BOOTLEG REVIEW: PINK FLOYD – FOREVER AND EVER…

enzed.be

Almost as quickly as the “new” Pink Floyd album, The Endless River came out, chatter started amongst the die-hard Floydians. As I noted in my review of the album, I noted that some of these outtakes were almost like a part two of some of the tracks on The Division Bell. Rather quickly, but not without painstaking attention to detail, a fan-edit version was created called Forever and Ever.

Here is my disclaimer. I do not condone downloading this in lieu of picking up The Endless River. I think TER is a very nice set and you should have it in your collection, You also should have The Division Bell. Once you listen to these, you can start to understand why this project was done. However, as a hardcore Floydian myself, it would be dishonest for me to deny how much I love this particular edit. It is, in effect, an alternate reality version of what The Division Bell might have been had the band decided to make it a double album using both the songs with lyrics and the instrumentals.

Instead of two separate albums, in this case Forever and Ever is comprised of six suites spanning two discs. Further examination shows that loosely, Disc One is comprised of mostly songs about fractured communication, and Disc Two mostly of songs about attempts to resolve communication.

Suite 1: Cluster One / Allons-y 1 / Spring ’69 / Allons-y 2 / What Do You Want From Me? / Unsung / Anisina / Poles Apart

The album starts with an extended take on “Cluster One” using parts of the soundscape tape the band used on the 1994 tour, which was included in the P*U*L*S*E cassette on side four. I think it builds up the anticipation a bit more. This seamlessly blends into the actual “Cluster One”, which gives way to “Allons-y 1”. However, “Allons-y 1” has been extended quite nicely to include some of the longer jam unused on the album. This makes it a lot more like a full song. Also, “Autumn ’68” was renamed “Spring ’69”. That’s better. The performance actually comes from Spring ’69. Then we get to “What Do You Want From Me?”, so we’ve had some upbeat instrumental jams first. “WDYWFM?” blends nicely into “Unsung” in the same key, giving way to “Anisina”. Now it feels a bit more at home. But the big revelation of the first suite is the restructuring of “Poles Apart”. The carnival-like midsection was removed, and “Surfacing” was slowed down to the proper key and edited back into place. It becomes obvious right away that this is where it belongs. It makes “Poles Apart” a much longer track and is all the better for it. Unlike the creator, I like the original midsection being there – it has a creepy nightmarish effect. But… hearing it this way I get it. The way the guitar descends into the midsection now is also creepy, so the vibe of the track is still what it should be. When the sections back into “The rain fell slow..” I get goosebumps. Nicely done.

Suite 2: The Lost Art of Conversation / On Noodle Street / Night Light / Keep Talking / Talkin’ Hawkin’ / Lost For Words

This suite starts out the same as side two of TER, as these pieces do really work together. But “Night Light” blends so beautifully into “Keep Talking”, using the same echoey backwards guitar sound. This sounds like it was meant to be. In fact I can hear in my head what it would have been like had the band done something like “Surfacing” as an intro in the 1994 concerts. It would have been amazing. But the puzzle pieces continue to fall into place. “Talkin’ Hawkin'” is now part two of “Keep Talking”. Sure upon hearing “TH” I thought “that’s the same speech and this could be like a part two”, but not until hearing it mixed this way did I really get it. It is perfect like this. The suite ends with “Lost For Words”. Yes my brain says “that goes on the second half!”, but the theme of miscommunication threads all of this together, and musically they all work together. I like it.

Suite 3: Calling / Eyes to Pearls / Wearing the Inside Out

This is the shortest suite, using just two instrumentals from TER and “Wearing The Inside Out”. However, MQR has gone in and taken soloing from the TER DVD, on a “WTIO” outtake called “Evrika”, and mixed it into the soloing stretches. At times this creates a two-solos-at-once effect that is still a bit hard to get used to after loving the original so much. But it is still a very good mix and adds a little something extra and heavier to the second half of the track.

Suite 4: Take It Back / Sum / Skins / Coming Back To Life

The intro to disc two made me smile with delight so hard I laughed. It opens with nature sounds from the soundscape tape that blend into the opening notes of “Take It Back” and completely set the tone for the song – especially if you didn’t get that the song was about the Earth and not some wronged ex-lover. The rare extended outro version is used, where the last notes go on forever, and this blends seamlessly into “Sum”, which is like a darker cousin to “TIB”, using the same keyboard effects, but giving way to one of David Gilmour’s moodier and dirtier solos. The “Sum/Skins” combo is kept from TER and that’s great because they are both some of the most thrilling moments on TER. Then after Nick Mason’s powerhouse drum section, things calm down for “Coming Back To Life”. And now it feels like “well damn… they kind of did just come back to life right then”. Of all the suites, I think this is my favorite.

Suite 5: First In Space / Carnival Relations / Louder Than Words / Things Left Unsaid / Ebb & Flow / A Great Day for Freedom

Here’s where some creative license was taken, and the risk paid off. “First In Space” is the space section of the soundscape tape, which also contains bits of “Cluster One” and now works as a reprise. “Carnival Relations” (love that title!) uses the carnival section removed from “Poles Apart” and leaves it as its own strange standalone piece of music, or interlude, that gives way to the much brighter “Louder Than Words”. MQR has done a tad bit of tweaking to the vocals here to make them a bit more like the vocals on the rest of The Division Bell. The blend of the ending into “Things Left Unsaid” works well in reverse order of how they appear on TER. See if you spot the added bit of speech in the interview soundbites. This blends into “Ebb & Flow” nicely, which makes a very nice transition into “A Great Day For Freedom”. Again switching halves with this song, but the placement works. This song is more about resolve. The segue into it is juuust right.

Suite 6: TBS9 / It’s What We Do / Marooned / High Hopes

The last suite starts with “TBS9”, one of the outtake jams from The Big Spliff, which at first sounds like something from the Ummagumma timeframe. The jazz drums at the end now blend into “It’s What We Do” almost like how the last part pf “A Saucerful of Secrets” comes in. This is a very “Shine On”-like jam and one of the longest of the TER tracks. It showcases Rick Wright’s keyboard playing, before the next instrumental, TDB’s “Marooned” shows off David Gilmour’s amazing guitar ability. At first I thought that was a lot of instrumentals in a row compared to the other suites, but each highlights a different aspect of the Floyd, so it works. Then, as it should be, the final track is “High Hopes”. Ending on the words “forever and ever”. But listen closely to the final seconds. There’s a surprise in there.

I really appreciate the time and the detail put into a project like this. The end result is something that gave me all kinds of goosebumps. It felt like rediscovering something that’s been familiar to me for so long. I remembered why I love the music so much when hearing it in a slightly different context and framing. All in all, I am more likely to listen to this set now than I am The Endless River, as it brings the material closer to The Division Bell, and gives me a fresh way to hear the songs I’ve loved so much since 1994. It feels right this way. But I still do really love The Endless River as it is also. As a mostly instrumental album, it works for me. I wasn’t just being full of it when I ranked it my #3 album of 2014. I meant that. But Forever and Ever does such an excellent job of providing a “what if?” fantasy. It was thrilling ride listening to this for the first time and seeing how it would work.

I won’t tell you where to look on the internet to get this. But I will tell you that you won’t have to look that hard. If you are familiar with MQR or }{eywood, you can find this where you will find many of his other fan edits and some of MQR’s magnificent work remastering and compiling some of the most important and best unofficial Pink Floyd material out there. One of these includes what I consider to be the definitive version of Roger Waters’ Radio K.A.O.S. Trust me, it’s worth the trouble to seek it out. But no matter what, do not pay for it. If you were directed here from eBay or some type of site selling actual copies of these – RUN! Nobody should be paying for this. MQR are merely devoted fans sharing their time and hard work to bring us something really awesome to add to the Pink Floyd experience.

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. Excellent review again Rob, and I agree 100%. I think MQR have done an outstanding job again. Those solos did seem to clash a little, but that happened on the official album a bit too. There were sections where it seemed instruments were competing, most notably during Anisina (the wailing sounds remind me of Clare Torry’s epic on DSOTM, and not ina good way .. lol). Small disappointment though, as I’m still glad Gilmour et al put out TER in the first place. On MQR’s Forever And Ever, gotta love those ‘haunting’ aspects you were talking about too, and after watching AHS this season, the ‘carnival’ angle seems perfect >:) Cheers.

  2. Oh, and the expanded KAOS really is much, much better (except Fish Report With A Beat which is an abomination .. lol). Classic example of the record company screwing things up. Am glad the expanded version was made. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: