|The Endless River|
Pink Floyd — The Endless River
Location: Cambridge, England
Album release: November 10, 2014
Record Label: Columbia
01. Things Left Unsaid
02. It's What We Do
03. Ebb And Flow
01. The Lost Art of Conversation
02. On Noodle Street
03. Night Light
04. Allons-y (1)
06. Allons-y (2)
07. Talkin' Hawkin'
09. Eyes To Pearls
11. Louder Than Words
♠ The Endless River has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 Division Bell sessions, when David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason played freely together at Britannia Row and Astoria studios. This was the first time they had done so since the ‘Wish You Were Here’ sessions in the seventies. Those sessions resulted in The Division Bell, the band’s last studio album.
♠ In 2013 David Gilmour and Nick Mason revisited the music from those sessions and decided that the tracks should be made available as part of the Pink Floyd repertoire. ♠ It would be the last time the three of them would be heard together. The band have spent the last year recording and upgrading the music, using the advantages of modern studio technology to create The Endless River.
♠ The Endless River is a tribute to Rick Wright, whose keyboards are at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. It is a mainly instrumental album with one song, ‘Louder Than Words’, (with new lyrics by novelist Polly Samson), arranged across four sides and produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth and Andy Jackson.
♠ ‘Louder Than Words’, the new song by Pink Floyd, had its first radio play on BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans show (9 October).
♠ ‘Louder Than Words’ is performed by Pink Floyd. Taken from David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason's 1993 Division Bell sessions it has new lyrics by writer and Division Bell lyricist Polly Samson.
♠ David Gilmour said: “The music for Louder Than Words is from those final sessions, the three of us playing together on the houseboat Astoria with Rick's idiosyncratic keyboards reminding me now that you don't know what you've got until it's gone. At the start of the album I asked Polly [Samson] to write the lyrics. She felt that what I played her didn't need words, that hearing us play was more interesting. In the end she wrote just this one, which expresses, beautifully I think, the way the three of us, me, Nick and Rick have something when we play together, that has a magic that is louder than words”.
♠ 16–page booklet includes unseen photographs from 1993 sessions
The Endless River represents a return to the creative principles that informed the writing process that produced Pink Floyd classics like Echoes, Shine On You Crazy Diamond and Animals.
♠ In early 1993, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright set up their equipment in their own Britannia Row Studios in Islington and created more than hundred pieces of music by jamming together, interacting with each other's performances and recording the results.
♠ They then honed the pieces at David's Astoria floating studio, played them live for 2 days at Olympic Studios in Barnes with an extended lineup (Guy Pratt on bass, Jon Carin on keyboards and Gary Wallis on percussion). After that, the core trio returned to Astoria, and worked further on the compositions, alongside co–producer Bob Ezrin, refining the structure, tempos and arrangements. The result, after lyrics and vocals were added, was the 12 million selling 'Division Bell' album.
♠ At the time, there had been talk of a separate ambient album being created from the non–vocal tracks not subsequently issued on 'The Division Bell', but the idea was eventually dropped.
♠ In 2014 David Gilmour and Nick Mason re–entered the studio and, starting with unreleased keyboard performances by Richard Wright, who sadly died in 2008, added further instrumentation to the tracks, as well as creating new material. The result is The Endless River, including 60% of recordings other than the 1993 sessions, but based upon them. The title is a further link, '... the endless river…' being part of the closing phrases of High Hopes, the final song of the previous Pink Floyd album.
♠ David Gilmour describes the record as follows: “The Endless River has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 Division Bell sessions. We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album. Over the last year we've added new parts, re–recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album. With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire.”
♠ Stylistically, The Endless River includes all of the musical elements that characterize Pink Floyd: mellifluous keyboards, jazz–tinged drums, musique concrete, ethereal vocals, and distinctive, emotional lead guitar. As well as Pink Floyd's trademark backing vocals, there is one vocal track, with lyrics by author Polly Samson, who also contributed to The Division Bell.
Pink Floyd Louder Than Words Lyrics
We bitch and we fight
diss each other on sight
but this thing we do…
These times together
rain or shine or stormy weather
this thing we do…
With world-weary grace
we’ve taken our places
we could curse it or nurse it and give it a name.
Or stay home by the fire
felled by desire, stoking the flame.
But we’re here for the ride.
It’s louder than words
this thing that we do
louder than words
the way it unfurls.
It’s louder than words
the sum of our parts
the beat of our hearts
is louder than words.
Louder than words.
The strings bend and slide
as the hours glide by
an old pair of shoes
your favorite blues
gonna tap out the rhythm.
Let’s go with the flow
wherever it goes.
We’re more than alive.
It’s louder than words
this thing that we do
louder than words
the way it unfurls.
It’s louder than words
the sum of our parts
the beat of our hearts
is louder than words.
Louder than words
this thing they call soul
it’s there with a pulse
louder than words.
Louder than words.
____________________________________________________________ DAVID GILMOUR’S NEW ALBUM RECORDING SESSION PHOTO
♠ In the early 1960s, a bunch of boys from Cambridge began jamming together, and out of those encounters were born the early incarnations of Pink Floyd. More than 40 years and 150 million album sales later, the band headlined the biggest global music event in history — Live 8 — and was inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame. You could say the Floyd has staying power.
♠ The main characters in their story — all the children of teachers or academics — are Roger ‘Syd’ Barrett, Roger Waters and David Gilmour. (Waters was ahead of Barrett at school; Gilmour and Barrett were in the same year at college.) While Gilmour went pro at 18, the other two pursued higher education in London, vowing to start a band there.
♠ When Barrett arrived at Camberwell art school in 1964, Waters was already studying architecture at Regent Street Poly, where he had met the talented pianist Rick Wright, the drummer Nick Mason and various other musically inclined friends. ♠ Barrett joined the group, which played r ‘n’ b standards at student dances under such names as Sigma 6 and the Megadeaths (as well as the architecturally inspired T–Set, the dopier Tea Set, and the Architectural Abdabs). And after a few months, they settled into a four–piece, with Barrett on lead guitar and vocals, and Waters on bass.
♠ ‘Syd’ was stylish, charismatic and creative. A natural front man for the band, he was always interested in screwing new effects from equipment, particularly echo machines, and under his leadership, their sound soon became freakier — or as Wright, on keyboards, put it, ‘more improvised, [with] more room for my classical feel’. When Barrett began to produce his own songs — poetic whimsies that chimed well with the growing hippie movement — a new identity seemed appropriate. His solution was to combine the names of two venerable bluesmen, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. (The old joke went that the band could have ended up as Anderson Council — until a tribute band took the name.)
♠ Serendipity and synchronicity now played their part. Thanks to the budding drugs barons of his hometown’s many laboratories, Barrett and his circle had been familiar with the ‘mind–expanding’ properties of LSD from their mid–teens. By 1965, he wanted to stage musical events that opened the same doors of perception — and his new landlord provided the answer.
♠ Barrett and Waters were renting rooms from Mike Leonard, an avant–garde lecturer at the Hornsey College of Art. He introduced them to his books, his sound–effects library — and most importantly, the concept of ‘light shows’. The Floyd became the house–musicians for Leonard’s workshops; and when they landed gigs at a couple of the Goings–On club’s newly hip ‘happenings’ in Soho, they took the idea with them. While the boys stretched tracks to 40 minutes or more, their lights crew boiled inks over coloured slides and bathed the band in the mirrored projections of an upended machine.
♠ The kids went wild, and by the end of 1966, Pink Floyd were darlings of the counter culture. Playing Syd’s compositions, they were regulars at the Marquee and held their own happenings in Notting Hill. They were on the bill for benefits at the Roundhouse and the Albert Hall, and the main attraction at the UFO club’s ‘night trippers’.
♠ In February 1967, for the not inconsiderable sum of £5000, they were signed by EMI - ‘We want to be pop stars,’ said Barrett — and added punishing recording deadlines to their already–exhausting touring commitments. By August, they were one of the brightest bands in the country — but from the first, they declined to be pigeonholed. As well as criss–crossing Britain to play in clubs and dance halls, they performed a pretentious piece at the Royal Festival Hall. And despite a deal that stipulated they concentrate on LPs — something previously unheard of — they had already notched up two top 20 singles, ‘Arnold Layne’ and ‘See Emily Play’, before delivering a top ten album.
♠ ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’, was recorded at Abbey Road while the Beatles finished ‘Sgt. Pepper’ in the next studio. Written almost entirely by Barrett, the first Floyd album had a crystalline sound, unlike the juddering space–jams of their live shows — and unlike any they would make again. Though the emphasis was on such Tolkein–and–spliff ditties as ‘The Gnome’, ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘Bike’, ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ and ‘Astronomy Domine’ were astonishing pieces. Pink Floyd had arrived. ♠ However, behind the scenes — in a pattern that would repeat itself 15 years later — the band was staggering towards a crisis. Barrett hated the rigours of the industry; and from his increasing waywardness in concert and studio, it appeared the ‘golden goose’, as Waters called him, was losing his mind.
♠ At first, nobody could be sure. Acting inscrutably was a cool pose for an underground icon, so Syd’s refusal to speak on the Pat Boone Show, during the Floyd’s first US outing, sat comfortably enough with his reputation. But the frequency with which he detuned his guitar on stage, and his vehement weirdness in the studio, convinced the rest of the band that the situation was untenable. As a stopgap, David Gilmour was recruited to cover for Barrett on stage. A plan was mooted whereby Barrett would stay home and write for the other four, as the broken–down Brian Wilson did for the Beach Boys. But in the end, he went his way and they went theirs.
♠ What road would the new Floyd travel, though? Gilmour, who thought their gigs were ‘too anarchic’, was confident he could ‘knock them into shape’ musically. But now they would have to generate their own material. While Waters developed his lyrical powers, Gilmour and Wright experimented with new soundscapes, slipping between rock and jazz, folk and classical, electronic and pop. This approach would make the Floyd huge in Europe, where their ‘intellectualism’ was admired, long before they became superstars in the rest of the world. In the meantime, it sustained them through the Sixties.
♠ The second Floyd album, ‘A Saucerful of Secrets’ (released in June 1968), was started before Barrett’s departure and is an understandably fraught portrait of a group in transition. Despite reaching number nine in the charts, it revealed a curious hybrid of the group they had been and the one they were to become, and is most noticeable for a song on which Waters wrote the lyrics and, surprisingly, the hypnotic riff. Although the band hated the term ‘space rock’, ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ clearly sign–posted the direction they would follow.
♠ Not that they took the most direct route. Over the next two years, while writing new material to be refined in performance — and providing the BBC with live atmospherics for the first moon landing — the Floyd worked on three main recording projects. They contributed to the score of Antonioni’s movie ‘Zabriskie Point’. (The high point is a house exploding in slow motion to a reworking of the instrumental ‘Careful With That Axe, Eugene’; see below.) They wrote the soundtrack for Barbet Schroeder’s far–out film ‘More’, releasing an eponymous album in 1969. And in the same year, they put out a double–album — of half live, half solo recordings — called ‘Ummagumma’, a Cambridge euphemism for sex.
♠ Although the latter showed the Floyd still toying with various musical modes, it also contained the definitive version of the eerie ‘Eugene’; and that track probably helped the album to number five in the charts — their highest position yet – well, that and the sleeve’s artwork. The band had employed Storm Thorgersen, a Cambridge pal at the groovy design agency Hipgnosis, to knock up a sleeve for ‘Saucer’. Now, with an ‘infinite’ multiple group portrait, he came up with the first of many striking images. Thereafter, the Floyd paid as much attention to the look of their product as to the effects on stage, increasingly deflecting attention away from individual members and towards big ‘concepts’.
♠ Step forward, a cow, gracing the Floyd’s first album of the new decade. Released in October 1970, the bizarre ‘Atom Heart Mother’ was another double. Yet despite one of the four sides being a 23–minute title track, using full orchestra and choir — and despite ‘Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast’, a noisy mosaic of popping gas fires, whistling kettles and sundry ‘found’ sounds — this was the band’s first LP to reach number one. ♠ Within a year, they had consolidated that success by producing, in ‘Meddle’, their first truly accessible album of the post–Syd era.
♠ Gilmour now established himself as a world–class guitarist through his searing work on ‘One of These Days’ and the full–side ‘Echoes’ (a sublime piece that grew out of one piano note, fed by Wright through his Leslie rotating speaker unit). Indeed, with his musicality, flowing locks and mellifluous lead vocals, he might have been mistaken for the band’s leader. In fact he, Wright and Mason relied on Waters, the Floyd’s co–founder with Syd, to provide the drive, the vision — and the lyrics. When they played to their strengths, this division of labour led to some of the most memorable music of the 20th century; and for the next few years, the arrangement held.
♠ During this period, the Floyd continued to cross cultural borders. Touring ‘Meddle’, they took in a classical festival in Montreux. They performed for film cameras in the ruins of Pompei, and played with the Roland Petit Ballet in Marseilles. (‘I think we always saw the music in three–dimensional form. The albums were just building blocks…to a greater edifice, which was the live performance,’ explained Waters.) But most importantly, they began work on an idea that turned into Pink Floyd’s most popular record — and with 40 million copies sold, the third biggest album of all time — ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.
♠ The new work was provisionally titled ‘Eclipse’, and performed in concerts around Europe throughout 1972. (‘It was initially about the pressures of real life — travel, money, madness — and then it broadened out a bit,’ recalls Mason.) Recorded at Abbey Road towards the end of the year, and released in the spring of 1973, it raised the bar for ‘concept’ albums to heights never since reached. America, which had paid the Floyd little serious attention before, now bought into them in a big way. The track ‘Money’ was a hit single, while its parent album took up residence in the Billboard Top 200 for an unprecedented 15 years. With larger audiences, the stage shows expanded to fill stadiums. There were better films, brighter lights and vast flying theatrical props (led by a ‘crashing’ aeroplane). More than ever, the imagery supplied a surreal commentary on the music, and reinforced the band’s invisibility.
♠ The Floyd weren't a group now, so much as an experience. They had grown from big cult into one of the cornerstones of rock. Yet, as Gilmour sees it, ‘Dark Side’ had its dark side: ‘The music, the lyrics and the visual design all came together, and… we were hoist by the petard of its success. You [thrive on] objectives, goals, desires — and with “Dark Side”, they were suddenly all achieved.’ Although the band’s four members worked together for another ten years, it was with growing disunity. True, the creative peak of ‘Wish You Were Here’ had not yet been reached — nor the extraordinary phenomenon of ‘The Wall’ — but the first cracks were beginning to show. Waters began to hog the ball, and Gilmour to take his eye off it.
♠ Touring and recuperation over, the next two Floyd albums had their origins in a protracted rehearsal session in 1974, when three long pieces were sketched out. Two of these eventually appeared as ‘Sheep’ and ‘Dogs’ on the 1976 ‘Animals’ album; the other, ‘Shine On, You Crazy Diamond’, as the basis of their next release, ‘Wish You Were Here’. Waters’ lyrics increasingly dwelt on communication breakdown, and ‘Shine On’ was both a message to, and an elegy for Syd Barrett. So the subject’s arrival during its recording has become one of the most curious incidents in Floyd history.
♠ In 1969 and 1970 — with the help of Waters, Wright and particularly Gilmour — Barrett had made two solo albums which, though patchy, were touched with genius. However, the records met with little commercial success and, with his mental health deteriorating, he retired to Cambridge. (‘I’m full of dust and guitars,’ he said.) None of the band had seen Barrett for five years when, as Wright remembers, ‘It was the weirdest coincidence. I walked into the studio at Abbey Road, Roger was at the desk working on “Shine On”, and I saw this guy sitting on the couch behind. Big, about 16 stone, bald. I didn't think anything of it, because strangers were always turning up in the studio in those days. And then it suddenly clicked. Syd.’
♠ Barrett slipped off, back into obscurity. Waters clung on to his ambiguous affair with the limelight. The Floyd’s concerts had, he felt, lost their old power to communicate. Their increasingly theatrical ambitions — manifest in the 40–foot inflatable pig designed to launch ‘Animals’ — didn't seem to be engaging the audience's attention in the right way. Moreover, a new generation of Floyd fans wanted the old hits, particularly those from ‘Dark Side’. At the end of the 1977 ‘Animals’ tour, hearing them scream for ‘Money’ in Montreal's Olympic stadium, Waters lost his temper and spat into the audience. Later, he channelled his frustration into a project exploring the gulf between the star and his audience. And thus began the Floyd’s most grandiose project to date: ‘The Wall’.
♠ Despite Gilmour’s difficulties with the idea — and with Water’s increasingly bleak aesthetic — he did contribute some flashes of brilliance to the music, notably in ‘Comfortably Numb’. But this double album was really Waters’ baby. And Waters was beginning to feel that Pink Floyd was a one–man band: his. Just before the end of recording in 1979, Waters decided unilaterally that the increasingly disengaged Wright was dead wood, and presented him with an ultimatum: either he voluntarily left the band after ‘The Wall’ tour, or the tapes would never be delivered…
♠ When the Floyd went on the road with ‘The Wall’ for a limited run of concerts in 1980, the epic scale of rock’s most ambitiously theatrical concert masked a group suffering from a textbook case of ‘musical differences’. The giant wall of cardboard bricks at the front was only one of several hefty symbolic barriers up there on stage. ♠ Yet, despite the difficult gestation, the album sold 20 million copies worldwide and spawned the Floyd's only number one hit single, the anti–authoritarian school–kids’ anthem, ‘Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2’. The stage show, designed by Waters and the satirical cartoonist Gerald Scarfe, was subsequently made into a film by the director Alan Parker, with Bob Geldof starring as Pink, a celebrity–maddened rock dictator.
♠ Twenty–five years later, Geldof was to play an equally dramatic role in the Pink Floyd story. But back in the early Eighties, the group — sans Wright — had virtually devolved into a non–co–operative association of solo artists. The decision to record a selection of Waters' material that hadn't made in onto ‘The Wall’, and to release that as ‘The Final Cut’, was probably one of the band's less inspired, and least unanimous, decisions. (‘It was really Roger's solo album,’ says Mason. ‘The rest of us just sort of drifted into it.’) Water’s theme — the death of his father, just after his own birth, on the wartime beaches of Anzio — may not have sounded like a winner. Still, ‘The Final Cut’ became another number one in 1983.
♠ Two years later, Waters announced that he was leaving. When Gilmour and Mason decided, in 1986, that they would continue Pink Floyd without him and take their show on the road, Waters contacted his lawyers, claiming that the name, which he had disowned, no longer had any validity. ‘There was a lot of legal posturing,’ says Gilmour, ‘but it never went to court.’ After initially threatening to put an injunction on any promoter who staged a Pink Floyd concert, Waters backed off — and the 210,000 tickets sold in Toronto within three hours, later proved the world still firmly believed in the Pink Floyd experience.
♠ Though it attracted far less publicity than the threat of litigation, in December 1987 an agreement was reached between Waters, Gilmour and Mason, which forever settled any dispute over rights to the name. But long before that, said Gilmour, he and Mason ‘just wanted to move forward’. Their first act was to re–establish contact with Rick Wright, then retired to Greece, where he had married and invested in a yacht. (‘The door was opened again,’ he said, ‘and I walked through it.’) Their next was to record the album ‘A Momentary Lapse Of Reason’ (1987) which was chiefly overseen by Gilmour — by his own admission, the only one ‘obstinate and pig–headed enough’ not to have been demoralised by the years of conflict with Waters.
♠ The subsequent Floyd world tour grew into their longest and most successful outing ever: over four years, five and a half million people saw 200 shows — including a Venetian gig on a floating stage, in the summer of 1989, and another at the Palace of Versailles. ‘A Momentary Lapse Of Reason’, and its live offshoot, ‘Delicate Sound Of Thunder’, sold more than 11 million copies worldwide, bringing total sales of Floyd albums to 140 million. The live set also attained the distinction of being the first rock music played in outer space (in November 1988, by the crew of the Soviet–French Soyuz–7 mission). But Gilmour felt they could do better — and in 1994, proved it with ‘The Division Bell’.
♠ Said the Floyd’s undisputed new leader: ‘We went out last time with the intention of showing the world, “Look, we're still here!” And consequently, the “Momentary Lapse of Reason” album was very loud and crash–bang–y. The new album is much more reflective — and as such, I personally like it more than anything we've done since “Wish You Were Here”.’ This album, it’s fair to say, represented a return to form that went missing from the Floyd sometime in the Seventies. The accompanying world tour featured a show even more spectacular than their last — and was made all the more memorable by the decision, taken towards the end of the US leg, to devote the second half to ‘Dark Side’. (This was the first time the Floyd had performed it from start to finish in over 20 years.) The tour concluded in London with an astonishing run of 14 nights at the 17,000–capacity Earl’s Court arena, still an attendance record.
♠ Since ‘The Division Bell’, there have been two Floyd releases. ‘P.U.L.S.E.’ was a double CD, or triple vinyl, live album, of which there was later a video. (Recorded on their last tour, it thus bears the first–ever official concert recording of ‘Dark Side’ in its entirety). And ‘Echoes’ was a double CD ‘best of’ box set, including many of the songs name-checked here. Yet the band has not been inactive. In June 2005, Live 8 organiser Bob Geldof pulled off a diplomatic coup by persuading Waters and Gilmour to bury the hatchet for the sake of his campaign against world poverty. As night fell on Hyde Park, millions of fans around the world, who had never before had the chance, saw the four–piece Floyd playing their own songs, as they had conceived them. ♠ Millions more became new fans — this was their first exposure — and as so often in the last four decades, a wave of interest surged around them.
This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pinkfloyd DAVID GILMOUR’S NEW ALBUM RECORDING SESSION PHOTO, May 12, 2014 LISTEN TO NEW PINK FLOYD SONG LOUDER THAN WORDS, OCTOBER 10, 2014
|The Endless River|