17 April 2020 (released)
22 February 2020
Sony Records/Legacy Recordings will release Nick Mason's Saucerful Of Secrets Live At The Roundhouse, April 17. Recorded live in 2019 at London’s renowned venue and encompassing 23-tracks of music going back to Syd Barrett’s stint with Pink Floyd, the album contains songs the Floyd rarely played live, along with songs the band never played.
Mason, who played on all of Pink Floyd’s studio albums, is joined on his Time Machine trip to the past by Gary Kemp, Guy Pratt, Lee Harris, and Dom Beken, all virtuosos on their instruments. Although the album is devoid of Pink Floyd’s prodigious numbers, such as “Money” and “Another Brick in the Wall,” it offers up a smorgasbord of out of the ordinary pieces from Pink Floyd’s inventory.
All the tracks are interesting, yet inevitably highlights do appear. Two of Barrett’s songs, “Lucifer Sam” and “Arnold Layne,” deliver heavy harmonic muscle when compared to their recorded versions, which were almost delicate.
“Atom Mother Heart” recalls the classic Pink Floyd sound, only is a bit more experimental with its dreamy psychedelic interludes bereft of rumbling depth and dimension. Roger Waters’ “If,” deliciously soft and gleaming, presents soft prog-rock textures flavored with hints of folk-rock elements.
One of the more enthralling tracks is “One of These Days,” opening on careening guitars backed by stormy swooshing colors flowing into grandiose layers of Pink Floyd’s magnetic sound, chock-full of psychedelic oscillations and escalating symphonic grandeur from the Empyrean. Without a doubt, this is a must-listen-to track.
“Green Is The Colour” travels on light jangly guitars, trickling with sparkling colors, and then segues into a measured rhythm topped by cashmere undulations, serene and verdant. A scintillating piano infuses the tune with tender yearning hues, while the tightly structured guitar solo allows the notes room to breathe and take hold.
The intro to “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun” shimmers on emerging phantasmagoric colors, followed by subterranean tones leading to darkly glowing guitars riding a syncopated beat. Chant-like vocals imbue the lyrics with mystical tones. Chiming accents give the music luminous edges, as the rhythm accelerates on rumbling drums. As the harmonics swell and intensify, layers of sizzling guitars infuse the music with blistering, galloping energy. The music collapses into psychedelic sound effects, flashing and trembling, uneasy and complicated, and then reverts to the iridescent opening refrain.
When evaluated against the heady days of “Dark Side of the Moon” and subsequent releases, the only weakness apparent on the album is the vocals, which lack the delectable wistful coloration of Gilmour’s voice, with his pensive tantalizing timbres.