Pink Floyd “Soundtrack from the film More”
Pink Floyd’s milestone albums are today so embedded in the public consciousness that it’s become more necessary than ever to explore their lesser-known offerings. This can often lead to discovering some unexpected treats. Their soundtrack to the otherwise forgettable 1969 French film More is one such work. Perhaps Floyd’s last album to be imbued with the spirit of Syd Barrett, it comprises a collection of short songs and instrumental pieces, the acid-pop overtones, gentle chillout textures and generally taut construction of which offer a considerable contrast to the lengthy, plodding, half-improvised instrumentals which had become their standard fare, following the loss of Barrett’s lysergically-fuelled, wonderfully erratic songwriting. Roger Waters is the main composer and lyricist here, thankfully before his gloomy, introspective leanings really took over.
Although the album was commissioned as a film soundtrack and the pieces were written to order to fit scenes in the movie, the whole work can be enjoyed as an album of music with no reference at all to its raison d’être (I’ve never seen the film, and frankly have no wish to, given the nature of its plot). Six of the thirteen tracks are proper, complete songs rather than just instrumentals. The range of musical styles is truly eclectic, and no track ever outstays its welcome. Spacey reverbed Farfisa licks, folksy acoustic guitars, found sounds, latin percussion, musique concrête, piano jazz, flamenco, proto-heavy metal and even a touch of uncharacteristic country-pop make successive appearances. “Quicksilver”, the only lengthy track at just over seven minutes, shows the influence of Georgy Ligeti’s atonal orchestrations as used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. The jazzy, freeform piano-and-percussion “Up The Khyber” loops wildly around the stereo plane. “The Nile Song” is grunge twenty years before Nirvana and Mudhoney, though its bewildering series of key changes would certainly bemuse such later acts. “Cirrus Minor” is delightful space-rock with an incongruous accompaniment of birdsong. The gentle “Crying Song” features vibes and a gorgeous, nagging bass riff hook.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about More is that it was completely written and recorded in just two weeks: a contrast to the increasingly lengthy compositional and recording periods that Floyd were employing for their mainstream albums. Truly, sometimes less can be More.
“The Nile Song”