Personalities | Pink Floyd | The Collaborative Era (1969) | Key Events
The Massed Gadgets Of Auximenes Concert
Floyd’s fascination with the quality of sound reproduction saw them invest money in equipment. At the Games For May concert in 1966 they pioneered a rudimentary quadraphonic sound with speakers placed at the back of the concert hall. By early 1969 they had a system constructed called ‘The Azimuth co-ordinator’, which received its own billing at performances and allowed sound generated by the band in performance as well as tapes to be moved around the auditorium by Richard Wright. At the Royal Festival Hall on 14 April Pink Floyd were no longer playing music but applying aural wallpaper to the environment.
The Man/The Journey Tour
Floyd’s 12-date UK tour between 16 May and 26 June was billed as ‘concerts in 360 degree stereo’, culminating in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall. This was attended by fans drawn to the compelling cinematic music flowing out of the band, who were delivering an ambitious extended ‘concept’ piece entitled ‘The Man/The Journey’. Along with the band taking afternoon tea on stage, new material was performed – of which the compelling Waters-penned ‘Nightmare’ (‘Cymberline’) was a highlight – as well as old material dressed up in different titles. ‘Beset By Creatures Of The Deep’ was, in fact, ‘Careful With That Axe, Eugene’.
Soundtrack From The Film More
Whereas the music for The Committee was only heard by the small numbers who could find a cinema that showed the film, Floyd’s soundtrack music for More was given an official release by EMI. Floyd’s contribution was recorded over a week – five sessions – in February 1969 and ranged from the proto-punk of ‘The Nile Song’ to the dreamy, drifting birdsong of ‘Cirrus Minor’. ‘Doing the music for films is a very challenging thing,’ Rick Wright told Top Pops And Music Now magazine, ‘We have to express facts and scenes in music.’ The album went Top 10 in July.
Floyd’s soundtrack work broke the traditional wheel of consecutive album releases. Their official third outing Ummagumma was a double and released on 25 October 1969. The first disc presented extended live airings of tracks like ‘Astronomy Domine’, ‘Careful With That Axe, Eugene’, ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ and ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets’. Waters told a Melody Maker journalist that ‘Interstellar Overdrive’ was not on the album as the band ‘didn’t dig’ the recorded version, although the plan to press and distribute 2,000 acetates for fans who wanted to hear it never materialized. The second LP explored a new frontier of experimentalism with each band member presenting solo pieces. Waters presented two, the reflective ‘Grantchester Meadow’ previously aired live as part of the ‘The Man/The Journey’ concerts. Wright’s four-part keyboard opus and Mason’s treated drum tattoo showed how confident the band had grown with the possibilities of the recording studio. On ‘The Narrow Way’ Dave Gilmour played everything from guitar to drums well although sung like a man who hoped no...
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