Us and Them: Symphonic Pink Floydby London Philharmonic Orchestra
Killing Joke members Youth and Jaz Coleman thought symphonic versions of songs from Pink Floyd classics Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall would be a good idea, and they were half right. "Us and Them" and "The Great Gig in the Sky," two of Pink Floyd's most beautiful compositions, lend themselves well to the symphonic treatment, especially the latter's use of solo violin to re-create the original's astonishing Claire Torry vocal solo. The string-heavy arrangement of "Another Brick in the Wall (Part II)," sounding like the score for some dark Eastern European documentary, comes from a completely unexpected direction to arrive at the same sense of despair expressed in the original. Saving the best for last, the version of "Time" that closes the album is both the most successful and least orchestral track. With its moody sound effects and long, trance-like sections, the arrangement wisely uses only the song's main themes, rather than trying to re-create the original structure. Compare that to the arrangement of "Time" that opens the album: the original's compelling percussion is sorely missed, and the brass section's performance of the vocal line sounds like a marching band at half-time. "Breathe" and "Money" also suffer from the orchestra's rigid sense of time, robbing the songs of their dark side. In his liner notes, Coleman said he'd intended to demonstrate that music once considered progressive is now considered classic. Classic? Undoubtedly. Classical? Perhaps not.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsLondon Philharmonic Orchestra Primary Artist
Gilbert Biberian Acoustic Guitar
B.J. Cole Pedal Steel Guitar
Peter Scholes Conductor
Aboud Abdel Ali Violin
Stephen Small Piano
Technical CreditsGarry Hughes Programming
Roger Waters Composer
Roger Dean Cover Painting
Nick Mason Composer
Richard Wright Composer
Jaz Coleman Arranger
David Gilmour Composer
London Philharmonic Orchestra Orchestration
Richard Lowe Engineer
Michael Riesman Mastering Consultant
Christopher Marc Potter Engineer
Nigel Walton Engineer
Paul Anthony Taylor Percussion Programming
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25 years ago this session brought Youth together with Pink Floyd's muse. This October 2014 the band themselves release The Endless River, an ambient instrumental work produced by Youth. Odd to say that Us 7 Them is ironically the original and best. I guess that imitation is truly the highest form of flattery, even with Pink Floyd imitating their imitators. This Us & Them is therefore and legitimately a pioneer and classic of its type. A must buy for Floydians and beyond.
First of all, professional reviewer Michael Waynick has it completly backwards about the two versions of ''Time''. The first one is excellent once it gets into it, a real toe-tapper, though Waynick is right that the beginning would be better with stronger drums (and stronger keyboard ''dings'' like the original). The second version of ''Time'' is at the end of the album for good reason - because it sucks. The songs are not simply orchestrated versions of the originals. They've taken the great Pink Floyd motifs, toyed with them, and emphasized parts that an orchestra does best. A lot of the results remind of Beetoven-bold and beautiful. Again, these are not straight sing-along versions of the originals. Until this album, I used to skip over ''Nobody's Home'' on The Wall. Actually, it's a beautiful song.
It is great to listen to music in a classical soothing way but be familiar with it because it is pink Floyd from our generation.
I don't know how many times I have fallen asleep to this. This cd puts puts Enya to shame. Also, being a student, I have found this to be a great study tool.
The best way I can describe this album is that these pieces are arranged as if they were orchestral works before they were Pink Floyd songs. Unbelievable in its simplicity and highly recommended for anyone with an open mind.