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The Pink Floyd Experience: A Meli's Essay (Sept. 2005)

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It should have happened, soon or later.
It's about time I write a bit about my favourite band ever, Pink Floyd.
But don't worry... I am not gonna write a book, just a small essay, after a friend's request in WGA Board about some of my own opinions on their importance in the history of music. Importance that, as you all might reckon, it's simply HUGE.
So... time for some PINK Experience... Don't be late, as best things in life can happen as floating as butterfly in the sky.

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The reason of no questionable love
The first paragraph is forcedly an attempt to explain what's in this timeless band that drove me firstly and foremost to unconditional love.

What links me primarly to Pink Floyd’s music has to be the approach they have to the compositional field.

They basically treat rock music as an art form, a type of art form dignified in itself of the highest standards, which has nothing to envy to other artistic shells. They give to this type of sound and this type of artistic commitment the same aura of mattering experience composers such as Gershwin or Debussy had towards classical stuff. They have always tried to exploit and explore the possibility of the rock medium to make people think, while they were feeling the music.

They seem driven by a force that has its roots in the deepest core of human need of expressivity that has to depart from mere entertainment to reach lands of  what I call “sharing mission”.

Sharing what then, you are probably ready to ask to me.

And the answer to this explains my admire to them better than many others possible reasons people generally have for saying thanx to them for having appeared on the musical scenery. The answer is that Pink Floyd share with their musical journey the descriptions of human condition in the time they had witnessed society.

They chose to describe, to question, to investigate human spirit, human bounds, human feelings and human behaviours painting it all, instead than on a canvas, in notes.

Well, they tried also to properly paint and put over a stage these same conditions beside the musical composition, but that’s not the object of this essay (although that is one of the other reasons which I love them for).

Did they succeed in their aim, or they just came to sound pretentious?

This might be a matter of taste, but not completely.

I mean: you can love that kind of rich sounds they have, or you can also not relate to it: this belongs to the “taste” intuition. But none can deny the impact Pink Floyd have got on the music history and moreover to the music approach ordals of followers have chosen to imitate after them. This exits from the personal experience anyone could have about them, to enter directly in the music background, whether you may like it or not, whether you may agree or not.

My taste naturally loves complexity, variations, difficulties filled with nuances that go further and beyond the mere “pop”. I like battling challenges, I like them and that’s why I like Pink Floyd too.

I grow every time I listen to what they’ve done.

Every song sounds always new, in so many ways, because I become something different too while I do follow notes, while I keep living my life.

I connect.

They emphazise my empathic skills.

This is why I love this band. And I will always do.

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My favourite record (ever?): The Dark Side Of the Moon
 
To speak about this record has got on me the same impact than speaking about Dante's Divine Comedy, or Beethoven's Symphonies, or Leonardo's Paintings... It has on me the effect of turning straight the whole of myself into what makes human living deep and mysteriously enriching.
My favourite record of all time?
Probably.
This record is cosmic. In the most sincere and apt of ways.
After more than 30 years from its publishing, the generation that has already experienced the electronic music and the ambient sounds might perceive it all as not so ground breaking but... truth is this record has paved in gold the path gurus of electro sound and cosmic-linked vibes have walked in since 20 years at least.
The difference is that there aren't many tricks here: it's just compositional skills of real, and overtalented, musicians that rules this exceptional record.
Gilmour's guitar here reaches the sideral spaces, literally.
The record is a travel that revolves around modern schizophrenia and fear, with Death sitting on a rock above all people's head to admire and taste the moment when everybody's gotta taken by Her.
Everybody knows Money, probably: well, Money is a fabulous song, but definitely not the description of this record.
Time, or Breathe, have an intensity which eclipses Money several times.
The soft and frajile pure harmony of a song like Us and Them should make you feel your heart starts to find answers to questions you were too long afraid to ask, while Brain Damage, and Eclipse will see your body emotioned by waves, and suddenly aware of a deeper way of perceive facts and ideas inside of your own self.
Exxagerations of a fan?
No.
I truly don't think so.
Just listen for once to those 287 seconds of pure magic displayed by Wright's classical and skilled piano sound in that little jewel which is The Great Gig In The Sky. That's music with the capital "M".
That's art, full stop.
I so wish in these times of bubble gum fruition of music people would learn and get back to basics: to be a musician, you should firstly know what's music like. You should play, you should know what's composition like and why to know these elements at their best can produce better music than knowin them not.
We live in aproximative times.
And it has nothing to do with immediate skills of "artists": it has just to do with no skill, 99% of times.
The Dark Side of The Moon sees a perfect alchemy between Music Subject and Musical Theme.
When it came out, time were ready for a miracle: a truly complex, unpopular kind of elevated music could be taken as a commercial success.
Because its style was exactly what people were asking for.
It was the answer to disturbances which were widely inside a scared society.
It works so, even more, today.
Sadly.

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The Syd Barrett Elegia: Wish You Were Here
 
Hard to be on top of the world without fearing the ignote, the wide spaces of all-takeable chances becoming a condemn more than a privilege.
Hard to witness how things can develop, without trying to name that void you keep carryin on inside, that resembles so much to lost friends, lost loves, lost hopes.
Wish you were here is an album where the soul speaks in all of its purest tones and contradictions.
And it's a tribute to someone who cannot be totally away from Pink Floyd.
Syd still a part of them, wherever they seem to be heading, at any moment.

The huge success the group had after TDSOTM paradoxally put them in an un easy feeling.Scared of their impact on global level, the group decided to tour for more than two years, before publishing another record.

The expectations from world for a Dark Side Of.. part two rapidily went downhill: the group decided to do another concept album, focused on the idea of loss.

They miss Syd, they miss what they cannot have anymore: James Joyce would have been a fan of this personal, touching, intensively sweet and melancholic record.

This is an album divided in two tranches, like a prologue and an epilogue at top and bottom, to constitute a portray of an experience the band feels so innerly it’s impossible to keep hidden from the musical world they live in.

Syd, course, is the “Crazy Diamond” they wish it’s gonna shine on forever.Genius, and insanity.

The borderline, which is at the same time the ghost brother everyone lives with, sometimes just without knowing.

Wish You Were Here is not merely an autobiographic album. There’s so much in it everybody can relate to, that its elegant, refined, tenderly mighty structure cannot fail to chain you powerfully, as long as you feel free enough, and strong, to lose preconceptions and walls which generally stay there to protect our frajile egos.

This is a record which tells about youth’s fading and how massive dreams of early times of living seem destined to fall under reality weight and boundaries.

Like it often happens with Pink Floyd, the offspring of it all is a little element: the beautiful guitar line which Gilmour uses to open “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”: so tearful, so delicate at the same time, that Waters writes for it one of the most moving, saddening, pushing, amazing lyrics ever, while Wright seems to stay thoughtfully over his ethereal synthetizers to describe the same vein of melancholia that cannot be chased away.

Too long episode?

Only if you cannot realize why they needed to ponder all their feelings about Syd.

Time is what we have to catalogue importance, sometimes. This chapter of Pink Floyd art just needed this long elapsed time, as soft, but as well as weighting, as only love and missing can be.

Everybody who fears to lose something, or himself; everyone who knows what’s like to feel alone, even in the middle of a crowdy place… All those who think they have a gap inside, or that they will… This is your record.

So universal, in every possible way, that everyone needs to have it.

And love it.

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Pink Floyd's Essential Discography:

DISCOGRAPHY

  1. The Piper at the Gates of Dawn (May 1967)
  2. A Saucerful of Secrets (June 1968)
  3. More (Original Soundtrack Album) (July 1969)
  4. Ummagumma (October 1969)
  5. Zabriskie Point (Original Soundtrack Album) (January 1970)
  6. Atom Heart Mother (October 1970)
  7. Relics (May 1971)
  8. Meddle (November 1971)
  9. Obscured by Clouds (Music from the film 'The Valley') (June 1972)
  10. Dark Side of the Moon (March 1973)
  11. A Nice Pair (April 1973)
  12. Wish You Were Here (September 1975)
  13. Animals (January 1977)
  14. The Wall (November 1979)
  15. A Collection of Great Dance Songs (November 1981)
  16. The Final Cut (March 1983)
  17. Works (November 1983)
  18. A Momentary Lapse of Reason (September 1987)
  19. Live - Delicate Sound of Thunder (November 1988)
  20. Shine on (8CD Boxed Set) (November 1992)
  21. The Division Bell (April 1994)
  22. PULSE (June 1995)
  23. Zabriskie Point (Original Soundtrack Album) - Deluxe Edition (September 1997)

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The Concept Music: The Wall
 
Mainstream? I am still don't know if it's correct to define The Wall mainstream. It is certainly for the figure of its sold copies. But it's not, if you try to consider its deepest essence of concept rock opera. How many of people devoted to its listening truly emphatizes with its sense?

This one is a record sometimes too difficult to talk about.

Undoubtedly, it belongs to the history. Undoubtedly it’s a milestone.

But it’s one of the most difficult things Pinky did to put in categories.

After WYWH, it’s like the band breaks innerly: like the ultimate gesture that needed them deeply linked together has already been done, and then all members can feel entitled to put their own personal stomp over band’s production.

Here, Waters becomes the leader.

His trademark dominates, although the rest of the band, being part of this record, helps what it takes to make it sound “Pink Floyd”, and not “Waters”.

Globally, music shines along: in many magnificent episodes of the gigantic record, sound is full, crystal, clear and with an emotional impact that can even drain forces out from you, for how wide it results.

The history is a personal journey of Waters, witnessed through (again) a Syd’s pair of eyes and memoria.

It’s a story about hysolation of a demanding soul, about the way difficulties make you grow, about that thin line between winning a new life, and losing everything.

It’s about the healing power of art to a broken spirit, it’s about rage, rebellion… that chaos we all have inside which can determine our future. Or not.

The wall is about boundaries, their importance, their role.

The Wall is a sort of tribute paid by Pink Floyd to “power sound”.

But still, and it’s so natural being something of them, a rock opera where the first star is human soul.

Try to listen to this understanding the time they did compose it within…and try to connect with their mood by then: this should be enough to make you see this jewel in music with eyes and heart clean enough to reckon its universal flavour, that can be so enlightening for your own life, too.

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The Piper at The Gates of Dawn: an offspring of difference
 
Syd Barrett takes up a bunch of friends to give birth to one of the most genuinely genius record of all time.
Just to waste it all out due to his flamboyant and unsettable crazy head.
This is where it all started, and this is music history.
Because as they took the scenes up, Pink Floyd (also in their first , Gilmour-lacking experience), music changed.
Prog rock?
Art rock.
And the difference is all but subtle. The difference is decisive.
So, in 1965 lisergic drugs seem to have helped in creating this music that sounded immediately "new" to ears.
Syd Barret is poured in this record, with all of his excesses and strangeness.
Peculiar compositions, sudden changes of rhythmic, violent attacks to the "logic" of musical composition.
Does it sound a chaos, then?
No.
It doesn't.
That's what makes the difference between pretentiosuness and arrogance, and art.
In all of its elasticity, this musical trip makes a sense that can be felt and shared.
It's a great test about those years of where musical taste could be at once refined and original, mixed among psychedelia, art pop and middle aged sounding ballads.
The Piper At The Gates of Dawn is a vision, from Knights to Space Ships. Syd was able to open a window over unpredictable sceneries, only to make you realize you would have connected to those sceneries cos they stay within everyone, in times of youth, when it seems everything can be done and made, in glimpses of colours and waves of energies.
In the same year of this record's coming, Beatles were creating Sergent's Pepper, Velvet Underground and Nico were teaming up, and Jim Morrison was starting the Doors hyperbole. Oh, and Jimi Hendrix was askin around "Are You Experienced?", a jewel in music.
Well, you can comprehend why Pink Floyd from their start came in to be something huge.
In a year like that, with THESE companions around, their debut sounded amazingly fresh. The fresher thing in an already fresh environment.
A sign of predestination.
Which wasn't going to get wasted.

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The purists' nightmare, and my own poetical surrender to love towards Pink Floyd: that controversial called The Division Bell
 
In my experience as Pink Floyd devoted, I learnt how love and admire in music can be a very sharp knife: just take this album, and talk about it with Pink Floyd fans... it's gonna be like a war in words.
The reactions to The DivisionBell will be mainly of reject.
The Division Bell will be at its best considered a patchwork of "already done&heard" stuff.
That's true, in many ways.
But does this mean this is a record that cannot be loved?
Does this mean there's nothing in it that can result mattering, or pleasant, or that cannot drive anybody to deep thoughts or wishes?
My answer to this came when I firstly heard High Hopes.
My answer to this debate was then, and still nowadays, that music is such a beautiful entity that heart can be blessed through it in always new, precious, intense ways.
Music is a gift.
And so to me sounds The Division Bell.
I won't be taken as a purist of Pinky?
It hurts a bit but... I have to be true to what my heart does feel when I listen to this record.
And my heart is joyful, my heart pulses, my heart reacts to this bunches of songs. That's it. I cannot deny that.
I like Poles Apart , its charme and I respect the fact it's again a tribute to Syd. I have heard dozens of Floyd fans say with a raging tone they couldn't accept their constant reminding in their music to Syd... I tried to understand why they were asking for the band forgettin what can't be forgotten. I couldn't find any mattering reason, other than a stubborn blindness from the so called fans.
Could you ever be capable of erasing from your hearts or minds such a person, someone who has so totally determined your life, your feelings.. your way to be?
Why should this person be apart from what you have of most personal to share, namely your music?
Why should you ask to musicians to be untrue to their own souls?
Either you are unfaithful to their right of expressivity, or in not good faith about that inspiration might result..."overmade".
Well, I believe Pinky tributes to Syd are all true. I can see why they cannot erase him from their inspirations. I consider this not only fair, but beautiful and meritory.
That's why I can keep see light in The Division Bell. That's why for me it was a record to be done.
Music is a soul language, firstly and foremost: not just a cold performance about technique. Pink keep have technique, but I don't see why they should lose their hearts for it.
I will always thank them, for being around still.
Also with this record. Which I like a lot. 
 

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Images in this Pink Floyd Essay Page are free downloads. Thanx to all Pinky Lovers around to be so into real music. World should sound as empathic as you, to be a better place.
 

all in these pages is under copyright of the writers.
All opinions are personal, and speech of freedom protect us.
Just rememeber, after all music is love.
Buy REAL records and don't steal artists from their right and fair income!
To steal music will soon or later kill music.
Just think about it.