Say you’re trying to get into a band for the first time, perhaps a recommendation from a music savvy friend or you heard a killer track on a film soundtrack, what’s the best way of going about it? An obvious route is to pick up a best of album (or check out a Spotify playlist), check out all the best stuff and decide if you want to delve deeper.
Try that with Pink Floyd and it can be a disconcerting experience. On Echoes, the band’s official Best Of compilation, playful psychedelia bumps up against angsty stadium rock, prog grandiosity and ambient grooves, with nearly half a dozen lead vocalists. It’s all makes for a pretty disjointed listen.
Besides, Pink Floyd were never really about the hits. Some of their most celebrated songs like Wish You Were Here or Shine On You Crazy Diamond were never released as singles in the US or UK. Perhaps a better bet is to take a deep breath and dive deep into one off their fifteen studio albums.
Each one is a unique sonic soundscape to explore. Besides, if you only listen to the hits you miss out on hidden gems like these.
15. Side 2, Part 4: Anisina - The Endless River
Arriving over twenty years after previous effort The Division Bell, The Endless River was an unexpected postscript to Pink Floyd’s studio career. It was recorded in the wake of keyboardist Rick Wright’s death, with Dave Gilmour and Nick Mason adding to leftover recordings from The Division Bell Sessions.
The Truth is, the remaining members of Pink Floyd don’t really want you to grab a hidden gem from The Endless River. Arranged into four ambient suites it’s designed for extended listening. As Gilmour put it,
"Unapologetically, this is for the generation that wants to put its headphones on, lie in a beanbag, or whatever, and get off on a piece of music for an extended period of time. You could say it’s not for the iTunes, downloading-individual-tracks generation."
So, it’s with apologies to Gilmour and Mason that your writer recommends Side 2, Part 4: Anisina. The crescendo of the second suite, Anisina is, like most of the album, wordless. The band’s best lyricist didn’t want any part of them at this point anyway. Still, the track sees Mason, Wright and Gilmour working in harmony on a rousing piece of music that feels like a celebration of their rare musical chemistry.