Thursday, April 10 2014, Small World Coffee

If We All Pull Together: Pink Floyd Open Jam
Open to all singers and instrumentalists (house band: Ryan Sarno, guitar; Natalie Sarno, keyboard; Jason Treuting, drums; Gilad Cohen, bass guitar and keyboard; Quinn Collins, bass guitar)

Friday, April 11 2014, Taplin Auditorium (in Fine Hall)

Screening of The Wall
By the Princeton Film Society

Saturday, April 12 2014, McAlpin Hall (at Woolworth Music Center)

3pm to 10:30pm
Surround sound playback of James Guthrie’s 5.1 mixes of The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here and special world-premiere of his just-finished 5.1 mix of Roger Water’s Amused to Death on state-of-the-art ATC speakers 

Note: The following times are estimates.  We are not ticketing and people can circulate as spaces become available during the course of each album playback, so feel free to come mid-session.  We will have ushers to facilitate everyone’s listening experience.  Stay as long as you like while being mindful of others.  We will not have a fee.

3pm to 4:30pm: Introduction by Gilad and Dave, short introduction by James Guthrie, and world premiere of new 5.1 mix of Amused to Death!!!

4:40pm to 5:30pm: Playback of The Dark Side of the Moon in 5.1

5:40pm to 6:30pm: Playback of Wish You Were Here in 5.1

6:30pm to 7pm: Break

7pm to 8:30pm: Short introduction by James Guthrie and playback of just-premiered 5.1 mix of Amused to Death!!!

8:40pm to 9:30pm: Playback of The Dark Side of the Moon in 5.1

9:40pm to 10:30pm: Playback of Wish You Were Here in 5.1

Sunday April 13 2014, Taplin Auditorium (at Fine Hall) / McCosh 10 (at McCosh Hall)

Reception and Exhibition
Provided by Small World Coffee and Princeton Record Exchange

SESSION NO. 1 (Taplin Auditorium at Fine Hall)

Musical Welcome
* Featuring live music (Wally Gunn, voice; Gilad Cohen, guitar)

“The Visual Music of Pink Floyd”
Troy Herion, PhD Candidate in Composition, Princeton University
* Featuring live music (Brian Adamczyk, saxophone; Gilad Cohen, piano)

Is there any band more visually commanding than Pink Floyd? From iconic album art to pioneering theatrical effects to music videos and feature films, Pink Floyd has exploited the power of imagery in nearly every aspect of their identity. And it doesn’t stop there. An impassioned fan-based subculture has perpetuated an open invitation to integrate visuals with Pink Floyd’s music – resulting most notably in the synchronization of Dark Side of the Moon with The Wizard of Oz, and the highly profitable traveling laser shows performed in local planetariums. This presentation will consider a variety of audiovisual combinations found in Pink Floyd’s work and unpack the qualities that make this music so receptive to imagery.

“Space and Repetition in David Gilmour’s Guitar Solos”
Dave Molk, PhD Candidate in Composition, Princeton University
* Featuring Dave Molk’s “A Medley Full of Hits” for string quartet and piano (PUBLIQuartet; Gilad Cohen, piano)

For many aspiring rock guitarists, David Gilmour’s solos are a treasure trove; less intimidating to learn (hence easier to cop from) than those of his prog-rock peers, while at the same time endlessly subtle and eluding a definitive recipe, hoards of gearlists notwithstanding.  Gilmour’s soloing becomes more codified in the course of the band’s development, with certain pet licks and modalities of soloing resurfacing again and again, other sonic experiments dropped along the way, tested and seemingly discarded.  I’ll talk about the role of space and repetiton within Gilmour’s solos and aim to frame a new listener appreciation understood within the scope of these terms.  In short, I’ll talk about what in my opinion makes the great solos truly memorable.

Elevenses (Roger’s Water Break)

“’Several Species of Small Furry Animals’: The Genius of Early Floyd”
Nigel Smith, English Professor, Princeton University
* Featuring Ryan Sarno’s “Two Separate Glances,” an arrangement/re-imagining  of “Echoes” for two singers and electric guitar (Megan Conlon and Yanie Fecu, vocals; Ryan Sarno, electric guitar)

Most attention in music writing is given to Pink Floyd’s middle period and later works, the enormously successful ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ and what followed.  A revered corner is also reserved for the brief very early period with Syd Barrett.  Great bands will change their sonic palette and their songwriting from album to album, or at least every so often, and listeners will have their favorites.  I find it hard to listen to very much Pink Floyd after ‘Dark Side’ because I so admire the experimentalism, the inventiveness, the idiosyncrasy and the wit of the sequence from ‘Saucerful of Secrets’ to ‘Meddle’, and wherein ‘Echoes’ is perhaps the crowning glory.  I’ll talk about the musical and lyric features of this often idyllic, pastoral, deeply moving music (of course it has other quite different aspects too), from both formal and affective angles.  As a novice prog. rocker I was at several Floyd concerts in the early 1979s, and will also discuss the music in the context of live performances, the relationship between band and audiences, and the collective understanding of the significance of Pink Floyd in the London area during these years.

Lunch Break (on your own)

SESSION NO. 2 (Taplin Auditorium at Fine Hall)

“They Fluttered Behind You: The Past as Material Object in Pink Floyd”
Ryan SarnoAnanalog Records
* Featuring Quinn Collins’s “NTRSTLR OVRDRV,” an arrangement/re-imagining of “Interstellar Overdrive” for electric string quartet (PUBLIQuartet)

My presentation is about the codification of the past in the post-Barrett era Pink Floyd. I will argue that 1967 Floyd relied on Syd Barrett’s primordial, past-less spontaneity for purpose, and that lacking Barrett’s instant creativity, the band needed new structures to give its music meaning. Thus, the music gradually transitions from being ungrounded, spacerock psychedelia (which has a political potential of its own) to being a grounded, historical music that manipulates the past to offer more direct social commentary. Under the architectural vision of Roger Waters, the music of Pink Floyd gradually developed a system of musical codes and lyrical themes that use the past as material. Musically, the use of echo, portamento, drones, repeated intervals, sound effects, and performance decisions (such as Roger’s live raptor screams and the consistent structure of Gilmour’s solos) slur progress and point the listener back toward previous experiences. Recurring lyrical themes, such as Barrett’s disappearance and Water’s inherited memory of WWII are used to express broader concerns over social alienation. I hope that this discussion of the codification of the past in the music of Pink Floyd will encourage people to consider the social relevance of Water’s-led Pink Floyd, the anarchic, spontaneous potential of Barrett-led Floyd, and perhaps the irony of such a thing as a popular Pink Floyd.

“The Shadow of Yesterday’s Triumph: ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’
and the Stage Theory of Grief”
Gilad Cohen, PhD Candidate in Composition, Princeton University
* Featuring Gilad Cohen’s arrangement of “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” for flute, clarinet, piano, and strings (Hilary Jones, flute; Brian Adamczyk, clarinet; Gilad Cohen, piano; PUBLIQuartet, strings)

The 1975 Pink Floyd song “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” was written in part as a requiem for the band’s former leader Syd Barrett, who suffered a mental breakdown and lost his hold on reality.  I argue that “Shine On” maintains interest and vitality over its 26 minutes through a musical structure that corresponds to five psychological stages of grief: numbness, yearning, anger, mourning, and acceptance.  Portraying the bereavement process of a band that had admittedly never recovered from the traumatic loss in relation to Barrett, this emotional arc imbues the piece with a powerful, genuine framework.  A short “yearning motif” acts as a catalyst throughout to trigger more substantial musical changes.  Repeated material is altered during each appearance based on its position in this grief sequence.   Multiple guitar solos lead the song into its emotional climax using a careful architectural design.  The combination of original structure, rigorous motivic development, and inventive arrangement makes “Shine On” an exceptional composition within the genre of large-scale rock songs in particular and rock literature in general.

Afternoon Tea: Featuring Coffee and Tea Provided by Rojo’s Roastery

SESSION NO. 3 (McCosh 10 at McCosh Hall)

Keynote: “Surrounded by Recollections of Pink Floyd Records”
James Guthrie, Pink Floyd producer/engineer

Panel Discussion and Q&A Session Featuring James Guthrie and Previous Speakers
Preliminary talk, Moderator: Shaugn O’Donnell, Associate Professor of Music, CUNY Graduate Center 

End of conference

PF faces and catalogue

For directions see the “venues” page.
Presentation subjects may change.