: guitar effects, Synthi-A, Leslie cabinet
: bass drone
Roger The Hat
"On the Run", originally titled "The Travel Sequence," is a sound collage centered around the themes of paranoia, death, and movement. While the Floyd usually utilized the latest technology to bring life to an idea already floating around in their heads, for this piece, new technology was as much the inspiration as it was the canvas. In late 1972, the group obtained a Synthi-A synthesizer, basically an updated version of the VCS-3. What made this synth so special, however, was the inclusion of a built-in sequencer, allowing the band to program repeatable patterns of notes.
While playing with this new toy, Pink Floyd noticed a certain "mobility" to the sound. This is in fact the same attribute of sequenced sound that allowed the emergence of modern dance music in the late 1970s. Of course, the Synth-A is much more primitive than an 808 or a Groovebox, but the basic sense of movement was still present in the loops laid down by Gilmour. Upon noticing this, Gilmour modified his pattern to accentuate this feeling of movement as much as possible.
This pattern was fitted with the concept of running to catch a plane, using announcements of flight departures that had been laying around Abbey Road. Gilmour used his guitar and the synth to simulate jet engine and plane crashing sounds. Meanwhile, Roger the Hat's stoned comments about death were taken from the "Speak to Me" questionaire session. A great deal of credit should go to Waters for effectively fitting this futuristic track into the album's concept. The Waters/Gilmour songwriting team always works best when Gilmour is handling the technical musicmaking and Waters is in visionary mode.