Swiss Made (Siréne-198)
Altes Casino, Montreux, Switzerland – November 22nd, 1970
Disc 1: Intro., Astronomy Domine, Fat Old Sun, Cymbaline, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene, Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Disc 2: Atom Heart Mother, The Embryo, Green Is The Colour, Careful With That Axe Eugene
Swiss Made documents the second concert Pink Floyd played at the Old Casino in Montreux and is a collection of two different tape sources. Neither of these has been released in any form before since they surfaced several months ago. Nobody has been able to definitively state if the source on disc one is an audience recording or from the known acetates produced by EMI. It sounds to me like it is a legitimate soundboard recording. The announcer at the very beginning introducing the band (in French) sounds like a DJ, not an MC at the venue, and the songs are definitely not from the first day’s concert. Some have suggested this to be a radio broadcast which is possible.
There are no station breaks and no evidence of interference that would be the giveaway. The first recording starts at the beginning of the show and runs through “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” with the middle songs, “Atom Heart Mother” and “The Embryo” cut out, the final song “A Saucerful Of Secrets” and the encore missing as well. It is a very good to excellent mono recording with edits between the tracks and minor distortion in louder passages. The audience is very quiet and respectful to the band and save their applause for after the songs. Some minor channel dropping during the course of the first recording.
The second recorder starts at the beginning of “Atom Heart Mother” and runs through “Careful With That Axe, Eugene”, so it contains the two missing middle songs from the first source but omits the first three songs and the final two. Whether or not the complete performance exists on from this source isn’t known. It is a fair to good audience recording with much more atmosphere than the acetates. The audience reactions to the songs onstage are more audible and add to the enjoyment of the performance. There is some mic handling noises like during “Atom Heart Montreux”.
Pink Floyd originally was supposed to play only one show in Montreux. The November 22nd concert was added later and started at 2:30 in the afternoon. “Fat Old Sun” sounds much better than in the first Montreux concert with bird sounds added for effect (after Gilmour sings “summer evening birds are calling” the whistle of what sounds like a cockatiel is clearly audible). Roger says before “Green Is The Colour”; “We’re gonna do two things together now, one is another song of the soundtrack to the film More which is called ‘Green is the Colour’ and second thing is an instrumental off Ummagumma and it’s called ‘Careful with that Axe, Eugene’.”
“Atom Heart Mother” is again played in the band only arrangement as in the first show and sounds heavenly. The four of them sound like a choir during the chanting parts. The segue between “Green Is The Colour” and “Careful With That Axe Eugene” was a feature for about a year up to this point and they have mastered the dramatic tension between the pastoral melody and the existential nightmare beautifully. It is a shame this source isn’t complete, “A Saucerful Of Secrets” would sound immense. We take what we can get and this is all very good. Swiss Made is a direct copy of The Good… The Bad that began circulating in September and mixed by Pink Floyd fans to be circulated freely.
The accompanying notes say the reels were owned by an ageing hippy living in Montreux who wasn’t sure where the tapes came from originally. There is nothing to suggest that Siréne didn’t download the sources. It sounds like they did attempt to reduce hiss levels to make the tapes sound more clean, but there isn’t any significant improvement or anything more than what is currently circulating. For those collectors who choose to own silver manufactured versions of these shows then Swiss Made is very much recommended. It is in limited quantities and the packaging is the usual superb effort we can expect from the label.
Oops! Sorry, yes: it’s ‘Too Late For Mind Expanding’ that makes ‘Swiss Made’ redundant, to my ears. Despite the heavy edits on CD1 of ‘Swiss Made’, Roger’s spoken intro to ‘Green Is The Colour’ matches that of ‘Too Late…’ ‘Swiss Made’ was misdated as the 22nd, on the sleeve, wasn’t it, which is what I referenced before just now uploading again to iplayer for a quick comparison. You can tie yourself in knots…
But isn’t the real date actually Nov. 21st? I remember that at some point within the last few years, it was finally discovered that the 2 Montreux shows on the 21st-22nd had been erroneously reversed in identity. So this “Swiss Made” may in fact have been made mostly, if not completely, redundant, but I think it’s actually the “Too Late for Mind Expanding” release that makes it redundant instead of the new “Too Early for a Gig”.
With the arrival of ‘Too Early For A Gig’ (No Label), I see no reason to keep this in my collection. If we knew for certain that CD1 uses the professionally-recorded acetate then that would give them an historic interest, I suppose.
Careful with that Axe, Eugene being cut prematurely, at the very end of the 2nd disc, is downright tragic, as it sounds a lot like one of the best versions ever, especially the post-screaming part, but we just don’t get to hear enough of it, and it, which is just an audience tape, ironically seems to sound better than the soundboard version, which is complete, but its mix doesn’t sound as good and well-balanced as the audience version, ironically