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 Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)

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S.D.
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PostSubject: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Thu Nov 13, 2014 2:23 am

So, many people on the audiophile board I post on really dig this record, but out on the wider internet a lot of people are bitching, saying it's boring, that is consists of rejects that should have remained unreleased and it's not a real Pink Floyd album,  etc.  Reviews from the mainstream rock media are just as clueless and condescending as expected.  The real corker was one review stating "a reminder of why Punk killed off this crap in the first place'.  

Is it a great album?  Probably not, but it's a damn good one, damn good.
Is it a classic Pink Floyd album?  No.  But it really wasn't intended to be or realistically expected to be.  It's a tribute to the late Rick Wright and in that purpose it exceeds marvelously.  

It's also technically not "leftovers" or "rejects".  When Pink Floyd was recording The Division Bell they planned on recording a companion instrumental album because they had a surplus of material to work with and they were inspired.  However, for a myriad of reasons that didn't come to fruition and the tracks that they recorded have been waiting in the vaults for 20 years.  According to the liner notes 60% of The Endless River comes from those sessions, with new overdubs happening in 2013 to complete them.  They also used some solo recordings Wright did playing the organ at the Royal Albert Hall, those solo organ pieces have been incorporated and new compositions have been written around them (you can hear one of these in the track Summer '68 which is used as a bridge section for the tracks Allons).  

Now that we've covered what it isn't, let's discuss what it is.  

It's a beautiful album of instrumental rock music (and one vocal track) from a band known for a catalog of great instrumental rock.  It is a collection of short instrumental pieces that have been mixed together seamlessly to create a cohesive experience. It's an album in the classic sense, listen all the way through without distraction. Preferably with headphones or the 5.1 surround mix on the blu-ray.

Really, it's a soundtrack album, but not to a film or a TV show, but of a musical career.  It's a loving testament to the interplay between David Gilmour, Nick Mason and the departed Richard Wright.  Wright left us with some beautiful performances here, whether on piano, organ or synth, again reminding me of how integral he was to the sound of Pink Floyd.  Wright was not a flashy soloist, but his taste was immaculate, he was able to choose just the right sound to complement Gilmour and Waters compositions.  That mastery of sounds is on fine display throughout The Endless River.

The material is like an audio travelogue through a large section of Pink Floyd's career.  There are moments that would work on Obscured By Clouds, there is a semi-tribute to Shine On in the track "It's What We Do", the song Allons could fit comfortably along with material from The Wall and there are many other little moments, little reminders of songs from the past, kind of like old friends dropping by to say hello.  

Gilmour utilizes his mind-boggling array of guitar sounds to expectedly great results, not a lot of guitar "solos" (though some is on display) but tasteful, emotional playing throughout.

I wish it was a little longer, many of these short pieces could have been developed into longer compositions, but still, as a pastiche and a tribute it's a loving one.

One final thought. This album actually sounds more Pink Floyd than either A Momentary Lapse of Reason or The Division Bell.  I think without vocals, with just their wonderful sound to concentrate on it really reminds me of the reason I became a Pink Floyd fan in the first place.  The first thing that fascinated me about Pink Floyd was not the songs, what struck me was the SOUND.  That combination of players and the instrumental tone choices they made, it was like hearing something truly magical. That's the way I felt when I was kid first discovering them, that's still the same way I feel now 35 years later.  Most of the instrumentation on The Endless River lacks the layers and layers of overdubs that were added to both of the previous Gilmour-led Pink Floyd albums, making it a more stripped down and direct affair.  That's just fine with me.  

A fitting epilogue to the career of one of the best bands of all-time.

R.I.P. Rick.

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Akeldama
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:01 pm

I find it to be one hell of a great album but then again I'm a sucker for instrumental albums especially one of this nature where there's lots of space for the music and musicians to breathe and not just another wankfest. Some of the songs hearken back to WYWH, Ummagumma and Pompeii at times IMO but it still has the groundwork of TDB. Now all I need is the anniversary set of TDB along with all the Immersion sets and I'm fine.
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:26 pm

Good write up Shawn. I haven't had very much time to listen to music other than samples and this sounds like the kind of album I need to hear in full to get a good taste. I'm really glad they're returning to form. From what you're saying it's like the end credits music to their discography, if that makes sense.

The blu ray is on my Xmas list this year.
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:02 am

As I said in Shooting Shark, I finally gave this a couple spins and really enjoyed the feel throughout. Much better than expected, doesn't sound like a cash grab at all. I'm confused by these critics. Why is it film critics are mostly legit yet music critics are a bunch of assholes?
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:35 pm

It seems like the current generation of music critics have adopted the last generations music critics, you know, pretentious NY assholes who think punk saved music. Fuck 'em all.

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MetalGuy71
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:56 pm

I got this for Christmas. I'm liking it alright. I would've liked a few more vocal tracks just to break things up a bit. Some of the instrumentals sound more like an intro to a song that never comes, just more instrumental. But as it is, I don't mind it.
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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Tue Jan 06, 2015 3:38 pm

It's an enjoyable record, I love instrumental music so it's right up my alley. Yes, if Richard was still alive some of these ideas would probably have been fleshed out into proper songs, but the point of this release was to get these unheard Wright performances out to the fans and for that purpose it works very nicely.

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PostSubject: Re: Some thoughts on The Endless River (Pink Floyd)   Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:59 pm

Excellent review Shawn!

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