Back when this came out I kind of liked it. Even back then I noticed the sloppy playing here and there, but somehow I gave it a pass.
Not anymore. Triggered by the upcoming release of Roger Waters' DSOTM Redux, I decided to go back to check out what David Gilmour has done in the last two decades, and the best thing I can think of is this release.
Well, in short: It's bad. I'm giving it a sub-par rating because it has a few nice moments, but also some horrible blunders and is, for the most part, boring and unfocused. Too bad, since I'm a huge fan of what Gilmour did with Pink Floyd in the 70s. On this release he is "talking" a lot with his guitar, but not saying much. Less is more, an important concept in music which he built a reputation for with Pink Floyd.
If you disagree with me and think this is really good, please compare it to releases by Shpongle and Ozric Tentacles, who do similar experiments with much more musical cohesion.
Metallic Side 28:41
This starts out ok, the first part is actually kind of nice.
All starts to break down a Gilmour-like voice (who I recently learned is actually Graham Nash) sings "If you believe in justice, if you believe in freedom, stand up for human rights ..." in a flat, whiny thin head voice. That's about 10 minutes into the track, the section is called "Hymns to the Sun". It's a laid back section with sparse typical Gilmour backing guitars, the "Another Brick" heavy delay chops type.
Next up is "Black Graham" which starts with horrible acoustic guitar. As it turns out, this is not David's fault, since it is Marcia Mello playing. This is the lowest point of this longtrack.
Finally, the last four minutes are kind of decent electronic semi-ambient music. In the last two minutes we even finally get to hear a well-fitting contribution by David Gilmour.
Spheres Side 20:12
Starts out quite well! The first section ("Es Vedra") is a nice two-chord vamp. Unfortunately it gets boring soon, and Gilmour's slide playing gets quite repetitive. It's also whiny and insecure - one wonders where his confidence went. What is he afraid of?
Then of course the horrible vocals from the first track appear again (Hymn of the Sun "Reprise"). I wonder who can listen to them and not cringe with embarrassment.
The next part is introduced by a goofy jaw harp - because reasons. Apart from that it's actually quite nice - as far as ambient electronic goes, one of the highlights. The last two parts are also kind of nice. Too late to salvage the album though.