Acoustic Sounds

Richard Wright

Wet Dream [2023 Remix]

Music

Sound

Produced By: Richard Wright

Engineered By: John Etchells, assisted by Patrick Jeaneaud

Mixed By: Steven Wilson

Mastered By: Steven Wilson

Lacquers Cut By: Barry Grint (Alchemy Mastering)

By: Dylan Peggin

November 9th, 2023

Format:

Vinyl

Richard Wright’s “Wet Dream” Gets Reevaluated

The solo debut of Pink Floyd’s keyboardist receives a remix

1977 was a turbulent year for Pink Floyd. With bassist/primary songwriter Roger Waters asserting more of a dictatorship role, the band slowly drifted from being a collaborative unit. The rise of punk rock made Pink Floyd and many of their progressive rock contemporaries to be considered “dinosaurs.” In turn, the murky production value and Orwellian political themes explored on their then-new album, Animals, was their response to the shifting musical climate. The connection between Pink Floyd and their audience was lost during their In The Flesh tour from the same year. Rather than enjoying the band’s spectacle of flying pigs and inflatables, the raucous audiences were more concerned with setting off fireworks and riding hallucinogenic highs. This tension culminated with the infamous final show of the tour at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, where Waters angrily spat at a member of the audience.

The members of Pink Floyd spent the first half of 1978 on sabbatical pursuing various outside projects. Out of the flurry of individual activity, the release of keyboardist Richard Wright’s debut solo album, Wet Dream, came with the smallest fanfare. What flew over the heads of both fans and critics was an album that showed Richard Wright’s importance to the DNA of Pink Floyd’s sound.

Minimoogs and harmonized guitars bring the track “Mediterranean C” into classic Floyd territory. The arpeggiated piano chords lay the foundation to allow the saxophone and guitar solos to do the talking on “Cat Cruise.” The swaying “Waves” has an arrangement similar to “Cat Cruise,” with established main themes and improvised solos. The Hammond organ found on “Drop In from the Top” gives the song a bluesy feel. These instrumentals inhabit a lucid spirit found on later-era Floyd albums, such as The Division Bell and The Endless River

Wet Dream offers some distinctive musical flourishes outside the Floyd musical mold. “Mad Yannis Dance” is a waltz that builds on minor chords and scales to create an ominous atmosphere. Wright’s jazz influence comes across on the album closer “Funky Deuz,” a brewing slice of fusion with some exceptional basslines from Larry Steele.

The reed-blowing magic Dick Parry made on The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here is replicated on all of the instrumental tracks by former King Crimson saxophonist Mel Collins. Pink Floyd touring guitarist Snowy White has a similar tone to David Gilmour’s, but provides more rapid fingerwork across the fretboard. Reg Isidore’s drumming is “busy” at moments, but the feel is still loose to sound similar to Nick Mason’s style. 

Wet Dream is where Richard became a primary lyric writer for the first time since Pink Floyd’s soundtrack excursion Obscured By Clouds. The platonic or romantic conflict themes run throughout tracks like “Against The Odds” and “Summer Elegy.” His love for vacationing at the Greek islands and sailing is exemplified in “Holiday,” which provides some positive lyrical contrast. “Pink’s Song,” penned by his then-wife Juliette, is a tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, a figure troubled with psychosis driven by lysergic misuse. These songs feature Wright on lead vocals, who offers a soft and subtle vocal delivery.

Coveted by diehard Floyd enthusiasts, Wet Dream was reissued in the early 1990s in the USA and Japan only on CD. After being out of print for years, remix guru Steven Wilson breathes fresh life into the album. As with most of his remixes for other artists like Yes, King Crimson, and XTC, he respects the original mix and doesn’t take unforgivable liberties. The soundstage is broad, with every element of the mix sounding more forward and direct as if removing a layer of dust. Steven Wilson also reinstates some extended musical passages left out of the original mix, such as an extra 30 seconds of Snowy White’s guitar solo on “Cat Cruise” and an extra 50 seconds of Mel Collins’ saxophone solo on “Waves.” The original mix will always be the basis of comparison, but could this remix be the new default?


A new mix deserves a fresh look, so a modern rendering by Carl Glover of Aleph Studio replaces Hipgnosis’ original design. Purists don’t have to fret because the original Hipgnosis design features on the 4-panel insert. The gatefold jacket features a soft-touch coating, which feels rather deluxe. The gorgeous marbled blue colored vinyl, housed in a poly-lined sleeve, matches the nautical motif of the artwork and plays back as quietly as ever.

Steven Wilson also mastered his mix, which is pleasantly dynamic. However, Barry Grint of Alchemy Mastering emphasizes the bottom end of the vinyl cut to the point where the higher frequencies are sometimes lost. This demerit doesn’t draw too much away, as the pressing is still rich in tonality to provide a pleasant listening experience.

While Roger Waters’ thematic lyrics and David Gilmour’s ethereal guitar work are distinguishable Pink Floyd trademarks, Richard Wright’s instrumental contributions were crucial to their instrumental zeitgeist; Wet Dream proves that.


Music Specifications

Label: Warner Music Group/Parlophone Records

Catalog No: 5054197662348

Pressing Plant: Optimal Media GmbH

SPARS Code: ADD

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: Digitally remixed from the analog multitracks

Presentation: Single LP

Comments

  • 2023-11-10 03:18:21 AM

    tim davis wrote:

    Never heard this record before. I'm going to have to check it out. Who knows? Perhaps it will supplant my all time favorite "Wet Dream" song. The one by Kip Addotta.

    • 2023-11-10 12:08:07 PM

      Willie Luncheonette wrote:

      My favorite "Wet Dream" is by the great Jamaican reggae singer Max Romeo. It was a big hit in Jamaica but was banned by the BBC in England. That did not stop it from reaching #10 on the British charts in 1969. It also reached #11 in the Netherlands. Max at first claimed it was only a song about a leaky roof but the lyrics surely told a different story.

  • 2023-11-10 03:22:52 AM

    Mark wrote:

    Thanks for the informative review. It made me want to immediately listen to the album, not being familiar with it.

    One question - you make reference to the influence Barry Grint has on the bottom end versus higher frequencies. I would have thought this would be more influenced by the mastering. To help improve technical knowledge can you provide an example(s) of how/why Grint, as part of the lacquer cutting process, would have made settings that had this outcome?

  • 2023-11-10 07:55:18 AM

    Georges wrote:

    Waters has composed most of Floyd's work since Syd's departure, so why share with his sidemen ? Their reformation without him, musically, was a disaster. His political ideas are anti-self-proclaimed elite and therefore completely normal. This album is muzak, even in dolby atmos (all rights reserved) and will gather dust like the others of the guitarist or bassist on any shelf in anyone's home. Even among the most fanatical Floydians who will be the only ones to buy it.

    • 2023-11-11 02:36:49 AM

      Mark wrote:

      Wow, that is certainly a scattergun of perspectives. A few responses if I may, and not all counterarguments.

      1 - Waters wrote the majority of the lyrics however the music was frequently a group effort, especially from Gilmour and Wright.

      2 - You state the band was a disaster once Waters quit the band. Momentary Lapse of Reason of Reason and Division Bell were not classic Floyd, but certainly an improvement on The Final Cut, which let's be honest was a Roger Waters solo album in all but name. Waters sucked the life out of PF on the Final Cut. I accept the post-Waters albums were conceptually less gritty but they reflect the more philosophical viewpoint that comes with age. Returning to your point about them being a disaster - I saw PF live a few times post-Waters and they were tremendous spectacles.

      3 - I agree this Wright album has a tendency towards muzak. I imagine this is the perception of first time listeners like myself who have not had the opportunity to become familiar with the material since release. We have grown up with the saxophone solos on Dark Side so they are part of the fabric of the music. In contrast the sax on Wet Dream sounds somewhat dated.

      4 - With regard to solo material I concede you have a point, with a few caveats. Some of Gilmour's solo stuff is pretty good. If you like his voice and/or his guitar sound then there are some minor gems. Some of the Water's solo albums are relatively more dense and conceptual...some are actually pretty good. 2017's Is this the Life we Really Want? with production by Nigel Godrich (coincidentally the lacquer was cut by Barry Grint) is I vouch very good. My vinyl copy certainly does not gather dust.

      There we have it. Two sides of the same coin.

      • 2023-11-11 10:22:11 PM

        chet wrote:

        With so much great music out there and so little time in our lives to listen and appreciate it,especially jazz. Why waste your time and moola on music that from a band/member which hit the skids with the colossal sham Darkside of the Moon. I was at the US premier a midnight show at Radio City Music Hall in NYC for Dotm. Quadraphonic sound ,wow. After intermission they played the entire lp . I fell asleep. Give me The Who,The Band ,Coltrane ,Monk, you get it, any hour or day of the week. Cheers,Chet

      • 2023-11-14 02:28:21 PM

        bwb wrote:

        now for something extremely important... how do separate your paragraphs?