Atom Heart Mother
“Atom Heart Mother Suite”
The “Atom Heart Mother Suite” is a side-long instrumental split into six different, named parts. Most of the divisions are marked by a return of the main theme of the piece, played by everybody (group and orchestra).
Beyond this, there is some controversy over where each section starts and ends. The EMI and MFSL versions of the disc have index markers; they are essentially the same on both discs (give or take a few seconds), and are given below. Many Echoesians, however, are somewhat unsatisfied with these divisions, and so have developed an alternative indexing scheme. This is also given below, along with an explanation…
Section Title EMI/MFSL Index Echoes
a. “Father’s Shout” 05:20 02:59
b. “Breast Milky” 10:09 05:22
c. “Mother Fore” 15:26 10:11
d. “Funky Dung” 17:44 15:25
e. “Mind Your Throats Please” 19:49 17:44
f. “Remergence” ..end ..end
The first part, naturally, is “Father’s Shout,” with all the weird sounds, horses, and ends with the motorcycle.
The second part, “Breast Milky,” starts off as a duet for organ and viola; and gradually includes drums, guitar, and the rest of the orchestra. (2:59)
Then “Mother Fore” begins. This section is a quiet choral section, with mostly chorus and organ. (5:22)
“Funky Dung” has a lot of guitar, strong bass, and that weird choir singing things that sound vaguely like “toast….coffee…yeah….” or “saa saa saa saa saaa…..brrrrrrrrrroooooooooonnnn.” (10:11)
“Mind Your Throats Please” is the strange (like it’s not all strange?) part that begins with alternating organ notes. After the slower beginning with organ and such, a section that echoes has been calling the “Overload” section begins, with lots of out-of-sync voices and sounds; sounding a bit like the Beatles’ “Revolution 9.” This is either part of “Mind Your Throats” or “Remergence,” depending on whose opinion you ask. (15:25)
“Remergence,” then, is the climactic final section, where the main theme gradually “re-emerges.” (17:44)
As you can see, the main argument lies in the question of the lengths of “Father’s Shout” versus “Remergence.” I guess this just goes to show how subjective some of these things can be…
“Other AHM suite tidbits”
In the AHM Suite, there are two voices that can be clearly heard:
17:28 “Here is a loud announcement”
19:08 “Silence in the studio!”
Stanley Kubrick wanted “free rein” to use music from AHM in his film “A Clockwork Orange.” The band didn’t agree…
The title track was named during the sessions for the BBC radio show, when the track needed a name, and Ron Geesin suggested to Roger Waters that he’d look through The Evening Standard and see if he could find a title in there. The paper carried an article about a pregnant woman with a pacemaker, headlined ATOM HEART MOTHER, and the rest (as they say) is history.
The track has been announced by the band as:
The Amazing Pudding
one side of our next album
Jon Rosenberg suggests referring to the early (and different) live performances of this song as TUP for The Untitled Piece.
The cow on the album cover is Lulubelle III The cow-cover came to be because the band wanted a cover that was as ordinary and un-psychedelic as possible.
The Atom Heart Mother EMI CD had a simple fold-open booklet, with a picture of cows, and the track list and credits.
The remaster has 24-page booklet with all the lyrics and lots of photos; milking machines, boots, a piano, a man snorkeling, and, of course, a “psychedelic breakfast.” Picture disc is of a cow. Also includes a card of “Breakfast Tips” to go along with “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast”; one recipe is for a “Traditional Bedouin Wedding Feast,” the other is in German:
ORIGINAL FRANKISH COW BRAIN BREAKFAST
A cheap, light, intelligent breakfast –
the alternative to normal scrambled eggs!
100 grams Cow Brain
Oil, Salt, Pepper
First rinse the brain and peel off the skin, which the butcher
often leaves on!
Heat oil in pan and add chopped onion.
Then add the brain and cook. Add the egg and scramble.
Add salt, pepper, and parsley to taste.
[Editors note: while it may sound disgusting, it actually is rather tasty, adding some garlic improves the recipe]
“Who is Alan?”
Alan is Alan Stiles, a roadie of Floyd’s back then. Alan’s Psychedelic breakfast is named after him, and it’s his voice you hear on the track. The kitchen sounds were recorded in Nick masons kitchen. The band was never very happy with this piece, which might explain why it was performed live only a few times. During the live performances the band was served tea on stage (this section is missing from the only known RoIO recording of this song). Early British pressings of the album had the sound of the water dripping from the tap continue into the trail-off groove in the record, allowing some turntables to play dripping water forever (or until someone turns it off, whichever came first).
The song is divided into three named sections:
a. “Rise and Shine” 00:00
b. “Sunny Side Up” 04:22
c. “Morning Glory” 08:17
Alan Stiles can be seen on the back cover of Ummagumma. See the ummagumma manpage.