Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Household Objects

Household Objects
Studio recording 19-21, 26-28 November, 3-5 December 1973 
* Unreleased

Produced by Alan Parsons and Pink Floyd

The first time back in the studio since finishing Dark Side of the Moon, the band felt a certain lack of direction due to the feeling that they had to equal or top the previous album. As Nick commented, the band might easily have broken up at this point. The result was a musical tangent into, depending on your perspective, the most innovative or the most off-the-wall absurd idea yet: that the next album would have no musical instruments, and all the musical sounds and effects would be created using found objects. These late 1973 sessions were somewhat half-hearted, and only three full tracks were completed.

Dave Gilmour comments on some of the techniques that were used: "If you tap a wine bottle across the top of the neck you get a tabla-like sound close up. Or you can fill it partly with water and do the same thing and just tap it in the conventional way. We used rubber bands. We actually built a long stretched rubber band thing, about two feet. There was a G-clamp one end fixing it to a table and another G-clamp at the other end fixing it to a table. There was a cigarette lighter under one end for a bridge and there were a set of match sticks taped down the other end. You stretch it and you can get a really good bass sound. Oh, and we used aerosol sprays and pulling rolls of Sellotape out to different lengths — the further away it gets the note changes." [Miles and Dallas 49]

Roger Waters: "I've always felt the differentiation between sound effects and music is all a load of shit. Whether you make a sound on a guitar or a water tap is irrelevant because it doesn't make any difference. We started on a piece a while ago which was carrying this to its logical extreme, where we don't use any recognizable musical instruments at all — bottles, knives, anything at all, falling axes and stuff like that, which we will complete at some juncture and it's turning out into a really nice piece." [Guitar World Feb 93]

The project was eventually dropped...

Dave: "Well... I mean, it seems a bit pointless to do it unless you're doing a whole album. To us it seems a bit daft, anyway. It'd be very hard to make any of them really work as a piece of genuine music out of context." [Miles]

Roger Waters: "There was an abortive attempt to make an album not using any musical instruments. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it didn't really come together. Probably because we needed to stop for a bit." [Miles and Dallas 49]

Roger refers to the tense feeling among the band members that all the success and money had brought, and the feeling they could all do with a break. In fact, it was two and a half years after writing Dark Side before the Floyd wrote anything they considered good enough to put on an album.

Rick Wright: "Suddenly one was aware that Pink Floyd was becoming a product, and a lot of our time and energy was spent hassling about the business side of running a group, rather than playing. Which is not a good thing." [Schaffner 185]

However, a track of tuned percussion from these sessions was eventually put to good use as an overdub near the beginning of Shine On You Crazy Diamond on the Wish You Were Here album, a year and a half later. Unfortunately, which 'found object' provides this percussion is unknown.

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