STORY BY MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER
The title of the new Pink Floyd might be ‘The Endless River,’ but the flow of new material from the band is coming to a halt. Frontman and guitarist David Gilmour told BBC Music last week, “This is the last thing that’ll be out from us.”
‘The Endless River’ has as its starting point the music that came from the 1993 ‘Division Bell’ sessions, when Gilmour, keyboardist Rick Wright and drummer Nick Mason played freely together at Britannia Row and Astoria studios. This was the first time they had done so since the ‘Wish You Were Here’ sessions in the seventies. Those sessions resulted in ‘The Division Bell,’ the band’s last studio album.
Last year, Gilmour and Mason revisited the music from those sessions and decided that the tracks should be made available as part of the Floyd repertoire. It would be the last time the three of them would be heard together. Wright died of cancer in 2008. The band has spent the last year recording and upgrading the music, using the advantages of modern studio technology to create ‘The Endless River.’
Mostly an instrumental work, the album has one song, “Louder Than Words,” that features vocals. The track was released last week, with the full length out Nov. 11.
“The music for “Louder Than Words” is from those final sessions, the three of us playing together on the houseboat Astoria with Rick’s idiosyncratic keyboards reminding me now that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone,” said Gilmour in a statement. “At the start of the album I asked [songwriter] Polly [Samson] to write the lyrics. She felt that what I played her didn’t need words, that hearing us play was more interesting.”
“In the end she wrote just this one, which expresses, beautifully I think, the way the three of us, me, Nick and Rick have something when we play together, that has a magic that is louder than words”.
Still, that magic eventually becomes silenced at some point, and “The Endless River’ looks to be it. Ultimately, it’s a dedication to Wright.
“I think Rick would be thrilled actually,” Gilmour said. “I think this record is rather a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does. I think the most significant element was really actually hearing what Rick did, because, having lost Rick, it was that thing of…it really brought home what a special player he was.”
Meanwhile, estranged Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has been forced to issue a statement explaining that he is not involved with ‘The Endless River.’
“Some people have been asking Laurie, my wife, about a new album I have coming out in November,” he said in a post to his official Facebook page. “Errhh? I don’t have an album coming out, they are probably confused. David Gilmour and Nick Mason have an album coming out. It’s called ‘Endless River.’ David and Nick constitute the group Pink Floyd.
“I on the other hand, am not part of Pink Floyd,” he added. “I left Pink Floyd in 1985, that’s 29 years ago. I had nothing to do with either of the Pink Floyd studio albums ‘Momentary Lapse of Reason’ and ‘The Division Bell,’ nor the Pink Floyd tours of 1987 and 1994, and I have nothing to do with ‘Endless River.’ Phew! This is not rocket science people, get a grip.”
No doubt some were confused as Waters has made nice with his former bandmates in recent years, following a brief reunion at the Live 8 concert in 2005. Gilmour and Waters played together again in 2010 at a small charity event, and the following year were joined by Mason at a Waters solo show where he was performing ‘The Wall’ in its entirety.