Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Embryo (live)

The Embryo  10:23
Studio recording 16 July 1970 
* Broadcast on BBC Radio One 19 July 1970, otherwise unreleased

     (written by Roger Waters)
Recorded at BBC Paris Cinema, London

Lyrics:
All this love is all I am
A ball is all I am
I'm so new compared to you
And I am very small
* Warm glow, womb gloom
Always need a little more room
Waiting here, seems like years
* I will see the sunshine show


All around I hear strange sounds
* Come drifting round my ears
* Dark the night and long the night
I feel my dawn is near
* Warm glow, womb gloom
Always need a little more room
* Waiting here, seems like years
I will see the sunshine show


All this love is all I am
A ball is all I am
I'm so new compared to you
And I am very small
Warm glow, womb gloom
Always need a little more room
Waiting here, seems like years
I will see the sunshine show


Lead vocals: David Gilmour (lines 1-2 of each verse), Rick Wright (lines 3-8 of each verse)
Backing vocals: Vice versa of above

This is the finished version of the obscure classic, recorded for the BBC in mid-1970, and performed live in this form throughout 1970 and '71 (and occasionally in 1972 and '73). The earliest performance of The Embryo (as distinguished from Embryo) was 18 January 1970. This version of the song is very different from the released unfinished version. The lead guitar is added, and the whole song is much more like loud rock 'n' roll. There are also several lyric differences, noted above with asterisks, and a reprise of the first verse. Floyd fans are fortunate to have two very different, but equally good, versions of this song.

Interestingly, other Floyd authors have failed to note an important fact: the instrumental sections of The Embryo formed the basis for the popular Floyd classic Echoes. Though The Embryo was usually performed as a ten-minute song, on one occasion it was extended to nearly half an hour (20 November 1971). Many of the elements used for these longer live performances became incorporated into Echoes, which was written in late 1970, and recorded in early 1971.

The first four and a half minutes of The Embryo are much like the released version, except with great Gilmour guitar. The band rocks out, and the first two verses are in this section. This part segues into a new section (4.30-6.00), where the piece mellows out and features a descending bass line with sound effects of a small child laughing and crying alternately. Towards the end of this part and into the next, school-aged children can be heard at play. The next section (6.00-8.00) features guitar licks that seem to represent a child crying, and which were incorporated to great effect in the middle section of Echoes six to eight months later. The final section (8.00-10.23) is a slow jam on the main musical theme of the song, and a reprise of the first verse. The timings are approximate.

The meaning of the piece seems to change somewhat in this extended version. The sound effects of children laughing, crying, and playing seem to represent the embryo's eager anticipation of the excitement awaiting him or her in life, mitigated by the knowledge that with the laughter will also come tears. Or perhaps the embryo anticipates those experiences as well? This version does not end with the embryo's birth, but leaves us with the anticipation of that imminent event. Given that a baby about to be born is a fetus, not an embryo, perhaps the song is meant to refer to any kind of embryonic hope and anticipation. Then again, 'Fetus' doesn't make a very good title.

1 comment:

  1. I had tis song on a really old cassette that someone wrote the title as Libest in a spacement monitor. Still not sure was that the correct title or not and when and where it was recorded.

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