Thursday, April 28, 2016

RE-UP: Pink Floyd "Extended 370 Roman Yards" - 1CD - unreleased album

Pink Floyd - Extended 370 Roman Yards

NOTES

This is the EXTENDED album of the Soundtrack for Zabriskie Point that never was, once performed entirely by Pink Floyd, now released by MQR.  This Album is similar to the 1997 Rhino Soundtrack that was released with a bonus disc featuring eight extra tracks from Pink Floyd and Jerry Garcia.  In similar fashion we here extend the Lost Album with 8 complete songs recorded by Pink Floyd for the movie and rejected by M. Antonioni for one reason or another.

   This is the natural product of years and years of passionate research applied to the Zabriskie Point topic by WRomanus.   Over the years many theories have been presented, and we all know a good researcher has to prove his theories whenever possible.  In recent years his dedication has yielded the deserved prizes.

   "I had the luck to get from Glenn Povey what I call simply The Document, part of the ZP recording sheets of EMI studios.  I was also able to make contact with Don Hall, the Music Adviser of the movie. I'm honored to say that this contact became a real friendship.  With my great satisfaction almost all my theories, even the most incredible, were confirmed."

   This Album is part of the Complete Zabriskie Point Collection (CD1) and the box set called A Total Zabriskie Point of View.

370 ROMAN YARDS – THE LOST ALBUM
3:10  01.  Heart Beat, Pig Meat
4:40  02.  Country Song              
1:54  03.  Fingal’s Cave            
5:55  04.  Crumbling Land      
5:44  05.  Alan’s Blues                  
6:51  06.  Oenone                    
6:53  07.  Rain in the Country  
5:02  08.  Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up

THE EXTENTION
6:23  09.  The Violent Sequence
2:12  10.  Country Song Theme (band)
1:18  11.  Country Song Theme (acoustic)  
1:11  12.  Take Off (version II)
6:37  13.  Love Scene 1 (organ & guitar)              
7:51  14.  Love Scene 3 (band)
6:55  15.  Love Scene 4 (piano & vibes)                
6:44  16.  Love Scene 5 (double vibes)

The History
   In the summer of 1969 Michelangelo Antonioni completed the filming of his visionary and prophetic view of America and our society.  All that was left was to complete the movie with a good soundtrack.  Antonioni was interested in everything that was new and trendy among young people.  Don Hall was on the air during his nocturnal DJ program on KPPC FM Pasadena when he was contacted personally by Antonioni at the end of the summer of 1969.  Antonioni really liked Don and invited him to have some screenings of the movie.  After that Don provided a list of songs he felt would work, most coming from his program.  Antonioni asked MGM to hire Don as Music Advisor for the soundtrack and came back to Roma (Don still has a letter from Antonioni, sent from Rome with the list of the songs he'd like to be in the movie, all songs for the radio-desert sequences).

   Still they had to find how to score all the main sequences: Beginning, Violent, Take Off, Love and Explosions sequences (and eventually more).  Antonioni wanted original music for those sequences.  Many artists and bands were contacted to write original music for the movie, but none of them was asked to write the whole soundtrack of the movie.

   In October '69 Don was in Rome with Antonioni trying to find a way to score the whole movie in time for Christmas.  Near the end of the month it happened that Clare Peploe (cowriter of the movie and Antonioni's girlfriend at the time) brought to Rome a brand new copy of the new Pink Floyd album, Ummagumma, from London.  Antonioni, Don Hall and Clare listened to the new album with a small stereo at Antonioni's house in Rome.  Antonioni REALLY liked Ummagumma and listened several times to the whole album.  He liked “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” very much and told Don that he'd like a new version for the final sequence of Zabriskie Point. They decided to try and hire Pink Floyd to record all the original music they needed for the movie. MGM contacted Pink Floyd.  After that Steve O'Rourke came to Rome alone during the first days of November '69 to check and organize it all.  All was done in few days, and Pink Floyd came on the 15th of November with Pete Watts and Alan Stiles, cancelling some shows planned for their present tour.  Antonioni and Don showed the movie to them several times with some scenes already scored, highlighting those without.  At that point Steve and Roger Waters had a talk and asked Antonioni to try to score the whole movie.  He, been enthusiastic about Ummagumma, agreed.

   Pink Floyd produced a large quantity of music, especially for the Love Scene but Antonioni was not satisfied and the sessions ran longer than planned.  In the end Pink Floyd went back to London with some songs to finish.  Out of all the entire production of songs, including themes and variations, Antonioni ended up using only three songs.  He kept on searching for "something better" till the last days before the premiere of the movie.  In London Pink Floyd completed their final versions of eight songs with the intent of them being their eventual album for the Zabriskie Point soundtrack.

THE EXTENDED RECORD

   What we at MQR present here is the closest thing possible to the album that would have been released by Pink Floyd in 1970 if they had been sole musicians on the soundtrack of the film, but extended with 8 more complete songs. The mixes on this record are either the mixes made by Pink Floyd for release, or as close as we could make using the material available.  We have restored and enhanced everything using the best technology and skills available to us. The quality of these tracks varies due to the sources used, but we have done our best to make it all sound as good as possible.

THE SOURCES

   Some songs used here were released officially, originally by MGM in 1970 and then in the extended edition by Rhino Records in 1997.  Other songs come from two celebrated unofficial sources, the bootlegs Omayyad and A Journey Though Time and Space.  Recently a better transfer of the ZP outtakes portion was made from the master tape used for Omayyad just for this work.  All the outtakes come from A Journey Though Time and Space.

TITLES & SONGS
   If this album had really been released in 1970 it wouldn’t have a title any different than Soundtrack For The Film Zabriskie Point.  A title is needed today to highlight this one from the multitude of collections released in the intervening years.
This title is invented based on Roman Session and assonance with the title of Omayyad.  All the songs’ titles are real, although “Country Song” and “Alan’s Blues” were only working titles. We knew all the working titles with the find of The Document where all are listed.  The three new titles, “Fingal's Cave”, “Oenone” and “Rain in the Country”, are taken from Omayyad, and for so many years were considered the fantasy titles of bootleggers.  Last year Don Hall confirmed that he aired those songs on KPPC FM Pasadena and announced them with just those names, as they were written on the tape' boxes sent to him by Pink Floyd. Omayyad was made from a recording of that broadcasting

THE SONGS

1. Heart Beat, Pig Meat
This song is made up of the coming and going of Rick's Farfisa organ, Dave's excursions, recordings coming from televisions and talking lines by Don Hall, all over a heart beat like track created by tapping on a microphone. This is the first time Pink Floyd use a heart beat, but certainly not the last.  It's the soundtrack for the opening sequence of the movie with the titles, and one of the three songs ultimately chosen by Antonioni. It was performed live sometime in early 1970 as the initial part of an experimental suite.  The working title was Beginning Scene.

2. Country Song
With this song Pink Floyd meant to score some of the scenes in the desert with Daria driving her car as Don Hall confirmed.  The song was adapted into several versions in different styles, all recorded with the intent of being used as “Daria's Driving Theme”.  One of the two song for the movie with lyrics, which are in this case inspired by Alice in Wonderland, It came to us with its working title, probably because it was rejected before the end of the work.

3. Fingal's Cave
This name referred to Irish Mythology and a place in the Scottish isle of Staffa. This energetic song was written for the first Flying Scene of the movie together with two more songs.  It is rare to hear a loud, bombastic blues number like this performed by Pink Floyd, and only a couple pieces on More come even close to it stylistically. The working title was “Take Off (version I)”.

4. Crumbling Land
This is the long studio version with all the traffic noises recorded by Nick Mason in the streets of Rome.
Since the musical part is the same as the official one, a merge was made with the two.  The result is a restored complete studio version.  Having an unusual rhythm for a Pink Floyd song it's considered a country song, although in the end it's not.  For the movie only 34 seconds were used, and those were from an early take, not from the final version.  The title and some of the lyric content refer to Zabriskie Point (the place), to USA and the lyrics even include a reference to Michelangelo Antonioni.  Its working title was “Highway Song”.

5. Alan's Blues
This song arrived to us with its strange working title, probably because, similar to Country Song, it was rejected before the end of the work.  Although we have evidence that in December 1969 it was still intended to score a movie scene.  Alan Stiles was a roadie, present in Rome for the sessions.
When this was not released the band paid tribute to him with another number, Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast.  The base for this song was an attempt to satisfy Antonioni with a Blues for the Love Scene.
Once rejected for that, it was shortened to fit the roadhouse in the desert scene or perhaps another desert scene.  This kind of blues was performed live many times over the next three years.

6. Oenone
The name refers to Greek Mythology, similar to Sisyphus recorded a few weeks before.  Oenone was a nymph married to Paris of Troy. He left her for Helen of Sparta.  Oenone was an isle as well, connected to the Sisyphus story (!).  This song was surely written for the Love Scene, and Love Scene was likely a working title for it, as on the released tracks on the Rhino soundtrack. Pink Floyd tried four different musical styles to please Antonioni for that scene, including a blues.  This is the style that worked the best, from Pink Floyd's point of view.  It comes from several psychedelic approaches they tried under the direction of Antonioni.
   Great psychedelic performance by Rick and Dave, using techniques they experimented with live during Set The Controls, A Saucerful of Secrets and The Man & The Journey.

7. Rain in the Country.
Along with “The Narrow Way Part 1”, this song almost certainly has it's roots in “Baby Blue Shuffle in D Major” and in the second part you can clearly hear the germination of Atom Heart Mother (in fact The Amazing Pudding was performed only one month later...).  Probably another of many approaches to the Love Scene, Pink Floyd tried it for Antonioni coupled with the desert scenes as well, as Don Hall confirmed.  One of Gilmour's more interesting early compositions which really showcases his acoustic playing.  We aren't certain of the origins for the title but it was likely designed to create contrast with the dry locations of the movie.  The working title for this remains unknown. In fact a dissimilar mix was called “Unknown Song” on the 1997 Rhino Expanded Soundtrack.

8. Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up.
The perfect song for the final sequence.  This song is the reason Pink Floyd were called to score the important scenes of the movie by Antonioni, who was impressed by Ummagumma.  It's a remake of “Careful with that Axe, Eugene”, but with some variations.  There is no whispered sentence before the shout, the shout itself bursts in together with the guitar solo, long and repeated.  Dave's solo is absolutely vigorous and demoniac and the song reaches high levels of intensity.  The end comes suddenly without the usual gradual slowing down.
   The title refers to the TV series "Q", a surreal comedy show in the vein of (and forerunner to) Monty Python's Flying Circus, and its creator, comic Steve Milligan, who spoke that line.  The working title was Explosions, in reference to the scene that it was to be used for.

THE OUTTAKES

9. The Violent Sequence.
This came from Rick Wright in Nov ’69 and was rejected, leaving the scene with no music. It was one of the few ZP songs played live sometime in early 1970. Two years later it evolved into Us and Them.

10. Take Off (Version II)
The second attempt to satisfy Antonioni for the flight above LA. A 3rd unknown version was also written.

11 & 12. Country Song Themes
Two variations of Country Song used to score some desert scenes.

13 to 16. Love Song Variations
In this disc we have the various attempts at scoring the Love Scene. Pink Floyd clearly preferred the psychedelic angle for this scene.

                           

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