Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The cool of the uncool, a study of sm(art) rock chp. iii

The Lunatic is in his head…

Sm(art) rock dines with beyond the norm psychedelic rock and gets a little taste of improv jazz. Soon the world’s mind would be swallowed whole.
Enter Pink Floyd.

Championing the rise of new sounds, edge and instrumental directions, Pink Floyd took rock forward into unknown territory with its heavily influenced jam sessions, building upon epic songs with massive symbolism. There was so much ambition in PF that they should have collapsed under their own lofty aspirations…that is of course if they weren’t so damn talented, as well as bizarre. Exit the mind.

LSD and guitars. America had stolen the spotlight of rock and was brazen in its rite of passage are the flag bearers of ‘next.’ PF never wanted to be the biggest band in the world, it just happened and to their credit they did just about everything known to stay away from such a title. It also just so happens that that’s exactly what the world was waiting for. Floyd entered the studio as veterans of live performance and they took this swagger to mend a beautiful and under appreciated style of music for its time. Hard at work for weeks on end Floyd crafted and perfected their sound and caught the attention of another little british band working down the hall…they were recording a record titled St. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band…cue the next evolution in music. Enter the distortion!

Drugs were not just a part of the culture or an aspect of the scene, they were an overbearing demon that clawed fearlessly at some of the most important musicians of the era. By the time Floyd had mastered its epic Interstellar Overdrive, they were deep in the echos of exploratory rock and opening for a Gypsy with a sweet tooth for the candy as well, Mr. Hendrix. The road, the rise, the music, the mind…soon the iconoclastic lead man would be asked to step aside as Floyd would make Gilmour an official member and hand the leading saber to Waters. The dabbling in white noise, feedback, layered keys, sound loops and alternate percussion are now a mastered art for Floyd and Waters allowed the sprawling sounds to direct his own mind in new ways. Collaborations with an orchestra (Atom Heart Mother) and the power-laden echoes of Meddle solidified Floyd as one of the most important bands of its time.

Capitalizing on it's aura, Floyd took the obscure into a new realm, recording an entire concert before no crowd…in the ruins of Pompeii. Releasing an opus of songs that would haunt the band for years Floyd huddled into the Obscurity of Clouds and delve deeper in the dark of the mind. Waters and Gilmour set about to take the band in a new light and in so doing led us to the Dark Side of the Moon.

The massive opus that tortured the band for answers had find its place and the stories of societal alienation and its ability to dictate the mundane existence of humanity struck a nerve and rang true to millions. In exploring something new, Floyd created an album surpassed on by Thriller as the top-grossing album of all-time!

Now at the top of their craft, the reflection and fame wore heavy on the band which began to pay more and more homage to their lost peer creating Wish You Were Here, containing the next piece to Floyd’s ever growing epic soundstory, Shine on You Crazy Diamond I, II. Enter the spirit of Syd Barrett.

Floyd would continue their brilliant run of redefining music by taking on society once again, bringing George Orwell’s influential novel Animal Farm to fruition with one of my all time adored albums, Animals; where aristocracy and communism are piled on the heaping mass of the mindless/aimless sheep by the fat pigs and manipulative dogs.

Pink Floyd now found themselves at a breaking point. The world pressed heavy on them to produce, produce! They needed an escape, they needed answers, they needed to keep you out…they needed to build a WALL.

Next: What the era of Sm(art) rock brought us and how it lives still today.

You’re talking a lot, but your not saying anything. Say something once, why say it again?

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