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A Saucerful Of Secrets

A Saucerful Of Secrets (29jun1968)
The first Pink Floyd album to feature cover art by Hipgnosis. The cover art uses Dr. Strange (of Marvel Comics fame), astrology and infrared photography to symbolizes altered states of consciousness. The band is shown on the cover as well.

“What are the different parts of ‘A Saucerful Of Secrets?'”

On the album ASoS, the title track is simply called “A Saucerful of Secrets.” On some pressings of _Ummagumma_, however, the piece is broken down into four sections. These sections are called:

a. “Something Else” 00:00 (ominous opening noises)
b. “Syncopated Pandemonium” 03:57 (with the drum tape-loop and such)
c. “Storm Signal” 07:16 (organ-based section)
d. “Celestial Voices” 10:14 (closing spacey part with the voices)

(…with times courtesy Charles Saeger)

The song itself has been explained by Roger Waters as being about war or a battle. (where Something Else and Syncopated Pandemonium are the actual battle, storm Signals the aftermath and celestial voices the mourning of the dead). Whether Waters was serious is a question that’s open for debate.

“On which songs does Syd Barrett play?”

Gilmour said (in Guitar World, Feb. ’93): “He’s on three or four… tracks on the album, including ‘Remember A Day’ and ‘Jug Band [Blues].’ He’s also on a tiny bit of ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun.'”

This account is echoed by Malcolm Jones. A February 1992 article in Record Collector suggests Syd may have been on “Corporal Clegg,” which is also noted in Schaffner’s book. The “Crazy Diamond” book notes “See Saw” as another possibility; early Floyd biographer Rick Sanders agrees.

“What are all those names in ‘Let There Be More Light?'”

The lyrics to “Let There Be More Light” are influenced by various Science Fiction books and historic persons:

a UK air force base

Hereward the Wake
An Anglo-Saxon rebel leader, known as “the last Englishman”. Fought against the Norman oppressors, and hid on Ely island (where Ely cathedral, from the cover of TDB is now located.

Carter’s father
Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of Tarzan) wrote a series of novels about John Carter of mars.

The Rhull
A.E.Van Voght wrote a book called “The War against the Rull.” The Rull should not be confused with the “Krull” from the silver age Fantastic Four (a Marvel comic book series) stories.
“Where are the lyrics of ‘Set The Controls’ taken from?”

Roger Waters based the lyrics for ‘Set the Controls’ on a book of Chinese poetry. Some of the poetry came from Li Ho–his poem ‘Don’t go out of the door’ contains the line “witness the man who raved at the wall as he wrote his question to heaven”- -and Li Shang-Yin, whose poetry contained the lines “watch little by little the night turn around”, “countless the twigs which tremble in dawn” and “one inch of love is an inch of ashes”.

[thanks to Johan Lif]

This also puts an end to the debate over whether it is “One inch of love is one inch of shadow” (as can be clearly heard on RoIOs, and slightly less clearly on Ummagumma) or “knowledge of love, is knowledge of shadow” as the remaster booklet lyrics claim.

The title of the song is taken from a Michael Moorcock novel Fireclown (also released as The Winds Of Limbo).

What are those unknown songs in the session logs?

In his excellent book “The Making of the Madcap Laughs”, Malcolm Jones lists the full EMI session logs for the Piper and ASOS sessions. The ASOS entries lists several unknown titles:

John Latham
In The Beechwoods
Richards Rave Up
Nicks Boogie (1st,2nd and 3rd movement)
The Boppin’ Sound

These are never before or after that referred to, with the exception of Nick’s Boogie, which was initially recorded in January 1967.

I (Gerhard) will speculate here that there entries are not entries for songs, but are working titles for the various segments of A Saucerful Of Secrets. The session logs do not list any working tracks for ASOS, only a listing for the completed song.

Also, Nicks Boogie may possibly be a reference to Syncopated Pandemonium, and Richards Rave Up is a good candidate for Storm Signals. As said above, this is speculation from my part.

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