Monday, February 28, 2011

A Magnificent Space Odyssey Experience

Released 30 October 1971 US, 5 November 1971 UK from the album Meddle.
Similar to the Dark Side of the Rainbow effect, some listeners suggested that "Echoes" synchronizes with Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey when played concurrently with the final segment (titled "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite").

"Echoes" was released three years after the film's production and is 23 minutes and 31 seconds in length, quite similar to the "Infinite" segment. Sound effects in the middle section of the song suggest to some listeners the feeling of travelling through, or flying over, an alien world. The drone vocalizations heard in the final scenes of 2001 seem to match with the discordant bass vibrations in the middle of "Echoes" as well as the choral glissandos of its finale. Some argue that there are moments when the song and film soundtrack are nearly indistinguishable. Another notable link occurs during a change in scene at precisely the moment when guitar and keyboards crescendo as the lyrics re-enter for the final verse. The early lyrics contain references to planets, which seems entirely suitable for the film's depiction of Jupiter and its moons. Adrian Maben re-created this marriage of music and image in his director's cut of Live at Pompeii using CGI.

The members of the band always denied that the synchronization was intentional. Furthermore, the technology to play back film in a recording studio circa 1971 would have been expensive and difficult for the band to acquire. Roger Waters is sometimes quoted as saying that the band's failure to contribute music to 2001's official score was his "greatest regret".

Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant tide
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine.

And no-one called us to the land
And no-one knows the wheres or whys
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb towards the light

Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand the best I can

And no-one calls us to move on
And no-one forces down our eyes
And no-one speaks and no-one tries
And no-one flies around the sun

Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes
inviting and inciting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Come streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning

And no-one sings me lullabies
And no-one makes me close my eyes
And so I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky

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