website security
JanEmperadors-Metalarchives "The metal encyclopedia"
                 

Go to English 1   Go to English 2   Go to Dutch 1  Go to Dutch 2

David Gilmour's guitar work

Critic Alan di Perna praised Gilmour's guitar work as an integral element of Pink Floyd's sound. Rolling Stone ranked Gilmour number 14 in their "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list and di Perna described him as the most important guitarist of the 1970s, calling him "the missing link between Hendrix and Van Halen." In 2006, Gilmour commented on his playing technique: "[My] fingers make a distinctive sound ... [they] aren't very fast, but I think I am instantly recognisable ... The way I play melodies is connected to things like Hank Marvin and the Shadows". Gilmour's ability to use fewer notes than most to express himself without sacrificing strength or beauty drew a favourable comparison to jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.

In 2006, Guitar World writer Jimmy Brown described Gilmour's guitar style as "characterised by simple, huge-sounding riffs; gutsy, well-paced solos; and rich, ambient chordal textures." According to Brown, Gilmour's solos on "Money", "Time" and "Comfortably Numb" "cut through the mix like a laser beam through fog." Brown described the "Time" solo as "a masterpiece of phrasing and motivic development ... Gilmour paces himself throughout and builds upon his initial idea by leaping into the upper register with gut-wrenching one-and-one-half-step 'over bends', soulful triplet arpeggios and a typically impeccable bar vibrato." Brown described Gilmour's sense of phrasing as intuitive, singling it out as perhaps his best asset as a lead guitarist. Gilmour explained how he achieved his signature tone: "I usually use a fuzz box, a delay and a bright EQ setting ... [to get] singing sustain ... you need to play loud — at or near the feedback threshold. It's just so much more fun to play ... when bent notes slice right through you like a razor blade."

Sonic experimentation

Throughout their career, Pink Floyd experimented with their sound. Their second single, "See Emily Play" premiered at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, on 12 May 1967. During the performance, the group first used an early quadraphonic device called an Azimuth Co-ordinator. The device enabled the controller, usually Wright, to manipulate the band's amplified sound, combined with recorded tapes, projecting the sounds 270 degrees around a venue, achieving a sonic swirling effect. In 1972, they purchased a custom-built PA which featured an upgraded four-channel, 360-degree system.

Waters experimented with the EMS Synthi A and VCS 3 synthesisers on Pink Floyd pieces such as "On the Run", "Welcome to the Machine", and "In the Flesh?". He used a Binson Echorec 2 echo effect on his bass-guitar track for "One of These Days".

Pink Floyd used innovative sound effects and state of the art audio recording technology during the recording of The Final Cut. Mason's contributions to the album were almost entirely limited to work with the experimental Holophonic system, an audio processing technique used to simulate a three-dimensional effect. The system used a conventional stereo tape to produce an effect that seemed to move the sound around the listener's head when they were wearing headphones. The process enabled an engineer to simulate moving the sound to behind, above or beside the listener's ears.

Film scores

Pink Floyd also composed several film scores, starting in 1968, with The Committee. In 1969, they recorded the score for Barbet Schroeder's film More. The soundtrack proved beneficial; not only did it pay well but, along with A Saucerful of Secrets, the material they created became part of their live shows for some time thereafter. While composing the soundtrack for director Michelangelo Antonioni's film Zabriskie Point, the band stayed at a luxury hotel in Rome for almost a month. Waters claimed that, without Antonioni's constant changes to the music, they would have completed the work in less than a week. Eventually he used only three of their recordings. One of the pieces turned down by Antonioni, called "The Violent Sequence", later became "Us and Them", included on 1973's The Dark Side of the Moon. In 1971, the band again worked with Schroeder on the film La Vallée, for which they released a soundtrack album called Obscured by Clouds. They composed the material in about a week at the Château d'Hérouville near Paris, and upon its release, it became Pink Floyd's first album to break into the top 50 on the US Billboard chart.

Live performances

Regarded as pioneers of live music performance and renowned for their lavish stage shows, Pink Floyd also set high standards in sound quality, making use of innovative sound effects and quadraphonic speaker systems. From their earliest days, they employed visual effects to accompany their psychedelic rock music while performing at venues such as the UFO Club in London. Their slide-and-light show was one of the first in British rock, and it helped them became popular among London's underground.

To celebrate the launch of the London Free School's magazine International Times in 1966, they performed in front of 2,000 people at the opening of the Roundhouse, attended by celebrities including Paul McCartney and Marianne Faithfull. In mid-1966, road manager Peter Wynne-Willson joined their road crew, and updated the band's lighting rig with some innovative ideas including the use of polarisers, mirrors and stretched condoms. After their record deal with EMI, Pink Floyd purchased a Ford Transit van, then considered extravagant band transportation. On 29 April 1967, they headlined an all-night event called The 14 Hour Technicolour Dream at the Alexandra Palace, London. Pink Floyd arrived at the festival at around three o'clock in the morning after a long journey by van and ferry from the Netherlands, taking the stage just as the sun was beginning to rise. In July 1969, precipitated by their space-related music and lyrics, they took part in the live BBC television coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing, performing an instrumental piece which they called "Moonhead".

In November 1974, they employed for the first time the large circular screen that would become a staple of their live shows. In 1977, they employed the use of a large inflatable floating pig named "Algie". Filled with helium and propane, Algie, while floating above the audience, would explode with a loud noise during the In the Flesh Tour. The behaviour of the audience during the tour, as well as the large size of the venues, proved a strong influence on their concept album The Wall. The subsequent The Wall Tour featured a 40 feet (12 m) high wall, built from cardboard bricks, constructed between the band and the audience. They projected animations onto the wall, while gaps allowed the audience to view various scenes from the story. They commissioned the creation of several giant inflatables to represent characters from the story. One striking feature of the tour was the performance of "Comfortably Numb". While Waters sang his opening verse, in darkness, Gilmour waited for his cue on top of the wall. When it came, bright blue and white lights would suddenly reveal him. Gilmour stood on a flightcase on castors, an insecure setup supported from behind by a technician. A large hydraulic platform supported both Gilmour and the tech.

During the Division Bell Tour, an unknown person using the name Publius posted a message on an internet newsgroup inviting fans to solve a riddle supposedly concealed in the new album. White lights in front of the stage at the Pink Floyd concert in East Rutherford spelled out the words Enigma Publius. During a televised concert at Earls Court on 20 October 1994, someone projected the word "enigma" in large letters on to the backdrop of the stage. Mason later acknowledged that their record company had instigated the Publius Enigma mystery, rather than the band.

Lyrical themes

Marked by Waters' philosophical lyrics, Rolling Stone described Pink Floyd as "purveyors of a distinctively dark vision". Author Jere O'Neill Surber wrote: "their interests are truth and illusion, life and death, time and space, causality and chance, compassion and indifference." Waters identified empathy as a central theme in the lyrics of Pink Floyd. Author George Reisch described Meddle's psychedelic opus, "Echoes", as "built around the core idea of genuine communication, sympathy, and collaboration with others." Despite having been labelled "the gloomiest man in rock", author Deena Weinstein described Waters as an existentialist, dismissing the unfavourable moniker as the result of misinterpretation by music critics.

Disillusionment, absence, and non-being

Waters' lyrics to Wish You Were Here's "Have a Cigar" deal with a perceived lack of sincerity on the part of music industry representatives. The song illustrates a dysfunctional dynamic between the band and a record label executive who congratulates the group on their current sales success, implying that they are on the same team while revealing that he erroneously believes "Pink" is the name of one of the band members. According to author David Detmer, the album's lyrics deal with the "dehumanising aspects of the world of commerce", a situation the artist must endure to reach their audience.

Absence as a lyrical theme is common in the music of Pink Floyd. Examples include the absence of Barrett after 1968, and that of Waters' father, who died during the Second World War. Waters' lyrics also explored unrealised political goals and unsuccessful endeavours. Their film score, Obscured by Clouds, dealt with the loss of youthful exuberance that sometimes comes with agieng. Longtime Pink Floyd album cover designer, Storm Thorgerson, described the lyrics of Wish You Were Here: "The idea of presence withheld, of the ways that people pretend to be present while their minds are really elsewhere, and the devices and motivations employed psychologically by people to suppress the full force of their presence, eventually boiled down to a single theme, absence: The absence of a person, the absence of a feeling." Waters commented: "it's about none of us really being there ... [it] should have been called Wish We Were Here".

O'Neill Surber explored the lyrics of Pink Floyd and declared the issue of non-being a common theme in their music. Waters invoked non-being or non-existence in The Wall, with the lyrics to "Comfortably Numb": "I caught a fleeting glimpse, out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look, but it was gone, I cannot put my finger on it now, the child is grown, the dream is gone." Barrett referred to non-being in his final contribution to the band's catalogue, "Jugband Blues": "I'm most obliged to you for making it clear that I'm not here."

Exploitation and oppression

Author Patrick Croskery described Animals as a unique blend of the "powerful sounds and suggestive themes" of Dark Side with The Wall's portrayal of artistic alienation. He drew a parallel between the album's political themes and that of Orwell's Animal Farm. Animals begins with a thought experiment, which asks: "If you didn't care what happened to me. And I didn't care for you", then develops a beast fable based on anthropomorphised characters using music to reflect the individual states of mind of each. The lyrics ultimately paint a picture of dystopia, the inevitable result of a world devoid of empathy and compassion, answering the question posed in the opening lines.

The album's characters include the "Dogs", representing fervent capitalists, the "Pigs", symbolising political corruption, and the "Sheep", who represent the exploited. Croskery described the "Sheep" as being in a "state of delusion created by a misleading cultural identity", a false consciousness. The "Dog", in his tireless pursuit of self-interest and success, ends up depressed and alone with no one to trust, utterly lacking emotional satisfaction after a life of exploitation. Waters used Mary Whitehouse as an example of a "Pig"; being someone who in his estimation, used the power of the government to impose her values on society. At the album's conclusion, Waters returns to empathy with the lyrical statement: "You know that I care what happens to you. And I know that you care for me too." However, he also acknowledges that the "Pigs" are a continuing threat and reveals that he is a "Dog" who requires shelter, suggesting the need for a balance between state, commerce and community, versus an ongoing battle between them.

Alienation, war, and insanity

O'Neill Surber compared the lyrics of Dark Side's "Brain Damage" with Karl Marx's theory of self-alienation; "there's someone in my head, but it's not me." The lyrics to Wish You Were Here's "Welcome to the Machine" suggest what Marx called the alienation of the thing; the song's protagonist preoccupied with material possessions to the point that he becomes estranged from himself and others. Allusions to the alienation of man's species being can be found in Animals; the "Dog" reduced to living instinctively as a non-human. The "Dogs" become alienated from themselves to the extent that they justify their lack of integrity as a "necessary and defensible" position in "a cutthroat world with no room for empathy or moral principle" wrote Detmer. Alienation from others is a consistent theme in the lyrics of Pink Floyd, and it is a core element of The Wall.

War, viewed as the most severe consequence of the manifestation of alienation from others, is also a core element of The Wall, and a recurring theme in the band's music. Waters' father died in combat during the Second World War, and his lyrics often alluded to the cost of war, including those from "Corporal Clegg" (1968), "Free Four" (1972), "Us and Them" (1973), "When the Tigers Broke Free" and "The Fletcher Memorial Home" from The Final Cut (1983), an album dedicated to his late father and subtitled A Requiem for the Postwar Dream. The themes and composition of The Wall express Waters' upbringing in an English society depleted of men after the Second World War, a condition that negatively affected his personal relationships with women.

Waters' lyrics to The Dark Side of the Moon dealt with the pressures of modern life and how those pressures can sometimes cause insanity. He viewed the album's explication of mental illness as illuminating a universal condition. However, Waters also wanted the album to communicate positivity, calling it "an exhortation ... to embrace the positive and reject the negative." Reisch described The Wall as "less about the experience of madness than the habits, institutions, and social structures that create or cause madness." The Wall's protagonist, Pink, is unable to deal with the circumstances of his life, and overcome by feelings of guilt, slowly closes himself off from the outside world inside a barrier of his own making. After he completes his estrangement from the world, Pink realises that he is "crazy, over the rainbow". He then considers the possibility that his condition may be his own fault: "have I been guilty all this time?" Realising his greatest fear, Pink believes that he has let everyone down, his overbearing mother wisely choosing to smother him, the teachers rightly criticising his poetic aspirations, and his wife justified in leaving him. He then stands trial for "showing feelings of an almost human nature", further exacerbating his alienation of species being. As with the writings of philosopher Michel Foucault, Waters' lyrics suggest Pink's insanity is a product of modern life, the elements of which, "custom, codependancies, and psychopathologies", contribute to his angst, according to Reisch.

Recognition and influence

Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially successful and influential rock bands of all time. They have sold more than 250 million records worldwide, including 75 million certified units in the United States, and 37.9 million albums sold in the US since 1993. The Sunday Times Rich List, Music Millionaires 2013 (UK), ranked Waters at number 12 with an estimated fortune of £150 million, Gilmour at number 27 with £85 million and Mason at number 37 with £50 million.

In 2004, MSNBC ranked Pink Floyd number 8 on their list of "The 10 Best Rock Bands Ever". Rolling Stone ranked them number 51 on their list of "The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Q named Pink Floyd as the biggest band of all time. VH1 ranked them number 18 in the list of the "100 Greatest Artists of All Time". Colin Larkin ranked Pink Floyd number 3 in his list of the 'Top 50 Artists of All Time', a ranking based on the cumulative votes for each artist's albums included in his All Time Top 1000 Albums.

Pink Floyd have won several awards. In 1981 audio engineer James Guthrie won the Grammy Award for "Best Engineered Non-Classical Album" for The Wall, and Roger Waters won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for "Best Original Song Written for a Film" in 1983 for "Another Brick in the Wall" from The Wall film. In 1995, Pink Floyd won the Grammy for "Best Rock Instrumental Performance" for "Marooned". In 2008, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented Pink Floyd with the Polar Music Prize for their contribution to modern music; Waters and Mason attended the ceremony and accepted the award. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005, and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2010.

The music of Pink Floyd influenced numerous artists; David Bowie called Barrett a significant inspiration, and The Edge of U2 bought his first delay pedal  after hearing the opening guitar chords to "Dogs" from Animals. Other bands who cite Pink Floyd as an influence include QueenToolRadioheadKraftwerkMarillionQueensrÿcheNine Inch Nails, the Orb and the Smashing Pumpkins. Pink Floyd were an influence on the neo-progressive rock subgenre which emerged in the 1980s. The English rock band Mostly Autumn "fuse the music of Genesis and Pink Floyd" in their sound.

Pink Floyd were also admirers of the Monty Python comedy group, and helped finance their 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Official Website   

Albums   








Members

Roger Waters – vocals, bass guitar, rhythm guitar (1965–1985, 2005)

David Gilmour – vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass guitar, keyboards (1967–1995, 2005, 2014)

Nick Mason – drums, percussion (1965–1995, 2005, 2014)

Richard Wright – vocals, keyboards, synthesisers, piano (1965–1979, 1987–1995, 2005, died 2008)

Syd Barrett – vocals, lead and rhythm guitar (1965–1968, died 2006)

Go to full member list

Go to English 1   Go to English 2   Go to Dutch 1  Go to Dutch 2