Two decades have elapsed since the original release of Roger Waters’ concept album Amused To Death. And who knows whether this years re-release of a remixed and remastered version is due to Waters’ own conviction that the album remains unduly underrated, or whether the sentiment behind those fourteen tracks has proved unnervingly prophetic? Either way Amused To Death is the most recent solo album from Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters to date; originally released in 1992 and often pinned as his most Floyd-like production.
Working with longtime collaborator, James Guthrie, the reissue will be available in multiple formats from limited edition vinyl and CD/Blu-Ray to hi-res digital download. Remixed in 5.1 surround sound, with a scattering of new touches, the new version adheres to the original intention to create a rich, encompassing soundscape. With a depth of sound interspersed with dialogue and sound effects, the lavish atmosphere and three-dimensional quality is perhaps where Amused To Death draws comparisons with Pink Floyd. Reminiscent of that sheer sonic hugeness, it has an almost celestial feel.
Which is perhaps not accidental given that Waters drew huge inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. The original artwork was a direct reference to the film, depicting a monkey flicking through TV channels; the concept behind Amused To Death. A comment on an increasingly screen-obsessed culture, which is perhaps a message that is even more relevant in today’s age of mobile technology and social media. The album is also heavily laden with war references, opening with a dialogue from a World War I veteran and forming the backbone of tracks like The Bravery Of Being Out Of Range. And though the World Wars, the first Gulf War and protests in Tiananmen Square may seem part of a more distant history, those themes still pertain today.
With new artwork by Sean Evans (Waters’ creative director) to accompany the remaster, the image of the monkey has been updated to that of a child. Intimating that our evolution and advancement has maybe failed to heed – and even facilitated – the same pitfalls that so terrified humanity all those years ago. While the anthemic triptych What God Wants Part I-III is a cynical reminder that salvation may not be at hand.