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K.A.O.S. Theory
by Thanos Kalamidas
Issue 13
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Radio K.A.O.S.
Roger Waters
EMI (UK)/Columbia Records (US), 1987

Whatever people like to say, Roger Waters was the heart of Pink Floyd after Sid Barrett left. From the records Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon and the autobiographical The Wall, Roger Waters is the heart, the voice and the inspiration behind Pink Floyd.

For him Pink Floyd died with the album The Final Cut, a requiem to a long and occasionally painful history in music. It doesn't matter if Gilmour won the court case and he was allowed to continue with the name Pink Floyd. Whatever Gilmour does he is missing the inspiration, he is a good guitarist with a personal style and unfortunately the records of Pink Floyd after Waters are nothing other than poor imitations of the Pink Floyd sound.

Roger Waters left Pink Floyd because for him it was a concept with a beginning and an end, but he didn't leave his musical wanderings and adventures. He proved it very soon after the last album of Pink Floyd with a personal record called Radio K.A.O.S. For me this record proves above all others that Roger Waters was Pink Floyd and it is like a natural continuation from The Wall and The Final Cut.

An event from 1985 during the miners' strike in England when a striking worker threw a concrete block off a freeway bridge killing a taxi driver who was driving a miner to his job seems to be one part of his inspiration, especially the song 'Me or Him' which is part of the Radio K.A.O.S. concept. Another element was, as with all his former creations, his childhood memories of listening to Radio Luxemburg late at night.

Radio K.A.O.S. was the second personal album for Roger Waters and his first after the end of Pink Floyd. An album he tried hard to create a new sound and isolate himself from the Floyd using all new technologies in recording and performing, such as digital drums. Did he succeed? Yes and no, Radio K.A.O.S. was different from any other work of Pink Floyd and was the natural next step Pink Floyd would have taken if they were still together.

Radio K.A.O.S. is a concept album taking you through the story of a handicapped boy that lives in a wheelchair and communicates with the rest of the world through his radio, and all that in a mining area during a miners' strike and just a few minutes before a nuclear war starts. You're confused? You must listen to the album because this is the background story, but the messages coming from the songs are unbelievable strong.

Just like The Wall, Radio K.A.O.S. is a concept accompanied by a film with a lot of animation that unfortunately not many people had the chance to see, since it was mainly shown at Roger Waters' concerts. Another unfortunate incident was that the LP came out during his time in the court fighting with Roger Gilmour for the Pink Floyd name and, as a result, the news and the reports focused on the events instead of the new album he was promoting. No matter how hard he tried everybody wanted to interview him about the court case and not for Radio K.A.O.S.

The album starts with the song 'Radio Waves' and is followed by the unique 'Who Needs Information', a song as strong as the lyric "We don't need no education" from 'The Wall'. The track is followed by 'Me or Him' that features the story I mentioned before and the song 'Powers That Be' is a manifest for the political situation in the UK at the time, focusing upon the damage Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were doing. 'Sunset Strip', 'Home' and 'Four Minutes' take you to the end with another fantastic song 'The Tide is Turning', a song that reminds you that hope dies last, even minutes before the end.

I have been a fan of Pink Floyd since the day I heard the song 'Let Emily Play' and I often feel that I have grown up with them from the naïve and acoustic 'Let Emily Play' to the complex 'Dark Side of the Moon', from the depressing and aging The Wall to the full of anger of The Final Cut, Radio K.A.O.S. brings hope into the chaos and was the natural next step which comes with maturing in life.

Radio K.A.O.S. is an album you should listen to for no other reason than to realize where Roger Waters would have led Pink Floyd if he was still with them. For the friends and fans of Pink Floyd the album is a must.

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