Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pink Floyd... Anything of Highbrow Value Worth Remarking Upon?


The following video unpacking the Wish You Were Here album has been the subject to recent International Authors back channel discussion:

A few notes:

Barrett's genius is "inspirational." The experimental character of the band's approach--which I take to be Barrett's legacy--especially pre-Meddle, is worth considering as we work through our own creative projects.

Meddle is an OK album, but "Formula Floyd" by this time was established, and as they imply in the video, their success--or rather their mastery of the mechanism of "product"--was in some ways disappointing. Ironically, perhaps, their interest in experimentation yielded opportunities in the marketplace that these young men just could not ignore. I am skeptical when they suggest they were somehow puppets of the record industry. These fellows were never the record company's dupes. They owned their own business (as much as anybody could in that industry), though their criticisms of the industry remain valid, I suppose. It's rather like they are saying, "What a beastly bore it was getting rich." There is a video elsewhere about the Barrett days, and a person from that scene said that Barrett was accessible, while the other three were toffs. I gather they were rather middle class, which for the person talking was enough to call them toffs.

The negative "message" and vibe of the albums after Meddle make it difficult for me to listen to those albums, and I don't.  Really, anymore I don't listen to their music at all.

And that's all I have to say about Pink Floyd. As a coda, however, I would like to point in another direction, and this is the most useful observation I have to make about Pink Floyd. In the following selection are two pieces from the album Three Friends by Gentle Giant. The final track here, "Three Friends" is very Floydian, and I remember telling my friend when I first heard it, "Wow, this is better than The Floyd." His response was a rather idiosyncratic but nonetheless apt observation: "The Floyd is better than The Floyd," which I take to mean that the band's conceptual approach, their emphasis on invention, and their exuberant creative energy exceed what Pink Floyd ever accomplished musically. This is not to denigrate them in anyway, but rather to highlight their adventurous spirit, which is worth inquiring into. Anyway, I grow windy. Here are those two tracks from Gentle Giant:

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