“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Which Is the Best Floyd Album?

Oh I don't know. But having listened to them since I was about 10 I feel that the one I can listen to every single day, which doesn't mean it's the best, is Animals. And I say this as the biggest fan of Syd who was so happy to hear “Rhamadan,” finally.

It's that song “Dogs” mostly. Sick parody of jazz funk and prog jazz from around that time. That mid section which is a keyboard solo (or electronic world, really), where dogs melt into human voices melting into the primordial slime, for some timeless time out of time. It's beyond Orwellian prosopopoeia. It's humans melding with nonhumans in an incomprehensible, nonconceptual way.

If you take the train from Sutton to Victoria you pass by the gigantic Battersea Power Station, but before you do that you pass through the lands of early drum and bass, where I used to live. Something about those siren-like sounds on “Dogs” and elsewhere on that album. Secret, melancholy London, side by side with the official one. Geniuses in tiny flats on their computers in 1992.

But “Dogs.” The mid-section. Stone, stone, stone, stone...the syncopated echoing barking...the unbelievably well placed and tuned out-of-tune whistle. Good grief.


Nick Guetti said...

Dark Side was really the latest album I LOVED by them, though I've liked them all. In my book, the best one is actually the one I think THEY liked least, which was Ummagumma. Definitely not a rock album. Basically all the best stuff on Saucerful played live, and then a bunch of experimental solo pieces that are incredibly evocative. That shocking change where Sysyphus falls in love with the world again and then realizes that he has to go back to Hell forever is always terrifying no matter how many times you hear it, and Waters singing about a beautiful water-meadow from a city room and then getting up to swat a fly...wow.

Timothy Morton said...

Nick, you have an excellent point there. I too love that album for the same reasons. It's an endless summer afternoon. One of Syd's terms of praise was "Sunday afternoonish" and this album has it. That infinitely regressive cover of living rooms within living rooms. Brilliant. Very well perceived and thought out sir.