deliver without fail in the '70s, and the addition of Jeff Beck on guitar injects these songs with a dimension of musicianship that has been missing ever since The Wall. On the other hand, Roger seems to have developed little as a musician, only occasionally producing a song that couldn't be mistaken for something straight off Wish You Were Here or The Wall. Still, I would rate this as being Roger's best solo album yet, and most certainly better than The Wall.

The main underlying concept of the album is the idea that television is a double-edged sword; that as powerful a medium it can be for good, so too is it a powerful weapon of evil. Accompanying that are the usual Roger Waters themes of war, religion, commercialism and globalisation, and the damage each one can do to society. The lyrics are very heavy on symbolism; throughout the album, "the monkey" is used to represent the young and innocent part of ourselves which is gradually diminished by all of these influences; in What God Wants (part III), it is said that "the monkey in the corner [is] slowly drifting out of range".

The opening track, very unusually for a Roger Waters album, is instrumental. It does have the voice of Alfred Razzell, a World War I veteran, taken from a documentary in which he recounts being forced to abandon a fellow soldier, Bill Hubbard, in no-man's land. However, there are no sung lyrics, and the music is very reminiscent of the start of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, with full-bodied synth chords and Jeff Beck performing a guitar solo over the top.

In very typical Waters style, the opening instrumental abruptly cuts, with the sound of a television changing channels, to a sample of a young boy saying "I don't mind about the war, that's one of the things I like to watch, if it's a war going on". This heralds the start of What God Wants, a three-part song which, by dealing with both the harmful nature of religion (part I) and commercialism (part II), draws a connection between the two, in that both are revered and worshipped by many people incapable of thinking outside those paradigms.

Perfect Sense serves to deliver a back story for the aforementioned monkey symbol. It begins with the very dawn of civilisation ("the monkey sat on a pile of stones, and he stared at the broken bone in his hand"); a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey, from which Roger wanted to include the famous "stop, Dave" monologue at the beginning of the song. Stanley Kubrick, however, refused permission for Roger to sample the film, and so it was replaced with a backwards message expressing Roger's frustration with the situation.

Continuing with the story being told in Perfect Sense, the monkey is revealed to have been presented with a series of confusing lectures and given "command of a nuclear submarine and [sent] back in search of the Garden of Eden". What Roger seems to be saying here is that as young minds grow and mature, they are preyed upon by the commercial giants, especially in terms of propaganda shown on television as they grow up. The second part of Perfect Sense addresses this point far more directly, claiming that everything that has happened "makes perfect sense, expressed in dollars and cents, pounds, shillings and pence".

The Bravery of Being Out of Range and Late Home Tonight are a return to the self-indulgent, war-oriented Roger we know and love. The former is a commentary on the bravery (of lack thereof) shown by the US military when they bomb targets that can't possibly fire back with anything capable of reaching the people in charge, with a direct reference (though not by name) to George H. W. Bush, then president of the USA. The latter tells a more personal story of the 1986 US air strike against Libya, with Roger as narrator taking on the perspective of various individuals (one not directly involved in the strike, but watching it on TV; one pilot involved in the strike; and one victim).

Too Much Rope is where this album begins to show its true potential. Until now, Roger's voice has been a mere shadow of what it was on The Wall and Pros and Cons, but his performance on this track, while still noticeably worse than his prime, is far better than I remembered from my last listening. It's no Hey You, but he manages to hit some pretty powerful high notes here. Likewise, while the composition isn't mind-blowing, it's one of the few songs on the album that manages to set itself apart from Roger's earlier work with Floyd. Definitely a high point.

Watching TV is another high point, and my overall favourite track. Musically, it's very unusual for Roger, bordering on country rock. Indeed, the vocals are sung in harmony by Roger and Don Henley (of Eagles fame), itself one of very few instances I can recall where Roger harmonises with anyone for the lead vocal. But lyrically, I would rate this song as among Roger's best work.

It starts out as a very personal, melancholy story about losing a loved one in the Tiananmen Square massacre, with the protagonist giving a very detailed, intimate description of the person. As the song goes on, it is gradually revealed that the source of grief (who is consistently referred to as "my sister") is actually a protester whose death happened to be captured on TV ("she's the one in fifty million who can help us to be free, because she died on TV"). It's an extremely effective way of communicating what is at once the powerful informative capacity of television and its tendency to encourage viewers to shut out all else from their mind while watching.

Three Wishes, while it is another powerful song, introduces a fantasy element that doesn't seem to belong on this album; it revolves around finding a genie, making three wishes, and then remembering a long lost one ("who you've just learned to miss") and being too late to bring them back. It's a Miracle brings us crashing back down to the album's theme of commercialism, with various aspects of modern globalisation (from McDonald's in Tibet to a benevolent doctor in Manhattan) being described as miraculous. Roger also can't seem to resist taking a shot at Andrew Lloyd Webber; "Lloyd Webber's awful stuff runs for years [...] then the piano lid comes down and breaks his fucking fingers", an event which is also claimed to be a miracle.

The final track, Amused to Death, brings a finality to the concept in a distinctively Waters-esque fashion. Despite another cheap shot (this time at Nick Mason's racing hobby), Roger brings the album's story to a close by describing the exhaustion of the resources which feed commercialism ("we ate our last few jars of caviar"), and hypothesising that aliens who stumble upon the dead human race huddled around their television sets would be baffled as to what had caused their extinction. Finally, a short sample of Alfred Razzell closes the album in the same vein as it is opened, with him relaying his own sense of finality upon seeing Bill Hubbard's name on a list of missing soldiers at a war memorial many years after the war was over.

This album is far from perfect, but given the extremely inconsistent nature of Floyd members' solo works, coupled with Roger's tendency to go way overboard in his self-indulgence, it turned out to be far better than I might have hoped for. The weaker points that don't add anything new to the catalogue (The Ballad of Bill Hubbard, The Bravery of Being Out of Range) are nicely balanced by the more distinctive, challenging numbers (Too Much Rope, Watching TV) to create an album that is pretty damn good, all things considered.

Roger himself has characterised this album as the third installment in a set with The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. I'm not sure I'd agree with that assessment, but it's good enough that if you enjoy those two, you really ought to give this a listen and make up your own mind.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on June 06, 2015, 07:42:19 AM
Richard Wright
Broken China
Studio album
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/china)

Recorded: 1996
Released: 26 November 1996

Band

Richard Wright (keyboards, programming)
Anthony Moore (programming)
Tim Renwick (guitar)
Dominic Miller (guitar)
Steven Bolton (guitar)
Pino Palladino (bass)
Manu Katché (drums)

Sian Bell (cello)
Kate St. John (oboe, cor anglais)
Maz Palladino (backing vocals)

Sinead O'Connor (lead vocals on "Reaching for the Rail" and "Breakthrough")

All tracks authored by Richard Wright, except where noted.

Side A

1. Breaking Water (Wright, Anthony Moore) (2:28)
2. Night of a Thousand Furry Toys (Wright, Moore) (4:22)
3. Hidden Fear (Wright, Gerry Gordon) (3:28)
4. Runaway (Moore) (4:00)

Side B

1. Unfair Ground (2:21)
2. Satellite (4:06)
3. Woman of Custom (Moore) (3:44)
4. Interlude (1:16)

Side C

1. Black Cloud (3:19)
2. Far From the Harbour Wall (Wright, Moore) (6:19)
3. Drowning (1:38)
4. Reaching for the Rail (Wright, Moore) (6:30)

Side D

1. Blue Room in Venice (Wright, Gordon) (2:47)
2. Sweet July (4:13)
3. Along the Shoreline (Wright, Moore) (4:36)
4. Breakthrough (Wright, Moore) (4:19)

Review

Broken China is a concept album about Rick's then-wife Mildred's depression. It has a much clearer focus and a much darker atmosphere than either Wet Dream or Identity, and is perhaps the best representation of Rick's solo capabilities. Ambience and mood are the focal points here, not melody, and the tracks that do have lyrics seem to use them to enhance the mood rather than as a driving force in themselves.

Even on the CD release, the album is clearly divided into four parts corresponding to the sides on the LP, which is why I've divided the track listing that way. The first part is certainly the darkest, the ambient instrumental bookends being given some more explicit direction from the lyrical material in the midsection. Night of a Thousand Furry Toys is one of the few tracks on the album which approaches conventional pop song structure, while Rick recites Hidden Fear's lyrics more like poetry than music. The delicate balance between ambience, rhythm, melody and lyrics leaves me wanting for nothing more, and is representative of the album as a whole.

Side B is mostly instrumental, save for Woman of Custom, and it speaks volumes for Rick's musicianship that the instrumental tracks say far more than Anthony Moore's lyrics. Unfair Ground and Satellite in particular make a fantastic pair, building up tension after the gloomy conclusion to side A. The short track Interlude finishes the album on a final note of suspense; a marked contrast from the sense of hopelessness imparted by Runaway at the end of Side A.

The recovery begins in Side C, illustrated with the crude but effective imagery of a person drowning. The tracks' titles are sufficient to give a sense of progress, as the protagonist starts out "Far From the Harbour Wall" and ends up "Reaching for the Rail". I enjoyed this part less than the others, primarily due to its increased lyrical focus, which has never been Rick's strong point, even when it's someone else writing the lyrics for him. Reaching for the Rail, sung by both Rick and Sinead O'Connor, ends with a derisive reference to attempts at medication; in this case, the ominous instrumentation reveals the true intent of the words.

The final part brings us to a resolution, starting with a focus on human interaction; a stark contrast from the isolation and medication referred to previously. Sweet July is a particularly masterful instrumental, somehow managing to convey the paradox of simultaneous hope and despair that accompanies depression at times. This leads us into Along the Shoreline, which all but concludes the narrative, reusing the drowning imagery from Side C to finalise the journey to recovery.

The album's final track, "Breakthrough", serves as both an epilogue and an anthem of sorts for depression. As someone who suffers from depression myself, the lyrics to this four-minute song present (at least from my experience) a very direct and profound summary of the difficulties involved, many of which have been explored instrumentally in other parts of the album. Last time I listened to this was many years ago, and this speaks to me now a lot more than it did back then.

This album is both a fantastic musical work and a document of some of the challenges involved in battling depression. If you're into ambient music, you'll probably enjoy this either way, but if you suffer from or have suffered from depression, you're likely to get a whole lot more out of it. I didn't appreciate this album for what it was until I came back to it now, with the experiences of the past few years as context. This is a must-listen.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on June 07, 2015, 03:53:42 PM
The Legend of 1900
(aka la Leggenda del Pianista sull'Oceano)
Film (directed by Giuseppe Tornatore)

Released: 28 October 1998

All tracks authored by Ennio Morricone, except where noted.

Songs included
Taken from the film soundtrack listing.

Playing Love
The Legend of the Pianist On the Ocean
The Crisis
Peacherine Rag
A Goodbye To Friends
Study For Three Hands
Tarantella In 3rd Class
Enduring Movement
Police
Trailer
Thanks Danny
A Mozart Reincarnated
Child
Magic Waltz (Amedeo Tommasi)
The Goodbye Between Nineteen Hundred and Max
Goodbye Duet
Nineteen Hundred's Madness No. 1
Danny's Blues
Second Crisis
The Crave
Nocturne With No Moon
Before the End
Playing Love
Ships and Snow
Nineteen Hundred's Madness No. 2
I Can and Then
Silent Goodbye
5 Portraits
Lost Boys Calling (Roger Waters, Morricone)

Review

Either I'm being very inattentive, or the Roger Waters song on the soundtrack isn't actually included in the film. I did manage to find it on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9M4-myfudU), and it's pretty uninspired, even for Roger. As such, this review is going to have absolutely nothing to do with Pink Floyd.

Despite narrowly avoiding wanky art film territory at times, Tornatore has created a gripping tragedy filled with biting symbolism. Admittedly, a large part of my enjoyment of this film is the romanticism of 19th-century behemoth ocean steamers, one of which is as much the star of the film as Novecento, as he is called in the film's Italian credits. Born, raised and died on a ship, his life is intertwined with the ship's own fortunes through the first half of the 20th century.

I won't even attempt to go into all the details of the plot here, but this film is at once a document of 20th-century society and a critic of it. Through the eyes of a character who never once set foot on land during his 45-odd years, we gain a unique perspective on some of the more ludicrous aspects of the lives of "land people", as he calls them. Conversely, through his conversations with passengers in the late 1920s when most of the film is set, we learn that he is deaf to "the voice of the ocean", as one passenger puts it. He longs to see the ocean from the land, but is unable to overcome his own unwillingness to venture off the ship, which is the real tragedy of the story.

I will most definitely be watching this again at some point, as the density of imagery was a bit much to take in all in one sitting. Even so, I can give this the highest of recommendations. It's not Pink Floyd, but it's good.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on June 13, 2015, 05:49:17 PM
Roger Waters
In the Flesh - Live
Concert film (directed by Ernie Fritz)

Recorded: 27 June 2000, Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon
Released: 5 December 2000

Band

Roger Waters (guitar, bass)
Doyle Bramhall II (guitar)
Snowy White (guitar)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar, bass)
Jon Carin (keyboards, lap steel, acoustic guitar)
Andy Wallace (keyboards)
Norbert Stachel (saxophone on "Set the Controls" and "Money")
Graham Broad (drums)

Katie Kissoon (backing vocals)
P. P. Arnold (backing vocals)
Susannah Melvoin (backing vocals)

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.

Songs included (in order of appearance)

In the Flesh
The Happiest Days of Our Lives
Another Brick In the Wall (part II)
Mother
Get Your Filthy Hands Off My Desert
Southampton Dock
Pigs On the Wing (part I)
Dogs (Waters, Gilmour)
Welcome To the Machine
Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I, II, IV, VI and VIII) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun
Speak To Me (Mason)
Breathe (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
Time (Waters, Gilmour, Wright, Mason)
 * Includes a reprise of "Breathe".
Money
5:06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes)
Perfect Sense (parts I and II)
The Bravery of Being Out of Range
It's a Miracle
Amused To Death
Brain Damage
Eclipse
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)
Each Small Candle

Review

This film, coincidentally recorded on my 11th birthday, documents Roger's In the Flesh tour. While it wasn't in support of any particular album, he was aiming to showcase Amused To Death, which never had its own tour. The four Amused songs are mixed in with a selection from all of his other albums, both with Pink Floyd and solo, since The Dark Side of the Moon. There is also one from A Saucerful of Secrets, and one previously unreleased. A pretty balanced set list all around.

The band is pretty solid, with a good mix of old and new blood. Snowy White is the most seasoned Floydian, having worked with the band as early as Animals. Jon Carin has joined Roger after his work with Gilmour-led Floyd, and rejoining Roger after working with him on K.A.O.S. are Andy Fairweather Low, Graham Broad and Katie Kissoon (who also appeared on Pros and Cons). P. P. Arnold had previously appeared on Amused To Death, while Doyle Bramhall II, Andy Wallace, Norbert Stachel and Susannah Melvoin are the true newcomers.

As usual, Roger has selected the most boring guitar player to play most of the lead parts, which for this tour is Doyle Bramhall II. The most interesting feature of his guitar playing is that he plays a right-handed guitar in left-handed style, so that the strings are the wrong way around. You can hear his chords being strummed from highest to lowest at times as a result. Thankfully, Snowy White also gets his fair share of lead parts, with Andy Fairweather Low also having a few moments in the spotlight.

The first few pieces are fairly routine, without much deviation from the album versions. The exception is Another Brick In the Wall, which somehow manages to sound even more boring here than it does on The Wall. The selections from The Final Cut are somewhat bizarre, as both Filthy Hands and Southampton Dock serve as little more than filler on that album. Something like The Fletcher Memorial Home would have fit in far better.

Things take a serious turn for the better once Roger picks up an acoustic guitar to play Pigs On the Wing. The band here recreates the entire side A of Animals, and the contribution Gilmour made to the Pink Floyd sound was never quite so appreciated as it is here. Clocking in at over 16 minutes, this version of Dogs features Doyle and Snowy harmonising together on the powerful guitar sections, looking very symmetrical with Doyle holding his guitar left-handed. Also, during the keyboard solo, Roger, Doyle, Snowy and Andy F all partake in a game of poker on stage while Graham, Jon and Andy W keep the song going and the irrelevant ladies watch from afar while sipping cocktails.

The Wish You Were Here section is mainly played as on the album, although Welcome To the Machine has a more steady beat, given the band's inability to rely so much on studio effects. I also find it interesting that Roger's arrangement of Shine On is much better than David's was for Pulse, due to a combination of Roger being much better at singing the lead vocal than David is, and stepping back to allow his band members some kickass improv during part VI (which segues in somewhat jarringly from the end of part IV).

Those part VI solos are one of the highlights of the entire film, with Jon Carin taking two solos (first on synth, then lap steel), followed by Doyle Bramhall II on guitar. Finally, Snowy White steps up and seems to challenge Doyle's tactics of relying on his chops to disguise his lack of talent by opening with a single, long note that says more than Doyle's entire solo. The segue into part VII, heralding the final verse, is just as powerful as on the album. This may be my all-time favourite Shine On live arrangement.

Pulling another rabbit out of his hat, or perhaps Snowy White's hat, Roger decides to bring back an old favourite of his that never quite did anything for me back in the '60s. Set the Controls has been transformed from psychedelic wankfest into Eastern-influenced rock 'n' roll, and while Norbert Stachel's sax solo seems kind of pointless, Snowy White livens up the piece with a very interesting and unexpected guitar solo. This is, without qualification, my favourite version of this song.

Next up comes the first of the Dark Side selections, which couldn't be more routine. Roger takes lead vocal on Time, a somewhat questionable decision, but ultimately it doesn't matter very much because the arrangement fails to produce anything of value anyway. The one high point is that Andy Fairweather Low takes a guitar solo in Money which can only be described as "explosive blues", played in that distinctive rhythm guitarist style that Lennon uses on "The End". Likewise for the Amused To Death section; Roger might as well have just put on the album and walked off stage for a while.

Brain Damage/Eclipse is another story. While it's still played very faithfully to the album version, it's noteworthy because it's substantially better than the Pulse version, on which David sounds like he's thinking about what to eat for lunch instead of focusing on the music. By contrast, you can tell that Roger is immediately engaged with the theme of these lyrics, and that makes all the difference.

The show finishes up with a better-than-average rendition of Comfortably Numb, made worthwhile for the guitar duel between Doyle and Snowy at the end (Snowy wins, of course). Then we get a horrific preview of the direction Roger's career is going in; Each Small Candle is a newly written song, in which Roger has discovered that if he repeats the same phrases and riffs over and over for nine minutes instead of three or four, he can bore even more people to sleep before the song finishes.

This performance is very inconsistent. When it's good, it's some of the best work Roger has released solo, but when it's bad, it's like The Final Cut all over again. This probably isn't worthwhile unless you already know you like the material being played, but if you are a Pink Floyd fan, it is most certainly essential. I enjoyed it.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on July 05, 2015, 10:37:48 AM
Roger Waters
Flickering Flame: The Solo Years Volume 1
Compilation CD
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/flickering)

Recorded: 1983-2001
Released: 13 May 2002

Band

Roger Waters (bass, guitar)
Andy Fairweather Low (guitar)
Snowy White (guitar)
Doyle Bramhall II (guitar)
Eric Clapton (guitar)
Geoff Whitehorn (guitar)
Steven Lukather (guitar)
Jay Stapely (guitar)
Clem Clempson (guitar)
Michael Kamen (keyboards)
Jon Carin (keyboards)
Patrick Leonard (keyboards)
Andy Wallace (keyboards)
Ian Ritchie (keyboards, programming)
Andy Bown (organ, guitar)
Matt Irving (keyboards)
John Linwood (programming)
James Johnson (bass)
John Gordon (bass)
Graham Broad (drums)
Andy Newmark (drums)
Freddie KRC (drums)
Luis Conte (percussion)
Ray Cooper (percussion)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Ian Ritchie (saxophone)
Raphael Ravenscroft (horns)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
John Phirkell (trumpet)
Peter Thoms (trombone)
Kevin Flanagan (horns)
Vic Sullivan (horns)
Katie Kissoon (backing vocals)
Doreen Chanter (backing vocals)
P. P. Arnold (backing vocals)
Suzannah Melvoin (backing vocals)
Madeline Bell (backing vocals)
Suzanne Rhatigan (backing vocals)
Clare Torry (backing vocals)

Also featuring the National Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Kamen.

All tracks authored by Roger Waters, except where noted.

Track listing

1. Knockin' on Heaven's Door (Bob Dylan) (4:06)
  * Originally from the film The Dybbuk of the Holy Apple Field (1998).
2. Too Much Rope (5:12)
  * Originally released on Amused To Death (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg66283#msg66283).
3. The Tide is Turning (5:24)
  * Originally released on Radio K.A.O.S. (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg65032#msg65032).
4. Perfect Sense (parts I and II) (7:22)
  * Originally released on In the Flesh - Live (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg71688#msg71688).
5. Three Wishes (6:49)
  * Originally released on Amused To Death (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg66283#msg66283).
6. 5:06 AM (Every Stranger's Eyes) (4:47)
  * Originally released on The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg58990#msg58990).
7. Who Needs Information (5:55)
  * Originally released on Radio K.A.O.S. (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg65032#msg65032).
8. Each Small Candle (8:34)
  * Originally released on In the Flesh - Live (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg71688#msg71688).
9. Flickering Flame [new demo] (6:45)
  * Previously unreleased.
10. Towers of Faith (6:52)
  * Originally from the film When the Wind Blows (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62024#msg62024).
11. Radio Waves (4:31)
  * Originally released on Radio K.A.O.S. (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg65032#msg65032).
12. Lost Boys Calling [original demo] (Ennio Morricone, Waters) (4:06)
  * Finished version used in the film The Legend of 1900 (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg70894#msg70894).

Review

This sorry excuse for a compilation album opens with a cover of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" so dull and unimaginative that it makes me consider doing just that. Knowing how into the concept album shtick Roger is, I was at least hoping that the remainder of the album would come across as a coherent whole. Instead, it appears to be a randomly selected and sequenced array of tracks from his various solo albums, with awkward crossfades in between. The only reason those crossfades work at all is that Roger likes to drag out the start and end of his songs with ambient sound effects.

The title track, Flickering Flame, is an explosive failure of an attempt at country music, with Roger putting on one of the most hilariously awkward Southern American accents I've ever heard. It seems as if he's trying to outdo his own worst effort with every new song; as catastrophes go, this blows Each Small Candle right out of the water. Somehow, he manages to keep it going for nearly 7 minutes, which just happen to also be among the most painful minutes of my life.

This is the worst album I've reviewed yet. If you find a copy, buy it and destroy it. You'll be doing humanity a service.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: EnigmaZV on July 05, 2015, 08:21:45 PM
Usually Volume 1 has all the good stuff on it. Good luck with Volume 2! If there even is a volume 2.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on July 25, 2015, 03:21:12 PM
David Gilmour
David Gilmour In Concert
Concert film

Recorded: 22 June 2001 and January 2002, Royal Festival Hall, London
Released: October 2002

Band

David Gilmour (guitar)
Neill MacColl (guitar)
Michael Kamen (piano, English horn)
Chucho Merchán (double bass)
Nic France (drums)
Caroline Dale (cello)
Dick Parry (saxophone)

Sam Brown (backing vocals, choir leader)
Chris Ballin (backing vocals)
Pete Brown (backing vocals)
Margo Buchanan (backing vocals)
Claudia Fontaine (backing vocals)
Michelle John Douglas (backing vocals)
Sonia Jones (backing vocals)
Carol Kenyon (backing vocals)
David Laudat (backing vocals)
Durga McBroom (backing vocals)
Aitch McRobbie (backing vocals)
Beverli Skeete (backing vocals)

Robert Wyatt (vocals on 2001 "Comfortably Numb")
Richard Wright (vocals on "Breakthrough", keyboards on "Breakthrough" and 2002 "Comfortably Numb")
Bob Geldof (vocals on 2002 "Comfortably Numb")

2001 Meltdown Festival songs

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts I-II, IV, V) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
Terrapin (Barrett)
Fat Old Sun (Gilmour)
Coming Back To Life (Gilmour)
High Hopes (Gilmour, Polly Samson)
Je crois entendre encore (Georges Bizet)
Smile (Gilmour, Samson)
Wish You Were Here (Waters, Gilmour)
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)
Dimming of the Day (Richard Thompson)
Shine On You Crazy Diamond (parts VI-VII) (Waters, Gilmour, Wright)
A Great Day for Freedom (Gilmour, Samson)
Hushabye Mountain (Robert B. Sherman, Richard M. Sherman)

2002 songs

Dominoes (Barrett)
Breakthrough (Wright, Anthony Moore)
Comfortably Numb (Waters, Gilmour)

Review

Given David Gilmour's track record with solo releases, this was a lot better than I expected. In large part, the calibre of this release comes down to abandoning the cliche Floyd "let's give everyone huge amplifiers and overpowered spotlights" approach and going for a more relaxed, acoustic feel, but the more varied set list also plays a part. David probably felt he could branch out a bit more, given that he wasn't performing in support of an album.

Right from the opening track, it's evident that this isn't going to be Yet Another Floydian Concert. The arrangement of the first half of Shine On is almost entirely acoustic, and almost entirely performed solo by Gilmour; no backing vocals, no drums, no keyboards, and with the opening drone created using a pedal that sustains his chords. The only other performer on this song is Dick Parry, taking his usual saxophone solo. Modulo a bit of excessive blues wankery at the start, this arrangement works incredibly well, and certainly sets itself apart from the tried and tested "rock arena" approach.

Gilmour throws in a Syd Barrett classic for good measure, still played in minimal acoustic style, before turning things up a notch for Fat Old Sun as a dozen or so backing vocalists and an additional guitarist come on stage. Describing it as a "blast from the past", this throwback to a much-neglected portion of Floyd's historical catalogue presents another way for this film to distinguish itself from its predecessors.

The slow buildup of Coming Back To Life is used as a means to gradually bring more instruments into the fold. This piece starts out with just Gilmour and his guitar, but by the time his guitar solo comes around, the band is in full swing. This is perhaps my favourite version of this tune, and its placement within the concert couldn't be better chosen.

The remainder of the 2001 material is made up of a healthy mix of classic Floyd, Division Bell songs, covers and one new song. Most of the old material has awkward moments where the band vamps for a few bars while David switches guitars, but I like it; it's a refreshing change from Roger's senseless insistence that all his live performances exactly match their studio counterparts. When it comes around to the new song, Smile, David tells the audience "if you're bootlegging, start your machines now", a casual attitude to unofficial taping which I appreciate.

Smile itself is a fairly dull acoustic ballad, but it still manages to be a lot more enjoyable than Roger's Each Small Candle, so you won't catch me complaining too loudly. Highlights of the latter part of the show are Comfortably Numb (with Robert Wyatt filling in, somewhat awkwardly, for Roger Waters as the doctor) and the second portion of Shine On (with a kickass slide guitar solo from David). The Meltdown set concludes with a cover of Hushabye Mountain, a pleasant finishing touch to this distinctly unFloydian show.

The tracks from 2002 include another Barrett number, which is always nice to hear, followed by guest appearances from Richard Wright and Bob Geldof. I think Sinead O'Connor sang Breakthrough better on Broken China, but a rare onstage sighting of Richard Wright is never a bad thing. The final performance of Comfortably Numb contains a less-awkward-than-Wyatt vocal rendition by Bob Geldof, and a better guitar solo than the first.

All around, this is one of the better live solo films I've reviewed, mainly because it doesn't try to be anything greater than it is. Its low points are somewhat dull, rather than being outright bad, and it adds newfound lustre to some old Floyd songs. Well worth a watch for any Floyd fan.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Rama Set on July 25, 2015, 05:06:21 PM
Just curious because I had no idea how voluminous this discography was: how many more works are there to review?
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on July 25, 2015, 05:15:54 PM
Just curious because I had no idea how voluminous this discography was: how many more works are there to review?

9, or 10 if you count the one that's due for release in a couple of months, or 11 if I can find a recording of a thing I'm pretty sure wasn't recorded.
Title: Re: The Pink Floyd discography listen-through
Post by: Parsifal on July 26, 2015, 10:48:59 AM
Syd Barrett
The Radio One Sessions
Studio EP
(http://img.sjm.so/floyd/radio)

Recorded: 24 February 1970 and 16 February 1971
Released: 29 March 2004

Band

Syd Barrett (guitar)
David Gilmour (bass, guitar, organ)
Jerry Shirley (percussion)

All tracks authored by Syd Barrett, except where noted.

Track listing

1. Terrapin (3:09)
 * Originally released on The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132).
2. Gigolo Aunt (3:42)
 * Originally released on The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132).
3. Baby Lemonade (2:34)
 * Originally released on The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132).
4. Effervescing Elephant (1:02)
 * Originally released on The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132).
5. Two of a Kind (Richard Wright) (2:35)
 * Originally released on The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132).
6. Baby Lemonade (2:23)
7. Dominoes (3:02)
8. Love Song (1:27)

Review

The first five tracks are the entire length of The Peel Session (http://forum.tfes.org/index.php?topic=1952.msg62132#msg62132), which I've already reviewed. The last three tracks are taken from an off-air recording of a 1971 radio show, with significantly worse recording quality. It seems like the archivists were really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, as these are three very muffled recordings of songs that were done better on the original studio albums. They manage to be even duller than the Peel Session tracks. Don't even bother with this.