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...and here`s some detail on A Momentary Lapse of Reason and The Division Bell
A Momentary Lapse of Reason is the thirteenth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released in the UK on 7 September 1987 by EMI and the following day in the US on Columbia. It was recorded primarily on guitarist David Gilmour's converted houseboat, Astoria.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was the first Pink Floyd album recorded without founding member Roger Waters, who departed in 1985. The production was marred by legal fights over the rights to the Pink Floyd name, which were not resolved until several months after release. It also saw the return of keyboardist and founding member Richard Wright, who had resigned from the band under pressure from Waters during the recording of The Wall (1979).
Unlike most earlier Pink Floyd records, A Momentary Lapse of Reason is not a concept album. It includes writing contributions from outside songwriters, following Gilmour's decision to include material once intended for his third solo album. The album was promoted with a successful world tour and with three singles: the double A-side "Learning to Fly" / "Terminal Frost", "On the Turning Away", and "One Slip".
A Momentary Lapse of Reason received mixed reviews; some critics praised the production and instrumentation but criticised Gilmour's writing, and it was derided by Waters. It reached number three in the UK and US, and outsold Pink Floyd's previous album The Final Cut (1983).
After the release of Pink Floyd's 1983 album The Final Cut, viewed by some as a de facto solo record by bassist and songwriter Roger Waters, the band members worked on solo projects. Guitarist David Gilmour expressed feelings about his strained relationship with Waters on his second solo album, About Face (1984), and finished the accompanying tour as Waters began touring to promote his debut solo album, The Pros and Cons of Hitch Hiking. Although both had enlisted a range of successful performers, including in Waters' case Eric Clapton, their solo acts attracted fewer fans than Pink Floyd; poor ticket sales forced Gilmour to cancel several concerts, and critic David Fricke felt that Waters' show was "a petulant echo, a transparent attempt to prove that Roger Waters was Pink Floyd". Waters returned to the US in March 1985 with a second tour, this time without the support of CBS Records, which had expressed its preference for a new Pink Floyd album; Waters criticised the corporation as "a machine".
At that time, certainly, I just thought, I can't really see how we can make the next record or if we can it's a long time in the future, and it'll probably be more for, just because of feeling of some obligation that we ought to do it, rather than for any enthusiasm.
After drummer Nick Mason attended one of Waters' London performances in 1985, he found he missed touring under the Pink Floyd name. His visit coincided with the release in August of his second solo album, Profiles, on which Gilmour sang. With a shared love of aviation, Mason and Gilmour were taking flying lessons and together bought a de Havilland Dove aeroplane. Gilmour was working on other collaborations, including a performance for Bryan Ferry at 1985's Live Aid concert, and co-produced the Dream Academy's self-titled debut album.
In December 1985, Waters announced that he had left Pink Floyd, which he believed was "a spent force creatively". After the failure of his About Face tour, Gilmour hoped to continue with the Pink Floyd name. The threat of a lawsuit from Gilmour, Mason and CBS Records was meant to compel Waters to write and produce another Pink Floyd album with his bandmates, who had barely participated in making The Final Cut; Gilmour was especially critical of the album, labelling it "cheap filler" and "meandering rubbish".
They threatened me with the fact that we had a contract with CBS Records and that part of the contract could be construed to mean that we had a product commitment with CBS and if we didn't go on producing product, they could a) sue us and b) withhold royalties if we didn't make any more records. So they said, 'that's what the record company are going to do and the rest of the band are going to sue you for all their legal expenses and any loss of earnings because you're the one that's preventing the band from making any more records.' They forced me to resign from the band because, if I hadn't, the financial repercussions would have wiped me out completely.
According to Gilmour, "I told [Waters] before he left, 'If you go, man, we're carrying on. Make no bones about it, we would carry on', and Roger replied: 'You'll never fucking do it.'" Waters had written to EMI and Columbia declaring his intention to leave the group and asking them to release him from his contractual obligations. He also dispensed with the services of Pink Floyd manager Steve O'Rourke and employed Peter Rudge to manage his affairs. This left Gilmour and Mason, in their view, free to continue with the Pink Floyd name. In 2013, Waters said he regretted the lawsuit and had not understood English jurisprudence.
In Waters' absence, Gilmour had been recruiting musicians for a new project. Months previously, keyboardist Jon Carin had jammed with Gilmour at his Hookend studio, where he composed the chord progression that became "Learning to Fly", and so was invited onto the team. Gilmour invited Bob Ezrin (co-producer of 1979's The Wall) to help consolidate their material; Ezrin had turned down Waters' offer of a role on the development of his new solo album, Radio K.A.O.S., saying it was "far easier for Dave and I to do our version of a Floyd record". Ezrin arrived in England in mid-1986 for what Gilmour later described as "mucking about with a lot of demos".
At this stage, there was no commitment to a new Pink Floyd release, and Gilmour maintained that the material might become his third solo album. CBS representative Stephen Ralbovsky hoped for a new Pink Floyd album, but in a meeting in November 1986, told Gilmour and Ezrin that the music "doesn't sound a fucking thing like Pink Floyd". By the end of that year, Gilmour had decided to make the material into a Pink Floyd project, and agreed to rework the material that Ralbovsky had found objectionable.
Gilmour experimented with songwriters such as Eric Stewart and Roger McGough, but settled on Anthony Moore, who was credited as co-writer of "Learning to Fly" and "On the Turning Away". Whereas many prior Pink Floyd albums are concept albums, Gilmour chose a more conventional approach of a collection of songs without a thematic link. Gilmour later said that the project had been difficult without Waters.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was recorded in several studios, mainly Gilmour's houseboat studio Astoria, moored on the Thames; according to Ezrin, "working there was just magical, so inspirational; kids sculling down the river, geese flying by...". Andy Jackson was brought in to engineer. During sessions held between November 1986 and February 1987, Gilmour's band worked on new material, which in a change from previous Pink Floyd albums was recorded with a 24-track analogue machine and overdubbed onto a 32-track Mitsubishi digital recorder. This trend of using new technologies continued with the use of MIDI synchronisation, aided by an Apple Macintosh computer.
Ezrin suggested incorporating rap, an idea dismissed by Gilmour. After agreeing to rework the material that Ralbovsky had found objectionable, Gilmour employed session musicians such as Carmine Appice and Jim Keltner. Both drummers, they replaced Mason on several songs; Mason was concerned that he was too out of practice to perform on the album, and instead busied himself with its sound effects. Some drum parts were also performed by drum machines. In his memoir, Mason wrote: "In hindsight, I really should have had the self-belief to play all the drum parts. And in the early days of life after Roger, I think David and I felt that we had to get it right, or we would be slaughtered."
During the sessions, Gilmour was asked by the wife of Pink Floyd's former keyboardist, Richard Wright, if he could contribute. A founding member of the band, Wright had left in 1979, and there were legal obstacles to his return; after a meeting in Hampstead he was recruited as a paid musician on a weekly wage of $11,000. Gilmour said in an interview that Wright's presence "would make us stronger legally and musically". However, his contributions were minimal; most of the keyboard parts had already been recorded, and so from February 1987 Wright played some background reinforcement on a Hammond organ, and a Rhodes piano, and added vocal harmonies. He also performed a solo in "On the Turning Away", which was discarded, according to Wright, "not because they didn't like it ... they just thought it didn't fit".
Gilmour later said: "Both Nick and Rick were catatonic in terms of their playing ability at the beginning. Neither of them played on this at all really. In my view, they'd been destroyed by Roger." Gilmour's comments angered Mason, who said: "I'd deny that I was catatonic. I'd expect that from the opposition, it's less attractive from one's allies. At some point, he made some sort of apology." Mason conceded that Gilmour was nervous about how the album would be perceived.
"Learning to Fly" was inspired by Gilmour's flying lessons, which occasionally conflicted with his studio duties. The track also contains a recording of Mason's voice during takeoff. The band experimented with samples, and Ezrin recorded the sound of Gilmour's boatman Langley Iddens rowing across the Thames. Iddens' presence at the sessions became vital when Astoria began to lift in response to the rapidly rising river, which was pushing the boat against the pier on which it was moored.
"The Dogs of War" is a song about "physical and political mercenaries", according to Gilmour. It came about through a mishap in the studio when a sampling machine began playing a sample of laughter, which Gilmour thought sounded like a dog's bark. "Terminal Frost" was one of Gilmour's older demos, which he decided to leave as an instrumental. Conversely, the lyrics for "Sorrow" were written before the music. The song's opening guitar solo was recorded in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. A 24-track mobile studio piped Gilmour's guitar tracks through a public address system, and the resulting mix was then recorded in surround sound.
Careful consideration was given to the album's title, with the initial three contenders being Signs of Life, Of Promises Broken and Delusions of Maturity. The final title appears as a line in the chorus of "One Slip".
For the first time since 1977's Animals, designer Storm Thorgerson was employed to work on a Pink Floyd studio album cover. His finished design was a long river of hospital beds arranged on a beach, inspired by a phrase from "Yet Another Movie" and Gilmour's vague hint of a design that included a bed in a Mediterranean house, as well as "vestiges of relationships that have evaporated, leaving only echoes". The cover shows hundreds of hospital beds assembled in July 1987 on Saunton Sands in North Devon, where some of the scenes for Pink Floyd – The Wall were filmed. The beds were arranged by Thorgerson's colleague Colin Elgie. A hang glider in the sky references "Learning to Fly". The photographer, Robert Dowling, won a gold award at the Association of Photographers Awards for the image, which took about two weeks to create. To emphasise that Waters had left the band, the inner gatefold featured a photograph of just Gilmour and Mason shot by David Bailey. Its inclusion marked the first time since 1971's Meddle that a group photo had been used in the artwork of a Pink Floyd album. Wright was represented only by name, on the credits.
A Momentary Lapse of Reason was released in the UK and US on 7 September 1987. It went straight to number three in both countries, held from the top spot in the US by Michael Jackson's Bad and Whitesnake's self-titled album. It spent 34 weeks on the UK Albums Chart. It was certified silver and gold in the UK on 1 October 1987, and gold and platinum in the US on 9 November. It went double platinum on 18 January the following year, triple platinum on 10 March 1992, and quadruple platinum on 16 August 2001, greatly outselling The Final Cut.
Gilmour presented A Momentary Lapse as a return to an older Pink Floyd sound, citing his belief that under Waters' tenure, lyrics had become more important than music. He said that their albums The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here were successful "not just because of Roger's contributions, but also because there was a better balance between the music and the lyrics [than on later albums]". Waters said of the album: "I think it's very facile, but a quite clever forgery ... The songs are poor in general; the lyrics I can't quite believe. Gilmour's lyrics are very third-rate." Wright later said Waters' criticisms were "fair".
In Q, Phil Sutcliffe wrote that it "does sound like a Pink Floyd album" and highlighted the two-part "A New Machine" as "a chillingly beautiful vocal exploration" and a "brilliant stroke of imagination". He concluded: "A Momentary Lapse is Gilmour's album to much the same degree that the previous four under Floyd's name were dominated by Waters … Clearly it wasn't only business sense and repressed ego but repressed talent which drove the guitarist to insist on continuing under the band brand-name." Recognising the return to a more music-oriented approach, Sounds said the album was "back over the wall to where diamonds are crazy, moons have dark sides, and mothers have atom hearts".
Conversely, Greg Quill of the Toronto Star wrote: "Something's missing here. This is, for all its lumbering weight, not a record that challenges and provokes as Pink Floyd should. A Momentary Lapse of Reason, sorry to say, is mundane, predictable." Village Voice critic Robert Christgau wrote: "You'd hardly know the group's concept master was gone – except that they put out noticeably fewer ideas." In 2016, AllMusic critic William Ruhlmann described it as a "Gilmour solo album in all but name".
In 2016, Nick Shilton chose A Momentary Lapse of Reason as one of the "Top 10 Essential 80s Prog Albums" for Prog. He wrote: "While it's not a patch on the Floyd masterworks of the 70s, it merits inclusion here. The ironically titled 'Signs of Life' is an instrumental prelude for 'Learning to Fly' which showcases Gilmour's guitar, while the pulsating 'The Dogs of War' is considerably darker, and the uplifting 'On the Turning Away' simply sublime.
The Division Bell is the fourteenth studio album by the English progressive rock band Pink Floyd, released on 28 March 1994 by EMI Records in the United Kingdom and on 4 April by Columbia Records in the United States.
The second Pink Floyd album recorded without founding member Roger Waters, The Division Bell was written mostly by guitarist and singer David Gilmour and keyboardist Richard Wright. It features Wright's first lead vocal on a Pink Floyd album since The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). Gilmour's fiancée, novelist Polly Samson, co-wrote many of the lyrics, which deal with themes of communication. It was the last Pink Floyd album recorded with Wright, who died in 2008.
Recording took place in locations including the band's Britannia Row Studios and Gilmour's houseboat, Astoria. The production team included longtime Pink Floyd collaborators such as producer Bob Ezrin, engineer Andy Jackson, saxophonist Dick Parry, and bassist Guy Pratt.
The Division Bell received mixed reviews, but reached number one in more than 10 countries, including the UK and the US. It was certified double platinum in the US the year it was released, and triple platinum in 1999. It was followed by a tour of the US and Europe. Some of the unused material from the Division Bell sessions became part of Pink Floyd's next album, The Endless River (2014); some material was also released in The Later Years box set (2019).
In January 1993, guitarist David Gilmour, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright began improvising new material in sessions at the remodelled Britannia Row Studios. They recruited bassist Guy Pratt, who had joined them on their Momentary Lapse of Reason Tour; according to Mason, Pratt's playing influenced the mood of the music. Without the legal problems that had dogged the production of their 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, Gilmour was at ease. If he felt the band were making progress, he would record them on a two-track DAT recorder. At one point, Gilmour surreptitiously recorded Wright playing, capturing material that formed the basis for three pieces of music.
After about two weeks, the band had around 65 pieces of music. With engineer Andy Jackson and co-producer Bob Ezrin, production moved to Gilmour's houseboat and recording studio, Astoria. The band voted on each track and whittled the material down to about 27 pieces. Eliminating some tracks, and merging others, they arrived at about 11 songs. Song selection was based upon a system of points, whereby all three members would award marks out of ten to each candidate song, a system skewed by Wright awarding his songs ten points each and the others none. Wright, having resigned under pressure from bassist Roger Waters in the 1970s, was not contractually a full member of the band, which upset him. Wright reflected: "It came very close to a point where I wasn't going to do the album, because I didn't feel that what we'd agreed was fair." Wright received his first songwriting credits on any Pink Floyd album since 1975's Wish You Were Here.
Gilmour's fiancée, author Polly Samson, also received songwriting credits. Initially, her role was limited to providing encouragement for Gilmour, but she helped him write "High Hopes", a song about Gilmour's childhood in Cambridge. She co-wrote a further six songs, which did not sit well with Ezrin. In an interview for Mojo magazine, Gilmour said that Samson's contributions had "ruffled the management's [feathers]", but Ezrin later reflected that her presence had been inspirational for Gilmour, and that she "pulled the whole album together". She also helped Gilmour, who, following his divorce, had developed a cocaine addiction.
With the aid of Gilmour's guitar technician, Phil Taylor, Carin located some of Pink Floyd's older keyboards from storage, including a Farfisa organ. Sounds sampled from these instruments were used on "Take It Back" and "Marooned". Additional keyboards were played by Carin, along with Bob Ezrin. Durga McBroom supplied backing vocals alongside Sam Brown, Carol Kenyon, Jackie Sheridan, and Rebecca Leigh-White.
"What Do You Want from Me" is influenced by Chicago blues, and "Poles Apart" contains folksy overtones. Gilmour's improvised guitar solos on "Marooned" used a DigiTech Whammy pedal to pitch-shift the guitar notes over an octave. On "Take It Back", he used a Gibson J-200 guitar through a Zoom effects unit, played with an EBow, an electronic device which produces sounds similar to a bow.
Keyboardist Jon Carin, percussionist Gary Wallis, and backing vocalists including Sam Brown and Momentary Lapse tour singer Durga McBroom were brought in before recording began. The band moved to Olympic Studios and recorded most of the tracks over the space of a week. After a summer break, they returned to Astoria to record more backing tracks. Ezrin worked on the drum sounds, and Pink Floyd collaborator Michael Kamen provided the string arrangements, which were recorded at Abbey Road Studio Two by Steve McLaughlin. Dick Parry played saxophone on his first Pink Floyd album for almost 20 years, on "Wearing the Inside Out", and Chris Thomas created the final mix. Between September and December recording and mixing sessions were held at Metropolis Studios in Chiswick and the Creek Recording Studios in London. In September, Pink Floyd performed at a celebrity charity concert at Cowdray House, in Midhurst. The album was mastered at the Mastering Lab in Los Angeles, by Doug Sax and James Guthrie.
Jackson edited unused material from the Division Bell sessions, described by Mason as ambient music, into an hour-long composition tentatively titled The Big Spliff, but Pink Floyd decided not to release it. Some of The Big Spliff was used to create the band's next album, The Endless River (2014).
The Division Bell deals with themes of communication and the idea that talking can solve many problems. In the Studio radio host Redbeard suggested that the album offers "the very real possibility of transcending it all, through shivering moments of grace". Songs such as "Poles Apart" and "Lost for Words" have been interpreted by fans and critics as references to the estrangement between Pink Floyd and former band member Roger Waters, who left in 1985; however, Gilmour denied this, and said: "People can invent and relate to a song in their personal ways, but it's a little late at this point for us to be conjuring Roger up." The title refers to the division bell rung in the British parliament to announce a vote. Drummer Nick Mason said: "It's about people making choices, yeas or nays."
Produced a few years after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, "A Great Day for Freedom" juxtaposes the general euphoria of the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the subsequent wars and ethnic cleansing, particularly in Yugoslavia. Audio samples of Stephen Hawking, originally recorded for a BT television advertisement, were used in "Keep Talking"; Gilmour was so moved by Hawking's sentiment in the advert that he contacted the advertising company for permission to use the recordings. Mason said it felt "politically incorrect to take ideas from advertising, but it seemed a very relevant piece". At the end of the album Gilmour's stepson Charlie is heard hanging up the telephone receiver on Pink Floyd manager Steve O'Rourke, who had pleaded to be allowed to appear on a Pink Floyd album.
To avoid competing against other album releases, as had happened with A Momentary Lapse, Pink Floyd set a deadline of April 1994, at which point they would begin a new tour. By January of that year, however, the band still had not decided on an album title. Titles considered included Pow Wow and Down to Earth. At a dinner one night, writer Douglas Adams, spurred by the promise of a payment to his favourite charity, the Environmental Investigation Agency, suggested The Division Bell, a term which appears in "High Hopes".
Longtime Floyd collaborator Storm Thorgerson provided the album artwork. He erected two large metal heads, each the height of a double-decker bus, in a field near Ely. The sculptures were positioned together and photographed in profile and can be seen as two faces talking to each other or as a single, third face. Thorgerson said the "third absent face" was a reference to Syd Barrett. The sculptures were devised by Keith Breeden and constructed by John Robertson. Ely Cathedral is visible on the horizon. The pictures were shot in February for optimal lighting conditions. In 2001, the sculptures were in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2017, they were moved to the London Victoria and Albert Museum for display in a Pink Floyd exhibition. An alternate version of the cover photo, featuring two 7.5-metre stone sculptures by Aden Hynes, was used on the compact cassette release and the tour brochure.
On 10 January 1994 a press reception to announce The Division Bell and world tour was held at a former US Naval Air Station in North Carolina, in the US. A purpose-built Skyship 600 airship, manufactured in the UK, toured the US until it returned to Weeksville, and was destroyed by a thunderstorm on 27 June. Pieces of the aircraft were sold as souvenirs. The band held another reception, in the UK, on 21 March. This time they used an A60 airship, translucent, and painted to look like a fish, which took journalists on a tour of London. The airship, which was lit internally so it glowed in the night sky, was also flown in northern Europe.
The Division Bell was released in the UK by EMI Records on 28 March 1994, and in the US on 4 April, and went straight to #1 in both countries. The Division Bell was certified silver and gold in the UK on 1 April 1994, platinum a month later and 2x platinum on 1 October. In the US, it was certified gold and double platinum on 6 June 1994, and triple platinum on 29 January 1999.
In the United States the album debuted at number one in the Billboard 200 during the week of 23 April 1994 selling more than 460,000 units, at the time it was the 12th largest single-week total since Billboard began using SoundScan data in May 1991 and also became the fifth-largest first-week sales sum back then. The next week it stayed at the top of the chart selling a little less than half its first-week total, it moved 226,000 units during its second week on chart. The next week sales slid by 30% from last week's sum selling 157,000 units, despite this sales decrease the album stayed at number one. The following week, on 14 May 1994 The Division Bell remained at number one on the Billboard 200 and sales declined by 17%. In its fifth week, it fell off to the fourth place on the chart. It was present on the Billboard 200 for 53 weeks. It was certified three times platinum by the RIAA on 29 January 1999 for shipments of three million units.
The Division Bell received mixed reviews on release. Tom Sinclair of Entertainment Weekly wrote that "avarice is the only conceivable explanation for this glib, vacuous cipher of an album, which is notable primarily for its stomach-turning merger of progressive-rock pomposity and New Age noodling". Rolling Stone's Tom Graves criticised Gilmour's performance, stating that his guitar solos had "settled into rambling, indistinct asides that are as forgettable as they used to be indelible ... only on 'What Do You Want from Me' does Gilmour sound like he cares". Roger Waters, who left Pink Floyd in 1985, dismissed The Division Bell as "Just rubbish ... nonsense from beginning to end."
The album won the Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance on "Marooned". The Division Bell was nominated for the 1995 Brit Award for Best Album by a British Artist but lost to Blur's Parklife.
In Uncut's 2011 Pink Floyd: The Ultimate Music Guide, Graeme Thomson wrote that The Division Bell "might just be the dark horse of the Floyd canon. The opening triptych of songs is a hugely impressive return to something very close to the eternal essence of Pink Floyd, and much of the rest retains a quiet power and a meditative quality that betrays a genuine sense of unity." In 2014, Uncut reviewed the album again for its 20th-anniversary reissue, and praised its production, writing that it sounded much "more like a classic Pink Floyd album" than The Final Cut (1983) and that the connection between Wright and Gilmour was "the album`s musical heart".