Navigating through the terrain of solo records from members of Pink Floyd should be a very rewarding experience, particularly given the member’s talents, their incredible consistency within the band structure, and-in some cases-incredibly lofty egos.
Well, everyone except drummer Nick Mason who, besides some fairly weak contributions in Ummagumma and some less than notable percussion work in the band, never really stands out as someone capable releasing original music that is anywhere near as compelling as his quiet contributions to the Floyd.
Yet, the powers that be within the band’s record company appeased the individual members with was appears to be the addition of solo contracts for each of them, Nick Mason included.
The funny thing about Nick Mason “solo” records, however, is how much he truly relies on the talents and generosity of others. So, in a sense, they’re not really his, even when he gets top billing on them.
In 1985, Mason teamed up with 10cc guitarist Rick Fenn to release Profiles, a collection of (mostly) instrumentals that are mired in dated production techniques, horrible guitar tones, and rudimentary electronic percussion that sounds more programmed than performed.
The instrumental tracks sound as interesting as the hold music you hear while waiting on the phone for a customer service department, but at least they’re not as the two embarrassing cuts where someone actually handles vocal duties.
David Gilmour gets hoodwinked into lending his voice to the tolerable “Eye For An Eye,” the albums only contender for single and only reason why any self respecting Floyd fan would even care about Profiles. To be polite, it sounds like it would find a great home on some forgotten soundtrack album.
Worse still is “Israel” sung by the keyboard player from UFO. It’s a pretty awful attempt at placing Mason/Fenn in the category of “rockers with political conviction” because that’s what superstars tended to do in the mid-80’s. The thing is, “Israel” doesn’t really identify what political stance Mason actually takes, but you know it has something to do with the conflict between the Jews and Arabs. ”Goodbye good thing/Africa’s a lonely place” goes the chorus, which ultimately begs the question “Couldn’t have they just made this one an instrumental cut too?”
Profiles does nothing to showcase the talents of Mason and more importantly, it does nothing to demonstrate that the Floyd drummer was anything more in that band’s creative process other than the guy most trusted to fix the other member’s tea.