Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment


Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - NAD Viso HP50 Headphones (May 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - GoldenEar Technology's Anechoic Chamber (May 2016)

Columbia Records 88875123262
Format: CD

Musical Performance
***1/2

Sound Quality
****

Overall Enjoyment
****

David Gilmour certainly takes his time between recordings. He has released four discs since 1978, and there was a more than 20-year gap between his second LP, About Face (1984), and his next outing, On an Island (2006). He was at the helm for two Pink Floyd records during that period, A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987) and The Division Bell (1994), both of which sold well but received largely poor notices.

Gilmour told Billboard that his newest disc, Rattle That Lock, is “. . . sort of a day in the life, where it’s just ideas and thoughts that you might have during the course of a day.” That’s a loose concept, to be sure, but the thoughts that comprise the lyrics of the ten songs are those of a man nearing 70. Age, the passing of time, and memories -- fond and bittersweet -- of life and friends are the themes that hold Rattle That Lock together.

Anyone of Gilmour’s generation will understand the sadness, frustration, and anger expressed on “In Any Tongue,” where images of war remind us that the peace and love we had hoped for did not come. Gilmour’s son Gabriel plays a mournful piano that gives the track its emotional shape, and the vivid lyrics by the guitarist’s wife, novelist Polly Samson, convey the song’s message without preaching.

Rattle That Lock

Gilmour wrote the piano line for “A Boat Lies Waiting” 18 years ago, and Samson set lyrics to it that pay tribute to her husband’s friend, Rick Wright, Pink Floyd’s keyboard player, who died in 2008. Gilmour’s plaintive slide guitar playing in the song’s lengthy instrumental intro evokes the sadness he feels at losing Wright. Graham Nash and David Crosby help Gilmour sing the somber, sweet-toned melody. “Dancing Right in Front of Me” evokes the English Music Hall tradition, the Beatles, and cocktail jazz in its memories of “. . . all the lives I once could see/Slipping to and slipping fro, disappearing.”

The title track is an exhortation to rebel against life’s constraints, but Samson’s lyrics, which she says are based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost, could have been more straightforward. It takes Gilmour’s guitar solo to give the tune shape. The songs that work best convey their themes musically as well as lyrically. We can sense Gilmour’s emotional state from the cabaret style of “Faces of Stone,” the jazz balladry of “The Girl in the Yellow Dress,” or the Pink Floyd-like atmosphere of “A Boat Lies Waiting.”

Not surprisingly, Rattle That Lock works best during Gilmour’s guitar solos. The three instrumentals show that his skills are undimmed, and throughout the disc his guitar usually states his intentions more clearly than the lyrics, especially Samson’s, which are often self-consciously arty. Good players, including Phil Manzanera, Roger Eno, Jools Holland, and Robert Wyatt, help create a sound as layered and sonically rich as Pink Floyd’s fans would expect, but Rattle That Lock doesn’t have the epic sweep or dramatic punch of that band’s work.

That’s fine. Gilmour’s given us a lot over the years, and on its on modest scale, Rattle That Lock succeeds. At this late stage in his career, the guitarist remembers some music that inspired him and friendships that carried him along, and the result is often moving and honest; a rare thing these days.

. . . Joseph Taylor
josepht@soundstagenetwork.com