Word of a new Pink Floyd album appeared quite by surprise on the Internet July 5, 2014. Polly Samson
, wife of Floyd guitarist David Gilmour
and his writing partner for the past couple decades, tweeted: "Btw Pink Floyd album out in October is called 'The Endless River.' Based on 1994 sessions is Rick Wright
's swansong and very beautiful."
Shortly after, vocalist Durga McBroom-Hudson
, who's toured with Floyd and Gilmour, posted to Facebook a photo previously posted to Instagram by Samson with the caption, "During a session recording the NEW PINK FLOYD ALBUM!!"
Samson's tweet was apparently a pre-emptive strike timed to hit the Net ahead of a newspaper story spawned from leaked news of the album.
Official notification came two days later, July 7, from the band's PR firm: "Pink Floyd can confirm that they are releasing a new album 'The Endless River' in October 2014. It is an album of mainly ambient and instrumental music based on the 1993/4 Division Bell sessions which feature David Gilmour
, Nick Mason
and Richard Wright
. The album is produced by David Gilmour
with Phil Manzanera
, Youth and recording engineer Andy Jackson
. Work is still in progress, but more details to come at the end of the Summer."
Thus began a frenzy of media attention focused on Gilmour and Mason and what would be revealed to be the final project to be released under the name Pink Floyd.
Roots in "The Division Bell"
"The Endless River" is composed of material recorded during the making of 1994's "The Division Bell."
"We listened to over 20 hours of the three of us playing together and selected the music we wanted to work on for the new album," according to Gilmour. "Over the last year we've added new parts, re-recorded others and generally harnessed studio technology to make a 21st century Pink Floyd album.
"With Rick gone, and with him the chance of ever doing it again, it feels right that these revisited and reworked tracks should be made available as part of our repertoire," he adds.
"'The Endless River' is a tribute to Rick," says Mason. "I think this record is a good way of recognizing a lot of what he does and how his playing was at the heart of the Pink Floyd sound. Listening back to the sessions, it really brought home to me what a special player he was."
The real final cut
In a brief promotional video for the album
, Gilmour says, "I think we have successfully commandeered the best of what there is. I suspect this is it."
He confirmed these thoughts to BBC 6 Music around the same time: "It's a shame, but this is the end."
The album was originally released in three formats: a standard CD, a double LP, and a 2-disc boxset.
The track listing is broken into four "sides" to, according to a press release from the band, "invoke the album listening experience." All tracks are instrumental, except for "Louder Than Words," with lyrics by Samson.
The standard CD comes in a hard-cover bound book package with foil blocking on a cloth spine, and includes a 16-page booklet including previously unpublished photographs from the 1993 sessions.
The double vinyl set is pressed on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl, mastered by Doug Sax
at The Mastering Lab in Ojai, Calif. Packaged in a gatefold sleeve with full-color inner bags, it comes with a download card and an 11" x 11" 16-page booklet including previously unpublished photographs from the '93 sessions.
The 2-disc boxset includes:
- A 24-page booklet in hard-cover, including previously unpublished photographs from the '93 sessions
- CD in full-color card wallet with full-color label
- DVD (NTSC) or Blu-Ray disc in full-color card wallet with full-color label
- Three postcards, one with a 3D Lenticular design
- The DVD contains "The Endless River" album in 5.1 Surround (Dolby Digital and DTS), plus stereo version in 48kHz/24 bit
- The Blu-Ray disc contains the album in high-resolution 5.1 Surround (DTS Master Audio and PCM, 96/24), plus PCM stereo 96/24
- About 39 minutes of non-album audio/visual material: Six video tracks and three audio tracks, unavailable elsewhere
- Archive video material and still photographs shot during the original '93 recording sessions
The album artwork of a man rowing on a "river" of clouds was created by Ahmed Emad Eldin
, an 18-year-old Egyptian digital artist. His image was re-created by UK design agency Stylorouge.
When news of the album broke, the artwork was displayed on buildings in 10 cities around the world. In London, it appeared on an 8-meter-high, illuminated cube installation on the South Bank.
, the man responsible for most of Floyd's album art since 1968's "A Saucerful of Secrets," passed away in 2013. The task of finding an image to represent the new album fell to Aubrey 'Po' Powell
, Thorgerson's original partner in design team Hipgnosis.
"When we saw Ahmed's image it had an instant Floydian resonance," Powell says. "It's enigmatic and open to interpretation, and is the cover that works so well for 'The Endless River'."