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Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason celebrates end of audio ‘dark period’

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason discusses end of “dark period” for audio quality and “sea-change” to box set attitudes - as Nothing Part 14 video is launched

Nick Mason is glad that there’s been a resurgence of interest in audio quality after a “dark period” of earbud listening.

And the Pink Floyd drummer has argued that, while many bands have only recently become comfortable with releasing development-stage material, the practice has its roots in jazz music from years ago.

He was speaking during a launch event for mammoth Pink Floyd box set The Early Years 1965-1972, which includes almost everything the band had available in their archive.

Mason told YouTube: “This is a sea-change that a lot of bands have been through. It was unthinkable, 30 years ago, that we’d release anything except our final ultimate version.

“Everyone was worried about bootlegs and the fact that people would get to hear it in the wrong form, or too early. Now there’s a sense that, if people are interested in how we develop something, that’s fine.”

He cites jazz icon Charlie Parker’s albums as examples of how it’s been done before: “They actually put out every take. You get a track and they give you the lot, so you can hear how they progressed and got to where they ended up.”

Mason admitted that one of the few blocking points was sound quality – but believes it’s a standard worth retaining. “We’ve been through a dark period of everyone listening to everything on earbuds and MP3 players,” he says. “Now we’re coming out the other side.

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“It’s really quite important – in the studio you spend a lot of time and energy really trying to get this perfect sound, make it as good as you can. It’s pretty depressing when people don’t experience any of that.

“I think the resurgence of vinyl, and people looking at filling their living rooms with big speakers, it’s a good thing to do. I’d like more people to get turned on to really good sound.”

The Early Years 1965-1972 is released on November 11 (Friday) and it’s available for pre-order now. Pink Floyd have launched a new video for the track Nothing Part 14, which later became an element in their Echoes piece – view it below.

The band are the cover stars of the latest issue of Classic Rock magazine, out now in print and via TeamRock+.

Pink Floyd The Early Years Cre/Ation tracklist

CD 1

  1. Arnold Layne
  2. See Emily Play
  3. Matilda Mother
  4. Jugband Blues
  5. Paintbox
  6. Flaming† (BBC Session, 25 Sept 1967)
  7. In The Beechwoods
  8. Point Me At The Sky
  9. Careful With That Axe, Eugene
  10. Embryo
  11. Ummagumma Radio Ad
  12. Grantchester Meadows
  13. Cymbaline† (BBC Session, 12 May 1969)
  14. Interstellar Overdrive† (Live, Paradiso, Amsterdam, Aug 1969)
  15. Green Is The Colour† (BBC Session, 12 May 1969)
  16. Careful With That Axe, Eugene† (BBC Session, 12 May 1969)

CD 2

  1. On The Highway†
  2. Auto Scene Version 2
  3. The Riot Scene
  4. Looking At Map
  5. Take Off
  6. Embryo (BBC Session, 16 July 1970)
  7. Atom Heart Mother (Live Montreux, 21 Nov 1970)
  8. Nothing Part 14
  9. Childhood’s End
  10. Free Four
  11. Stay

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