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Echoes and 2001 a Space Odyssey

The Synchronizations

As soon as the song "Echoes" is played and the "Jupiter And Beyond The Infinite" title card pops up, a ping will sound. This pinging sound will ring once every few seconds for the first 1:20 or so. The music will slowly start to fade in after ten seconds or so. It is very eerie-sounding - as synthesizers slowly build, and eventually a mellow, slow guitar riff comes into play.

As all this psychedellic, mellow music builds up the images on the screen are of the monolith floating around in space while the outstanding special effects show the planets in the background. The sense of limitless space is evident, and the music only enhances that feeling.


The lyrics begin at 2:57. Here is a line-by-line breakdown and my own personal interpretations.

LYRICS: "Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air" IMAGE: The camera pans across the vast space background. INTERPRETATION: Obviously the albatross represents the monolith - which is, as the song says, hanging motionless.

LYRICS: "And deep beneath the rolling waves/In labyrinths of coral caves/The echo of a distant time/Comes willowing across the sand" IMAGES: The monolith continues to float around in space as the camera pans towards the Discovery ship. INTERPRETATION: The references to the ocean might be a comparison of the vastness of the ocean and the even more vastness of space. "The echo of a distant time" might refer to the monolith - as we know the monoliths have been appearing to Earthlings since evolutionary times. "Willowing across the sand" seems to symbolize the tiny little spaceship slithering across the vastness of space like a worm through sand.

LYRICS: "And Everything is green and submarine" IMAGE: The Discovery. INTERPRETATION: "submarine" is obviously the spaceship Discovery - as a submarine explores the water, this machine explores space.

LYRICS: "And no one showed us to the land/And no on knows the where or whys" IMAGE: images of the monolith and Bowman's pod heading for it. INTERPRETATION: The lines might be something that the humans who discovered the monolith might say - "whoever put these monoliths here didn't tell us why, but we're figuring it out."

LYRICS: "But something stirs and something tries/And starts to climb towards the light" IMAGES: The monolith flying upward while the camera pans over to the Discovery. INTERPRETATION: Could mean two things simultaneously: 1) The monolith (not sure what it is, which is why it is referred to as "something") begins to gain momentum and moves from the bottom of the screen to top, and continues to move. The light it's moving to might be the light show that soon occurs. 2)Symbolic of how insignificant Bowman and his pod is (just "something"), and it is heading towards the monolith - as a subject might approach its savior and/or like a moth to a lightbulb.

LYRICS: "Strangers passing in the street/By chance two seperate glances meet/And I am you and what I see is me" IMAGE: Bowman's pod heading straight towards the camera. INTERPRETATION: The monolith and Bowman might be the two strangers who have just happened to run into each other. There's so many people in the world that the huge population and all the individual traits each person has might be compared with the vastness of space. "And I am you..." - I'm positive this is a reference to the later section of the film in which Bowman sees himself as an old man in the "hotel room," however, I believe that somehow this second verse was switched with the fifth verse. The "Through the window... a million bright ambassadors" lines would seem more appropriate at this time. Either way, this still is a thoughful, poetic line.

LYRICS: "And do I take you by the hand/And lead you through the land/And help me understand the best I can" IMAGE: The monolith disappears. INTERPRETATION: "Take you by the hand" - what the monolith might be saying to Bowman - to take him on a tour of the monolith's home land. "And help me understand...." what both the monolith and Bowman might say to each other - to learn more about each other. As Bowman was sent to study the monolith, the monolith is a tool to study Earth and its people.

LYRICS: "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" IMAGE: The camera pans up and the light show begins just as the last word of the last line is sung. INTERPRETATION: "no one calls us to move on... forces down our eyes" - sounds like something two children might say who are so excitied about something and can't stop doing what they're doing (as Bowman and the monolith are about to embark on a fantastic journey). "no one tries.... no one flies around the sun" - open to interpretation, could mean just about anything.

Singing ends for the time being as the music becomes more mellow as the light show continues. The sound of the music seems to perfectly match the mood the lightshow induces - exactly like any other movie uses a pop song during any kind of montage.

At the 7 minute point the music changes and becomes driven by organs and drums, just as the light show becomes a series of starry images - the swirling galaxies, the images that look like embryos, the dancing diamonds. The music continues to match the images and mood on-screen until....

At the 10:30 point the music fades out and an extremely eerie, freaky sequence of sound effects is faded in. This transition occurrs as the transitition on the screen is made from the starry images to the ultraviolet images of the alien planet. The sound is no longer rock, but strictly psychedellic, much like the "eeeee"- choir-sung sound on the film's actual soundtrack. Some of the background sounds on the CD seem to synch with the images on screen such as wind, waves crashing, and seagulls as we are shown what looks like the alien planet's ocean.

The eerie sonic sequence lasts until 14:20 when Bowman finds himself in the bizarre "hotel room." The music starts to fade out as synthesizers slowly start to build in the background. It is at this time that Bowman begins to slowly walk around and try to figure out where he is. The sound and music continues to build and the eerie sequence fades out. The pinging noise also occurs. The music comes to a climax around 17:06 when Bowman sees himself in the other room as an old man eating.

At 18:00 Bowman gets out of the chair and looks around. At 18:14 the guitars kick back in as he turns around and returns to the table.

At 19:11 the lyrics come back.

LYRICS: "Cloudless everyday you fall upon my waking eyes/Inviting and inciting me to rise" IMAGE: Bowman walks from the door to the table. INTERPRETATION: This might be something Bowman, as an old man, might be thinking. Perhaps he has been stuck in that room for decades as the aliens' guinea pig?

LYRICS: "And through the window in the wall/Come streaming in on sunlight wings/A million bright ambassadors of morning" IMAGE: Bowman sits down at the table. INTERPRETATION: I believe all three lines refer to the rays of light which brough Bowman from our reality to the reality he is in now. It is possible this entire verse was switched with the second verse.

LYRICS: "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" IMAGE: Bowman eats his meal. INTERPRETATION: "lullabies" and "close my eyes" might be something Bowman would say since it seems he has been alone for years in just a few seconds. The latter two lines might refer to the monolith - calling to it to do something.

Music continues much like it did during the light show sequence. At 21:18 the music quickly fades out just as the old, dying Bowman points to the monolith in front of him. The music at this point is keyboard-driven, very mellow - as if someone was trying to put somene to sleep (i.e. Bowman dying).

At 22:10 a strange sound, like a jet engine in the distant, starts to fade in, along with the pinging sound again. The image on screen is of the embryonic Bowman. Eventually the music fades out to just the eerie sound effects as the "Star Child" looks at the camera.

Both the song and the movie then end AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.

Chad Polenz

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