Monday, March 15, 2010

The Return Of The Son Of Nothing

The Return Of The Son Of Nothing  23:54
Performed live 22 April 1971 
* Unrecorded
     (written by Waters, Wright, Mason, Gilmour)

Planets meeting face to face
One to the air and land now sweep
In every single lighting place
A planet union deep in space
Perfect night this once will end
And give us leave to share as one
Our two lights in the land
For one light can
And in that coming to the one
The parting song's sound is gone
How soon you've got to travel on
And on and on around the sun

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
No one speaks, and no one tries
No one flies around the sun

Cloudless every day 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 calls us to move on
And no one forces down our eyes
No one speaks, and no one tries
And no one flies around the sun

Lead vocals: David Gilmour
Backing vocals: Richard Wright

The evolution of the piece that would become Echoes closely parallels the Atom Heart Mother Suite. Near the end of 1970, the band had the idea to do another extended piece, but this time using only the four basic instruments. It was decided to create the piece using a highly experimental method — that of putting down on tape literally every musical idea that anyone had, and eventually structuring them into a complete piece (for more information, see the Meddle album entry). Studio work on this began in January, and the piece slowly developed over time, until it had reached a point where it was complete enough to be performed as a work in progress, starting in April (though the official premiere was 15 May). Though the piece had no official title yet, the working title had evolved from 'Nothing — Parts 1 to 24,' to The Return of the Son of Nothing, presumably passing through The Son of Nothing along the way (though there are no records to confirm this).

Rick Wright: "We went into the studios in January to put down a lot of ideas and called them all bits of 'Nothing,' which is where the title comes from. It's 22 minutes long and is a piece we can do live without any of the problems of Atom Heart Mother." [TAP 49]

The piece continued recording through July, and was renamed Echoes after the completion of the album, when it was recorded for the BBC 'In Concert' show on 30 September 1971, giving The Return of the Son of Nothing a six-month existence.

The lyrics of Return are very different from those on Echoes. A science-fiction theme is dominant here, interwoven with a romantic theme. Apparently set in the future, the lyrics are vague but evocative. Still very rough at this point, Roger would later rewrite the entire first verse and part of the third when he was inspired to change his imagery from space to the ocean depths.

Although by 1970 the band was finally making a profit, creatively they felt at a dead end. Roger said during this period "I'm bored with most of the stuff we've done. I'm bored with most of the stuff we play." [Schaffner 160] However, the conception and development of Echoes, a piece the entire group could feel very proud of, introduced a new feeling of excitement into the band like that of a group of schoolboys with a great new scheme. In the early stages of the composition of the song (early 1971), Nick Mason talked about the excitement that this new inspiration had brought.

Nick: "Until very recently we were in acute danger of dying of boredom, but now this depression has lifted a bit because we have finally got a very rough basis for this new project. Our thing now is to press on as fast as possible. At the moment we are doing a few odd gigs — Roger feels that we shouldn't be working at all, but it is a great release to play the drums once in a while all the same. What we must do is Get Ourselves Together in every sense of the word, because we've always previously had a scene where people are telling you 'do this' or 'do that' or 'you ought to go on the road and promote the album...' and all the same you're desperately trying to stop and take stock." [Miles]

Nick: "The thing to do is to really move people — to turn them on, to subject them to a fantastic experience, to do something to stretch their imagination." [Miles]

1 comment:

  1. Can be heard on youtube.