Pink Floyd – The Endless River

screen-shot-2014-11-10-at-8-18-28-am

The Endless River – Pink Floyd

 

The Endless River is a very difficult project to pin down. This “final album” from Pink Floyd was made by compiling over 20 hours of unused sessions from the development of their 1994 record, The Division Bell. They’d toyed with the idea of releasing The Division Bell as a double album, one disc of traditional songs and one of ambient instrumentals, but the concept was shelved. Now, 20 years later, several years after the death of keyboardist Richard Wright, they’ve melded those sessions together along with other archived audio and some new takes to create what’s been branded as the band’s swan song. However, the success of The Endless River as an “album” is evasive.The record is largely instrumental and is divided into four distinct (though unlabeled) movements — each occupying an album side on the vinyl release. Of the 18 tracks, only the final song has lyrics. The music is beautiful and distinctly Floydian, but it’s also extremely derivative of many tracks from The Division Bell, as well as earlier Pink Floyd songs. These tracks aren’t just familiar, but contain presumably intentional and very noticeable echoes. For these reasons, The Endless River is a hard sell as a “new album”; instead, it could be called the world’s most lavishly appointed collection of outtakes.As a whole, The Endless River is a very evocative collection of music. Though it aligns itself with the smoother side of Pink Floyd rather than the ferocious snarl of “One of These Days” or anything from Animals, its moods explore a diverse and exciting terrain. But, as part of the greater whole of Floyd records, it’s an oddity, more relevant for its context in the band’s history than the music. The prevalence of cues from Division Bell suggests that The Endless River is made up of improvised work that developed into the previous record’s songs. The nods to earlier records like Meddle and A Saucerful of Secrets could be explained as the band dabbling in older tracks with an inevitable tour on the horizon. Deleted lines from Stephen Hawking’s “Keep Talking” monologue only serve to hammer home that you’re listening to Division Bell‘s cutting room floor.This is an undeniably fantastic presentation for this previously unreleased music: Making it a standalone release rather than a bonus disc for The Division Bell Deluxe Box was the right call. But, as a final offering from one of the greatest rock acts in history, The Endless River serves as a fair basis for the question of what exactly constitutes an “album.”

The simple answer is intent. When Gilmour and Mason went about putting this work together, it was done as a conscious final statement from the players who devised the core sound of Pink Floyd. It’s also to some degree a love letter to their dearly departed friend, whose work was largely underplayed for most of the band’s later records.

Roger Waters’ songwriting and creative direction were essential to Pink Floyd’s identity during the height of their career, but the sound of Pink Floyd was never his alone. Just as Tony Banks and Mike Rutherford are Genesis regardless of who’s fronting the band, or just as David Byrne doesn’t sound exactly like Talking Heads without Weymouth, Frantz, and Harrison, the memorable and defining music of Pink Floyd was always chiefly in the hands of Gilmour, Wright, and Mason. The Endless River sees the band doing what they’ve always done best: making jazzy and contemplative rock music.

It’s an odd thing for this album to come 20 years after most of it was recorded, but that doesn’t seem to be of much consequence to Gilmour and Mason. In recent interviews, the band’s two remaining members speak of the project as if, for the first time in a long time, some tremendous weight has been lifted. In fact, the intent of The Endless River is made plain with their closing manifesto, “Louder Than Words”. The lyrics are without a doubt some of the weakest ever to find their way onto a Pink Floyd album. However, the statement of “Louder Than Words” is a poignant one — about friendship, ego, songwriting, and perhaps even public perception as to “which one’s Pink?”

The redemption of this recycled music is in the hands of the fans. For everyone who looks at post-Waters Floyd as glorified Gilmour solo albums, these instrumentals could be what you’ve been waiting for since 1983. For fans of Division Bell, it’s at the very least a killer bonus disc. In the tapestry of Pink Floyd, The Endless River doesn’t end on as powerful a musical statement as Division Bell‘s “High Hopes”, but it does end on a profoundly more personal note for a band that’s taken us on 50 years of incredible sonic journeys.

Essential Tracks: “Allons-Y (1)”, “Autumn ’68”, and “Eyes to Pearls”

Stream: Pink Floyd’s new album, The Endless River

Pink Floyd – Louder Than Words – promo video – AWESOME!
 
 

 
 

screen-shot-2014-11-10-at-8-18-28-am

The Endless River – Album Cover

This week, Pink Floyd returns with its first new album in 20 years, The Endless River. Beginning today, it’s available to purchase in digital, CD, and vinyl packages.

Spotify users can also stream the album in full.

Update: The band has also shared a video for the track “Louder Than Words”, which you can watch at the top of this page.

Billed as a tribute to multi-instrumentalist Richard Wright, The Endless River utilizes unreleased lyrics and music written by Wright prior to his death in 2008.

The album was recorded by David Gilmour and Mason in November 2013 alongside Roxy Music guitarist and producer Phil Manzanera. Other contributors include theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (whose vocals are featured on the track “Talkin’ Hawkin’”) and UK-based electronic string quartet Escala.

Roger Waters, who left Pink Floyd in 1985, had no involvement in the recording process.

Gilmour discussed the album in a statement, saying, “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.”

Pink Floyd: “The Endless River Will Be Our Final Album”

David Gilmour on Pink Floyd: ‘It’s a Shame, but This Is the End’

 

Pink Floyd David Gilmour and Nick Mason

Pink Floyd David Gilmour and Nick Mason

 

October 10, 2014

PINK FLOYD WILL RELEASE ALBUM The Endless River next month – and then that will be it for the band as far as new records go.

Speaking to BBC Radio, David Gilmour stated that the group have no plans to record together again following the death in 2008 of keyboard player Rick Wright, who appears posthumously on the LP.

“Well, Rick is gone. This is the last thing that’ll be out from us,” he declared. “I’m pretty certain there will not be any follow-up to this.”

The guitarist confirmed that The Endless River, released on November 7, is something of a tribute to his late bandmate, explaining that he felt Wright’s contribution to the band has been generally undervalued.

“He has been underestimated by the public, by the media and by us at times I hate to say,” he admitted. “I didn’t necessarily always give him his proper due. People have very different attitudes to the way they work and we can become very judgemental and think someone is not quite pulling his weight enough, without realising that theirs is a different weight to pull.”

 

“Rick has been underestimated by the public, by the media and by us at times I hate to say.”

David Gilmour

Drummer Nick Mason agreed, suggesting that in terms of the Pink Floyd legacy both he and Wright had remained in the shadows.

“I think the tendency is that the most attention is payed to the songs or the guitar part or whatever, and sad old drummers and keyboard players get left behind,” he mused. “I think it’s been a great opportunity; it is a great opportunity to recognise, remember and maybe give some credit rather late on. He was very gentle, very quiet, which doesn’t help if you’re in a band looking to promote yourself.”

 

 

 

The song sounds very much like The Division Bells sessions that are the genesis of much of the music on this upcoming album, The Endless River. Gilmour’s guitar parts are stellar, although perhaps softer than the classic jagged tone of the ’70s records. Time has softened The Floyd a bit, but this is still a beautiful song. The autobiographical lyrics, referring to the power behind Pink Floyd’s music and infighting are excellent. Gilmour told the BBC, “I’m pretty certain there will not be any follow up to this. And Polly, my wife, thought that would be a very good lyrical idea to go out on. A way of describing the symbiosis that we have. Or had.”

The Endless River is due out on November 10th, 2014. Pre-order the album on Amazon.com or Pink Floyd’s official store.

Here are the different versions that will be available (click images for full details and to order at Amazon.com):

pink-floyd-the-endless-river-cd-2014-500x333

pink-floyd-the-endless-river-cd-packaging-2014-500x333

pink-floyd-endless-river-vinyl-500x333