David Gilmour is out on stage again trying to Rattle That Lock off the creative cage and release the captive birds of mind towards new sounds to continue the travels of his fingers along Floydian riffs and Wright-esque memoirs of keyboards off boats that lie waiting. Well the wait will not be long as the album has unleashed the crowd into the wild, and escape from captivity so as to enjoy his music again.
It opens up at 5 AM, a morning melancholia, like a foggy rise where memories flood in and float through one’s space, capturing the senses. It sends a sound like a dream across the wire to prepare the audience for what there is to come.
The guitar doesn’t lie, and it speaks for itself and Mr. Gilmour. It captivates and impresses with its melodicity and enlightment, but for most part what fascinates is the ethereal experience that one gets from such guitar sounds. Some of the songs on Rattle That Lock offer a fresh perspective at times, other literally send one back to the Floyd times, as the feelings are aroused and the listener will remember and relate to some of the strings pulled and sank our hearts forever in tune with those notes. Others are a natural chronology of what Gilmour has created on his solo career, with good drifts and riffs off the On An Island album.
I think a guitar solo is how my emotion is most freely released, because verbal articulation isn’t my strongest communication strength. My wife thinks that I should do interviews by listening to the questions and playing the answer on guitar.
The album title theme starts up with the chimes of the French National Railway (SNCF) announcement, that apparently has inspired Gilmour while waiting for a train at the station in Aix-en-Provence, France. The muffled chimed alertish kind of sound coming out before each train announcement has some intonations ready to be continued into other musical octaves. And so it does, and the lyrics that come with it are without a doubt with no discord, chance or rumour a fantastic fit into the breaking free from under that lock.
Gilmour’s life has been fulfilled by an inspiring collaboration with novelist Polly Samson, as a partner in life and work. Their collaboration bears the signature since the Division Bell times, when Samson is credited for part of the lyrics. Her contributions continued for On An Island, and the latest one goes to Louder Than Words from The Endless River. As for the Ratlle she signs for half the songs lyrics, an inspiration primarily coming of the epic poem Paradise Lost by John Milton.
In previous interviews Gilmour was always bombarded with an abundance of questions in relation to his previous experiences and potential collaboration with former Pink Floyd member Roger Waters. Out of their last reunion a lot of hope has sprung to life and a lot of people believed in a come back. After each of them releasing their own materials and performing live and grand concerts, it has helped draw their new directions in their compositions and propositions, that allowed them to express and impress into what they are and were in search for, perhaps for a long time.
Faces of Stone lines up next, with a sad but colourful facade, it grips and shivers through one’s soul, and one can easily fall in love with the verses of the opening act.
Faces of stone that watched from the dark
As the wind swirled around and you took my arm in the park
Images framed, hung high in the trees
And you talked of your youth but the years had turned dry as the leaves
It is also a song of deception but with a lot of essence and as expected with an explosive guitar that talks even so much more of the song’s melodic sentiment.
Gilmour considers himself lucky enough to have hit the stages of life where financials are of no concern, and when one looks him up in the eye he discovers as of late, a patriarchal and settled character, surrounded by family and domestic tribulations and spiced up by a natural desire, that we all do have, to fly or sail around the world.
Life is so full with raising children, trying to get them to school on time, trying to help them get their homework done, and trying to sort out their lives and bring them up properly. Life just seems very busy with all that domestic sort of stuff, I’m afraid. I do love flying airplanes. That’s one of my main hobbies, which I haven’t had enough time for just lately. I love the feeling of being free as an American eagle, soaring above the planet on a wing and a prayer.
I like to go to Italy or France and get on a boat and sail around. Sailing around different spots is one of my favorite occupations for leisure time. I like the sea. I don’t really know why. It’s a pretty primal sort of thing. That, and sitting around a campfire staring at the flames and cooking a few sausages and singing a few songs with a bunch of friends. That’s pretty hard to beat.
Dancing Right in Front of Me can easily become a favourite tune, it is enriched with a variety of different musical atmospheres, jazzy and progressive moves, unexpected instrumentation and accompanied by impressive lyrics. A beauty on its own. Imagine the circus of life that starts on it’s never-ending journey, and then the show explodes live with heavy guitar, piano intonations smoothing off the edges, concluding on a lot of streaks with graceful guitars notes and touches.
Dancing right in front of me, all the lives I once could see
Slipping to and slipping fro, disappearing
Who’s to know where they have gone – just out of sight
Into the shadows of my night
Who started out as stars in my eyes
It always comes through like an open invitation to re-watch the Dark Side of the Moon – Classic Albums, a documentary where one can be surprised and fascinated time and again by the process of creating and recording this one of a kind album. Back in those days, they have used one of the most advanced recording technology such as multitrack recording and tape loops. Alan Parsons as their engineer and analogue synthesizers were all part of the package. This Dark Side… sold approximately 50 milion copies, was #1 in the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes for a week and remained in the charts for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. Please do experience this journey, it is inspiring and enriching, anybody willing to buildup on their musical foundations should follow through this lesson in creativity and composition.
A poem of war comes next, entitled In Any Tongue. It’s an obsession and a bitter portrayal of the scars of combat, of the army calling into the innocence and ignorance, and the defenseless arguments around it. What impresses here is main melodic theme, it is explosive on How was I to feel it or How was I to see you, and it concludes with the guitar replacing the words in the most surprising riff of the album.
An instrumental one comes by through this song of Beauty that lines up against a conversation between piano and guitar, it is well conversed and grasps onto the feelings through different rhythms. These instrumentals are like like moments of contemplation and remembrance of things past, inviting the listener to dive on his side of reflections and reverie.
Gilmour’s musical destiny has unfolded as a journey onto the boat Astoria, moored on the Thames at Hampton (London). It has been built in 1911 and was purchased by Gilmour in 1986 with the main intention of having a recording studio with a flair and a view. A lot has happened aboard this houseboat, creations such as A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987), The Division Bell (1994), and The Endless River (2014), were in part recorded there. On an Island (2006) fitted well with the settings and the story continued to the Rattle, that was mixed and partially recorded here. Seems like a magnificent place that offered the needed inspiration and solitude of an island, surrounded by nature and the endless floating river, to help compose and elaborate on marine and riverscape themes.
To continue on the Rattle, a delicate sound surprises one with the jazzy smokey notes coming out of Girl In The Yellow Dress. It is elegance and grace revolving around a smooth and funny story, embellished in a Hollywood style atmosphere. A video was produced for this piece and it visually confirms the imagination of the artistic swirls and snakes.
She dances like a flame
Has no cares, yellow dress flame
Eyes closed, arms above, she shakes
Swirls and snakes
One of the better ways to confirm the value of an artist and to honour such a grandiose talent is to see him through his performances, and the places booked for Gilmour’s live tours speak much on his behalf: Verona Arena, Florence, Théâtre Antique Orange, Royal Albert Hall – London, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Schloss Schönbrunn – Vienna, Schlossplatz – Stuttgart, Château de Chantilly – Paris, Wiesbaden, Arènes de Nîmes, Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans – Besançon, Grote Markt – Tienen, Belgium, etc.
“It’s a magical thing, the guitar. It allows you to be the whole band in one, to play rhythm and melody, sing over the top. And as an instrument for solos, you can bend notes, draw emotional content out of tiny movements, vibratos and tonal things which even a piano can’t do.”
To conclude the horizon one can not stop thinking of how much value Mr. Gilmour has bounced off to us through fine sounds, words or signals, even though sometimes distorted by time the satellites are spinning, helping us bear the wear of tear and patiently wait for our stars to align. As for you Mr. Gilmour one thing is for certain, your stars are aligned and arranged in a constellation that one should always hope to visit and encounter, as it is a one of a kind experience that will help release that Lock and ignite the flight into the beauty and depth of the blue skies.