Broken China (1996)

Rick Wright

"Welcome to the world of random noise ..."

After being forced out of Pink Floyd by Roger Waters during the recording of 1979's "The Wall" album, keyboardist Rick Wright sat out the band's next project, 1983's "The Final Cut."

When Waters left the group following that album, the remaining Floyds, David Gilmour and Nick Mason, decided to continue using the name, and released 1987's "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," essentially as a duo, using a variety of other musicians to fill out the band. Wright was taken back into the fold late in the recording of "Momentary Lapse," and ended up touring the album with the group.

While 1994's "The Division Bell" album marked Wright's return to true band member status within Floyd, he nonetheless embarked on his second solo outing since 1978's "Wet Dream," when he released 1996's "Broken China." (Actually, Wright had also been involved with a one-album project called Zee with Dave Harris, formerly of the group Fashion. Zee released "Identity" in 1984, which Wright now calls "an experimental mistake.")

Wright turned to Anthony Moore, whose band Slapp Happy had been managed by Peter Jenner, as had the Floyd in their early years, to write most of the lyrics on "Broken China." Moore had worked with Floyd on "A Momentary Lapse of Reason," too.

Other musicians on the project included drummer Manu Katche and bassist Pino Palladino, who had both worked with Peter Gabriel. (Palladino had also appeared on Gilmour's 1984 "About Face" album.) Dominic Miller who had worked with Sting contributed guitar work, as did old Floyd friend Tim Renwick.

Wright also employed Sinead O'Connor for vocals on "Reaching for the Rail" and "Breakthrough."

Gilmour laid down a guitar track for one song, but it ended up being scrapped before the final mix-down.

"Broken China" is a four-part song cycle, dealing with the theme of surviving depression. Wright cites a close personal friend who was battling depression as the work's inspiration. That "friend" has been rumored to be his wife.

The album's cover art was the work, in part, of Storm Thorgerson, who had orchestrated many Floyd album covers before. It is somewhat reminiscent of the diver on 1975's "Wish You Were Here" and the cover of 1992's "Shine On" box set.
broken china album cover

Release date

Oct 7, 1996 (UK)
Mar 25, 1997 (US)

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Track listing

  1. Breaking Water
    02:28 (Wright/Moore)
  2. Night of a Thousand Furry Toys
    04:23 (Wright/Moore)
  3. Hidden Fear
    03:28 (Wright/Gordon)
  4. Runaway
    04:01 (Moore)
  5. Unfair Ground
    02:22 (Wright)
  6. Satellite
    04:07 (Wright)
  7. Woman of Custom
    03:45 (Moore)
  8. Interlude
    01:16 (Wright)
  9. Black Cloud
    03:20 (Wright)
  10. Far from the Harbour Wall
    06:09 (Wright/Moore)
  11. Drowning
    01:38 (Wright)
  12. Reaching for the Rail
    00:00 (Wright/Moore)
  13. Blue Room in Venice
    02:48 (Wright/Gordon)
  14. Sweet July
    04:13 (Wright)
  15. Along the Shoreline
    04:36 (Wright/Moore)
  16. Breakthrough
    04:20 (Wright/Moore)