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Moments In Time
Echoes - Pink Floyd
Member Name: sam1942
Echoes - Pink Floyd
Date: 12/12/06, updated on 12/12/06 (183 review reads)
Advantages: A complete journey around the world of Pink Floyd
Disadvantages: Not to be seen as another commerically dire 'hits' album
As a minor lover of compilation albums, it has to be said that anything by Pink Floyd can’t possibly be seen in the same pigeon hole as the likes of Take That’s new ‘greatest hits’ effort from this year. Where as the latter gave us semi thoughtful pop songs, Pink Floyd, on the other hand gave us depth, vision and not to mention, a defining insight to a genre that still captivates us today.
Even though ‘prog rock’ as they are termed, is not your thing, this has to be a must in any eclectic record collection simply for it’s unique diversity and orchestral layers of inspirational themes. In this two disc collection, what appears here are not just Pink Floyd tracks but anthems of each generation they stepped through. Gathered together in no apparent order, each tracks spells out a theme and a space in time. Each piece is a window in music history in the Pink Floyd career. Each dictates a mood shift be it before or after the years of Syd Barrett.
Formed somewhere in London around the time of the turn of music patterns from mod like Mersey Beat to the colourful, surrealism latter of the Sixties, Pink Floyd had already taken a firm seat in the realms of ‘unidirectional bands’ when they enlisted the help of Barrett. His surrealistic approach to vocals and spiritual song writing gave PF their unmistakeable edge. Drawing them away from the 'run of the mill' blues bands, it wasn’t long before this unusual group were creating pieces enlisted into the top ten. Although the commercialistic world was never one where PF felt most at home, it was were, essentially, the bread and butter was to be found and it is these tracks, as early and as flat as they seem now, are found on this universal album. From the extremism of the title track ‘Echoes’ (1971) which is a definitive story of the typical feeling that psychedelic rock once gave us to the flower power flatness of ‘See Emily Play,’ (1967) which holds very little in the way of Sixties euphoria in general, but is still an essential piece of PF history.
This first disc takes us through a wide cross section of Pink Floyd attributes from 1967 to 1994. The latter in the shape of ‘Marooned’ feels it’s way through a gentle winding path of Pink Floyd maturity, edging closely toward the present day, this instrumental track cascades our ears into a deep pool of relaxation not unlike a soft rock Enigma piece, that it short in length but also gives us a strong indication of Gilmour’s recent album, ‘On An Island’ (2006) It captures Floyd after the rise and fall of Syd Barrett but the very picture of the band, emerged from the other side and into a new Century. This particular track was taken from the widely accused ‘Division Bell,’ from 1994, which, although adored by fans throughout, was not acclaimed as being open of Floyds best albums with it’s depressing key.
‘The Great Gig In The Sky,’ written by Richard Wight also appears from the highly regarded album, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon,’ an album, which has forever been heralded as Floyd’s greatest land mark. Released in 1973, it’s popularity has quite incredibly gown over the years, giving way to each new generation of eager Floyd listeners.
There will be a few surprises as well as an equally pleasing chance to experience some of the space rock pieces that appeared in psychedelic, epitomising albums such as ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets,’ which opened up the flood gates in the way of the experimental sessions that Floyd members were delving into. The strangeness of ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,’ may be, to many of you, way over your heads for any sort of comprehensional understanding, so we’re pleased to hear the grounding bluesy ‘Money,’ that follows, rather comfortably, thus showing us that the defining elements of Floyds finest hour was the early Seventies.
No Floyd time stretching collection could be complete without a handful of sprinkled rocks from their 1975 album, ‘Wish You Were Here.’ Perhaps, apart from ‘Another Brick In The Wall Part Two’ (featured on disc one) ‘Shine On Your Crazy Diamond,’ written as an introverted tribute to Syd Barrett (although he left in 1968) is about as famous as the band has ever got. Created by old school mate and new member Dave Gilmour who was brought in to replace the shamed drug fuelled Barrett, it shows a dramatic shift in the pattern that Floyds music was taking suddenly. I doubt that Floyd could have kept going, commercially on the back of the disorientated Barrett any longer, Gilmour brought to the band a sense of tranquillity and calm in an era where the band became it’s most fragile.
Roger Waters, from this point took the vocals most of the time from then on and the band kept the same surrealism but kept it on an even keel. This second disc takes us back through a season of Floyd anthems that see this change in not just the line up but in the direction of this psychedelic band now floating somewhere into the middle of aging rock and mediocre tracks that only the over forty’s would appreciate. This, it must be aid, was not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination. The band had taken on a persona towards the end of the Eighties as being giant rock Gods who once were making good hits too. Now they appear initially, almost as if trying to out do each other in gig venues.
In the second part of this album, the band gives us a route through the Eighties era of the band, an era that broke a great deal of prog bands yet also made a few. Such great masters had their day and found a whole new audience in the era of lip gloss and big frills. No one really wanted to listen to a bunch of guys who resembled their Dad’s anymore. The sobering ‘Comfortably Numb,’ which was recently covered by the Scissor Sisters, shows us their moment in 1979 when Floyd where nervously embarking on the next unknown decade. They brought in strings, to give their existing song writing talents a more up to date feel. Although we are still brought back down to Earth with a few gems from the jagged edged album, ‘Meddle,’ (1971) which, personally, I felt was their shining moment in their growth from psychedelic to listenable, foot tapping rock. ‘One Of These Days,’ is a classic example of angry Floyd here. They create a vision of double bassed effects and sound disorientation as well as a thrashed drum section that is Floyd at their energetic best. This is eventually followed by ‘Learning To Fly,’ and then a typical Barrett influenced ‘Arnold Layne,’ which may be super psychedelic and mind altering enough but this also show the very strong effect that Barrett had on the band. So much so, that it doesn’t sound like the same band. This is where we have two schools of thought. It would appear that it is correct in assuming that there are two camps when it comes to fanatical thoughts over Pink Floyd. There are those who adore the works of Barrett and will always be firm in the knowledge that Floyd was only Floyd when they were bearded, young and taking drugs. Then you have the school who wholly support the arrival of Gilmour and his sublime effect on the band aging them most gracefully and thus allowing the title of ‘giant rock band’ to fit perfectly.
Although the being of Barrett of asked to leave, there never has been a moment when any of the members have dismissed his haunting presence on their recordings since. They have tribute to him at every gig and here, he still is very much a member of the band, even though he is not credited in the front sleeve. This still gives the listener the defining tour around the world of Pink Floyd from ‘Sgt Pepper,’ imitations to the dreamy guitar riffs of Gilmour’s excellence. This album is moving and like any history of anything or anyone, a band’s life is a life that has it’s birth, it’s maturity and it’s final days. It lives with a heart and a soul and hurts when a band member leaves, asked to leave and so on.
Pink Floyd were an enigma whether they were your cup of tea or not, they were an institution and a presence in time. Any one interested in music, particularly British music history should take a journey through the mind, the spirit and the ‘Echoes,’ of Pink Floyd.
Astronomy Domine/ Shine On Your Crazy Diamond/
See Emily Play/ Time/
The Happiest Days Of Our Lives/ The Fletcher Memorial Home/
Another Brick In The Wall (part two)/ Comfortably Numb/
Echoes / When The Tigers Broke Free/
Hey You/ One Of These Days/
Marooned / Us And Them/
The Great Gig In The Sky/ Learning To Fly/
Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun/ Arnold Layne/
Money / Wish You Were Here/
Keep Talking / Jugband Blues/
Sheep / High Hopes/
Sorrow / Bike
Pink Floyd are;
Echoes - The Best Of Pink Floyd
EMI records 2001
Ciao and dooyoo
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Summary: The complete life of one of the 'giants of rock.'