Nick Mason and his drums are two of the most understated rock institutions. As the lead drummer and the only member of Pink Floyd to have been a part of every single one of their albums, Mason’s drumming skills and input in making Pink Floyd sound the way they do, have been an essential part of helping the band reach great heights.
Regardless of what you think, Nick Mason is one of the most iconic drummers of the past six decades. He ballasted Pink Floyd’s mythic prog odyssey, and without his understated brilliance, they would not have been the same, particularly throughout their classic 1970s period. Furthermore, he was the principal mind behind some of their best pieces, including ‘Echoes’ and ‘Time’. Below, we look at the iconic isolated drums of the former.
Another reason Mason gets overlooked is the virtuosity of his Floyd peers David Gilmour, Roger Waters and Richard Wright. Added to this is the opaque yet spirited mythos that celebrates the band’s original frontman and founder, Syd Barrett. Barrett’s tragic life and personality U-turn have understandably resulted in mountains of discourse that have overshadowed Mason.
The band that we know as Pink Floyd became one of the most cerebral acts of all time. Totally calculated and increasingly grandiose in their musical evolution, the final iteration of the band on their last album, 2014’s The Endless River had a sonic character that couldn’t have been any more further removed from the style of music that first inspired them all the way back in 1965. However, there can be no doubt that ‘Echoes’ remains one of their greatest achievements.
The sixth and final track from Pink Floyd’s 1971 album Meddle, the song was written in 1970 by all four members of the group. With all the different kinds of sounds being incorporated into the song to form a varied but coherent melody, Nick’s 4/4 drum beat kept the song’s entirety grounded despite its wide-ranging diversity in tune.
The song was created after Richard Wright played a single note on his keyboard and inspired Roger Waters. With his lyrics, Waters was attempting to describe “the potential that human beings have for recognizing each other’s humanity and responding to it, with empathy rather than antipathy.”
It was the kind of fortuitous situation that Pink Floyd thrived on. Mason said, “Sometimes great effects are the result of this kind of serendipity, and we were always prepared to see if something might work on a track.” The song may well have come after a stroke of luck, but Mason’s unique drum tone provides the perfect backdrop for Waters and Gilmour’s more expressive brushes.
Below, listen to Nick Mason’s isolated drums on Pink Floyd song ‘Echoes’.