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It has been a sad week for us, music lovers. Rick
Wright, one of the founding fathers of the band Pink
Floyd, died of cancer. Wright was a member of the 1963 R&B cover
6 that would grow, a couple of years later, into the next hip thing
when Syd Barrett joined the gang. The hip thing would soon become a
monster, a gravy train, a dinosaur, it had its up and downs, it was
praised and loathed by the so-called serious music press.
I am not good at obituaries, and who am I to write one anyway, so I’ll
pass the word to David Gilmour, not only a colleague but also close
friend of him.
In the welter of arguments about who or what was Pink Floyd, Rick's
enormous input was frequently forgotten.
He was gentle, unassuming and private but his soulful voice and playing
were vital, magical components of our most recognised Pink Floyd sound.
I have never played with anyone quite like him. The blend of his and my
voices and our musical telepathy reached their first major flowering in
1971 on 'Echoes'. In my view all the greatest PF moments are the ones
where he is in full flow. After all, without 'Us and Them' and 'The
Great Gig In The Sky', both of which he wrote, what would 'The Dark Side
Of The Moon' have been? Without his quiet touch the Album 'Wish You Were
Here' would not quite have worked.
In our middle years, for many reasons he lost his way for a while, but
in the early Nineties, with 'The Division Bell', his vitality, spark and
humour returned to him and then the audience reaction to his appearances
on my tour in 2006 was hugely uplifting and it's a mark of his modesty
that those standing ovations came as a huge surprise to him, (though not
to the rest of us).
I admit I was one of those many fans who sheered louder for Rick than
for the others on David’s last tour. Hearing him sing Echoes with David
was probably my best Floydian encounter ever, topping Dogs that Roger
Waters used (and still uses) to sing on his solo tours.
Roger Waters, normally a man of many words, has put the following
appropriate statement on his website:
Julianindica (aka Julian Palacios) wrote some great stuff about Wright
at Late Night:
Wright’s keyboard style had a unique melancholic grandeur. He had an ear
for exotic sounds, bringing in Middle Eastern Phrygian scales into his
mix. Never one to play lightning fast or pound the notes out, Wright
conjured up his unique style with patience. What was left out was as
important as what stayed in, and Wright took a calm and methodical
approach. The influence of Davis sideman Bill Evans introspective,
melancholic piano was strong. Modal jazz had minimal chords and relied
on melody and intervals of different modes. A slow harmonic rhythm
opened space in the music, in contrast to bebop’s frenzy.
There was a time when I would put in the latest Orb CD and murmur
blimey! Blimey because The
Orb pleasantly surprised me or blimey because Alex
'LX' Paterson and band utterly frustrated me. They had that effect
on me for years from their very first album Adventures
Beyond The Ultraworld (1991) until the quite underrated Cydonia
(2001). Often the wow! and meh! impression could be witnessed on the
same disk, most notably on Orbus
Terrarum that probably contains the freakiest ambient track ever
(the heavenly Oxbow Lakes) but also some of the worst.
The Millennium Orb
After 2001 Paterson continued to make albums under the Orb banner but
the wow! effect has largely disappeared. His most prolific output lays
on quite a few (from good to excellent) compilation and/or remix albums:
Dr. Alex Paterson's Voyage Into Paradise, Auntie Aubrey's Excursions
Beyond The Call Of Duty (containing an Orb remix
of Rick Wright's Runaway), Bless You (the best of the Badorb
label), Orbsessions I and II (outtakes), Back To Mine, The Art Of Chill
and last but not least The BBC Sessions.
Contrary to a stubborn belief the so-called ambient (and illegal) Pink
Floyd remix albums from the Nineties are not the work from The Orb, nor
from Alex Paterson. Neither will we ever know Pink Floyd's retaliation:
when the band worked on their 1994 The Divison Bell album they ended up
with so many left-over material that - in the words of Nick Mason - "we
considered releasing it as a second album, including a set we dubbed The
Big Spliff, the kind of ambient mood music that we were bemused to
find being adopted by bands like The Orb".
Update 2015 01 15: Parts of The Big Spliff may have appeared on
the latest Pink Floyd album: The Endless River. See our review: While
my guitar gently weeps...
Exactly one year ago Alex Paterson, who has always been a bit of a
I’ve just started work on an album with David Gilmore (sic)
from Pink Floyd which I think every Orb and Pink Floyd fan will want to
But that news was hurriedly demoted by David Gilmour.
Recent comments by ambient exponents The Orb's Alex Paterson that they
have been collaborating with David Gilmour are true – up to a point.
David has done some recording with The Orb and producer Youth, inspired
initially by the plight of Gary McKinnon. However, nothing is finalised,
and nothing has been confirmed with regards to any structure for the
recordings or firm details re: any release plans.
On the 17th of August of this year, however, the David Gilmour blog
had the following to reveal:
David is not working with The Orb on a new album, contrary to some
reports, but you may remember that he had been in the studio jamming
with Martin “Youth” Glover in recent months. (…) Alex Paterson was not
involved in the sole jamming session and the only plan initially was for
David to play guitar on that one track.
However, as it turns out and as you can see, the result of that jam
session has now been spread across the next Orb album, Metallic Spheres,
which will be released as ‘The Orb featuring David Gilmour’. So there
you have it. He was working on an album with The Orb. Sort of.
If I may read a bit between the lines I feel some friction here between
Sir David and this Orb thingy. But the next day, David Gilmour's
had the next comment:
David's 2009 jam session with ambient collective The Orb has grown into
an album, Metallic Spheres, to be released via Columbia/Sony Records in
October. David's contribution to the charity song Chicago, in aid of
Gary McKinnon, sparked the interest of producer Youth (Martin Glover),
who remixed the track and invited David to his studio for a recording
With additional contributions from Orb co-founder Alex
Paterson, the album took shape from 2009 into 2010, eventually becoming
Metallic Spheres, to be released by The Orb featuring David Gilmour. (underlined
Calling LX Paterson an Orb co-founder is technically not untrue, but it
feels a little weird when you have just been presenting Martin 'Youth'
Glover. It is comparable to describing Syd Barrett as a Pink Floyd
co-founder while discussing Bob
Klose. Agreed, Youth (from Killing
Joke fame) was probably around when The Orb saw the light of day but
it is generally acknowledged that the band was formed in 1988 by Alex
Paterson and Jimmy
Cauty but not by Youth who only occasionally teamed up with
Alex Paterson as a temporary aid. Cauty's primary project however, the Kopyright
Liberation Front (with Bill Drummond), pretty soon outgrew The Orb
and when - at a certain point in time - some Orb remixes were released
in Germany as KLF remixes this provoked a rupture in the co-operation
between the duo as Alex and Jimmy started fighting over… copyrights.
After the split between KLF and The Orb Martin 'Youth' Glover helped LX
out with two tracks (on two separate albums): Little Fluffy Clouds (on
'Adventures', 1991) and Majestic (on U.F.Orb, 1992), but he never was a
member of the band and certainly not a founding member. In 2007 however,
Youth replaced Thomas Fehlmann and joined The Orb for a one album
Update 2018: Youth can also be found on the 2018 'No Sounds Are
Out Of Bounds' and on a 2016 live CD and DVD release of the band.
Together with the announcement on David Gilmour's website, and then
we're back on the 18th of August of this year, a promotional video for
the Metallic Spheres album is uploaded to YouTube. Depicting only Youth
and David Gilmour several Orb fans wonder where LX Paterson, and thus
The Orb, fits in.
The first, original movie disappears after a couple of days for
so-called 'copyright' reasons and is rapidly replaced with a second
version (unfortunately taken down as well, now), containing some hastily
inserted images of LX Paterson strolling through the grasslands and
recording some outdoor musique concrète.
It feels, once again, as if the Floyd-Orb connection doesn't go down
well at the Gilmour camp. Alex Paterson's image, so it seems, has only
been included on the promo video after some pressure (from LX
himself) took place. But the above is of course all pure speculation and
not based upon any fact, so tells you Felix Atagong, who has been
closely following The Orb for over two decades.
Bit by bit we learn how the album came into place. It all started with
David Gilmour's charity project for Gary
McKinnon, an X-Files adhering half-wit who hacked into American
military and NASA computers in order to find out about extra-terrestrial
conspiracy theories (read some more about that on: Metallic
Spheres). Because of this he faces extradition from England to the
USA where apparently they take these kind of idiots very seriously, see
also the 43rd president who governed the country from 2001 to 2009.
It is not quite clear if Gilmour asked Youth (David Glover) to make a
remix of the Chicago charity tune or if Youth got hold of the
project and proposed to help (I've come across both explanations). The
two may know each other through Guy Pratt who played in Glover's band Brilliant
in 1986 (LX Paterson was their roadie for a while). In 1990 Youth
Pearl with Durga
McBroom who had toured with Pink Floyd for the previous three years.
Amongst the session musicians on their Naked album are Guy Pratt,
David Gilmour and Rick Wright.
This isn't Glover's only connection with the Floyd however. In 1995 he
teamed up with Killing Joke colleague Jaz
Coleman to arrange and produce a symphonic tribute album: Us and
Them: Symphonic Pink Floyd, but only The Old Tree With Winding
Roots Behind The Lake Of Dreams remix from Time combines a
modern beat with romantic classical music.
To spice up the Chicago remix Youth invited David Gilmour in his home
studio and out of it came a twenty minutes guitar jam. Glover soon found
out that he could expand the session into an ambient suite and asked old
chum LX Paterson for some help. LX flavoured the pieces with typical
Orbian drones and samples, rather than turning this into a sheepish Fireman-clone.
The Orb featuring David Gilmour can only be a win/win situation.
Orb fans have dreamed about this collaboration for the past two decades
and that will add to the sales figures for sure. And although artist
royalties go to the support of Gary McKinnon there will always be a
spillover effect for the artists involved. That can only be good news
for The Orb whose last album Baghdad Batteries sunk faster than
the Kursk in the Barents Sea.
Rest us to say that an Orb album is an Orb album when it has got the
name Orb on it, whether you like it or not. (In the case of their Okie
Dokie album, not a bit).
Spheres starts with Gilmour's pedal steel guitar over some keyboard
drones that makes me think of those good old days when the KLF shattered
the world with their ambient masterpiece Chill
Out (LX Paterson - as a matter of fact - contributed to that album,
although uncredited). But soon after that Gilmour's guitar wanders off
in his familiar guitar style with axiomatic nods to The Wall and The
Division Bell albums. A welcome intermezzo is Black Graham
with acoustic guitar, not from Gilmour but by ragtime busker Marcia
Mello. The 'metallic side' flows nicely throughout its 29
minutes and has fulfilled its promise of being 'the ambient event of the
year' quite accurately.
The CD is divided into two suites: a 'metallic side' and a 'spheres
side' (and each 'side' is subdivided in five - not always
discernable - parts). The second suite however, is more of the same,
clearly lacks inspiration and ends out of breath at the 20 minutes mark.
So no wow! effect here (but no meh! either)... Youth has done what was
expected from him and produced an all-in-all agreeable but quite
mainstream product leaving ardent anoraky Orb fans with their hunger,
but perhaps winning a few uninitiated souls.
As far as I am concerned this is about the best Orb CD I have heard for
the past couple of years, but it is still far from Orblivion, U.F.Orb or
Ultraworld. But as this is 2010 already you won't hear me complaining.
In true Orbian tradition this album exists in different versions. There
is the regular UK version (with a 'black' cover) and the deluxe version
(with a 'white' cover). That last one has a bonus CD in a 3D60 headphone
remix, comparable to the holophonics system on Pink Floyd's 'The
Final Cut' album from 1983.
Update 2018: Just like 'holophonics' in the eighties, 3D60 no
longer exists. The 'special' effects can only be heard through a
headphone, but don't expect anything spectacular.
A Japanese enhanced Blu-spec release has two additional bonus tracks and
two videos. One of these extra tracks (remixes, actually) could also be
downloaded from The Orb website and from iTunes. One of the videos has
been made by Stylorouge, who worked with Storm Thorgerson on
several Floydian projects.
Last but not least there is a Columbia promo version, containing a
unique identification number to trace unauthorised redistribution (see
above picture). To our, but probably not to Gilmour's, amusement this
promo-CD is titled The Orb Vs Dave Gilmour (instead of David).
According to at least one Orb fan this version has a different mix than
the official release.
Business as usual at The Anchor. Felix Atagong, that old
drunk hippie, was sitting at the bar, ogling some of the mojito
girls eagerly discussing Justin Bieber's posterior. At his fifth
Guinness Felix usually starts to get all glazzy eyed and wants to start
a Pink Floyd fight. Most of the time it suffices to name-drop Rob
Chapman to make Atagong throw a tantrum, but there weren't enough
spectators today to make this trick worthwhile.
"Alex", he said, "Did I already tell you that David
Gilmour wore a Guinness
t-shirt during the 1974 French tour, just to piss off their sponsor Gini?"
I pretended not having heard this story a dozen times before.
"In 1972", he orated, "Pink
Floyd signed a lucrative publicity contract with Gini, a French übersweet
soft drink. The band went to the Moroccan desert where they had some shots
taken by photographer William Sorano, a fact not a lot of people know
of." Felix likes to brag a lot, especially when he gets a bit light in
"Of course Pink Floyd wasn't a millionaire's super group yet when they
agreed with the deal. They liked to describe themselves as an
underground art band and only the French were daft enough to believe
that. British have this national sport to fool the French and for three
full decades those have thought that 'pink floyd' was English for 'flamant
rose' or 'pink flamingo'. That rumour was started on the mainland by
journalist Jean Marie Leduc after he returned from a trip to London in
sixty-seven. Asking a freaked-out acid head what a pink floyd
really meant he turned into the proverbial sitting duck and eagerly
swallowed the bait."
"So whenever Pink Floyd wanted to get arty-farty they only had to hop
into the nearest ferry to Calais where they were hauled in as national
heroes. One of their sillier projects was to play behind a bunch of men
in tights, jumping up and down in an uncoördinated way, and calling that
a ballet. Of course there was a kind of 'intellectual snobbery' involved
in this all, but even more the Pink Floyd's fine taste for champagne and
oysters that was invariably hauled in by the bucket." Felix had
certainly reached lift-off and would be raving and drooling now for at
least the next half hour to come."
"Another project was the soundtrack for the art movie La
Vallée, a typical French vehicle for long pseudo philosophical
musings about the richness of primitive culture and the sudden urge of a
French bourgeois woman to hug some trees and to hump the local Crocodile
Dundee. Part of the movie is in the kind of English that would turn
Inspector Clouseau green with envy. What does one expects from a bunch
of hippies, making a tedious long journey to a mythical valley they call
'obscured by cloud' (not 'clouds')?"
"The hidden valley is supposed to be a paradise and the story sounds
like a cheap rehash of the ridiculous Star Trek episode, The
Way To Eden. Over the years journalists and biographers have
rumoured that the movie is saved by showing a fair amount of frolicking
in the nude, but it miserably fails in that department as well. Quite
unusual for a French movie of the early seventies, I might add, as the
cinematographic intellectual trend was to show the female form in all
its variety. The only bush that can be seen is the New Guinean forest
"Obviously the Floyd couldn't resist this challenge and helped by the
easy money soundtracks brought in they were wheeled into a château
with a stock of red wine and boeuf bourguignon. Two weeks later
they emerged with one of their finest albums ever." Atagong took another
drink and belched loudly. This had only been the introduction, I feared,
I was right.
"Rick Wright recalls in a 1974 Rock & Folk interview how
their manager Steve
O'Rourke met a bloke on a French beach, waving a fifty thousand
British pounds check in front of him. O'Rourke frantically jumped up and
down, like a dancer from a French avant-garde ballet dancing troupe,
making hysterically pink flamingo quacking sounds. Little did he know
this was going to be first time in Floydian history that the band didn't
manage to trick the French, a tradition that started in 1965 when Syd
Barrett and David Gilmour busked the French Riviera. Of course it is
easy to say in retrospect O'Rourke was duly screwed 'up the khyber'
by the Gini coöperation, but in 1972 it appeared not to be such a bad
deal after all. Part of the deal was that Gini promised to sponsor a
French tour, including radio and television promo spots that
unfortunately have not survived into the 21st century."
"The main problem was that in 1973 Pink Floyd suddenly turned into
millionaire superstars thanks to Dark Side Of The Moon and that
50,000 pounds was now something they spent on breakfast orange juice.
But Gini, waving with the two years old contract, threatened with legal
action and the Floyd reluctantly agreed to meet the conditions."
"In the summer of 1974 Floyd hit France and wherever they appeared a
publicity caravan of 15 people would follow them. It had cute girls who
gave Gini drinks, stickers and fluorescent t-shirts away, 4 'easy
riders' on 750 cc super-choppers
(painted by Jean-Paul
Montagne) and a green 1956 Rolls-Royce Silver
Wraith (numberplate: 567 AAF 75) with a loud stereo installation.
Rumours go that at a certain point the atmosphere was so heated between
the Pink Floyd management and Gini that a minimum distance between band
and publicity people had to be agreed on. But according to Nick Mason,
in his auto-biography Inside Out, it was only the band that got
infuriated, the technical crew quite enjoyed the promo girls and they
exchanged more than soft drinks alone."
"French journalists immediately accused Pink Floyd of a sell-out and the
band rapidly declared that the money was going to charity, something in
the line of a school for handicapped children. Rock & Folk squeezed out
the names of the Ronald
Laing Association and the French hôpital
de Salpêtrière, but reality may have been a bit different.
Nick Mason told Mojo's Mark
Blake this summer that they probably just shelved the money,
although David Gilmour and Roger Waters still keep up it was donated.
Rest me to say that Waters was so angry at the situation that he wrote
an unpublished song about the Gini incident, titled Bitter Love
(aka 'How Do You Feel')." Felix Atagong paused a bit, to have a drink,
so this was a moment for immediate action.
"Out!", I said, "The Anchor is closed."
"But", retaliated the Reverend, "this was just a mere introduction to
start talking about the Wish You Were Here Immersion set that has
just been issued and I would like to say something more about the 1967 Stockholm
Cirkeln show that has finally been weeded out to the public..."
"Out!", I said again, "There is no time for your drunken ramblings any
I pushed Felix Atagong out of the door and I heard him staggering back
home, murmuring incomprehensible things. He'll be back tomorrow anyway.
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations have
been enlarged for satirical purposes.) The Anchor wishes to thank:
Nipote and PF Chopper at Y.
Sources (other than the above internet links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2007, p. 179-183, 214. Blake,
Mark: Lost In Space, Mojo 215, October 2011, p. 85. Feller,
Benoît: Complet, Rock & Folk, Paris, July 1974, p. 44. Leduc,
Jean-Marie: Pink Floyd, Editions Albin Michel, Paris, 1982, p.
125. Mason, Nick: Inside Out, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 197-198. (unknown): La "caravane" Pink Floyd-Gini,
Hit Magazine, Paris, July 1974.
One of the promo Pink Floyd Gini choppers is still around today and has
its own Facebook page: The
Pink Floyd Chopper.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
It was probably Monday the 28th of March 1994 when the Reverend came
home from work and had a burning hot CD in his pocket. On the train from
work to Atagong mansion he had already opened the booklet, had
thoroughly scrutinised the artwork by Storm
Thorgerson, trying to read the music in the intriguing images. Cerro
Tololo, the boxing gloves,
the paper heads
(and headlines)... The Reverend's heart literally skipped a beat when he
found out that Rick
Wright had been given a song
he could call his own. Rick's first Pink Floyd song for nearly two
decades (and literally the centrepiece of the album).
Probably the Atagong family had supper first, then LA-girl sat in the
couch, and after the Reverend had put the CD in the player he sat next
to her. It must have been a rather chilly day because there was some
wood burning in the stove and Mimi, the fat and pregnant cat, was
enjoying the heat in her basket.
The earth noises came in... and a new legend was born...
All this came back to the Reverend when, on the 19th of May 2014 a new
Pink Floyd website appeared, called Division
There was a countdown clock and a new - Storm Thorgerson inspired - video
for the excellent Marooned
instrumental, that grew out of a jam at the Astoria
recording studio between David
Gilmour & Rick Wright. There were immediately some rumours in Pink
Floyd internet land, some clearly more inspired than others, but the
general consensus was that the album would be re-released in an
anniversary or even an Immersion edition.
The obvious nod towards Thorgerson and Wright made the fans hope for the
release of The Big Spliff, a Division Bell satellite album whose
demos had been lying in the vaults since 1994. Nick
Mason in Inside Out:
After two weeks we had taped an extraordinary collection of riffs,
patterns and musical doodles, some rather similar, some nearly
identifiable as old songs of ours, some clearly subliminal reinventions
of well known songs. (…) But even having discarded these, forty ideas
were available. (…) We eventually ended up with enough left-over
material that we considered releasing it as a second album, including a
set we dubbed ‘The Big Spliff’, the kind of ambient mood music that we
were bemused to find being adopted by bands like the Orb, although –
unlike Gong’s Steve Hillage – we never received any invitations to join
this next generation on stage.
It needs to be said that the Reverend's expectations were running in
overdrive as well, he was hoping for a new Publius
Enigma clue (or perhaps a modest explanation of the riddle - stroke
- hoax), hidden in the artwork somewhere, and of course the anticipation
of some unreleased tracks, as on the other Immersion and Discovery sets
(see also: Fuck
all that, Pink Floyd Ltd).
Four Star Daydream
When the clock reached zero the website indeed revealed a pricey
Division Bell box-set (actually it crashed at first, as it was hit by
thousands of fans at the same time). Limited at 500 copies worldwide it
contained an exclusive Limited Edition Division Bell 20th Anniversary
T-shirt, a remastered double vinyl in gatefold sleeve, a Division Bell
CD and a Bluray with 3 alternative mixes and the new Marooned music
video. Some 7 and 12 inch coloured vinyl singles were thrown in as well,
together with a 24 Page 12" (30 cm) booklet, 4 art prints and... some
So basically Pink Floyd decided to ride the gravy train (again) by
repackaging the same product five times in the same box and throwing it
at the fans for the giveaway price of £157.50 (about 263 $ or 193 Euro,
the unlimited box [without t-shirt and coasters] comes somewhat cheaper
and is still available).
Each man has his price, Fred
The fact that it is Gilmour now who spits the fans in the face even made
it into the papers
and generally there is much disdain from the fanbase. What seemed to be
the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to sell some recycled
material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of Rick Wright and the
legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a cynical million
bucks more makes this release even more sickening. Polly
Samson once wrote: “David Gilmour should be cloned so that every
crowded house might have one”, but at this rate she can keep him inside,
lock the door and throw away the key.
Did you understand the music, Fat Dave, or was it all in vain?
And when you feel you're near the end And what once burned so bright
is growing dim? And when you see what's been achieved Is there a
feeling that you've been deceived? Near The End - David Gilmour, 1984.
Upgrade 2014: a month after the publication of this article it
was found out that a brand new 'recycled' Pink Floyd album was in the
make, loosely based upon the Big Spliff sessions. However, this resulted
in an unprecedented attack of the Floyd management towards its fans.
loathful Mr. Loasby and other stories...
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Sources (other than the above internet links): Mason, Nick: Inside
Out: A personal history of Pink Floyd, Orion Books, London, 2011
reissue, p. 315-316. Samson, Polly: Perfect Lives, Virago
Press, London, 2010, p. 225.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Last weekend, we, The
Anchor, the satirical
division of the Holy
Church of Iggy the Inuit, felt the peculiar need for an apology. It
is a feeling we seldom have, being a general pain in the arse and having
carefully cultivated the pompous pernickety air our spiritual job has
brought upon us. You may remember that we were not entirely favourable
of the anniversary release of the Division Bell album. In the article Grab
that cash we described it, and we quote:
What seemed to be the hype of the year was nothing but a cheap stunt to
sell some recycled material at exorbitant prices. That the memory of
Rick Wright and the legacy of Storm Thorgerson were thrown in to make a
cynical million bucks more makes this release even more sickening.
We duly admit this was not nice at all and due to the recent
developments in the Pink
Floyd camp, more about that to follow later, we profoundly
apologise. This doesn't mean that we are suddenly of the opinion that
Edition is worth the bulldog's bollocks, even if it may contain a
Enigma hint. It still is utterly overpriced and utterly redundant,
but of course what the honourable reader does with his money is his own
business and not ours.
On Saturday, the 5th of July 2014 at 3:13 PM (UTC), a mysterious tweet
was send into the multiverse by Polly
Samson, a tweet that created a heavy storm in the mostly silent
waters of modern Floydiana:
The world first took its time to digests its scrambled eggs, bacon,
sausages, tomatoes, toast, coffee and marmalade (at least in the proper
time-zone) but about 45 minutes later the news had been retweeted a few
thousand times and had been copied on Facebook walls, forums and blogs
all over the planet.
McBroom, confirmed the news less than an hour later and added that a
recent picture of her with David
Gilmour hadn't been taken during a solo album session, as she had
stated before, but that she had been asked to do vocals on a new Pink
Remember this photo? It wasn't what you THOUGHT it was.
A third confirmation came from Pink Floyd engineer Andrew
Jackson, so the rumour that Polly Samson's Twitter account had been
hacked and that this was nothing but a hoax was becoming less and less
believable. There was going to be a new Pink Floyd album, after twenty
years of silence.
This was not going to be just another Pink Floyd album. The starting
point were the Division Bell ambient demos that had been nick-named The
Big Spliff in the good old Floydian tradition to give recording sessions
silly names. Work on the mixes started over a year ago and probably,
although this is nothing but an assumption, it was foreseen as a short
and sweet bonus disk for a Division Bell Immersion set. While working on
the music however, David Gilmour and Nick Mason must have felt something
of the excitement from two decades before, they must have felt the muse,
the inspiration and the spirit of their friend and colleague (and in the
case of bass player ad interim Guy
Pratt, father in law) Rick Wright and decided to enhance the jams
into a proper record, asking Phil
Manzanera and Martin
‘Youth’ Glover to sit behind the mixing console.
Called The Endless River, after a line from the Division Bell’s
magnum opus High Hopes (in itself cryptically referring to See
Emily Play), the album will be mainly ambient and instrumental,
although at least one track will be sung by David Gilmour with lyrics by
Reactions from that strange horde, also known as the Pink Floyd fandom,
ranged from scepticism to enthusiasm. Some critics found it strange that
Pink Floyd would be recycling old material, perhaps unaware of the fact
that this is something the band has been doing for ages. The whale song
section from Echoes
was borrowed from their concert staple Embryo,
and Them was originally called The Violent Sequence and a Zabriskie
Point soundtrack leftover, and the magnificent Comfortably
Numb was something David Gilmour had been messing with for his
eponymous solo album.
Half of the Animals
(1977) album consists of songs the Floyd played live in 1974 but none of
those fitted the Wish
You Were Here (1975) concept. Animals was and still is a landmark
album, something that can’t be said of The
Final Cut (1983), practically a Roger Waters solo album, featuring
Wall (1979) rejects (and unfortunately it shows).
Let’s not be cynical for once and forget that a separate release of The
Endless River will shelve a few million copies more than a Division Bell
bonus disc. Even if the record will mostly have ambient atmospheric
pieces and may fail the default description of a typical Pink Floyd
album we will consider it as Richard Wright’s musical testament and an
honest tribute from the rest of the band.
Now, and here is a confession this old bartender has to make, when we
read Polly Samson's tweet, we were literally shaking all over our body
as excited as a puppy who has just been thrown a bone. We started
browsing the well-known Floydian fan-sites for more and the first
website who added the news to its page was Col
Segmental Pig File
Col Turner is not your average Pink Floyd fan site webmaster, he has
dedicated his life to the Floyd and if you ask us, we think he is pretty
daft for doing so. Nevertheless, we appreciate his masochist streak and
if we want to know the latest news of the Dark Side universe Fleeting
Glimpse (and Brain
Damage) are the first ones we open.
When we say that Colin Turner is not an average fan, we mean he is not
an average fan. Turner eats, feels, dreams and breaths Pink Floyd
(frankly we are a bit curious what he does in the bedroom) and as such
he already knew for a while that a new album was in the make. However,
instead of putting that news on his wall, like we would have done in a
nanosecond, he promised the Pink Floyd management to shut his mouth and
wait until an official announcement of the band was made.
Now, we ask you, dear reader, can you get any closer to an official band
announcement than the wife of the band leader, who happens to be the
main lyricist as well, tweeting the news into the world?
Well, opinions seems to differ apparently.
The Bleeding Hearts and the Artists
An artist is, by definition, a creative person, a sensitive person,
someone with a frail mind. He writes these songs that appeal to people
all over the world, people who recognise themselves in these songs, who
recognise the feelings, the emotions, the love, the sadness, the anger,
We, the fans, may think these songs have been written for us and
sometimes we are so touched by the beauty and sincerity of it all that
we will ask the artist to play the latest album in our backyard, for a
beer and a whopper on the grill. That is why an agent, or some
management, comes in... While the artist may not have the guts to
disappoint the fan, his agent's preferable syllables are invariably
'no', 'fuck off' and, if this is your lucky day, 'how much'.
There has always been a huge gap between Pink Floyd, the band, and Pink
Floyd, the company, and it is pretty impossible to determine how the one
has influenced the other. Although some of its members openly preached a
socialist philosophy their business manners have always been exactly the
opposite, at least after the Peter
Jenner days. Steve
O'Rourke was not only a quasi-mythical agent who uplifted the band
from the gutter towards the moon, but he was a bully as well, bombastic
in his manners, a Floydian pit-bull and above all... über-greedy.
Rumour goes O'Rourke started his career as a dog food sales rep, so
determined to succeed that he ate the stuff in front of his prospects to
prove it was quality meat.
Giving none away
The band who criticised capitalism on Money,
Torry£30 for her input on The
Great Gig In The Sky, less than a third of what a Dark
Side of the Moon Immersion set costs. In a nineties interview for
the Dutch Penthouse
a bitter Alan
Parsons recalled how the four gentlemen in the band never told him
that he had the right to earn some ‘points’ on his engineering /
producing work for Dark Side of the Moon. That situation was settled
later when Parsons was asked to remaster the album for an anniversary
release. Clare Torry had to seriously threaten with legal action before
the band agreed to share a small slice of the pie.
Harper sung the lyrics on Have
A Cigar, another one of these sarcastic songs describing the shady
corners of music business. It was made clear to him that he wouldn't
receive any copyright so Roy asked for some football tickets instead.
Although the band were multi-millionaires by now a season's ticket was
too much to ask and he never received it. The kids, singing ‘we don’t
get no education’, were only given a copy of The Wall album after a
newspaper turned it into a scandal.
Turn, Turn, Turn
Colin Turner published the news about the new Pink Floyd album on A
Fleeting Glimpse, after it had been tweeted by Polly Samson. Then
he messaged the Pink Floyd management that the floodgates had been
opened. While hundreds of others were already retweeting and commenting
on social media a Pink Floyd goblin found it necessary to threaten Colin
with legal action and made him remove the post.
This made Colin so bitter that he deleted the entire news page, and at a
certain point he was so disillusioned he wanted to close down AFG
I was (...) asked to remove the story as it had not been cleared by
official channels. This I did and I am now awaiting approval to publish
full details about the album, despite it now being widely spread across
the Internet. I intend to honour the commitment I made and the site will
remain down until such a time as I receive official approval to publish.
Louis Matos (and with him many other AFG readers) reacted in shock:
That high service to the fans and to the Pink Floyd brand (...) was
respected by Steve (O'Rourke), is respected by Mark (Fenwick) and should
be respected by whomever now attends to David's business. I find it
insulting - as a professional of the music business - that a loyal
dedicated fan had to be "disciplined" for reproducing a Tweet by Polly
by anyone other than Polly or David (and they could have done it, mind
you). Even - and especially - anyone on the business side of it.
Remember "Welcome to the Machine"? Well, it was about that kind of
abuse. (Taken from: The
To add insult to injury, at the moment when one of Pink Floyd's little
hitlers found it necessary to threaten to close down A Fleeting Glimpse,
the official Warner Music Why
Pink Floyd website had already inserted the announcement on its news
stream. Double standards, anyone?
Now here is where this article is going to get nasty, so if you are
easily offended, please go and visit the Boohbah
David Gilmour's (and also Syd Barrett's) management happens to be in the
hands of One
Fifteen who have the following Hunter
S. Thompson quote on their site:
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic
hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.
There's also a negative side.
If our information is correct Paul Loasby probably was the toerag
(note) who intimidated the Fleeting Glimpse
webmaster. According to a Cambridge mafia insider, who we will not name,
Paul Loasby is the opposite of a villain and an amicable man:
I have met him and spoken to him many times. He seems very pleasant and
was always totally respectful of Syd... and others...
But apparently that is only when he doesn't see a pot of gold at the end
of the rainbow, which he will receive anyway, regardless of him throwing
a tantrum about a leaked tweet or not.
What had to be, for the fans, one of the most joyous days in Pink Floyd
history, a new album, a much awaited tribute to Richard Wright, an
indirect nod to Syd Barrett (mind you, not that we think One Fifteen
knows anything about Syd Barrett), the Pink Floyd agent managed to turn
it into something of a misplaced nightmare.
Mister Loasby, you are a party pooper and you should be ashamed
Game of Thrones
But in a way: hats off to Paul Loasby. In four minutes he managed to
kick Steve O'Rourke from his throne as the eternal Pink Floyd baddy,
simply by putting the knife in the back of someone who does a lot of
Pink Floyd promotion, for free. If you are somewhat familiar with the
Floydian canon – this is something dogs do for a living. Welcome to the
We want to end this article with a friendly suggestion for Col Turner,
who was at the centre of this crisette.
There is a Dutch saying,
dating from the Middle Ages: "Tis quaet met heeren criecken eten'."
"It's difficult to eat cherries with noblemen", meaning that if you want
to schmooze with the higher crowd you will be treated as their servant
whether you like it or not.
Better be independent, better be vigilant, better be critical than to
bark only when the puppet master allows it, this is The Anchor's motto
and it will always be. While A Fleeting Glimpse may generally be the
first and the best in giving Pink Floyd news, it slightly troubles us
that they have completely forgotten to mention the Last
Minute Put Together Boogie Band release, with Syd Barrett's last
Sitting to close to the throne, too busy eating cherries over a lavish
Division Bell box set, no doubt.
Epilogue / Update
On the quadrophonicquad
forum Pink Floyd engineer Andy Jackson wrote on the 14th of July (2014):
No, still can't talk about Endless River, the 'leak' was damage
limitation as a UK newspaper had got hold of the story.
So if we read this well, a newspaper - rumoured to be The Sun - heard
about the new Pink Floyd album on the fifth of July and was going to
publish the news, perhaps even in next day's Sunday paper. Polly Samson
was then asked to tweet the news to the world before the newspaper would
publish it. It all makes perfect sense.
But what we still don't understand is why Paul Loasby had to threaten A
Fleeting Glimpse then. Why Pink Floyd? Why?
Can't you see It all makes perfect sense Expressed in dollars and
cents, Pounds, shillings and pence Can't you see It all makes
perfect sense (Roger Waters, Perfect Sense, Amused to Death, 1992)
The Floydian empire strikes back (Update: 2014 09 14.)
For the past few months early Pink Floyd songs have been disappearing
from YouTube: Scream Thy Last Scream, Vegetable Man, Astronomy Domine,
Lucy Leave, King Bee. Even the Men
On The Border live cover of Scream
Thy Last Scream has been silenced and has now got the text:
This video previously contained a copyrighted audio track. Due to a
claim by a copyright holder, the audio track has been muted.
Obviously this is a blatant lie and could be considered illegal, as the
copyright holder of the audio track is Men On The Border itself and not
Pink Floyd, nor EMI, Warner Music Group or one of its little helpers.
a volunteer-driven organisation that archived, restored and weeded (for
free) Pink Floyd live audio and video recordings
has been taken down after a friendly reminder from Mr. Loasby. All its
torrents have been deleted from Yeeshkul
who suddenly went chicken shit and have forbidden the further use of the
'Harvested' word to all its members. Also the Pink Floyd Multicam
website has been closed down.
The argument (from Pink Floyd) that ruthless entrepreneurs take the
freely distributed material from Harvested (like The
Man and The Journey), press it on a CD or DVD and sell it to the
public doesn't make sense. Warner should go after the companies who sell
these bootlegs and not after the people who give it away for free and
thus spoil the 'market' for the bootleggers (although we do understand
this is something of an illegal situation). By closing down Harvested
(and in a near future, perhaps Yeeshkul?) fans will again be obliged to
buy these recordings from shady companies if they want them, instead of
downloading them for free.
As usual the big three fansites (A
Fleeting Glimpse, Brain
haven't mentioned this news at all, afraid to no longer receive the
crumbles falling off the Pink Floyd table and to be left in the cold
when 'The Endless River' will come out. Col Turner, who went apeshit
over Paul Loasby threatening him (read the article above) has removed
all trace of the incident and, as such, it never happened. (It is still
in the forum,
but you have to dig deep to find it.)
Sounds, who will press the vinyl version of 'The Endless River'
(they also did the recent 'Division Bell' release), received the
lacquers cut straight from Doug Sax and crew at The Mastering Lab (Los
Angeles) and posted some pictures on their Facebook page this week.
Guess what, these (innocent) pictures have now been deleted and we can
only guess who is behind that.
Who would have thought that ultimately Pink Floyd would turn into the
neo-fascist impersonation of their Wall album?
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
So here it is. The Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's The
Endless River review of what undoubtedly is the most anticipated
record of the year.
The album has four, mostly instrumental, suites, that Pink
Floyd prefers to call sides. Each suite has several tracks, but
these are best listened to in one piece as they form one ensemble. The
'luxe' edition has a 39 minutes extra DVD or Blu-ray with 6 videos of
1993 studio rehearsals and 3 audio tracks. The Blu-ray version is the
most complete (and expensive) as it also has a stereo PCM, a 5.1 DTS and
a 5.1 PCM version of the album, whatever these acronyms mean.
The front cover concept was designed by Ahmed
Emad Eldin, in what could be called ersatzHipgnosis
style, probably chosen because it evokes the boatman who was present in The
Division Bell artwork (and, in lesser extent, on A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason). The other artwork is credited to the
usual gang of graphic designers: Aubrey
and, weirdly, Hipgnosis, although that company stopped in 1983. The
24-pages booklet has a maritime feel: compasses, maps, logbooks... The
lettering misses a piece in most letters, to accentuate the missing
keyboard player, who has been credited on 11 of the 18 tracks. Storm
Thorgerson is remembered as well in the credits.
The album was created out of rejected 1993 jams and demos, with Richard
Wright, Nick Mason and David Gilmour, that were probably revisited to be
added to a Division Bell anniversary
set of one kind or another. Rejected is too strong a word because
way back, twenty years ago, it had been the idea to turn the The
Division Bell into a double CD-set, what was abandoned for lack of time.
That second album turned into the apocryphal The Big Spliff that
still sits in Gilmour's studio in an unfinished form and that was
assembled by Andy
Manzanera was asked, in 2012, to work on it, but refused.
I don't wanna hear. I wanna hear every single piece or scrap that was
recorded, everything. Outtakes from Division Bell. Everything.
In December 2012 Manzanera puzzled dozens of unfinished pieces into a
skeleton, divided into four 12 minute suites, out of 20 hours of
material. According to Manzanera, Pink Floyd thanked him and immediately
put the work in a box where they forgot it. Martin
'Youth' Glover however says that he was invited in June 2013 and
that David Gilmour had already worked on the two different versions of
Within about 40 seconds, it sounded like Floyd. It was absolutely
magical. (…) Listening to unreleased Pink Floyd recordings with David,
the hair was going up on the back of my arms.
Youth then created a third version and in November 2013 a meeting was
held between the two remaining Pink Floyd members and the three
producers: Andy Jackson, Phil Manzanera and Youth. Gilmour and Mason
picked the best ideas from each version and started working on something
that could have been an atrocious Frankenmix but that turned out
quite coherent in the end.
Side One: ambient spaces
"Things Left Unsaid...", Gilmour, Wright "It's What We Do",
Gilmour, Wright "Ebb and Flow", Gilmour, Wright
Things Left Unsaid (4:27): a very ambient, Cluster
One atmospheric, introduction, with some voice samples of the Floyd
members. Tradition wants that it only starts morphing into something of
a melody after the two minutes mark. It gradually slides into It's
What We Do (6:17) that thrives on a Shine
On You Crazy Diamond moog synth and traces of Marooned
later on. This is a typical Floydian spacey slow blues, ideal for those
fans who want to chill out with a big spliff. It's lazy and slow and
probably a bit boring for some, a typical trademark of the Floyd sound,
and just because it is so intriguingly and deliberately slow, the first
thrill of the album. It continues into Ebb and Flow (1:55),
mainly an epilogue to the previous track.
Actually the first suite is pretty daring to start with in the hectic
days we are living in today, this is so contradictory with contemporary
music it nearly feels alienated. It's the kind of suite that will be
used in nuru massage parlours around the world.
Sum (4:48), there's that Cluster One intro again with ambient
effects switching towards an Astronomy
Domine space trip. Then it nods to an early seventies style Floydian
Of These Days, although bigger and louder, including that good old
Skins (2:37) further elaborates on the A
Saucerful Of Secrets tribal rhythms and this is the first time in
years we hear grand vizier Nick Mason take the lead on a track, finally!
We could never think we would be so happy with a fucking drum solo.
Gilmour makes his guitar scream à la Barrett in Interstellar
Overdrive in something that can be described as a beat bolero. The
track ends with some minor guitar effects, just for the sake of the
effect and glides over to Unsung (1:07), an intermezzo that is a
bridge to the ending of this suite, the magical Anisina (3:17).
Those who think this is Wright in a jazz lounge must be contradicted.
This is 100% Gilmour and it brings shivers down the spine, even if this
a known track that has been bootlegged before as a Division Bell outtake.
The second suite is the experimental one, although the experiment is
limited not to scare the casual listener away. We've heard people say
that this Pink Floyd record is more of the same. And it's true. But who
complains when The Rolling Stones or U2 bring out their umpteenth album
sounding exactly like the previous one?
Side Three: all that jazz
"The Lost Art of Conversation", Wright "On Noodle Street",
Gilmour, Wright "Night Light", Gilmour, Wright "Allons-Y
(1)", Gilmour "Autumn '68", Wright "Allons-Y (2)",
Gilmour "Talkin' Hawkin'", Gilmour, Wright
The lost art of conversation (1:43) is an introductory piano
piece by Wright, obviously with some guitar effects from Gilmour. It
segues into On Noodle Street (1:42), that is, as the title gives
away, nothing but a light jazzy noodling, featuring Guy
Pratt, Wright's son-in-law. It is easy listening for Floydheads,
just like the next track Night Light (1:42). The first three
tracks are merely the introduction for the highlight of this side, and
perhaps the album.
Allons-Y (1) (1:57), is a two-piecer and a Run
Like Hell copycat, only much better (actually, we find Run Like Hell
one of the worst tracks by the Floyd). It is irresistible and the moment
we really started tapping our feet. The mid-piece of Allons-Y is Autumn
'68 (1:35), the much discussed archival bit taken from a Wright
improvisation from the Royal Albert Hall in 1968, reminding us vaguely
of a movement of Mike
Bells, only this dates from about five years before. Allons-Y (2)
(1:32) is a reprise of the first part to close the circle.
Talkin Hawkin' (3:29) starts rather like one of those slow
evolving (and a bit tedious) pieces from On
An Island, but is – yet again – irresistible in its meandering
movements. Nobody is so immaculate in creating these lazy and slightly
boring moods than Pink Floyd. With its Stephen
Hawking samples this track is the obvious link to The Division Bell,
but the track itself is the counterpart of Keep
The third suite is the most light-hearted one, perhaps the most
commercial and catchy, and it surely is saved by, here we go, Allons-Y.
Side Four: turn off the lights
"Calling", Gilmour, Moore "Eyes to Pearls", Gilmour "Surfacing",
Gilmour "Louder than Words", Gilmour, Samson
Moore, who made the Broken
China album with Richard Wright is responsible for Calling
(3:38) and it certainly has the mood of that pretty depressed, and
unfortunately underestimated, album. The atmosphere is somewhat
reminiscent of David
it is an ambient and dark and haunting piece. It is a nice thing from
Gilmour to have added this obvious nod to Rick's solo album and one of
the more interesting pieces of the album.
Eyes To Pearls (1:51) breathes the air of Angelo
Peaks and has hidden hints of Money
and One Of These Days, but one can find traces of earlier work in about
all tracks on this album. Didn't Nick Mason quip once he was in the
recycling business? Surfacing (2:46) acts as the intro to the
final song, it seems a lesser track at first, but it has a weeping
guitar that hit us right in the heart / stomach / balls. Actually most
of the numbers may not be seen as individual pieces but as movements of
each suite and as such they perfectly serve their roles.
Louder Than Words (6:37) was gravely discussed when it came out,
it has been called Floyd by numbers and Polly
Samson's lyrics are of syrupy soap series quality but in this
context and as the coda of the album it just works great. Just listen to
that piano intro by Wright, the last we'll probably hear, that
irresistible refrain, the perfect ending solo, also the last we'll
probably hear... This is Gilmour at his best and for once he doesn't
stretches it too long, what was his problem on the previous Diet Floyd
records where he had the habit of putting six minute guitar solos in
three minute songs. Gilmour's playing on this album is to the point and
you never get the feeling he is showing off like on, for instance, On An
Island, although it is clear he bought a new set of pedals.
This is a great album, a classic in the making, although perhaps only
for the die-hard fans, and is far much better than we had ever hoped for.
(A third article, with a more critical approach to the album can be
found at: Chin
More reviews at A
Fleeting Glimpse and Brain
Damage. Illustrations (except the Rick Wright picture) taken from
The Endless River and The Division Bell.. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): Bonner, Michael: Coming
back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 35 – 41.
The new Diet Pink
Floyd album The Endless River is conquering the world,
perhaps to the absence of any real competition. We don't think Susan
Boyle's cover version of Wish
You Were Here will pose a real threat, does it? In Holland the
album, currently at number one, sells five
times as much as the number two.
The Endless River is a slow evolving, ambient piece of work with obvious
nods to the Floyd's glorious past... one hears traces of A Saucerful Of
Secrets (Syncopated Pandemonium), Astronomy Domine, Careful With That
Axe Eugene, Cluster One, Interstellar Overdrive, Keep Talking, Marooned,
Money, One Of These Days (I'm Going To Cut You Into Little Pieces), Run
Like Hell, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and probably half a dozen more
we've already forgotten.
The familiarity of it all has created raving enthusiasm for some and
'mainly yesterday's reheated lunch' for others and this also seems to be
the opinion of the press. Mark Blake (in Mojo)
politely describes the album as 'big on atmosphere, light on songs',
Mikael Wood (in the Los
Angeles Times) states that Pink Floyd drifts towards nothingness
with aimless and excruciatingly dull fragments.
While the 1987 A Momentary Lapse Of Reason album was a David
Gilmour solo effort, recorded with 18 session musicians and with the
Pink Floyd name on the cover to sell a few million copies more, The
Endless River originally grew out of jams between Gilmour, Mason &
Actually these were rejected jams, not good enough to include on The
Division Bell, but over the years they seem to have ripened like
good old wine. Well that's the PR story but in reality Andy Jackson,
Phil Manzanera and Martin 'Youth' Glover had to copy bits and pieces
from twenty hours of tape and toy around with every single good sounding
second in Pro
Tools to obtain something relatively close to Floydian eargasm. Phil
Manzanera in Uncut:
I would take a guitar solo from another track, change the key of it,
stick it on an outtake from another track. 'Oh that bit there, it
reminds me of Live At Pompeii, but let's put a beat underneath it.' So
then I take a bit of Nick warming up in the studio at Olympia, say, take
a bit of a fill here and a bit of fill there. Join it together, make a
loop out of it.
This doesn't really sound like an organic created piece of music, does
it? The result is a genetically modified fat-free sounding record
and while this is the most ambient experiment of Pink Floyd it will
never get extreme, despite Martin Glover's presence whose only ambient
house additions seem to be the On The Run VCS3 effect that comes
whooshing in several times. Youth isn't that young and reckless any more
so don't expect anything close to the KLF's Madrugada
Eterna, Jimmy 'Space' Cauty's Mars
or the Orb's A
Huge Ever Growing Pulsating Brain That Rules from the Centre of the
Update April 2017: One and a half year after the record has been
released the involvement of Nick Mason can be finally discussed as well.
Pink Floyd know-all Ron Toon at Steve
Nick had nothing to do with this project except to play a few new drum
tracks basically being brought in as a session drummer. Of course he was
/ is a member of Pink Floyd but his involvement in this project was
minimal at best. The vision was David's and the other producers and Andy
[Jackson] did most of the work. Source: Pink
Floyd - The Early Years 1965-1972 Box Set.
But the music isn't the only thing that seems to be embellished. Last
week long-time Echoes
mailing list member Christopher, also known as 10past10, went on
holidays, taking with him the new Pink Floyd CD and, as reading
material, Nick Mason's Inside Out book. Then something happened
which unleashed the power of his imagination (read Christopher's
The mid-book picture of The Endless River shows the Astoria studio with
Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Nick Mason jamming in 1993, taken by Jill
Furmanovsky. This picture has been stitched out of several shots,
the borders don't match (deliberately) and Nick Mason (or at least his
arms) can be seen twice.
But Christopher was in for another surprise when he looked at the fourth
picture gallery in Nick Mason's Inside Out soft-cover (or on page 313 if
you have the coffee-table edition). It shows another picture of the same
session, with Rick Wright, David Gilmour and Bob Ezrin.
Now look at the man in the middle, the one who doesn't like to be called
If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the
way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches
exactly ... too much not be a match.
Not only does The Endless River centrefold superimposes Nick Mason
twice, but they have glued in David Gilmour from another shot (and
removed Bob Ezrin).
And still, that is not all.
closely to Gilmour's face in the 1993 picture (left) and to his
face on the 2014 release (right). Christopher explains:
The difference is in the original shot. David has a double chin. In
The Endless River shot it has been dealt with.
There will be no fat on The Endless River, not on the music and
certainly not on Air-Brush Dave.
(The above article is entirely based upon facts, some situations may
have been enlarged for satirical purposes.)
Many thanks to Christopher (10past10), Ron Toon. Pictures courtesy of
Jill Furmanovsky. ♥ Iggy ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above internet links): 10past10
(Christopher), Alcog Dave no more, mail, 2014 11 14. Bonner,
Michael: Coming back to life, Uncut, November 2014, p. 39. Echoes
mailing list: to join just click on the appropriate link on their sexy echoes
subscription and format information webpage.
The Anchor is the Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit's satirical
division, intended for people with a good heart, but a rather bad
character. More info: The
Anchor. Read our legal stuff: Legal
Christopher's original posting to Echoes: (Back to article)
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 2014 18:00:32 +1000 From: 10past10 Subject:
Alcog Dave no more ... To: email@example.com
Hi Ho All,
I do believe there is photographic trickery afoot!
Exhibit A: The centrefold picture in The Endless River depicting
Richard, David and Nick in the studio.
Exhibit B: Inside Out; the fourth lot of pics in the paperback or p313
in hardback (1st ed), depicting Richard, David and Bob Ezrin.
Obviously it is a different pic of Richard and Bob/Nick. But I reckon
the picture of David is the same one; except for one difference.
So, I reckon, to get the wider shot for the TER CD centrefold (I don't
know how it may or may not appear in the other versions as I haven't
seen them yet), they have made a composite photo using the shot of David
rom the one Nick originally published and shots of Richard and Nick from
one or two different pictures.
If you look closely at every piece of David's clothing, his hair, the
way he is holding his guitar, the chords, the lot. It all matches
exactly ... too much not be a match.
Does this matter? Of course not. Why not do that to get what you need.
Obviously Nick himself is double exposed when you look at his arms.
Is it worth pointing out? Yes (but just because you can, not because it
will change the world). Why? Because of the one difference.
The difference is in the original shot David has a double chin. In The
Endless River shot it has been dealt with.
Some time ago I was castigated for calling David, Fat Dave. So I changed
that to Alcog Dave. He is that no more. In my more whimsical moods I
shall hence forth refer to him as "Air-Brush Dave".
I'm a bit late with my review of Ginger Gilmour's Memoirs
of the Bright Side of the Moon (2015), but I do have my reasons, or
– at least - so I think. The big Pink Floyd websites ignored the book as
they are only allowed to bark when Paul
Loasby, who is David
Gilmour's leprechaun, allows them to and on top of that The Holy
Church does need to maintain its contrarious reputation.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the
Holy Church of Iggy the Inuit and do not necessarily reflect the policy
of Pink Floyd, nor its members, nor any of their (ex-)wives.
The luxurious hardcover book is thick and heavy, printed on glossy
paper, with over a hundred pictures and taking it with me on my daily
commute would only gradually destroy it as it would mingle with my
Nutella sandwiches and my weird obsession for Belgian pickles.
So I placed it in my special books section at home and promptly forgot
about it for a couple of years. I am more or less a dozen of Pink Floyd
related books behind and that list only gets bigger and bigger. One of
the oldest books I have never read is Barry
Miles' Pink Floyd: The Early Years (2006 already!) and I am
still collecting courage to dig into the 2017 deluxe version of his In
The Sixties autobiography that I received last year. I never made it
past 1970 in Glenn
Povey's Echoes (2007), that I mainly use as a reference work
(and I never bought its 2015 enhanced and updated successor The
Complete Pink Floyd: The Ultimate Reference). I have purchased Charles
Beterams' Pink Floyd in Nederland (2017), but I hardly opened
its predecessor Pink Floyd in de Polder (2007). Same thing for
the Their Mortal Remains (2017) catalogue, although from the few
pages I did read it appears to be a semi-pretentious bag of dubious
quality and quite error prone. Nick Sedgwick's In The Pink
(2017), scrupulously sought for but never consulted, and don’t get me
started on my Hipgnosis
Thorgerson coffee table books collection, but these all seem to
But back to Ginger Gilmour's memoirs. Besides the fact that it is thick
and heavy, its cover is in bright pink and I didn’t want people to think
I was reading a Barbie Dream Castle novel on the train. A pink
cover and a pretty positive title, surely this must be a book with a
First of all, these are Ginger's memoirs and although there is a lot of
David Gilmour inside, especially around the tumultuous The
Wall / A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason years, Pink Floyd isn't its primordial
subject, certainly not in the later chapters when – SPOILER ALERT –
their marriage has failed. Over the years Ginger has grown spiritually
and artistically and this book minutiously reveals the path she walked /
crawled / stumbled to get over there.
The main trouble is, for grumpy diabetics in a mid-life crisis such as
me, that sucrose is dripping from nearly every page and that Ginger uses
the word Beauty (with capital B) in about every other paragraph. Angels
magically appear in Space Invaders droves. There is a lot of talk about
Inspiration. And Meditation. Wonder. Goodness. Hope. Peace. LOVE. It's
almost cuteness overload.
Ginger has found inner peace by soaking in a bath of alternative,
new-age, eastern-style religious and philosophical mindsets and isn't
afraid of saying so. It's just not my cup of tea and it must have been
hard on the frail internal Floydian communication lines as well, as has
been hinted by Mark
Blake. When Animals
appeared there wasn't only a cold war between the Pink Floyd members
going on, but also between their wives...
Ginger also found herself clashing with Waters’ new girlfriend, Carolyne
Christie. Both came from wildly different backgrounds and, as one
associate from the time recalls, ‘they did not see eye to eye'.
Ginger would throw a tantrum, rightly so if you ask me, over promoters
who found it funny to add pigpens – with real pigs - at Pink Floyd
backstage parties. She wouldn't rest until the animals had been set
free. In one hilarious case the freed pig destroyed a hotel room by
shitting all over the place.
I can imagine the sneers from vitriolic Roger Waters towards
David Gilmour, on tour and in the studio, about 'hippie chick' Ginger.
The fact that David used to sneak out of the studio for steak sandwiches
and hamburgers, something his vegan wife didn't really appreciate, must
have made Gilmour an easy target for Roger Waters.
The book has 90 chapters, counts over 630 pages and Floydian content can
be found in about the first two thirds. These titbits relish a Floydian
anorak as they give an inside look on life on the road and in the
studio. Like silly crew contests, for instance:
Chris Adamson won because he ate the most amount of raw potatoes and
Little Mick won for eating the most amount of fried eggs. P43
Most of the time Ginger recounts about her own life, with its big and
little adventures and anecdotes, like getting married without the rest
of the band knowing it and meeting a memory from the past in the studio
later that day (something David Gilmour always denied it happened). But
that story of what happened on the 7th of July 1975 has already been
told here before: Shady
Sound of Silence
David Gilmour never was an extrovert person and if there were problems
in the band, he tried to hide those for his wife.
I was not always aware of the tensions growing in the band. Moreover,
just how much of that tension subtly influenced our relationship. David
held most of these matters to himself. P99
But of course not everything could be kept a secret. Ginger did see the
signs that something was wrong when Roger Waters isolated himself from
the rest of the band during the shoddy Animals tour, where at one point
Rick Wright flew back home because he couldn't stand the bass player any
This could have been the end of Pink Floyd but unfortunately the Norton
Warburg financial debacle meant that they had to produce a smash album
to recoup their financial losses. Despite the animosity in the band the
three others agreed to give Waters free reign. On holiday in Lindos,
Gilmour listened for days to The Wall tapes. His reaction was not
I don't think I can really work with this. I have no idea how this could
become something people would enjoy listening to. It is just Angst! P200
One of my Turns
As we all know The Wall did turn into a massive success, but creating it
was a burden for all those involved. Roger turned into something of a
dictator and started to harass the others. Ginger Gilmour witnessed a
few of these exchanges.
What also made it difficult was the fact that he [Rick Wright, FA] was
often the punching bag. The camaraderie of the band's relationship was
always boy tease boy, but for me this was getting to be too cruel. Rick
buckled. It was heartbreaking to watch. P217
Ginger stays vague about David Gilmour's apparent compliance with Roger
Waters. The guitarist might even have suggested to Roger to throw Nick
Mason out of the band and to continue as a duo. This was told by Roger
Waters in one of his angry post-Pink-Floyd interviews and denied by
Anyway, creating The Wall was a continuous fight between the two main
protagonists, with Mason diplomatically acting as the 'ship's cook':
I see various commanders come and go, and, when things get really bad, I
just go back down to the galley.
Ginger Gilmour describes the atmosphere during the sessions as follows:
I watched David's quiet and sometimes not so quit influences bringing
music to us that spoke of hope, outside the lyrics. I saw his struggle.
He tried so hard. I watched Rick's withdrawal give a podium for a victim
within the subconscious aspects of the story. I watched Nick's struggle
between friendship and finding his voice. P222
It can't be denied though that Nick and David pretty much agreed with
Roger, until Waters sneered once too much...
David was in a mood when I arrived [at a Japanese restaurant, FA]. I
will never forget the look of shock on everyone's face especially
Roger's, with everyone's tensions riding high. Roger wanted to remove
'Comfortably Numb' from the album. It was one of the only songs, which
David had a major credit for and he exploded. I think if he had known
karate the table would have split in two! I will never forget the look
of shock on everyone's face, especially Roger's. P232
The Wall, with Comfortably Numb included, was successful, but the
problems were far from over. In 1981 a barn filled with Floyd fireworks
went up in a fire, killing the farmer and several firemen in the
explosion. Pink Floyd's army of lawyers reacted that it wasn't their
problem and the band was later acquitted from all (financial)
The Thin Ice
The tension in the band had its negative influence on Gilmour's marriage
as well . The first cracks in the 'thin ice' started to show. David
confided to Emo that he feared that the Sant
Mat movement had too much influence on his wife, what Emo – himself
Singh follower - duly contradicted.
A great deal of the book is about the many fantastic people Ginger has
met over the years, ranging from the cook at a Greek restaurant to the
great spiritual leaders of this world (all the people she mentions must
run in the hundreds). David always liked to have his old Cambridge
friends around, Emo and Pip and the people he played with in his
pre-Floyd bands. When he hears the terrible news about Ponji he is
genuinely shocked and saddened. (Read about Pip and Ponji here: We
are all made of stars.)
Gilmour's behaviour changed radically when he became the new great
leader of Pink Floyd, some of his old friends (and family members)
Samson may have had a certain influence in this as well. Nowadays
David hardly has contact with the old mob and it is believed the
Roger-David feud is again as big as it was three decades ago. However,
the Pink Floyd wars are now fought in private, between lawyers and
managers, and only surface when new product sees the light of day. (See
skimming The Early Years.)
Run Like Hell
Final Cut there was the battle for the band, a conflict that was
more of importance for David than saving his own marriage.
I remember the moment David further closed his heart, and rage took its
To finance the new project Nick Mason mortgaged his 1962 GTO Ferrari.
David Gilmour put his houses at stake, without consulting his wife first.
We, our family security, were on the tightrope as well. (…) No wonder
David grew more withdrawn from me. Our eyes stopped meeting. I kept
looking. He was holding more than tension. He was holding a secret. P382
In order to make the new Floyd viable the family had to go on tax exile
again. David didn't have the guts to tell his wife, so he ordered Steve
O'Rourke to pass the message during an informal dinner. It made
Ginger wonder if her husband would also instruct his manager to tell her
if he wanted a divorce.
Visions of an Empty Bed
David Gilmour, who was already afraid that new age and eastern
philosophies had too much influence on his wife, unwillingly pushed her
further away as she sought guidance in the mental colour therapy of The
Maitreya School of Healing and in the teachings of the Naqshbandiyya-Mujaddidiya
order. Ginger Gilmour (in Mark Blake's biography):
I was getting more alternative - starting to meditate - and he was doing
more cocaine and hanging out with all kinds of people.
Diet Floyd minus Waters was on a two years world tour, but dieting is
not what happened backstage. Every night an alcohol and dope infested
inferno was launched with emperor David Gilmour approvingly joining in
the caligulesque festivities. On the few free days he was back in
Britain, he didn't bother to show up at home, not even to greet the
Ginger Gilmour is very discrete about David's party life, but she
doesn't withhold the one conversation she overheard backstage at a
“Wow, I wouldn't mind getting into Gilmour's pants!” The
other woman, whose voice I recognised, said, “No problem. I will
introduce you. Get it on!” P503
This was the story of The Wall all over again, now with David 'Fred'
Gilmour and Ginger as the couple in trouble.
We, David and I, were living in separate houses, separate lives joined
only by our children and a piece of paper affirming, “until death do us
House of Broken Dreams
In summer 1998 they went to Hawaii for a last time together, trying to
act like a family but sleeping in different beds. A bitter Gilmour had
the habit of answering the phone with the sentence 'House Of Broken
Dreams'. This line was picked up by Graham
Nash who wrote a song about Ginger and David's family situation.
House Of Broken Dreams would appear on the Crosby,
Stills & Nash album Live
It Up (1990):
Separate houses separate hearts It's hard to face the feelings
tearing us apart And in this house of broken dreams love lies (Listen
to it on YouTube: House
Of Broken Dreams.)
By then Ginger Gilmour sought and found her own way of survival by
painting and sculpting. In December 1989 she co-organised a charity
Christmas Carol Fantasy. She notes, in her typical spiritual mood that
seeps through the text and that gets more frequent near the end:
I felt I was being guided by something greater than me, the Divine power
of our Creator and his team of Angels. Miracles happened each day.
I'm not sure if angels were involved or not, but David Gilmour, who was
by then living on his own on Malda Avenue, agreed to help her out for
the rock'n roll section of the show. He assembled the Christmas Carol
Fantasy Band that comprised of Paul Young, Vicki Brown, Jon Lord,
Mick Ralphs, Rick Wills, Nick Laird-Clowes, performing Imagine and Happy
Christmas (War Is Over).
Outside the Wall
The divorce did not embitter Ginger and she writes with much love about
David Gilmour and Pink Floyd. She seems to be such a nice lady and her
book is so filled with uplifting optimism that it almost is a sin to
criticise her, but it is not without flaws.
Ginger Gilmour sees divine intervention about everywhere so that I can
only deduct that over the years she created her own personal cuckoo
land. This is mostly harmless, but after a time it gets slightly
irritating. An example. Ginger invites Buddhist Lama Kalu
Rinpoche to one of The Wall shows in Los Angeles. When he leaves the
concert, just before the final, something apparently magical happens
when he walks through the crowd.
I will never forget the expressions that lit up their faces in contrast
to what they were witnessing. It was as though they saw Christ. Their
hearts opened with the thought that he had graced them by being there.
Not only did the concertgoers have the show of their life, they were
also blessed by the apparition of a godlike creature, according to
Ginger. Harmless as this may be, it may not always be the case.
Suggesting that mental colour therapy could help with diseases such as
AIDS sounds pretty much like potentially dangerous quackery to me.
But for the look behind the curtains of this band, during one of its
darkest seasons, this bleeding anorak is thankful.
All pictures previously published by Iain 'Emo' Moore (and grabbed from
his Facebook timeline). Fred was David Gilmour's nickname in Cambridge. ♥
Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 252, 268, 336.
In our collective memory the band called Zee
has required a top ten place in the 'albums you'd like to forget'
section, but of course that applies to a lot of those electro pop
outfits of the eighties. For every 'Fade
To Grey' there are at least a dozen of equivalent tracks that have
died an unnoticed death (anyone remembers Einstein
A Go-Go?). Even Kraftwerk,
those German electronic pioneers who are venerated more for the image we
have of them than for their actual recordings, issued something close to
a dud with Electric
romantics' ruled in the eighties. Members of competing bands
regularly helped each other out, working together, creating
'supergroups' or side projects. Of course we had those bands where
members left because of musical differences, creating their own,
sometimes successful, incarnations. Early Human
League, for instance, split into Phil Oakey's highly lucrative band,
keeping the old name, and Heaven
17. That last one also had its own, well acclaimed, spin-off BEF
(British Electric Foundation).
Another example is musician Vince Clarke who started Depeche
Mode and ended up in Erasure.
In between he also had hits with Yazoo
(featuring Alison Moyet) and The
Assembly (with singer Feargal Sharkey from The Undertones). I'll
stop here because if I get started about those eighties bands and
artists this article will never end.
Putting 'big names' together doesn't always have the desired result. I
Music that was a collaboration between Karl
Bartos and Emil Schult (both from the Kraftwerk factory), Lothar
Manteuffel (from 'Neue Deutsche Welle' sensation Rheingold)
and Andy McCluskey (Orchestral
Manoeuvres in the Dark). Their Esperanto album wasn't exactly a
top-seller, perhaps because they couldn't decide what musical direction
to venture into. The single TV
was an excellent Kraftwerk leftover though and probably better than
anything that has left the Kling Klang studios ever since.
Writing On The Wall
Floyd fans got quite a shock when they found out, by checking the
credits on the back cover of The
Final Cut (1983), that Rick Wright no longer was a member of the
band. He was already absent on The
Wall sleeve, but so was Nick Mason, who was duly pissed off for that
and with valid reasons.
Next to the composers of the different tracks, The Wall’s inner sleeve
mentions a football team (that's soccer for you, Americans) of
collaborators, at least on my (European) vinyl copy, bought on the day
of its release: Bob Ezrin (producer/orchestra arrangements), Brian
Christian (engineer), Bruce Johnston (backing vocals), Islington Green
School (backing vocals), James Guthrie (co-producer/engineer), Jim Haas
(backing vocals), Joe Chemay (backing vocals), John McLure (engineer),
Jon Joyce (backing vocals), Michel Kamen (orchestra arrangements), Nick
Griffiths (engineer), Patrice Quef (engineer), Phil Taylor (sound
equipment), Rick Hart (engineer), Stan Farber (backing vocals) and Toni
Tennile (backing vocals). Roger Waters and David Gilmour are mentioned
as producers, not as musicians.
You could not find Nick Mason nor Richard Wright who were in the band
from a time they were called the T-Set.
It also needs to be said that there is another football team of session
musicians who weren’t mentioned on the sleeve: Blue Ocean (snare drums),
Bobbye Hall (congas/bongos), Chris Fitzmorris (voice), Clare Torry
(backing vocals), Frank Marrocco (concertina), Fred Mandel (Hammond
organ), Harry Waters (voice), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Joe (Ron) di Blasi
(classical guitar), Joe Porcaro (snare drums), Larry Williams
(clarinet), Lee Ritenour (rhythm and acoustic guitar), Trevor Veitch
(mandolin), Trudy Young (groupie) and Vicki Brown (backing vocals).
Neither were the 34 anonymous snare drum players, nor the members of the
New York Orchestra and New York Opera.
So when Roger Waters later claimed that A Momentary Lapse Of Reason was
a Pink Floyd forgery because of all the hired session musicians he must
have had a slight fit of selective indignation.
I won’t blame you for skipping the previous paragraph, that reads like
one of Roger Waters’ lesser lyrics, so let’s just summarise that from
the Pink Floyd personnel on The Wall only the composing and producing
group members were mentioned: David Gilmour and Roger Waters, and weird
enough no one spotted a discrepancy in that. On top of that, when The
Wall hit the road Wright would play next to the others, pretending as if
nothing had happened. A surrogate band member on a weekly wage and a
crate of Jack Daniels.
When the news leaked that Richard Wright had formed a new band this was
enough to make us jump enthusiastically in the air. In 1978 Wright had
Dream with a dream-team of session musicians: Snowy White, Mel
Collins, Reg Isidore... The album went virtually unnoticed by the
general public, but prog or symph rock aficionados were well aware of
it. On Belgian national radio it was quite popular on a Wednesday
afternoon AOR show where the fantastic 'Mediterranean
C' was often tied with Gilmour's equally fantastic 'Mihalis'
from his first solo album that had appeared a couple of months earlier.
Pink Floyd had always been a faceless band in the seventies and as such
its individual members paid a price when they wanted to go solo,
although Gilmour's first did reach position 17 in England and 29 in the
USA. Not bad for an aspiring rock star, one might say, but not for a
Pink Floyd mogul. Rumours go that Gilmour rehashed his third solo album
into Floyd, asking Nick Mason and later Richard Wright to add their
names for legal reasons, with A
Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) as the multi-million-units-selling
And now that we are gossiping: it appears that Pink Floyd repeated this
trick on The
Endless River (2014). While Gilmour added extra layers of guitar,
Nick Mason only entered the studio to put his signature under the
contract. The end product was frankensteined by a team of engineers and
producers. Even the sleeve was a fan-made mockery of a genuine Hipgnosis
/ Storm Thorgerson cover, although I doubt that anyone at Pink Floyd
(1987) Ltd. saw the irony in that.
Brave New 1984
Back to 1984, the heyday of new-romantic and synth-pop, showing us the
best and the worst of the genre. The hit-parade was populated by Alison
Moyet, Alphaville, Bananarama, Bronski Beat, Culture Club, Depeche Mode,
Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Howard Jones,
Limahl, Nik Kershaw, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, Spandau Ballet,
The Thompson Twins, Ultravox and Wham!
Soon, so I hoped, another name would be added to that list, Zee, a
collaboration between Rick Wright and Dave Harris. Dave who? Here was
someone I had never heard of before.
Dave ‘De’ Harris was a member of the band Fashiøn
who had a UK top-10 album in 1982 called Fabrique,
although their singles only scratched the mid top-100. Previously it had
been a post-punk, new wave outfit called Fàshiön Music with an unhealthy
appetite for unnecessary diacritics, never a good sign. Fashiøn didn't
turn into the next Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet or Frankie Goes To
Hollywood what is now explained by claiming that their fusion of electro
and funk had been way ahead of their time. Tired of flogging a dead
horse Dave Harris was looking for new pastures:
Fashiøn was doing a small tour of East Coast America. I met up with Raff
Ravenscroft in New York and he mentioned that Rick was looking to start
a band and record an album. (…) I knew I was ready to split from Fashiøn
and so when I got back to London, Rick and I got together and after a
few meetings with other players, we decided to do the album together as
Those other players, besides Dave Harris, were bass player John
Fry & sax virtuoso Raff
Ravenscroft. It is interesting that Ravenscroft is named here. He
appeared on The Final Cut, the Pink Floyd album without Rick Wright,
where he sessioned on Two
Suns In The Sunset, and on Roger Waters' The Pros and Cons of Hitch
Hiking. He also gigged with David Gilmour.
Wet Dream II
Initially Wright was looking for a traditional Floydian band, like the
one he had assembled on Wet Dream, but the love for experimental
synthesizers decided otherwise.
Remain In Light really knocked me out with all the cross-rhythms. The
bass never seems to come in where you’d expect it. If you want to hear
some incredible rhythmic things that are really working then the title
track’s the place to be. Of course I didn’t analyse it when I first
heard it, but I just knew that there was something different going on.
Eno does it all the time as well, which is probably why he and David
Byrne get on so well. I couldn’t stop playing Once In A Lifetime when I
first got the album, because it was the perfect example of that
fantastic Talking Heads trick where they combine quirkiness with a real
melodic ear. (Taken from: Rick
Wright’s Record Collection.)
One can understand why Rick went into business with Dave Harris:
He wanted a very electronic sound, which is why I think he wanted to
work with me.
The duo first started demoing with piano and acoustic guitar, but that
ended when they messed around with the Fairlight
synthesizer. Pink Floyd was enough of a household name to get an early
beta version of its sequencing software and both musicians immediately
felt like kids in a toy store. To quote Dave Harris:
It gave us a complete new way of composing.
Despite the age difference and a different musical background their
minds 'clicked' and Wright invited Dave Harris and family in his home
studio in England where they experimented and composed for eighteen
months. Sort of.
Here is where the Church’s story goes astray from the official
romanticized version that is told nowadays. It is – as usual – the
opinion of the Reverend and not the one of Pink Floyd, nor Zee, its
members, spouses, relatives or groupies.
Once the initial and exciting stage of experiment was over Rick Wright
lost interest and was less and less available. Dave Harris tried to
persuade Rick to play the Hammond on the record.
Getting him to do it was a nightmare.
Wright had a fair share of business meetings to attend to, but also had
two divorces to cope with, both on a personal and financial level. One
with his ex-wife Juliette, who was apparently still around although they
weren't a couple any more, the other with his ex-band Pink Floyd. Apart
from that Wright would often disappear to supervise 'work' on his
sailboat in Greece. It was soon found out the Fairlight was not the only
organ he liked to experiment with.
In an interview with The
Mail On Sunday from July 2016, Franka Wright tells how she met Rick
at the Qupi bar in Lindos.
I was not interested in him but I could feel his blue eyes on me all the
time. (…) He eventually broke up my marriage by telling my
already suspicious husband that he was madly in love with me.
They became a couple in 1982, dividing their time between Wright’s homes
in New York, Nice, London, Greece and his boat, before marrying on
Rhodes in 1984. She also testifies how Rick 'indulged in every
conceivable rock cliché throughout their relationship, from taking
industrial quantities of drugs [and alcohol] to sleeping with endless
Rick didn’t talk too much about why he left the band, except to say he
was fed up with Waters’s ego.
Rick did not only not talk to Roger Waters, when the couple bumped into
David Gilmour on Lindos 'both men studiously ignored each other'. That
Wright was in a bad shape was clear to her:
When we met, he had only one pair of jeans, his personal hygiene was
questionable, and his house in Knightsbridge was shambolic.
So here we have a member of a successful band who is thrown out for not
pulling his weight during the recording sessions. He then disappears in
relative obscurity and lives a life of booze, drugs and an endless list
At first he is enthusiast about making a solo album, but after a few
months he leaves the work to others and needs to be forced to carry on.
To get rid of the pressure he escapes to a holiday island in smelly
I don’t think music was his main priority. I think his happiness was his
main priority although we were doing stuff. He had a lot of other
personal things going on. (…) The eighties was a time of
cocaine. It was around and it was probably a problem, looking back, for
both of us. (…) His biggest drug was smoking. You never saw him
without a cigarette.
It has been hinted that the deteriorating of Rick’s singing voice over
the years was due to his nicotine addiction.
Meanwhile Dave Harris, who didn't have an endless supply of money, felt
he had an album to finish. A trip to France, supposedly to write lyrics,
turned into a fortnight of them 'getting pissed' and no work done. In
the end all song texts ended up written by Harris.
Lead vox: Dave Harris. Guitars: Dave Harris. Main keyboards,
percussion and Fairlight programming: Dave Harris. Album title
(Identity): Dave Harris.
Even the name for the band, Zee, was Dave’s decision.
How did I come up with the band’s name. It’s really stupid, I said to
Rick what about Zee? It’s some sort of a final thing and I love how
Americans say zee for zed. And it’s nothing… just Zee.
Unfortunately the Identity sleeve was also done by him, resulting in an
overdose of röck döts thät mäde thé tèxt löök räthèr wäcký. Did I
already tell you that an abundant use of unnecessary diacritics never is
a good sign for an album?
I would agree, that the album sounded ahead of its time apart from the
Floyd fans who weren’t going to like it, however it turned out!
That’s also a way to describe it. Actually the album sounded dated the
day it came out. Kate Bush (1980), Peter Gabriel (1982) and dozens of
others had already experimented with the Fairlight, so Zee weren't
really pioneers of the 'orchestra in a box'. The Fairlight was so
omnipresent on every day's records that Phil Collins found it necessary
to put a warning on his No
Jacket Required album (1985) that there was no Fairlight on the
record. It was the auto-tune of the eighties.
The question is if Identity would have sounded differently with Richard
Wright at the helm. One thing we will never know. What we do know was
that Rick Wright was pretty positive at first. Dave Harris:
Rick wanted to do a follow up album straight away, we had done some work
at his house in the south of France and he had the idea to move
everything down there and start the next album. (…) Obviously I wasn’t
as financially well off as Rick and couldn’t afford to take another year
off writing a new album.
Dave Harris took a production job (for Limahl’s first solo album Don’t
Suppose) and the duo went separate ways, which lead to some problems
with a temperamental Rick. They never spoke to each other ever since.
Rick Wright changed his opinion about Identity:
Zee was a disaster, an experimental mistake, but it was made at a time
in my life when I was lost.
And although Dave Harris now looks back with tenderness he wasn’t that
Everything we did ended up sounding like a fucking robot.
Of course one can’t deny the album sounds pretty dated nowadays.
The thing is, the Fairlight was the sound of its time and that made the
album sound its time.
One of the good things of Facebook and the internet in general is that
people have become more accessible. Dave Harris learned that quite a few
people did not implicitly hate the album.
It seems now though thanks to social media and the world being so much
smaller, there are a lot of Floydians who did like it at the time and
Before The Sun Is Gone
As the album had never been issued on CD (legally) it was about time to
remaster and re-release it. Dave Harris even 'reconstructed' a demo
"Before the Sun is Gone" to be included as a bonus.
Rick and I started it together as a demo, but it was put aside as with a
lot of tracks when you are making an album. But the chord sequence has
always stayed with me, and the best we could do was to try and emulate
Ricks style of playing (impossible)! But we did the best we could.
While the Wright heirs initially agreed with the extra track this was
The track ‘Before the sun is gone’ has been taken off... due to a
decision by Gala and Jamie Wright. They wanted the album as it was in
1984 without any extra tracks, but I will be releasing the 7” and 12” of
‘Confusion’ and the B-side ‘Eyes of a gypsy' as a bonus CD. I will be
looking to release ‘Before the sun is gone' after the album has been
released. Very strange decision, I know the fans of Zee would have loved
to hear any unreleased music. Never mind. (Facebook, 20 July 2018.)
Dave Harris' explanation is a bit simple. On an early track-listing for
the Identity 2017 album the new track is copyrighted to Harris/Fishman
(without Rick Wright). The keyboard player on this salvaged track is
Paul Fishman from Re-Flex, from The Politics Of Dancing fame. Adding a
new track (without Rick Wright) would have meant renegotiating the
copyrights for this album, adding a bit more to Harris and Paul Fishman
and a bit less to Wright. If we may be sure of one thing it is that Pink
Floyd (and their members, heirs and lawyers) never liked to share a
slice of the pie.
(It gets even more complicated when you realize that the B-side of the
'Confusion' single and maxi-single 'Eyes Of A Gypsy' was originally
copyrighted to Dave Harris alone.)
As a company Pink Floyd has never been acknowledged for its swiftness
and efficacity. Dealing with them is like the hopping procession of
Echternach where the pilgrims move three steps forward and two backwards.
Their own Early Years box-set was twenty years in the making and even
then it had to be rushed in the end with some disastrous results if we
may believe some reviews. (See: Supererog/Ation:
skimming The Early Years)
It took over a decade for the Floyd-machine to clear the copyrights for
the Last Minute Put Together Boogie Band, with a guest appearance from
Syd Barrett, after they tried to bury the tape in their archives. (Read
that story at: The
Last Minute Put Together Reel Story)
Dave Harris already announced the birth of the ‘new’ Zee in March 2017
and to his own frustration he saw that thanks to the Floyd’s inefficacy
to move things forward 2017 went by, then 2018, then the first half of
That is not all. Once the record was cleared by the Floyd monster
disaster after disaster hit the release.
1. Pledge Music
Originally the deluxe version of the record was going to be distributed
by Pledge Music, but Dave Harris warned buyers in January that the
company was heading for bankruptcy. He recommended to cancel the orders
and to place it at Burning Shed instead. Luckily Pledge Music refunded
most cancelled orders, but fans who didn’t cancel on time lost their
money as Pledge Music stopped business in May 2019.
2. Burning Shed
In March 2019 Burning Shed cancelled all orders with the following text:
We are sorry to say that the release date for this has been put back at
least two months. As a result we have decided that it would be better
to remove this item from sale and refund your order rather than making
you wait for something that may well be delayed again. We apologise
for any inconvenience and we will issue a refund shortly.
It was later confirmed by Dave Harris that there have been some
‘misunderstandings’ between them, probably money matters.
Dave Harris then tried to sell the record through Amazon. While this was
working on the British and American branches the release was not
available at the European websites. So a fourth partner had to be looked
4. Music Glue
Last but not least another webshop was suggested by Dave: Music Glue,
although they could only deliver the goods with over a month’s delay.
But one sunny day in the month of June 2019 it finally arrived at
Identity 2019 has been remastered from the final mix as the multi-track
tapes have disappeared over the years (and that would have meant a
remix), but obviously what has been found has been cleaned for this
digital release. This CD sounds crispier as ever.
The 2019 version of this album comes in different shapes and formats. A
‘limited edition’ box set, autographed by Dave Harris, contains a
booklet, a poster, promo pictures, flyers and a slightly boasting press
release blurb from EMI. (See the unboxing of Zee at our Tumblr
ZEE is a long-term project for us, there is no question of just
releasing the one album and that being it.
The box set has an extended version of the album, adding the 7 and 12
inch singles (and its B-sides). An extra CD contains 5 ‘Rough Mixes’
that are pretty close to the final release, but not quite yet. Several
of these songs sound less ‘robotic’ than on the 1984 record. They come
from a cassette that a friend of Dave Harris had in his cupboard for 35
How does Identity sound 35 years after it has been made? Let's be
honest, this is not the world's most venerable electro-pop album, but
actually it is not as bad as many people told it was. I wouldn't go as
far as calling it a forgotten masterpiece, but it has acquired a certain
'cult' status though.
The best way to take in the album, in my humble opinion, is with a
maximum of two or three tracks per session. After that it starts to get
tedious. Not only the Fairlight is to blame for that, but also Dave
Harris' monotonous singing voice that I am quite allergic to, I have to
Time to start! Let's have one of those fantastical Holy Church of Iggy
the Inuit reviews, shall we? (This review is based upon a comparison of
the POTWCD001 needle-drop of the album, our vinyl copies, singles and
maxi-singles and the 2019 remaster.)
Zee - Identity
First track and the obligatory single (somewhat shorter: 3:37) of the
album, also released in one of those dreaded 12-inch maxi-versions
(6:21) that haunted the eighties. It needs to be said that Dave Harris'
previous band, Fashiøn, was one of the pioneers of the extended single
format, creating alternative remixes of their regular songs, so it might
be interesting to compare the different versions.
Confusion is (apparently) an attempt to mimic Fashiøn's electro-funk and
as such the contrast with the Pink Floyd sound couldn't be greater.
Actually the track is pretty good but it didn't stand a chance in the
charts, against the Bronski Beats and others, not that the other Floyds
fared any better. David Gilmour's horrendous Blue Light never made it
into the UK Top-100 and Roger Waters' 5:01 AM The Pros and Cons of Hitch
Hiking stranded at 76.
As far a I can hear there is no Rick on this track and people who were
expecting the lazy lounge jazz of Mediterranean C may have been very
The maxi-single is a pretty messed up version that adds a blend of
Kraftwerkian rhythms and Donkey Kong effects, before and after the song
and as such this is pretty standard 'extended' eighties stuff. The
single version seems to have some extra blips and tocs here and there,
but as you have already figured out for yourself, is about half a minute
shorter than the album version. This version fades out, rather than
The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (4:20),
but the difference with the album version is minimal (or even
Undoubtedly the best – read: Floydian - track on the album and one that
breathes Rick Wright in and out. Dave Harris' voice is sequenced in such
a way it could be mistaken for his colleague and that is why several
fans – over the years – have insisted that Rick did sing some of the
songs, which isn't the case. Rick's backing vocals are quite prominent
though (or at least, that is what I have always thought).
In my opinion the track could've benefited from an even more Floydian
approach, more repeating echoes for instance and more Floydian musique
concrète sound effects.
The deluxe version of the album has a (pretty interesting) Rough Mix of
this track (6:15).
Private Person (3:36)
The Floydian atmosphere is absent on Private Person, although lack of
communication is a theme that has been preoccupying Pink Floyd on
several of their (post-Waters) songs. The text is open to interpretation
and could be a description of the faltering Wright – Harris relation
during the recording of the album, but could of course also be
extrapolated towards Rick's marriage problems and/or his situation with
his old band.
We may talk, but you don't listen You twist a tale and loose the
comprehension Seems communication is missing In everything I say
The fact that Wright never revealed his feelings during the making of
the album duly frustrated Harris, who had to finish most songs on his
I also realised I had no idea what he actually thought of what I was
doing, as he never told me.
Not a bad song though, for an album track.
The 1984 version of this track has about a second of synthesised wind
noise before the drum beat kicks in. This is missing on the 2019
version, apparently an oversight from the remastering team. (Source:
Steve Bennett, 19 May 2019)
The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (3:28).
Strange Rhythm (6:37)
Opinion 1: One of those tracks where the Fairlight experimenting goes
around the bend and where Harris' monotonous voice messes up the song.
Too long, too dull, too boring.
Opinion 2: When listening to this song on its own it obtains a certain
mesmerising charm, but it is nevertheless an album track that doesn’t
fulfil its potential.
The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (6:14).
Cuts Like A Diamond (5:39)
First track of Side B. The song starts intriguing enough, with an intro
that made me remotely think of Together In Electric Dreams (Philip Oakey
& Giorgio Moroder) that was a 1984 big hit. It is a slow evolving track
that profits from an interesting guitar solo in the middle. Also here I
have the impression that it could’ve evolved into something brilliant,
if only Rick Wright would’ve put more of his magic on it.
The deluxe version of the album has a Rough Mix of this track (5:24).
By Touching (5:40)
First opinion: the intro of the song doesn't promise anything good and
perhaps the song isn't that bad, but the multiple Fairlight effects and
Harris' humdrum singing are getting too much for me.
Second opinion: after listening to this song as a stand-alone track, it
seems to be quite all-right if one manages to ignore the obvious
eighties ubiquities. Decent guitar solo at the end but all in all too
repetitive and too long.
How Do You Do It (4:43)
This could've been a second single as it tries hard to be a
bass-slapping funky tune à la Level 42 with according meaningless
lyrics. Not bad if you are in that kind of thing.
Seems We Were Dreaming (5:07)
A song about a dream must start with obligatory wind chimes, even if
they have probably been generated – it gets boring, I know – by
electronics. Although buried at the end of side two this is another
highlight with a Floydian feel. Just like in Voices Dave Harris' voice
has been sequenced to vaguely sound like Wright's.
The middle has a storming Floydian keyboard solo, for once not on a
Fairlight, but on a Hammond, that could have found its place on A
Momentary Lapse Of Reason. As a matter of fact this song would not have
sounded out of place on that Pink Floyd come-back record, that was
unfortunately also suffering from an eighties boom boom tchak
approach. Call it the booger sugar syndrome that was hitting musicians
all over the world and I’m not only talking about keyboard players this
This could’ve been a killer track, if only.
Eyes Of A Gypsy (4:13)
Issued as an extra track on the cassette version of the album and the
B-side of the Confusion single. It also exists in a dub remix for the
12-inch. This track was originally credited to Dave Harris alone and he
has confirmed it was written and recorded in a hurry (and without Rick
Wright) because the record company wanted an extra track.
On the 2019 re-release the copyrights have been changes to Wright /
Harris, for whatever reason.
It is another attempt at a Fashiøn-like-electro-funk-dance-tune and is
not that bad even for a throwaway track.
The so-called dub version of the song, that could be found on the 12
inch, is what it is, an almost completely instrumental remix with even
more reverb than the original. It suffers from the typical eighties
maxi-single remix syndrome.
So far for the album. It hasn't been all that bad when you listen to it
from an eighties electro-pop point of view. Of course fans who were
expecting Wet Dream II (that breathed a Wish You Were Here atmosphere)
may have been unpleasantly surprised and I can understand that they must
have felt more at ease with About Face and The Pros and Cons of Hitch
I always have had a soft spot for this album that already carried the
seeds for Rick Wright’s experimental and avant-gardist Broken China
(1996) that was also written and recorded as a duo (with Anthony Moore).
With this release it has finally gotten the attention it deserves.
Thanks for reading until the end of this article. Here's a little bonus
for you. A Rick Wright promo interview from March 1984.
More pictures can be found at our Tumblr
Many thanks to: Steve Bennett, Nino Gatti, Dave Harris, Wolfpack, Franka
Wright. ♥ Libby ♥ Iggy ♥
Sources (other than the links above): Blake, Mark: Pigs Might Fly,
Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 309-311. Boddy, Paul: Missing
in Action: FASHIØN @ Electricty Club, 2017. Johnson, Angela: The
dark side of Pink Floyd: Keyboardist Rick Wright's ex wife tells of
the constant cheating with groupies, drugs and torrid rows which went on
behind the scenes @ Mail Online, 2016. Kopp, Bill: Songs
In The Key of Zee: Identity at 35 @ Rock And Roll Globe, 2019. Liam
Wright : AFG Exclusive Interview With Zee Co-Founder Dave Harris @ A
Fleeting Glimpse, 2018. Triple Threat: EXCLUSIVE!!!
Interview with Dave Harris - Identity 2019 @ YouTube, 2019. Yeeshkul:
Musicians, rockers, pop artists,... - name them like you want – live in
a bi-focused, nearly schizophrenic world and need to cultivate
dissociative identities if they want to survive and stay successful.
Just like there are two distinct forms of copyright there are two quasi
contradictory sides representing the same artist. Alfa and omega, yin
and yang, art and product, band and brand.
Let's get to the point because the above intro sounds like one of those
oriental religions that were so popular in the psychedelic sixties.
What I am writing about is the difference between rock music as 'art'
and rock music as 'product'. While an artist regards his latest release
as 'art', his or her record company invariably defines it as 'product'.
For record company executives it makes no difference if they are selling
The Dark Side Of The Moon or a singing trout, as long as it keeps on
paying for their daily dose of chemical stimulants.
Pink Floyd is so big nowadays, despite being mainly in the recycling
business since the end of the last century, that it has evolved from a
band into a brand. They are now their own record label, reducing the
EMI's and CBS's of this world to mere distributors of their product.
When David Gilmour was asked by MTV (in 1987) why the Roger Waters album
and tour (Radio KAOS) was not as successful as the Pink Floyd one (A
Momentary Lapse of Reason) he came up with the following business-mogul
The reason is that we’ve all spent... well he [Nick Mason] spent over 20
years. I spent nearly 20 years working on, building up, the Pink Floyd
name. I mean, if you liken it to basic crass of advertising… You know if
someone left Coca Cola and started up his own soft-drink company with
the same recipe it wouldn’t sell as many. It’s very simple.
Unfortunately, protecting the brand can have a few disadvantages.
Sometimes these are unintentionally funny, like that one time the Pink
Floyd company deleted a video from the official David Gilmour website
for 'copyright' infringements. There is a less savoury side as well. To
fully monetise on the release of 'The Early Years' box the Pink Floyd
copyright police deleted dozens of YouTube movies, including 'Nightmare'
of psychedelic curiosity Arthur
Brown – on his own YouTube channel
– just because they legally could. Can Mr. Gilmour and his leprechaun Paul
Loasby please explain us how this marginally known performer was a
financial threat to the multi-million dollar machine that is Pink Floyd?
For the last couple of decades Pink Floyd has been recycling old stuff,
sometimes adding unreleased material to the default product. Just a
quick list of compilations and live albums since the late eighties:
Delicate Sound of Thunder (1988), Shine On (1992), Pulse (1995), The
First Three Singles (1997), Is There Anybody Out There (2000), Echoes
(2001), Oh, By The Way (2007), Discovery (2011), Dark Side Of The Moon
Immersion & Experience (2011), Wish You Were Here Immersion & Experience
(2011), A Foot in the Door (2011), The Wall Immersion & Experience
(2012), Their First Recordings (2015),…
There were also 30 and 40 years anniversary editions of The Piper At The
Gates Of Dawn and The Early Years box-set with its 33 discs, although I
have never counted them.
These editions are all of the original or classic line-up and it may
have itched a bit at the Gilmour camp that the third and final
incarnation of the band, the one without Roger Waters, has never had a
separate compilation. Well, that is soon going to change.
Alright, alright, I hear you coming. It is not that the band was very
productive in their third incarnation. The classic line-up of Floyd made
eleven albums in fifteen years, Diet Floyd just three in 27, not
counting the two live ones. On top of that The Endless River could be
considered as just another compilation or out-takes album. Basically,
Diet Pink Floyd has been in a state of hibernation after 1995 and for
nearly two decades only recycled material from the classic heydays has
been re-released. The box-sets Oh,
By The Way (2007) and Discovery
(2011) for instance contain the same 14 albums, and only people with a
high-end stereo installation will pretend to hear the difference. How
many times can you remaster an album, anyway? It’s not bloody washing
Back to basics. It doesn’t matter if Diet Floyd existed for 8 (1995, Pulse),
19 (2006, On
An Island) or 27 years. What does matter is that David Gilmour wants
to replenish his pension fund now that he has given a small fortune away
by selling his guitars for charity.
What is more of importance, what is still lying in the vaults that
hasn’t already been (officially) leaked, one way or another.
Let’s have a small history lesson, shall we?
A New Machine
Around 1985 David Gilmour was thinking of resuscitating Pink Floyd with
Nick Mason. There are two main reasons for this, one was the public’s
disinterest in Gilmour’s solo-career, a second reason was that
contractually Pink Floyd still had to make an album with important
financial consequences if they didn’t.
As Waters refused to work any longer with the two others he was –
legally and financially – obliged to hand over the Pink Floyd brand to
the drummer and the new boy, although it took a while for this bad news
to sip in.
Previously Gilmour had been jamming with Jon
Carin for a third solo album but when the call for Floyd product
became louder, he contacted Phil
Manzanera (Roxy Music) and super-producer Bob
Ezrin. Not all collaborators brought in suitable material, Eric
Stewart (10CC) and writer and poet Roger
McGough, who had worked on the Yellow Submarine movie with The
Beatles, were invited, but their input didn’t lead to a valid concept
(although some demos do exist).
Record executives weren’t that happy either and when David Gilmour sent
four tracks over to CBS he was informed that ‘this music doesn’t sound a
fucking thing like Pink Floyd’, something that made Roger Waters
chuckle. Apparently, Gilmour’s New Coke didn’t taste at all like Waters’
Classic Coca Cola.
David Gilmour understood the message and he and his collaborators had
the difficult task to give the existent material a much needed Floydian
treatment. One possibility was to forcibly turn these tracks into a
Pope (from the somewhat underrated band Rough Trade) was flown over
from Canada and at least one song was tried out, Peace Be With You,
‘a nice, mid-tempo thing about Roger Waters’. When this experiment
failed (again) David Gilmour gave up looking for a portmanteau.
It would be a regular album without a storyline, like in the pre-Dark
Side Of The Moon days. Anthony
Moore (Slapp Happy, Henry Cow) was called in, co-writing the lyrics
on three songs. One of those, Learning
To Fly, was the much needed turning point. The sound effects,
provided by Nick Mason, the guitar, keyboards and vocals felt like a
real Pink Floyd song (although one set in the eighties and still without
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the Diet Floyd’s showcase that they
could exist without Roger Waters, although – in retrospect – it wasn’t a
band’s album at all. Co-director Nick Mason had given the drum parts to Carmine
Appice and Jim
Keltner and the list of keyboard players shows that Rick Wright’s
name had been added for legal and public relations reasons, not for his
musical input. David Gilmour, talking about Lapse in a 1994 Mojo:
We went out last time with the intention of showing the world. ‘Look
we’re still here’, which is why we were so loud and crash-bangy. Echoes,
Crash-bangy indeed. The Lapse-album suffered from a digital eighties
production, David Gilmour admitted. Nick Mason was unhappy that he had
been made redundant by a drum computer and a couple of session players
and planned to re-record the drum parts. The same can be said about Rick
Wright’s input, who only entered the studio when the album was nearly
finished and after his wife's plea to take him back aboard. Keyboard
parts from live shows were inserted to replace the 80’s synths.
Although the above rumours started in 2011 the revised album was never
released, but this will change in November 2019 when it will be an
exclusive part of The Later Years boxset.
A Day At The Races
David Gilmour was a busy bee in the early nineties, he made four
(unreleased) soundtracks, with or without the help of Rick and Nick:
Ruby Takes A Trip (1991), The Art Of Tripping (1993), Colours of
Infinity (1995) and La Carrera Panamericana (1992). That last one
contained the first Rick Wright and Nick Mason co-compositions since
Dark Side Of The Moon / Wish You Were Here. The Colours of Infinity
soundtrack has the complete band jamming, lends several themes from Ruby
and Art of Tripping and has been partially recycled for The Endless
La Carrera Panamericana is an oddball in the Pink Floyd canon. It has
been well documented that Nick Mason and the Pink Floyd manager Steve
O’Rourke were (are) historic car racing enthusiasts, a hobby
for multimillionaires with too much time and money on their hands. In
1991 they could cajole David Gilmour into entering the 7-day Carrera
Panamericana race that ran over 2800 km in Mexico. (Rick Wright,
according to Nick, was asked as well but preferred sailing the seven
Not only did they plan to have some fun racing cars, but an inventive
Steve O’Rourke, always the hustler, managed to pre-sell the rights for a
documentary about the race, with Pink Floyd music, recouping the costs
of the expedition. (A side effect is that Gilmour, Mason and O'Rourke
look like walking billboards, pretending to be cool.)
Disaster struck on the third day when the C-type Jaguar of the Gilmour /
O’Rourke team missed a bend near the city of San Luis Potisi. Gilmour
was relatively unharmed but O’Rourke had broken his legs and their race
was over. Both were extremely lucky, the band could have literally died
that day. But, business is business and the promised movie had to be
made with two protagonists out of the race and only the least flamboyant
member left to save the furniture.
The movie is not one that will be remembered for its ingenuity, but if
you like vintage cars and flimsy interviews it might be worth checking
it out, once. The (new) music isn’t that spectacular either, but as one
of only four original products Pink Floyd produced in their later career
many fans feel this should be a required item in the box set. Yet it
will not be included, not as a DVD / Blu-ray, nor as audio.
Keleven at Yeeshkul put it this way:
Omitting La Carrera Panamericana is really disappointing because this
seemed like the absolute last opportunity ever to get that music out,
and there are some really nice tunes on it unavailable in any format
that doesn't have people talking over it from the movie. And this is a
set covering a 30-year period that had a total of four releases of new
material, yet they decided to skip one of them.
Probably Gilmour is afraid that we will all laugh with his driving
skills, nearly killing his manager in the process. A scenario even Roger
Waters didn't dare to dream of.
Video killed the radio stars
But what is in this ruddy box then? It will be mainly focused on video
material and live concerts, claiming to have six hours of unreleased
audio and seven hours of unreleased video, including the mythical Venice
1990 concert. Also included is the Knebworth Silver Clef show with guest
star Candy Dulfer. Those two shows are nice to have obviously, but they
are not particularly rare amongst collectors. I have them both in legal
and less legal releases.
It’s all a bit random actually. There will be a revised Pulse
movie, with added and re-edited content, but not the Pulse CD. For that
other live album Delicate Sound Of Thunder, both movie and audio
versions will be present, remixed and with added material. But, and I
will try not to be too overtly cynical, it will not have Welcome To The
Machine (on video) for the only reason that this would give more
copyrights to… Roger Waters. I kid you not, the Gilmour Waters feud is
still alive and kicking. Just imagine these two slightly demented rock
stars mud wrestling about a song about being nobody’s fool.
Calling it an 18-disc set is of course not wrong, but it needs to be
said that the 5 DVDs in the set duplicate the videos on the Blu-rays,
and those Blu-rays more or less duplicate the audio that are on the CDs.
Weird as well is that there is no regular Division Bell CD, but
the 2014 5.1 mix will be included on Blu-ray. The same goes for The
Endless River that has been turned into a movie experience, like The
Wall or The Final Cut video EP. I seriously wonder what will be the
added value of that.
Love In The Woods
There is also a bunch of music and ‘mister screen’ movies included, but
as far as I can remember the Pink Floyd phenomenon mainly turned around
music, not around video clips. One thing I would like to see is the Pink
Floyd documentary that was shown before the Knebworth concert,
containing the Syd Barrett and Iggy the Eskimo home movies that have
been reviewed here over a decade ago. I can only hope these will turn
up, in one form or another. (See: Love
in the Woods (Pt. 1) & Love
In The Woods (Pt. 2))
Outtakes, demos and alternative versions
Probably there was a plan to include a CD with ‘later years’ outtakes,
demos and alternative versions, but this has been reduced to 6 tracks (4
‘new’ ones and early versions of Marooned and Nervana). Several tracks
that were originally intended to be in the box have been removed at a
later stage, presumably by Mr. Gilmour himself, including the already
mentioned Peace Be With You and early versions of One Slip and Signs Of
Life. And unless something drastically changes the ambient suite The
Big Spliff will forever reside in one of the Pink Floyd dungeons.
Giving none away
That some product is missing in this box is one thing. That the initial
selling price is well over 500 dollar another. This means that each disc
in the set, not counting the doubles, costs over 40 dollar. I wouldn’t
mind paying 40 dollar for the revised Momentary Lapse Of Reason record,
but in this case you have to come up with 500 dollars for the one record
you really want and some extra discs that each contain 80% of easy
obtainable material. It is like selling yesterday’s lunch at a higher
price than the day before. Or if we may use David Gilmour's comparison:
it is like selling New Coke at double the price than the classic one.
Of course Pink Floyd may ask whatever it wants for its music. At least
they have always released product of the highest quality, right?
Recently it has been found out that Blu-rays from The Early Years suffer
from bit rot. Bubbles appear on its surface making them unplayable.
People who were trying to have them replaced, as a matter of fact this
box set only dates from 2016, have been politely advised by the record
company to go fuck themselves. I'm lost for words.
This is not the first time that Pink Floyd doesn’t deliver. Many
Immersion sets had quality problems, the Shine On box had a book that
ended its last page in mid-sentence and a few decades ago Pink Floyd
even issued 'remastered' CDs that weren't remastered at all. That was –
to use another Floydian term – a pretty fair forgery.
As a Floyd fan since the mid seventies a part of me screams, take my
money and give me the box, but – and that is a first for me - another
part is sincerely doubting if it is really worth it. Perhaps this is the
time to seriously reconsider my lifelong relationship with the Floyd.
To quote RonToon, that Jedi master of all things pink:
Gilmour is very generous when it comes to charities but there is no
charity for his fans.
Pink Floyd may be a great band, but has turned into an unreliable brand.
Some pros and cons of The Later Years:
PROS: A Momentary Lapse of Reason remix (stereo and 5.1) - Delicate
Sound of Thunder concert on audio and video, remixed and complete - A
few Division Bell demos and outtakes - Knebworth 1990, full concert, on
audio and video - Previously unreleased documentaries and other material
- Previously unreleased Venice 1989 on video - Restored Pulse on video -
Screen films, music videos. Arnold Layne, live at The Barbican on 10 May
2007, the Floyd's last performance ever (not on CD unfortunately).
CONS: The price per disc is outrageous, plus there are a lot of doubles.
Missing: Live 8, remember Live8? - The Knebworth pre-show documentary,
starring Langley Iddens and Iggy the Eskimo - A Momentary Lapse of
Reason demos (present on ‘early’ track listings, but removed afterwards)
- Alternate single and promo mixes, from A Momentary Lapse of Reason and
The Division Bell (enough to fill a CD on its own) - Echoes (and a few
other songs performed live) - La Carrera Panamericana - Peace Be With
You - Pre-show Soundscape track (issued as a 22 minutes extra track on
the Pulse audio cassette) - Professionally filmed Omni shows in Atlanta,
3-5 November 1987 (although, who needs another live performance by the
Floyd?) - The Big Spliff - The Division Bell stereo remix or remaster -
Venice 1989 on CD - Welcome To The Machine on Delicate Sound of Thunder
The Church wishes to thank: Keleven, Rocco Moliterno, RonToon, the many
collaborators on Steve Hoffman Music Forums and Yeeshkul. ♥ Libby ♥
Sources (other than the above mentioned links): Blake, Mark: Pigs
Might Fly, Aurum Press Limited, London, 2013, p. 311-321. Povey,
Glenn: Echoes, the complete history of Pink Floyd, 3C Publishing, 2008,
p. 260. Steve Hoffman Forum Thread: Pink
Floyd The Later Years Box Set Yeeshkul Forum Thread: Pink
Floyd - The Later Years