Pink Floyd, "One Slip"

>> Monday, June 06, 2011

Live in Atlanta, 1987:

Out of everything on Pink Floyd's 1987 album, A Momentary Lapse Of Reason (which this is kind-of-sort-of the title track to, obviously), "One Slip" has always struck me as the most "David Gilmour-ish", or at least the most of a piece with Gilmour's 1984 solo album About Face. That could be those '80s keyboard and drum sounds, though I think the song ages reasonably well (better than a number of rock songs from that era, anyway), or maybe that's an effect of the fact that Momentary Lapse was almost a Dave Gilmour solo album until commercial motives and a strong desire to send a "fuck you" message to Roger Waters turned the project into a Waters-less Floyd reunion (in 1985, Waters basically announced that the band was over in a Rolling Stone interview without telling anyone else in the band, and then when bandmates Gilmour and Nick Mason said they might go on without him, he told them, quote according to Mason in his memoir, "You'll never fucking do it," which pretty much guaranteed they would just to make the point).

Those '80s rock sounds that mostly haven't aged well at all: a lot of people, I think, seem to put that down to some sort of mysterious vortex of suck that descended on the decade, but you know it really was just that people were learning how to use new recording technology (a lot of it the digital stuff that was becoming more widely available) and in the process experimenting with what it could do and/or trying to create a particular effect with it. E.g. those really compressed, artificial-sounding drums you hear on a lot of '80s recordings were basically the result of a sort of fad that began with some avant-garde experiments by people like Peter Gabriel, Hugh Padgham and Phil Collins (specifically, check out Collins' gated drums on the Padgham-produced "Intruder" (1980) for a f'r'instance; they were shooting for weird and creepy and then everybody started doing it). Anyway, I don't know if it's fair to say an era sucked just because a lot of people were doing something that seemed like a good idea at the time but looking back, meh, not so much; I mean, what's the alternative, nobody ever tries anything new, ever?

What's maybe most interesting in all of that is the way some of the weirder and more experimental tracks actually age better than some of the more mainstream ones. A lot of 1980s pop-rock recordings with the gated drums sound sort of cheesy these days, but Gabriel's "Intruder" still sounds as badass and original and weird as it did in 1980. I.e. the problem wasn't with the techniques, but with how (in)effectively they were employed by some artists. Ditto, say, with a lot of those early digital synths--I'll agree that a lot of '80s pop probably ought to be buried, but don't you dream of saying an ill word about Gary Numan, y'know?

Anyway. One of my favorite songs from A Momentary Lapse up there. Hope you liked.


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