A Total Zabriskie Point Of View (Zabriskie – 69A/B)
Disc 1 (79:45): 370 Roman Yards – The Lost Album: Heart Beat Pig Meat, Country Song, Fingal’s Cave, Crumbling Land, Alan’s Blues, Oenone, Rain In the Country, Come In Number 51 Your Time Is Up. The Extension – The Main Outtakes: The Violent Sequence, Take Off (Version II), Country Song Theme (Band), Country Song Theme (Acoustic), Love Scene 1 (Organ & Guitar), Love Scene 3 (Band), Love Scene 4 (Piano & Vibes), Love Scene 5 (Double Vibes)
Disc 2 (77:14): Other Outtakes: Country Song (Full Mix), The Violent Sequence (Us And Them Rick’s Demo), Take Off (Version II), and Crumbling Land (Film Version), Crumbling Land (Full Mix), Love Scene 6 (The Blues), Love Scene 6 (The Blues – Full Mix), Love Scene 2 (Oenone – Full Mix), Love Scene 4 (Piano Only), Rain In The Country (Unknown Song – Alternate Version), Rain In The Country (Unknown Song – Full Mix). A Special Outtake -The Christmas Song. Official Soundtrack Version – Crumbling Land (Soundtrack Edited Version). Film Versions – Heart Beat Pig Meat (Film Version), Crumbling Land (Film Version), Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up (Film Version), Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up (Movie Trailer Version)
Although Pink Floyd’s first three albums were well received upon release, it was writing film scores where they found much artistic and financial sucess and exposure. Their first soundtrack was for the 1968 film The Committee and in subsequent years they scored More, La Vallée in 1972, and Roger Waters collaborated with Ron Geesin for The Body in 1970. And in later years they would produce their own films such as Live At Pompeii in 1972 and The Wall in 1982.
Although the actual films were met with mixed sucess, Floyd’s music for these projects have received praise. Sometimes even more so than their other studio projects. They are successful in film soundtracks because they are very talented at setting various kinds of moods. Richard Wright’s keyboards are effective at producing tension, while David Gilmour is really good at soft pastoral acoustic music evoking carefree summer days.
After the release of Ummagumma, MGM contacted Pink Floyd about scoring Michelangelo Antonioni’s latest film Zabriskie Point. Pink Floyd arrived in Rome on November 15th, cancelling some shows planned for their present tour. The band were shown the film several times with some scenes already scored.
For two weeks they slept late, drank beer and wine, and went into the studios around nine pm and work until seven or eight in the morning. No matter what they did, according to Nick Mason, Antonioni did not like the result and would tell them “Eeeeeets very beautiful, but eeets too sad.”
The soundtrack was controversial since the day of its release in the spring of 1970. Disc And Music Echo March 21 1970 “Floyd Are Dead Upset.” David Gilmour said: “The drag is that MGM have a whole can of our music, enough to make an album, left” with MGM stating there was no plan to release that music. Only three of the eight tracks recorded were used in the film.
These sessions are the source of the first Pink Floyd vinyl bootleg. Omayyad (TMOQ 71040 PF 515 – 1830) was issued and reissued many times with four outtakes “Oenone,” “Fingal’s Cave,” “Crumbling Land” and “Rain In The Country” (along with “Interstellar Overdrive” and “The Embryo” from the May 1st, 1970 Santa Monica concert). The source for the songs was a radio broadcast on KPPC FM Pasadena.
The soundtrack was re-released by Rhino records in 1997, with the addition of four previously unreleased Pink Floyd tracks. Six years later even more outtakes surfaced on the bootleg The Complete Zabriskie Point Sessions (East Records) and in 2011 A Journey Through Time And Space (HC-012-1/2) was released with more material.
A Total Zabriskie Point Of View collects together all of the songs and outtakes associated with the sessions. The first part of disc one contains 370 Roman Yards which has the eight tracks that were recorded at the Rome sessions. Three were used in the film and the other five were not, but did surface on Omayyad.
“Heart Beat, Pig Meat” actually opens the film, played under the opening credits. It’s a catchy tune played on Wright’s Farfisa organ and recordings from television over a heart-beat track created by tapping the mic. “Country Song” was going to be used in the film as “Daria’s Driving Theme” but was rejected. It’s a beautiful pastoral number with Gilmour singing lead.
“Fingal’s Cave” refers to Irish mythology and is a location in the Scottish isle of Staffa. The working title was “Take Off” and was written for the first flying scene in the film. It’s a rare loud blues number performed by Pink Floyd. “Crumbling Land” appears in the film for only thirty-four seconds. It has an unusual rhythm for a Pink Floyd song, the closest they came to writing a country and western song.
The title of “Alan’s Blues” refers to their roadie Alan Stiles and wasn’t used for the film. It has the distinction, however, of being the one song from these sessions to be played live for many years. The band would often bring this out as an encore and would be played as late as the final show of the Animals tour in Montreal in 1977.
“Oenone” is a slow psychedelic piece similar in tone to “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun,” “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and “The Man & The Journey.” (Oenone refers to the name of a nymph married to Paris of Troy). It is followed by “Rain In The Country,” a melodic instrumental with acoustic guitar and piano instrumentation. It is related to “Baby Blue Shuffle in D Major” and the middle instrumental interlude was later expanded in “Atom Heart mother.”
Finally, “Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up” was used in the movie during the final scene. It is a rewrite of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” (the piece which prompted Antonioni to use Pink Floyd) with several important differences. There is no whisper before the shout. The shout itself doubles the guitar solo, and Gilmour’s guitar solo is much more frantic. The title refers to the BBC television series “Q5.” Developed by comic Spike Mulligan, it was a surreal comedy show which inspired Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
The rest of disc one, and much of disc two, contains many outtakes and rough drafts of the songs found on the soundtrack. The first is “The Violent Sequence,” the piano piece later used for “Us & Them” on Dark Side Of The Moon. It doesn’t have the recognizable melody, but the chords are definitely there as is the basic structure of the piece.
The second disc ends with the song as they can be heard in the actual film. A Total Zabriskie Point Of View, even though it is a silver pressing of a fan produced work, is an excellent release worth having. Never before have all of the circulating tracks from sessions been gathered together into one collection. As it is, this is the most comprehensive collection of any of Pink Floyd’s soundtracks.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)