Pink Floyd

Syd Barrett

Fri Sep 11, 2015

Pink Floyd was a major influence in many ways. I've been listening and studying a lot of music by this time and I noticed how different this band was. There were numerous things that struck me.

A song wasn't always a constant 4/4 beat, and things were changing constantly. They didn't just play a chord, then another, and another. They seemed to be stepping up and down into chords. Sometimes there were no chords or beat, just sounds.

As you go back into Atom Heart Mother and previous albums, the band uses abstract and free form sound while maintaining structure. I've always liked this idea of non-structured sound, the way they float around and create light and shapes in my mind.

There was something about David Gilmour's voice. It was 'breathy' and relaxed. I never really thought much about singing until this point. I spent a lot of time singing Gilmour's parts.

When I first started playing around with recording I had thoughts of maybe doing movie soundtracks, sound effects, dramatic and scary sounds. I recall hearing early Pink Floyd and thinking it sounded like what I was imagining in some ways. Turns out they did movie soundtracks as well.

I have a large collection of live bootlegs. In those days there were no backing tracks and they didn't have extra musicians. They performed extended versions of songs. Gilmour and Wright took turns controlling time and space. Waters generally held it together on bass while Mason would build up hypnotic percussion. They were extremely dynamic and I believe their soundman may have also played a part. Imagine performing a quiet part, the soundman actually turns down the PA volume then as the piece gets louder the soundman turns up the volume as well. Don't know if they did this but would love to try this myself some day.

This formed a type of music philosophy for me which was that one note can be as loud as a chord when compared to silence. One instrument can be as loud as a band when properly arranged.

I think the first Pink Floyd album I purchased was DSOTM. From there I got them all. I worked backwards to Piper at the Gates of Dawn with Syd Barrett at the helm. Can't say enough how Syd's approach was an influence.

After Syd had to leave the band he recorded a couple more albums. Sometimes you'd read a question like "What would Pink Floyd sound like if he was still in the band?". Tough to answer that question but here's a track from his second album, recorded in 1970.