Pulse

There's a true sense of leisure in the music of Pink Floyd. Their stage show knows no logistical limit, and their songs unfold at a pace that suggests there's an inordinate amount of time to kill. Pulse, their second all-live album (only seven years and one studio album since the previous — with nine selections repeated), continues in the grandiose Floyd tradition.

Known best for the blinking red light set within its spine, this two-CD live set, recorded in Europe and culled from 20 shows, also features The Dark Side of the Moon performed in its entirety. Dark Side's chief accomplishment was its studio perfection, an aural trip into soundscapes previously unearthed. Performed live, its textures disperse into the arena air. The crowd vibrations only translate into loud, annoying applause throughout the tracks. The audience takes over lead vocal chores for "Wish You Were Here" and remains positively raving for the other hits. Through the newer material (five from The Division Bell [1994] and two from Momentary Lapse of Reason [1987]), the audience is slightly more sedate. Only "A Great Day for Freedom," from The Division Bell, improves upon its studio release — and only because its anthemic intent is fully realized.

Space rock — for lack of a better term — is kept alive not just by advanced stage pyrotechnics but also by the constant misadventures of musicians utilizing the more accessible home technology. Further, the third album by the British duo Flying Saucer Attack, comes wrapped in a warm feedback haze, with the proclamation on its sleeve that "home taping is reinventing music." As ambient textures mix with acoustic guitars, eerily overheard vocals and song titles ("For Silence," "She Is the Daylight") suggest the passivity of rural life.

Overall, the effect is very English, reclaiming that juncture in the late '60s-early '70s when Pink Floyd and a host of lesser bands gleefully pushed music to its limits. But FSA are no nostalgia act. The duo — Rachel Brook and David Pearce — is firmly a part of the '90s low-fi belief that great music can be made on a much less grand scale. The result is music that is often hypnotic and bewildering, humble yet not of this world.

x