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The Endless River
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The Endless River
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Deluxe 2-Disc Set
CD + Blu-ray includes:
- Album in high resolution 5.1 Stereo
- Plus non-album material (39 min approx): 6 video tracks + 3 audio tracks
- 24-page deluxe hardback booklet
- 3 collectors postcards
- Stereo PCM, 5.1 DTS Master Audio and 5.1 PCM
- All audio in high resolution 96kHz/24bit
- Archive video material from standard definition source
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.
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The Endless River doesn't rise to the level of Dark Side of the Moon, but there's some comfort in saying this, as Dark Side of the Moon, was, and is for me, the greatest album of all time. I'm not alone, but the album has the elements of what makes Pink Floyd special. There is the incredible sense of space, patience, and melody, that all of the great Floyd albums have in common. Then there's the moments of definitive chord progressions that transport you to many wonderful places of tranquility and peace. This is well displayed in the tracks, Side 2, Pt. 4, Anisina, as well as the very next song, Side 3, Pt.1, The Art of Conversation, which is a bluesy piece that showcases Richard Wright's piano... Very cool!
The album also has the familiar multi-tracking of David Gilmour's guitars, the exacting measure of drummer, Nick Mason, that is isolated in many turnarounds, and perhaps the most prevalent Richard Wright on both piano and keyboards, with an added twist of a pipe organ, that I can recall.
The things that makes this album special to me, is the fact that it represents the outtakes of there work on the Division Bell, and it gives us fans a chance to be a fly on the wall when they were jamming. A unique perspective!
So if you're a fan, this album is a must. It reminds me of the album Animals. It too was mostly instrumental, and it didn't do well from the start, but now has risen to one of their great works. Perhaps this album will rise to that level... Time will tell. In short, I liked the album very much!
But as a Pink Floyd fan, I appreciate it as a kind of thematic anthology and final farewell of the band. There are echoes of previous albums in the material. Some parts are reminiscent of the instrumentation of Wish You Were Here (which is fitting now that Richard Wright is gone), while others are reminiscent of The Division Bell, sounding like the songs "Take It Back" and "Keep Talking". Much of the material is based on experiments during their work on The Division Bell, but since they were mostly just jamming together for the heck of it, it resembles a lot of their past albums. There are even parts that remind me of "Run Like Hell" from The Wall. But there were some parts where they were screwing around on percussion that felt a little out of place, but other than that it is a coherent album.
Although not a groundbreaking album, it is worthwhile for any Pink Floyd fan and for people who like instrumentals. I appreciate it for what it is, which is a look at the band much like a sonic version of looking through a family album.
But it's the music that makes the point here. Culminated from over 20 hours of 'lost' or unused material from, "The Division Bell", it winds its way over eighteen songs, 6 video tracks and 3 audio tracks. It progresses with a tepid, but never boring pace. Throughout, you will hear what might be considered 'outtakes' from "The Division Bell" and other albums. In fact, there are obvious 'bridges' and 'transitions' sections that seem to have re-emerged from nearly all the Pink Floyd albums since the seventies.
Sometimes the sound is ethereal, moody and dream-like. At other times, it seems to start to rise into what might be a powerful culmination of musical excess, but it never quite seems to. That maybe the entire point of the album. It's a collection of reworked and re-imagined musical artwork that finally made it to the public's ears.
Roger Waters influence seems to truly be lost here, but with the help in 2014 of David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright, the magic is re-released. Gilmour's guitar takes hold whenever heard, but gives way to the famous ethereal and rocking keyboard work of albums past. Whether rock, jazz or standard fare, the drumming continues to be a staple of the work - sometimes there and sometimes sneaking in and out, much like many of the instruments on this collection. There's something about hearing the old saxophone that really brings out the old Pink Floyd ambience along with a gently grinding organ/keyboard. Whatever seems to be lacking here is more than made up in other ways.
Being almost an entirely instrumental of piece of work, Pink Floyd ends it with a magnificent song, the only one with lyrics, written by Polly Samson. The album begs several listens, as the layered work is typical of any former Pink Floyd album, but this one seems to call back from the past some amazing sounds, acoustics, feelings and that lost stoned teenager in all of us. Pink Floyd's muisc will always be around - endless.