The Transitional Period-1968 era
Disc 1, The Committee Film soundtrack. Recorded at Sound Techniques Studios, Chelsea, London, early 1968: Instrumental #01, (Backwards Introduction), (Film scene), Instrumental #02, (Film scene), (Film scene), Instrumental #03, (Film scene), The Crazy World of Arthur Brown – ‘Nightmare’, (Film scene), Instrumental #04, Instrumental #05, Instrumental #06, Instrumental #07, (Film scene), Instrumental #08, (Keep Smiling People), (Film scene), Instrumental #09, Instrumental #10, (Backwards Introduction – Reversed). Bonus, Paul Jones, The Committee
Disc 2, Bouton Rouge, ORTF 2 TV Studio, Paris, France – February 20th, 1968: Astronomy Domine, Flaming. First European International Pop Festival, Piper Club, Rome, Italy – May 6, 1968: Astronomy Domine, interview with Roger Waters, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, Interstellar Overdrive. Top Gear, BBC Studios, 201 Piccadilly, London, England – June 25th, 1968: The Murderotic Woman or Careful With That Axe Eugene, The Massed Gadgets Of Hercules, Let There Be More Light, Julia Dream, interview with Roger Waters. Omnibus All My Loving, BBC 1 TV, The Tabernacle, London – broadcast Sunday, November 3rd, 1968: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. Tous En Forme, ORTF 2 TV, Paris, France – Thursday, October 31, 1968: Let There Be More Light, Flaming. Top Gear, BBC Maida Vale Studio 4, London – Monday, December 2, 1968: Point Me To The Sky, Baby Blue Shuffle In D Minor, The Embryo, Interstellar Overdrive
Disc 3, Margiethal-Jaarbeurs, Utrecht, Holland – Saturday, December 28th, 1968: Astronomy Domine, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Interstellar Overdrive, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, A Saucerful Of Secrets
The Transitional Period-1968 era on Tarantura collects documents in an attractive box all of the most important tapes from the year when Pink Floyd underwent tremendous amount of change. When the year began the band were actually a five piece, having recruited David Gilmour to play guitar to aid an ailing Syd Barrett. They played five or six gigs together before Waters and the others decided it would be best to carry on as a four piece without Syd and stopped picking him up for gigs. They were dropped by their management Blackhill Agency, who did continue to represent Barrett and even tried to persuade Wright to leave Pink Floyd and join Barrett.
The band searched for a creative statement that would differentiate themselves from the first album and establish them as an important artistic power. The very first project they did as a four piece is the soundtrack for the movie The Committee. This film is beautifully shot in black and white and starts Paul Jones of Manfred Mann. The subject matter of the movie is a philosophic meditation upon one’s conformity with the group and the expectations of living according to one’s culture.
It was supposed to be released to the theaters in May, 1968 but for reasons unknown was pulled and, except for rare showings, was not given general release until it was issued on commercial DVD in September, 2005 causing much celebration. The soundtrack itself has never been released and the only way to hear the music is to listen to the entire film which is what Tarantura does. It will be jarring for most, in listening to the first disc, to hear the long dialogue sections between the music. It sounds like Tarantura ripped the entire soundtrack from the DVD so it is in very good mono.
Most of the music Pink Floyd composed is as much soundtrack movie is, composed of short snippets of music meant to underscore the narrative onscreen. The first instrumental is a short, backwards discordant theme before the first dialogue, between the unnamed protagonist and the driver. “Instrumental #2″ is a minute long, bouncy pop number. The “instrumental #3″ is a psychedelic, organ driven number which underscores the random discussions of the people at the committee retreat.
“Instrumental #4″ is two minutes long and is played under the discussion between the protagonist and the committee chairman where the former discusses why he cut off and reattached the driver’s head. The music can be considered “experimental” with various noises on the guitar which resemble parts of “A Saucerful Of Secrets.” “Instrumental #5″ is a tense organ theme lasting about ninety seconds. “Instrumental #6″ is a two minute long David Gilmour exercise, picking on creepy sounding notes over a Roger Waters staccato rhythm.
“Instrumental #7″ is a thirty second long, slow Hammond organ clip. “Instrumental #8,” given the title “Keep Smiling People,” is two and a half minutes long and is the most recognizable piece of music on the soundtrack since it is the earliest incarnation of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene.” It already features Wright’s “Egyptian” organ and Waters’ familiar bass theme. It would be performed on stage as “Keep Smiling People” and recorded on the BBC as “The Murderotic Woman” before being released on the B-side to “Point Me To The Sky” and on the LP Relics. The most famous form however will be released the following year, the live version on Ummagumma. “Instrumental #9″ is an upbeat piece driven by Gilmour on guitar. The soundtrack ends with backwards effects and Paul Jones singing dumb song called “The Committee” which summarized what we’ve learned in the movie (” Laws by committee / wars by committee / is the most effective way.”)
The second disc contains six radio and television appearances between February and December, 1968 revealing the amount of promotion they were doing during this time. The first two tracks on this disc, “Astronomy Domine” and “Flaming,” come from the “Bouton Rouge” television broadcast. This is a mono recording straight from the television soundtrack, recorded on February 20th and broadcast on February 24th. This was unearthed several years ago and is an important find.
A third track, “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” also exists but Tarantura didn’t include it in this collection. The second part of this disc contains the professionally recorded First European International Pop Festival in Rome on May 6th. This is excellent stereo soundboard quality and this version is sourced from a VPRO radio broadcast in Holland except for “Interstellar Overdrive,” which comes from a broadcast of the set from ARD TV in West Germany. Most sources state this event occurred at the Piper Club in Rome, but others claim it was at the Palazzo dello Sport.
The second track is two minute long interview with Roger Waters, translated into Dutch, where he says, “I would say that Rome is an absurd place to organize a pop festival you know. If it would’ve been me I would never have picked Rome you know. Ah… Anyway you know it’s not you know, it’s not a sort of pop-pop festival, if you see what I mean you know. If I was organizing a pop festival in England and wanted to make money and draw big crowds you know, I’d have on ah… well all the people have sold alot of records in England this you know is Engelbert Humperdink and old people like that you know, and those are the people who should really be playing in a pop festival. If the cat wants to fill the place, now if he doesn’t. If he wants to catered to a minority audience then, well I’m certainly in Rome, this evenings a lot of groups anyway where I don’t know about the Italian groups or their association, but anyway the groups in the first half, really a minority, well The Move possibly not, but The Nice and us are certainly a minority appeal you know, and we should be playing in much smaller clubs where there aren’t these bloody television lights shining you know. We couldn’t use our light-show at all, it was obvious as soon as we arrived. We decided not to use it because we were gonna have a real hassle within.”
The performance of “Interstellar Overdrive” is unique, starting with drumming and Gilmour making avian clicking noises on the guitar before mutating into a free-form jam. This track alone has appeared on older releases including Stranger Than Fiction (VFM 430318) and Fountains Of Roma (Black Panther BPCD 033), which claims to be the complete show but actually has tracks from shows in 1967. This is followed by an appearance on John Peel’s “Top Gear.” This was recorded on June 25th and first broadcast on radio August 11th and is right before their famous Hyde Park concert on June 29th. This contains four tracks.
Two are from the new album, the new track “The Murderotic Woman” aka “Careful With That Axe, Eugene,” and the B-side of the latest single “It Would Be So Nice,” a Roger Waters song “Julia Dream.” The single was not played since the band hated it so much, but the B-side is pleasant and catchy tune, and Peel sounds very enthusiastic for their set. The sound quality is a very good to excellent mono tape probably from the radio. Of all the material in this box set this has been the most frequently released in the past. The Embryo (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-020) has “Let There Be More Light,” “Murderotic Woman” and “Julia “Dream.” Loose Connection (Double DTD 007 ) has “Let There Be More Light” and “Murderotic Woman.”
Tracks from this session can also be found on Phenomena (Manic Depression CD 013/14), Cymbaline (Alegra CD 9014), From Underground To Moon (Digital Phono Records Digit 3101), My Uncle Is Sick Because The Highway Is Green (Oil Well) has “Julia Dream,” Rainbows, Clouds And The Moon (Alien Records ALIEN 010) has “Let There Be More Light,” Re-Actor (Big Music BIG 097), Transcendental Medication (Turtle Records TR-223), Ultra Rare Trax Vol. 1 (The Genuine Pig TGP-CD-114), and Ultra Rare Trax Vol. 3 (The Genuine Pig TGP-CD-116).
The following interview with Roger Waters conducted by Brian Matthew was rebroadcast on BBC Radio 1 “Story Of POP” in 1994 and is in excellent stereo quality. The following track “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” comes from a television program “All My Loving.”
The recording date is unknown butwas first broadcast on November 3 and the Floyd part was rebroadcast on BBC TV “Sounds Of The Sixties” in 1991. This show is a “film about pop music” according to director Tony Palmer, and featured the Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa. Floyd’s set is filmed in a church and again is in excellent quality, although it is much preferable to have this on DVD to see the color visuals.
The following two tracks are from the second appearance on French television to be included in this Tarantura box set. This is from the “Tous En Forme” television show, recorded live at L’Antenne de Chapiteau du Kremlin-Bicêtre, Paris. The set is part of a festival that also featured Yes and the Moody Blues, and occurs in a circus tent (de chapiteau) in the square and metro station in Parish (Kremlin-Bicêtre). The actual date of filming is unclear.
Tarantura list the traditional date of October 31st, which agrees with Povey, but Vernon Fitch claims this show was on September 7th. The show was first broadcast on November 26th. “Let There Be More Light” sounds much more raw and aggressive than the “Top Gear” version from the summer, and “Flaming” lacks Roger Waters’ slide whistle introduction. The sound quality of these two tracks is an excellent stereo, some of the best recordings in this set. The final four tracks come from the second appearance on John Peel’s “Top Gear” in 1968. This was taped on December 2nd to coincide with their latest single, and what would be their last until 1979’s “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2,” “Point Me To The Sky.”
John Peel introduces “Baby Blue Shuffle In D Major” as “a real departure, an acoustic guitar duet.” This song is a real rarity and might be an early version of “Grantchester Meadows” from Ummagumma, but at a faster tempo. “The Embryo” is a three and a half minute, acoustic guitar lead version of the well known and controversial stage piece. This is one of Gilmour’s finest creations and even this early version displays some of the song’s beauty. “Interstellar Overdrive” lasts for more than eight minutes and is a fantastic version. The sound quality of these four tracks is in mono and is much better than the summer BBC session. Silver releases of this material are scarce but The Embryo (The Swingin’ Pig TSP-CD-020) has “Point Me To The Sky.”
The final disc contains Pink Floyd’s final live appearance of the year, the Flight To Lowlands Paradise II on December 28th at Jaarbeurs-Margriethal, Utrecht, Netherlands. Pink Floyd appeared at this show with The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Eire Apparent, The Pretty Things and The McKebba Medelssohn Main Line. This tape has been circulating for a while in a second-generation copy from the cassette but the master surfaced a couple years ago which contains five minutes of tune ups before the first song “Astronomy Domine.” A fan produced roio called Ode To Syd Barrett exists but this is the first silver release of the tape.
Although Tarantura uses the master cassette, they omit the five-minute introduction and the tape begins right when the first song starts. This is the most complete audience recording from this year and is musically complete. The sound quality is poor to fair but improves as the show progresses. Waters’ introductions are faint and the audience sounds indifferent to the band. It is valuable for having such an early version of “Careful With That Axe, Eugene” which sounds much more compact in this environment. “Interstellar Overdrive” has Wright playing fascinating keyboard lines and the set closer “A Saucerful Of Secrets” sounds magnificent.
The Transitional Period is packaged in a box with each individual disc in a thick cardboard sleeve with paper insert with track listing and the title stamped on the cover, replicating the old vinyl releases. The label also include mini reproductions of two magazine articles with reviews of The Committee which are interesting although contain no Floyd content. This is limited to one hundred numbered copies and is already almost sold out. This is a fun set to listen to covering an important period in Pink Floyd’s early career and is worth having.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)