Obscured by Clouds Discography
Obscured by Clouds is a rock album by Pink Floyd based on their soundtrack for the French film La VallĆ©e, by Barbet Schroeder. The LP was released in the UK on June 3, 1972 on Harvest/EMI and then in the U.S. on June 15, 1972 on Harvest/Capitol. The album reached #6 on the UK album charts and #46 on the U.S. album charts (where it was certified Gold by the RIAA in March, 1994). In 1986, the album was released on CD. A digitally remastered CD was released in March 1996 in the UK and August 1996 in the U.S.
At this point in their career, the band was not new to scoring movies. They had already scored the films More and Zabriskie Point in 1969 and 1970 respectively. So when the band went into score the movie, they had a lot more experience and therefore produced a much finer product.
The band was already working on Dark Side of the Moon during this period, but production was interrupted when the band travelled to France to score the movie. Nick Mason refers to the project:
“After the success of More, we had agreed to do another sound track for Barbet Schroeder. His new film was called La VallĆ©e and we travelled over to France to record the music in the last week of February… We did the recording with the same method we had employed for More, following a rough cut of the film, using stopwatches for specific cues and creating interlinking musical moods that would be cross-faded to suit the final version… The recording time was extremely tight. We only had two weeks to record the soundtrack with a short amount of time afterwords to turn it into an album.”
While recording the music, the band was free to use “Standard rock song construction” to their advantage, and was such the case for “Obscured by Clouds”. The title track featured an early use of electronic drums, or “electric bongos” as Mason calls them. Rick Wright foreshadows what is to come later with his use of synthesizers on this album. A droning note (played on an EMS VCS3 synthesizer) begins the album in pure Floyd style. This song was often used to open their live shows in the following years. The band also used themes to their advantage. The melody played in Wright’s “Burning Bridges” is echoed later in “Mudmen” with David Gilmour’s reconstruction of the song. Gilmour seemed to be the band’s driving force behind this project. His lead guitar work is very prominent throughout the album, particularly on “The Gold It’s in the…” which he sings himself. The song “Childhood’s End” was credited only to Gilmour without his usual help from Roger Waters in the lyrical department, however Waters contributed the lyrics to all other songs. It is said to have been inspired by Arthur C. Clarke’s novel of the same name, though this is not borne out by the lyrics.
Roger Waters only wrote one song by himself, “Free Four,” but his minimal songwriting did not go un-noticed. “Free Four” was the first Pink Floyd song to get significant airplay in the U.S., and the first to deal directly with the death of Eric Fletcher Waters, Roger Waters’ father.
Being a soundtrack project, Obscured by Clouds bears a general theme in its lyrics. The songs deal with living life to its fullest before it’s too late, self-reflection, aging, and death. It can be said to be the first Pink Floyd album with any kind of unifying theme, and it is thus a precursor to their subsequent, more popular works.
In an interview that appeared in the “Director’s Cut” edition of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, Roger Waters stated that early pressings of the album contained excessive sibilants in the vocal tracks, a problem that was corrected in later pressings.
Obscured by Clouds was the first Pink Floyd album to feature the VCS 3 synthesiser.
“Obscured by Clouds” (David Gilmour/Roger Waters) ā€“ 3:03
“When You’re In” (David Gilmour/Roger Waters/Rick Wright/Nick Mason) ā€“ 2:30
“Burning Bridges” (Roger Waters/Rick Wright) ā€“ 3:29
Lead vocals: David Gilmour and Rick Wright
“The Gold It’s in the…” (David Gilmour/Roger Waters) ā€“ 3:07
Lead vocals: David Gilmour
“Wot’s… Uh the Deal” (David Gilmour/Roger Waters) ā€“ 5:08
Lead vocals: David Gilmour
“Mudmen” (David Gilmour/Rick Wright) ā€“ 4:20
“Childhood’s End” (David Gilmour) ā€“ 4:31
Lead vocals: David Gilmour
“Free Four” (Roger Waters) ā€“ 4:15
Lead vocals: Roger Waters
“Stay” (Roger Waters/Rick Wright) ā€“ 4:05
Lead vocals: Rick Wright
“Absolutely Curtains” (David Gilmour/Roger Waters/Rick Wright/Nick Mason) ā€“ 5:52
Pink Floyd opened their shows in 1973 with “Obscured By Clouds” and “When You’re In.” Accompanied by smoke and a stellar light show, this remains one of their most effective openers. They were also used as a vehicle for jamming with Gilmour taking the lead on the latter song.
“Childhood’s End” is the only other song from the soundtrack to find its way to the stage. It made several appearances in Europe in 1972 and at the start of the band’s March 1973 tour of North America, usually with an extended instrumental passage.
“Wot’s… Uh, The Deal?” saw revival as part of David Gilmour’s set list during his 2006 solo tour. One of these performances can be seen on Gilmour’s 2007 DVD Remember That Night.
“Free Four”/”Stay” (1972, U.S. only release)
“Free Four”/”The Gold It’s in the…” (1972, Italy only release)
“Burning Bridges”/”Childhood’s End” (1972, some states on release)
David Gilmour ā€“ guitars, vocals, VCS3
Roger Waters ā€“ bass guitar, vocals, VCS3
Richard Wright ā€“ keyboards, vocals, VCS3
Nick Mason ā€“ drums, percussion
Hipgnosis ā€“ cover
Year – Chart – Position
1972 – UK Albums Chart – 6
1972 – Billboard Pop Albums – 46
The above article is courtesy of Wikipedia.
1 response on the “Obscured by Clouds Discography” page