Pink Floyd: The Endless River
Stereo/Multichannel Single Layer
The Endless River, the new Pink Floyd album from David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason
Produced by David Gilmour, Phil Manzanera, Youth and Andy Jackson
The highly-anticipated new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River, has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 Division Bell sessions. Created by David Gilmour, Rick Wright and Nick Mason, the trio listened to more than 20 hours of themselves playing together to select the music they 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 (Wright died of cancer in 2008), 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," Gilmour says.
Nick Mason says The Endless River is a tribute to Wright. "I think this record is a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Listening back to the sessions, it really brought home to me what a special player he was."
The Endless River is mainly an instrumental album with one song, "Louder Than Words," which includes new lyrics by Polly Samson.
The concept for the powerful imagery of a man rowing on a "river" of clouds was created by Ahmed Emad Eldin, an 18-year-old Egyptian digital artist. Ahmed's image was then re-created by Stylorouge, award-winning U.K. design agency.
Pink Floyd's album artwork, mostly created by Storm Thorgerson of Hipgnosis, is as legendary as the band's music. With Storm's passing in 2013, the task of finding an image that carried on Storm's legacy passed to Aubrey "Po" Powell, Storm's original partner in Hipgnosis.
Po says: "When we saw Ahmed's image it had an instant Floydian resonance. It's enigmatic and open to interpretation, and is the cover that works so well for The Endless River.
Support this site by purchasing from these vendors:
Review by Rick Kosmick - November 30, 2014
"The Endless River" has the sonic signature of Pink Floyd. The Blu-ray version is nothing less than a auditory marvel in 5.1 surround sound. However, since this is a new album based on several unreleased tracks (mostly unfinished) of the Division Bell sessions from twenty some years ago, the performance requires some evaluation irrespective of the stunning audio quality.
This release of original material will probably be the last from Pink Floyd. The tracks on "The Endless River" are instrumentals except for the last number "Louder Than Words". When I initially heard this album, my main impression was a work comprised of orchestral/soundtrack recordings. So what approach should I use to judge the performance? I decided to look back at Pink Floyd in the early years to gain some perspective on the history of this Band by listening to two albums.
In 1967, Pink Floyd released it's first record, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn". I listened to the 2007 mono version (mastered by James Guthrie & Joel Plante). This album comes from the psychedelic era (my least favourite period of rock music) so I focused solely on the sound of Pink Floyd. The primary thing I noticed was the use of extended instrumental passages. The experimentation and improvisation of music, that Pink Floyd would become known for, is firmly entrenched in these first recordings.
For the next album ("Ummagumma" from 1969), David Gilmour had replaced Syd Barrett and the sound evolved becoming more refined and orchestral in nature. I did not listen to this album but, instead chose the Mobile Fidelity Gold CD version of "Meddle" (1971). There are a few reasons for choosing "Meddle" as a listening choice: 1) it is often referred to as part of the soundtrack period of Pink Floyd; and 2) it ranks among the best recordings from Pink Floyd, and two tracks "One of These Days" and "Echoes" are instrumentals comprising two-thirds (just under 30 minutes) of the total running time of 46:31 minutes. In particular, the track "Echoes" (23:29) creates an 'aural landscape' of wonderful music with atmospheric and multi-layered instrumentation that expressed many similarities with Pink Floyd's "The Endless River". It is this 'aural landscape' that forms the very fabric of Pink Floyd's music.
"Meddle" preceded "Dark Side of the Moon" that heralded the beginning of concept albums and this era would continue until "The Endless River". So now I feel a sense of coming full circle to this new release formulated as a soundtrack but one that, for me, was a very impressionable experience. At the same time, I want to be very clear that I did not perceive "The Endless River" as a return to the past; actually, it is my position the album is firmly planted in the here and now that rightfully stands on its own virtues.
This review was conducted in the Blu-ray format 5.1 Surround PCM 96k 24Bit. My subwoofer was turned off (Pink Floyd recordings with low-pitch frequencies tend to rattle my Rel Sub-bass).
As an initial remark, I would like to commend David Gilmour, Nick Mason, Phil Manzanera, Youth, Eddie Bander, Michael Rendall and Andy Jackson for pulling this music together to make this a worthy Pink Floyd release.
On the first track "Things Left Unsaid", David Gilmour sets the mood with an EBow that resonates a sharp, wavering guitar sound that frames the tone for this album. "Skins" is a fine drum cut by Nick Mason with some excellent, tight playing and a gorgeous full sound (relatively brief at under 3 minutes - there is a lot to be said for the old adage of less is more). Of special note is a 3 piece musical suite with Richard Wright's distinguished pipe organ part "Autumn '68" that is book-ended by the top-notch uptempo tracks "Allons-Y (1)" and "Allons-Y (2)".
As for my overall impression of "The Endless River", after repeated listening, it just got better and better. All the tracks seem to flow effortlessly into each other that creates, at least in my imagination, this musical adventure of time travel. I did not sense any need for vocals/lyrics on the instrumental recordings as these selections stood firmly on their own merits. Foremost, it is a set of recordings that should be heard as 'one' musical experience. This album, in my opinion, is an unqualified first-rate release from Pink Floyd.
I will say one thing that sums up the 5.1 sonics of this disc ..... spectacular! You have crystal clear audio with superb separation. You have all the lovely textures and tones typical of a Pink Floyd album in exemplary detail. As a listener, you have this feeling of a lush, beautiful sound that totally fills the room. Above all, as I referenced earlier, Pink Floyd has painted this 'aural landscape' in "The Endless River" that lends itself so well to a high quality audio format.
The use of the rear channels are discreet and subtle. You never feel overpowered by sound coming from the back. Although you are immersed in the music, you always sense the sound as spatially emanating from the front; think of yourself as sitting toward the back of a concert hall. Andy Jackson did the mix and mastering and his work is outstanding.
I always felt that Pink Floyd created music to be multi-dimension which is splendidly fulfilled on "The Endless River". The impact on me personally was music that took me to another place or another time - it gave me both a sense of time past and the future. I like to think of this album as the final excursion of a very unique musical group in popular music history. I allude to the final track "Louder Than Words" that contains the only lyrics on this album; I look at this song as not a goodbye from Pink Floyd, but as a thank you to it's many fans.
Pink Floyd has been a wondrous musical journey. "The Endless River", for me, is a deserving conclusion to this voyage.
Copyright © 2014 Rick Kosmick and HRAudio.net