Here’s a funny one, I played it a few times when I got it, it didn’t make any real impression on me – I’ve revisited it a few times since and again, no impression. I have deliberately sat down and played this through three times this afternoon and I can barely remember a note. Attention US government*, if you coated your latest plane in this music it’d be entirely undetectable to ground forces. In fact, such is its’ stealth I’m not entirely sure what to call this one but I shall plump for Rick Wright Remixes, from 1996.
It is a promo only 12″ in a black sleeve, with three remixes from his Broken China LP (which I have never heard). Apart from the rather nifty Hipgnosis ‘swimmer’ art, the real hook for me was the fact that the first two tracks were remixed by 1537-faves the Orb, who long before they worked with Dave Gilmour were referencing Animals in particular** and Floyd in general in glowing terms.
But we’re forgetting the main man here, Rick Wright. His best work undeniably lifted Floyd from brilliant to stellar, but for various reasons, probably all linked to his own intrinsic decency and to his eternal credit, he got shunted to the side lines for years and had to suffer the ignominy of becoming a hired-hand in his own band for a while. Apparently Broken China dealt with issues of mental health and illness, specifically depression, as a gloomy four-part cycle – how Floyd-esque can you get?
The original of the track ‘Runaway’ featured Sinead O’Connor on vocals apparently, both the ‘R. Wright’s Lemonade Mix’ and the ‘Leggit Dub’ here don’t even feature a single note of her, which is a shame as it may have made them a damn right more memorable. All the usual Orb-trademark swirls and subsonic pulsing dub is all present and correct, but nothing really registers here. I am genuinely baffled still, the A-side of this record features 14 minutes, 7 seconds of music and I can’t remember a note of it. It’s downright eerie in fact.
B-side is a remix of the wonderfully titled ‘Night Of A Thousand Furry Toys’ by William Orbit and Matt Ducasse. This is better actually. It starts off with all the usual synth swirls and pulses but then features some wildly out-of-place hip-hop style beats, that put me in mind of a urinal in a kitchen, but in a good way^. I think what sets this one aside is that it contains various irritants that don’t let me forget it, but we’re still talking pretty slim pickings overall.
I love ambient music, I buy a lot of it – I may struggle to articulate exactly what makes one track amazing, or another wallpaper but I can spot it when I hear it. Sorry Rick.
*as if you weren’t reading this already after I wrote about ISIS that one time.
**they were from Battersea, home of the power station used on the cover – stolen for various Orb LP covers.