Up the Downstair

Being a weeklie podcaste from Madison, Wisconsin featuring several remarkable curiosities therein occurring being a compendium of live music from divers artistes

A Momentary Lapse of Reason to Get George Lucas Treatment

August 15th, 2011

Recording engineer Andy Jackson has been working on the upcoming Pink Floyd re-releases/box sets. In this interview he explains that AMLoR is going to have the 80s removed from it.

A Momentary Lapse of Reason is an odd one out inasmuch as it’s the only album that was trying to be ‘of the time’, which now means it sounds dated, rather than timeless. We have started this process a while ago, doing new drums with Nick with a much more “Pink Floyd classic” approach. If & when we’ll pick it up I don’t know.

It was our intention to remove some of the 80’s synths and get more Rick hammond on it. Obviously not possible for him to do it now, but we started the process of pulling some of his playing from gigs of those songs. Just a lot of editing/syncing to do on that, but it should work.

So they’ve had Nick do new drum parts and are going to extract Rick’s keyboards from recordings of the tour and insert those in there. Whose parts are going away?

Jim Keltner and Carmine Appice apparently did most of the drumming on the album so Nick now has a chance to do what he should have done 24 years ago. In addition to Rick and Dave, Bob Ezrin, Jon Carin, Bill Payne, and Patrick Leonard all added keyboards. Presumably most of the synth parts will be removed and replaced by Hammond organ or piano but I’m not sure who played what on the album, for the most part.

My gut tells me that this could be a fun bit of revisionism – at best. Sure, AMLoR is arguably a Gilmour solo album that just happened to have Mason and Wright on it but I don’t think it sounds dated because of the timber of the synthesizers or the presence of some drum machines. (Hey, Keltner and Appice were no slouches.) I personally liked the updating of the Floyd sound and you’ve still got the female backing vocalists, sax, and Gilmour’s trademark guitar. Everything got integrated well to my ears. (Well, maybe not the vocoder bit.) Instead, if the album sounds bad then it does so because of the mix.

It sounds tinny and flat whereas Floyd’s previous albums always had a nice warmth to them. That’s the problem. Now, if they wanted to remix it to correct this, well, OK fine. Just keep the original mix around. But replacing parts is just going too far in my opinion. Instead of doing the Frankenstein routine, why not just give fans an entire concert from the tour? They did most, if not all, of the album at each show so you could put out an early show from the tour when they were still doing “Echoes” to please fans of the older material or do an expanded/rearranged Delicate Sound of Thunder, which was recorded in the latter part of the tour. I’m not an expert of the MLoR tour so I can’t say whether or not the early dates sound more “Floydian” than the later ones. YouTube has the footage from the Omni in November 1987 for an aborted concert video which you can compare to the stuff from DSoT. From what I can glean, it all sounds pretty much the same.

As for any live stuff that comes out of the Floyd re-release campaign – no fucking overdubs!

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  4. Show #170: R.I.P. Rick Wright
  5. Remergence

2 Responses to “A Momentary Lapse of Reason to Get George Lucas Treatment”

  1. Joe says:

    When they recorded MLOR in 86/87, Nick and Rick were not up to professional playing. Nick was out of practice, though not at racing cars, and Rick’s confidence had gone back in 81 after been ousted by Waters.

    Waters called it a ‘pretty fair forgery’ and I suspect Gilmour feels that way too.
    They recorded most overdubs in LA with the session players and used digital desks, keyboard sequencers, which gives it that ’80s’ sound (not as bad as Waters Radio KAOS). I think the mix is brilliant, after all it is Bob Ezrin!

    The tour of the album was mainly played by the session players they took as their touring band as Nick and Rick were still rusty. Gilmour says in an interview that they got better as the tour progressed and the last dates were the ones were Rick and Nick nailed it.

    I think it will be a nice exercise, and why not? We still have the original mix newly remastered if we don’t like it!

    Still… what will they do about that vocoder?

  2. Palmer says:

    I agree that, as long as we have the original mix, I can’t object too much. Too much.

    By removing synth parts, it’s like they are trying to make it sound more like DSOtM which I find disappointing. Pink Floyd is a done deal so the guys can stop worrying about having DSotM over their heads.

    Plus as a fan and a consumer, it reeks of simply cashing in on the back catalog, especially in light of the Immersion box sets. This tweaking of MLoR is a novelty whereas I’d rather have more stuff from the vaults see the light of day without having to pay a lot of money to get multiple versions of an album along with it. I’d much rather see Floyd release, say, a Zabriske Point sessions album or some select live shows in full with no overdubs than wasting time removing the 80s from MLoR.

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