Latest News: Pink Floyd

The Little Things

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Just like great books, movies and art,  you can keep re-visiting some songs to find new nuances you didn’t noticed before. Whether it’s a sigh between chords, a scratch on the strings or even a cough before the chorus, these small human elements can add an endearing quality to music, reminding us that songs are not magical, mechanical products but hand-crafted pieces of raw human creation.

Pink Floyd's "Mother"

Albums that also serve as movie soundtracks (e.g. Pink Floyd’s The Wall) can be expected to have more “human” elements to them, as they’re based on human stories. Some of the non-musical sounds from The Wall movie are left in the accompanying album for a more multi-dimensional sound: From cash registers “cha-chinging” and hearts thumping to school teachers screaming about meat and pudding. I recently noticed a more subtle sound – a deep sigh at the beginning of “Mother.” It’s a fitting auditory relief after the schoolyard chaos in "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" and a welcoming beacon to the initially soothing musings in “Mother.” While not entirely musical, the sigh fits perfectly within the song.

Fleetwood Mac's "I Don't Want to Know"

Another charmingly human moment in music is the squeak Lindsey Buckingham’s fingers make when they slide down the strings of his acoustic guitar five seconds into Fleetwood Mac’s “I Don’t Want to Know.” Author Chuck Klosterman pointed out this detail in Killing Yourself to Live, calling it “the definitive illustration of what we both loved about music; we loved hearing the inside of a song.” He told this to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in an interview. Tweedy agreed, adding that he always thought of Buckingham as someone who wants to control every element of his music, so this little “crack he couldn’t sparkle over” was indicative of the greater truth that “nobody can control anything, really.” It’s amazing what a just a little scratch can do.

The White Stripes – “White Moon”

While The White Stripes' Get Behind Me Satan earned them a Grammy Award and other accolades, it almost didn’t make it to the mixing room. Recorded in Jack White's semi-haunted Detroit home studio, the album seemed to be cursed with failing equipment, leaky ceilings and other misfortunes. Some of these “hauntings” are audible on songs like "White Moon" (a song that even references an ex-girlfriend “ghost”), where drummer Meg White’s bell set falls over with a crash near the end. Giving listeners a hint to the recording location, Jack White's house phone can be heard ringing about 2:50 minutes into "Take Take Take." Looking at more White Stripes songs like Elephant’s "I Wanna Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart," the band has a history of leaving in these little sounds that others might take out – and by keeping them in, The White Stripes distinguish themselves as charmingly true to the authentic, imperfect process of creating music from bare hands.

Check out Vitamin String Quartet tributes to all of these artists!

More Bricks: The String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

Available at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet Tribute to Fleetwood Mac

Available at iTunes and Amazon

The String Quartet Tribute to The White Stripes

Available at iTunes and Amazon

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From Stage to Screen: Movie Soundtracks by Musicians

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A great movie or song, alone, can inspire powerful emotions. But combined, sounds and images can amplify the sensation. The Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr, who worked on the soundtrack to Dennis Hopper's film Colours in the late-1980s, said he enjoys working on movies because “You're not restricted to working on something between three and five minutes long … It also can be quite solitary and it's nice not to have to please four or five other people.”

Film and sound existed separately in the early 20th century, but they ended up cementing a lasting complimentary relationship with each other, from the first feature length sound film in 1927, The Jazz Singer, to music videos today. Our minds love that sync of auditory and visual senses – whether it’s unintentional, like The Wizard of Oz synching with Dark Side of the Moon, or intentional, like the music and movie collaborations that follow: Jónsi (Sigur Rós) – We Bought A Zoo (2012) Some music seems to conjure up movies instinctively, as in the instrumentally and emotionally rich soundscapes of Sigur Rós, fronted by guitarist and vocalist Jón “Jónsi” Þór Birgisson. For those of us wishing that Jónsi would follow us around playing a soundtrack to our lives (and have to settle for iPod daydreaming), we got the next best thing – he scored a movie, We Bought a Zoo. Director Cameron Crowe encouraged Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and the other actors in the film to listen to specific Sigur Rós songs so they could create the right energy for a scene: “the actors listened to the music during their takes; it quickly became part of the film’s DNA.” When Matt Damon finally confronts the iPhotos of his deceased wife that come to life around him in a sonic and sentimental crescendo, a little watery DNA can’t help but moisten the eyes of the audience as well. Trent Reznor (with Atticus Ross) - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) After winning a 2010 Golden Globe and Academy Award for their work on The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross decided to pair up again to take on another David Fincher film, the highly anticipated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Delicate chimes and thin pianos mixed with ferociously plucked strings and ominous bass create just the right amount of foreboding tingles the movie calls for. As the founder of Nine Inch Nails, Reznor seems naturally drawn to the darker side of the music spectrum. This especially comes out in his raw cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” with Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ singer Karen O during the movie’s opening sequence with a vigor that carries on throughout the film. Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) – There Will Be Blood (2007) If the images in Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood don’t scare you, the 80-piece in-your-face string orchestra will. Expanding on Radiohead’s already instrumental-heavy technique, guitarist and composer Johnny Greenwood’s score was well received and nominated for a Grammy. From the brooding lows to the quivering highs, the dissonant, disturbing and always loud strings act as a separate character in the film, adding an eerie personality to an already unsettling setting. Neil Young - Dead Man (1995) Leave it to Neil Young to score a psychedelic western starring Johnny Depp as William Blake, an accountant from Cleveland, as well as Jared Harris, Billy Bob Thornton and Iggy Pop in a dress all sitting around a campfire cooking beans. Improvising on guitar, piano and organ as he watched the film alone in a recording studio, Young provides the perfect rugged and deep jolts of music to go along with the story of a man who wrote his poetry in blood when the west was still young. David Bowie (with Trevor Jones) – Labyrinth (1986) The 1980s were an age of synthesizers. Trevor Jones and David Bowie couldn’t resist mixing the wide-ranging electronic instrument with orchestral ensembles in a hodgepodge almost as strange as the Jim Henson and George Lucas production they scored, Labyrinth. Starring Bowie as both the Goblin King and the film’s composer, the soundtrack has a fittingly ethereal, surreal feel. But the movie’s musical spell is often broken when Goblin Bowie and his minions break out into raucous songs that categorize the film in another '80s cliché of cheesy. Queen - Flash Gordon (1980) Queen’s melodic-dramatic overtures provide a natural soundtrack to a movie – especially one shot in the 1980s about a super hero, like Flash Gordon. And what better way to mimic the film’s ka-pow energy than with extensive use of electrifying synthesizers and overpowering harmonies. After all, Freddie Mercury’s music and performance carried with them a certain theatrical thrill fitting of an action movie. The theme song of the movie, “Flash” is a sonic comic book complete with character dialogue and laser beam sound effects over shouts of “flash!” accompanied by complimentary cymbal crashes. Pink Floyd – More (1969) From Dark Side of the Moon to Ummagumma, Pink Floyd has always voyaged into new and strange sonic territory fitting of futuristic movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which Roger Water actually turned down the opportunity to score – something he later regretted. Pink Floyd, however, applied their experimental approach to Barbet Schroeder’s More, a film about a German hitchhiker who falls for an American girl addicted to heroin. Their avant-garde instrumentals and some of their heaviest songs are the perfect backdrop to this mind-bending trip. Be Sure to check out: Per_versions - Vitamin String Quartet Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Nine Inch Nails Vitamin String Quartet: Strung Out On OK Computer Rusted Moon: Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Neil Young Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to David Bowie Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Queen Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

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Rock Goes Orchestral: Our Favorite Bands Performed With An Orchestra

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In recent years a lot of great bands have done the orchestral thing and decided to play some shows backed by a symphony orchestra. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s a bit ridiculous. But when did all this start? The first rock concerts backed by an orchestra are recorded as happening when Deep Purple did some shows in 1969 supporting their third album, Concerto for Group and Orchestra. There’s a video of them doing it again years later below in commemoration, though with a different score, as the original had been lost. Since then, bands like Metallica and Portishead have done orchestral live albums. Even Aerosmith got into the act by doing an MTV Music Awards performance in a symphonic style. Recently, a lot of indie bands have been jumping on the bandwagon and performing with orchestras. The Brooklyn Art Museum (BAM) started a concert series a couple years ago with local bands such as Grizzly Bear doing symphonic shows. This lead to a lot of indie bands putting together such shows, like the Decemberists booking a whole tour with a backing orchestra. Often times, bands will do one-stop shows with an orchestra. Joanna Newsom did some shows with an orchestra on a couple stops off her 2008. Final Fantasy’s Owen Pallet did similar shows on his most recent tour. It seems as if musicians aren’t afraid to be artists anymore, meaning a symphony can now be heard while drinking a Pabst Blue Ribbon. Here are some videos of recent instances. Decemberists Final Fantasy (Owen Pallet) Grizzly Bear My Morning Jacket Joanna Newsom Radiohead Portishead Metallica Aerosmith Deep Purple and Ronnie James Dio (RIP) An old Pink Floyd video of a one time performance (1/3)

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VSQ Master Series: Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon

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VSQ Master Series: Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon Download on iTunes The VSQ Master Series presents renditions from Pink Floyd's famous Dark side of the Moon. String arrangements of epic songs such as "The Great Gig In the Sky" and "Speak To Me/Breathe" breathe new colors into classic psychedelic rock hits making this album a must-have for any Pink Floyd fan. Tracklist 1. Speak to Me/Breathe (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 2. On the Run (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 3. Time (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 4. The Great Gig In the Sky (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 5. Money (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 6. Us and Them (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 7. Any Colour You Like (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 8. Brain Damage (originally performed by Pink Floyd) 9. Eclipse (originally performed by Pink Floyd)

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Roger Waters To Bring Back 'The Wall' for 30th Anniversary

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Pink Floyd’s infamous bassist is bringing back the album that caused so many mental hospital visits in 1979, The Wall. He’s bringing it back on tour after 30 years to celebrate its original release with a full production of the double album. The original tour feature a lot of theatrics, including the metaphorical, and actual, tumbling down of a huge wall of “bricks” on stage at the end of the show. The original tour, which ran from 1980-1981, was only actually played 30 times. Waters also did it again in 1990 for the historic falling of the Berlin Wall, which drew half a million people. The new show will feature the latest technology to show Pink’s descent into madness, I’m guessing there will be lasers. When asked about why Waters decided to put together this tour after a few short years when he was touring playing all of Dark Side of the Moon, he explained in a long diatribe (feel free to just scan for keywords): “What it comes down to for me is this: Will the technologies of communication in our culture, serve to enlighten us and help us to understand one another better, or will they deceive us and keep us apart? “I believe this is still a supremely relevant question and the jury is out. There is a lot of commercial clutter on the net, and a lot of propaganda, but I have a sense that just beneath the surface understanding is gaining ground. We just have to keep blogging, keep twittering, keep communicating, keep sharing ideas. 30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old. It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it's concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and 'isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life. “This new production of The Wall is an attempt to draw some comparisons, to illuminate our current predicament, and is dedicated to all the innocent lost in the intervening years. In some quarters, among the chattering classes, there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more 'humane' ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another. I disagree. “In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species. I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, " You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." In other words: Go insane all over again… The Wall Tour Dates: September 15 Toronto Air Canada Centre September 20 Chicago United Center September 21 Chicago United Center September 26 Pittsburgh Consol Energy Center September 28 Cleveland Quicken Loans Arena September 30 Boston TD Garden October 5 New York Madison Square Garden October 8 Buffalo HSBC Arena October 10 Washington DC Verizon Center October 12 Uniondale Nassau Coliseum October 15 Hartford XL Center October 17 Ottawa ScotiaBank Place October 19 Montreal Bell Centre October 22 Columbus Schottenstein Center October 24 Detroit Palace of Auburn Hills October 26 Omaha Qwest Center October 27 St Paul Xcel Energy Center October 29 St. Louis Scottrade Center October 30 Kansas City Sprint Center November 3 New York Izod Center November 8 Philadelphia Wachovia Center November 9 Philadelphia Wachovia Center November 13 Fort Lauderdale Bank Atlantic Center November 16 Tampa St. Pete Times Forum November 18 Atlanta Philips Arena November 20 Houston Toyota Center November 21 Dallas American Airlines Center November 23 Denver Pepsi Center November 26 Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena November 27 Phoenix US Airways Center November 29 Los Angeles The Forum December 6 San Jose HP Pavilion December 10 Vancouver General Motors Place December 11 Tacoma Tacoma Dome December 13 Anaheim Honda Center

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Us and Them: Exploring The Greatness That Is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

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After five albums of genre and mind bending exploration, Pink Floyd found themselves in the studio once again to complete what would soon be Dark Side of the Moon. The material from the album had actually been written and the concept developed before the recording took place, but the impact wouldn’t be truly felt until it was released. The English band had done something special here, and each new listen seemed to warrant a new side to a song or verse. This album became all things to many people, and with good reason. The entire recording took place at Abbey Road Studios in London over two long sessions. The interludes between songs featured the band doing interviews with various personnel that would come into the studio, even going so far as to interview the doorman, who provided the closing line of the album, "There is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.” The band also used a lot of new techniques in the studio that would be revolutionary to future bands, such as multitrack recording, analog synths, and tape loops. At one point, the album was even mixed into the experimental quadraphonic sound, which never truly caught on, but made the listening experience that much more exciting. Techniques aside, this album stands alone as one of the best concept albums of all time because of its universality. Each song is about an essential part of modern society and humanity, and Roger Waters had originally wanted the album to be about how these things “make people go mad”. Upon listening to the madcap laughter and the central character losing his mind at the end of the album, one could see how this idea comes to life. With songs like “Money”, “Time”, and “Us and Them”, each their own unique tracks that have stood the test of time, its astounding that a band could put together such a cohesive album filled with such hits. The album starts off with a rush of sound and madness right away, and with a sweep of synth and a gentle strummed chord, “Breathe” kicks in and seems to settle the mind right away. It’s all a part of the flow of the album. Each song melts into the next so well, that when they’re split up into singles, they never sound quite the same. Lyrically the album is one of the simplest, yet most intense poetry about everyday subject matter that exists on record. Using countless clichés and then ripping them down happens repeatedly on the album, especially in songs like “Money” and “Time”. Instrumentally, the album is the most compact and polished of the band’s discography. While they may not have believed that this album was the best thing they’d done up to that point or not, they knew that the universal nature and the concise instrumentation was affecting if nothing else. In fact, when Waters brought the album home to his wife for the first time, she burst into tears upon hearing it. They knew they had created something powerful, though they probably didn’t realize its lasting impact that still turns children onto the band each year. Probably one of the most interesting and lasting songs on the album is “The Great Gig on the Sky”, recently deceased keyboardist Richard Wright’s gift to the world. The emotional impact of this song is astounding, and the lexical vocals of Clare Torry are amazing. It’s said that it was done in a single take, one that could never be replicated again. The fragile nature of inspiration and a creative environment overall is hard to come by. The magic that was alive in these sessions is undeniable, and the album still ranks as one of the best selling albums of all time, even in the time of MP3s. There are so few records that need to be listened to in the album format, but everyone can agree that Dark Side of the Moon is one of them. Vitamin String Quartet will soon be releasing a Masters Series tribute to this revolutionary record. Keep an eye on this space for more information in the coming weeks, but until then, “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

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Amazing Cover Bands: Flaming Lips Cover Dark Side of the Moon

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We admit, we may be getting a little ahead of ourselves here since the album will not reach our ears until the 22nd. And no, Flaming Lips are not technically a cover band. But when we heard about Flaming Lips covering Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon we knew instantly that it would be something to get excited about. Not only do we love Flaming Lips, but the project features other amazing artists including Stardeath and White Dwarfs, Henry Rollins and Peaches. The Dark Side Of The Moon tracklist: 1. Speak To Me / Breathe (w/ Henry Rollins and Peaches) 2. On The Run (fw/ Henry Rollins) 3. Time / Breathe Reprise 4. The Great Gig In The Sky (w/ Henry Rollins and Peaches) 5. Money (w/ Henry Rollins) 6. Us And Them (w/ Henry Rollins) 7. Any Colour You Like 8. Brain Damage (w/ Henry Rollins) 9. Eclipse (w/ Henry Rollins)

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VSQ Employee Mixtape #2: The Art Department

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Please welcome the second installment of our new series of employee playlists, designed by the experts themselves - the VSQ staff! Like we said in our first post, we designed this series to help fans discover VSQ tracks they may have never found otherwise - and show off our impeccable and discerning musical taste! Last week we visited Taylor in the Marketing Department to see what was on her iTunes rotation. This week, lets check out what the art department is spinning.

Mixtape #2: Art Deparment Deep in the bowls of this ship we call “the art department” lies the desk of graphic designer Steven (aka PONG). If you had the chance to go through his itunes library you’d see he(I love referring to myself in 3rd person) is into a lot of music. There’s so much in the VSQ catalog, and narrowing down the fav’s is not a task for the faint at heart(look at me ma! I’m blogging!).

Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want

String Quartet Tribute to The Smiths


String Quartet Tribute to Sonic Youth (even though it’s really a carpenters song, this cover of a cover is great!)

Bizarre Love Triangle + She’s Lost Control

String Quartet Tribute to New Order & Joy Division Another VSQ album that is a must!


Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pixies

Wish You Were Here

Vitamin String Quartet Tribute to Pink Floyd

10:15 Saturday Night

The String Quartet Tribute to The Cure


Vitamin String Quartet: Alternative Hits of the 80's and 90's Vol. 2

Hit Me Like You Did The First Time

The String Quartet Tribute to The Flaming Lips


The String Quartet Tribute to The Velvet Underground & Nico Seriously, just buy this album every song kicks ass!

Everyday Is Like Sunday

String Quartet Tribute to Morrissey Aww, to be in high school once more

The Man Who Sold The World

String Quartet Tribute to David Bowie

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