The period in between The Piper at the Gates of Dawn and Dark Side of the Moon were highly experimental for Pink Floyd. Languishing without the leadership of their former creative force Syd Barrett, the Floyd adopted a somewhat desperate approach to creating new music. Basically, any idea was a good idea, and there was no harm in throwing anything at the wall just to see if it stuck.
The band still had a killer live show and a dedicated following who delighted in their space-rock interstellar freakouts. But on record, the Floyd were far less consistent. Ambitious song suites like ‘Atom Heart Mother’ were contrasted with ridiculous non-musical noise collages like ‘Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict’. Even as they began to really hone in on their craft with 1971’s Meddle, that album still had a goofy blues track with a barking dog as a backup vocalist.
One of the ideas that the band came up with involved dispensing of instruments completely. Instead, an entire album would be made using everyday items. The project was to be titled Household Objects, and although the idea was presented as early as 1970, it was actually after the band had coalesced into their signature sound on Dark Side of the Moon that the idea truly began to be fleshed out.
Described by Rolling Stone as, “Pink Floyd playing songs on hand mixers, light bulbs, wood saws, hammers, brooms and other home appliances,” the band members began encountering difficulties with the concept almost immediately.
“We’d spend days getting a pencil and a rubber band till it sounded like a bass,” Richard Wright remembered in a 2007 BBC documentary. “I remember sitting down with Roger and saying, ‘Roger, this is insane!’” David Gilmour took a similar attitude: “A lot of the time it would just be like plonky noises…ultimately, to me personally, it became rather unsatisfying.”
The band only got so far as to recording two songs: ‘The Hard Way’ with the rubber band bass, and ‘Wine Glasses’. Neither were deemed up to snuff, and the quartet returned to their instruments. But ‘Wine Glasses’ did spark some ideas, and the eerie tones conjured up formed the basis for what would eventually become ‘Shine On You Crazy Diamond’, with Waters, Gilmour, and Wright all contributing glass harp to the track.