This album produced by Roger was in my opinion his first solo project. It was released in 1970, and one listen will take you on a journey into the ambient and sound effects world of early Pink Floyd. Many of the songs have the same type of the mellow acoustic guitar feel, and zany sound effects qualities similar to the out-takes from "Zabrinsky Point" Ala. "Fingals Cave," and "The Embryo," mixed with some Waters' style "Ummagumma," "More," and "Atom Heart Mother." I think I can call it a solo project because Roger's songs and Ron's music are quite separate entities, yet they blend together extremely well, forming a concept album, that though may take a few listenings to get used to, tends to grow on you with repeated listening, especially if your a fan of early Floyd. The music comes from the cinematic adaptation of Anthony Smith's 1968 book "The Body." The film's producer, Tony Garnett asked John Peel, the famous English radio show producer, who had a vast knowledge about musicians, bands and music business in general, for ideas about who could do the soundtrack. John suggested Ron Geesin, a man of ingenious imagination and avant-garde musical prowess. But he could only do the instrumentals. Songs with lyrics were wanted as well. So Ron, asked Roger Waters who was a friend, for help.
For the music for the film itself, they worked separately during the early part of 1970, Ron at a studio at 208, Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, London. And Roger worked at studio's at 186, New North Road, Isington, London.
"Music From the Body" was made for Harvest Records in the late Autumn of 1970. Ron's pieces were done in his studio and Roger's songs were re-recorded at Island Studios, Basing Street nearby. Roger produced Ron's pieces, and Ron produced Roger's. And there were some pieces on the album which were not included in the film.
In the Roger Waters tradition, this is a concept album, each song on the album blends into the next, some with only slight breaks. As in the early unreleased Pink Floyd operetta's "The Man" and "The Journey," this album takes the listener on a psychedelic journey of music (and sound effects) from the body. Click the here for the lyrics and a listing of the song titles (with author) made for the album.
The album opens with an instrumental, "Our Song."
This piece fades into the next song on the album, "Sea Shell and Stone," (which lasts for over 2 minutes) is a very pretty and melodic song, with great lyrics from Roger, and shows the promise of his genius for the future. Roger's soft acoustic guitar, gentle vocals and bass evolve around a simple rhythm, with sound effects of the seashore heard in the background. Influences of Syd Barrett seem present, and it is also reminiscent of "Grantchester Meadows" a bit.
This song fades into "Red Stuff Writhe," (approximately 1 minute 18 seconds) and is an instrumental piece by Ron Geesin. It is a dramatic violin and double bass duet.
The next song is "A Gentle Breeze Blew Through Life," is a nice Spanish Guitar piece lasting just over a minute.
Next is "Lick Your Partners," a lead guitar instrumental that lasts only about 30 seconds before blending int This fades into the next song, "Chain of Life." This is the longest song on the album lasting a huge 4 minutes! It includes acoustic guitar, Roger's vocals, and again a very gentle bass. Included in it are also background sound effects of children playing, which reminds me of the song "Embryo." It could almost have been taken from the Pink Floyd soundtrack from the film "More." One of the lines in the lyrics is; "His future is your past," which reminds me of the lyrics in the song "Free Four." I think these songs make a nice trilogy of RogerŐs work. i.e.;
'Embryo' - (Before life).The song fades into an instrumental called "The Womb Bit." This contains weird noises, acoustic guitar, and harp, and lasts just over 2 minutes.
'Chain of Life' - (During life).
'Free Four' - (Occupied with death).
Next is "Embryo Thought," which barely lasts 40 seconds, then fades into "March Past of the Embryo's." This instrumental consists of violins and acoustic guitar, and lasts just over a minute. The next piece is "More Than Seven Dwarfs In Penis Land," it is a choir like vocal only track, lasting 2 minutes, and fades into "Dance of the Red Corpuscles," a banjo instrumental lasting just under 2 minutes.
Next up is "Body Transport."
The next song is "Hand Dance - Full Evening Dress," and is another instrumental with lead violin, accompanied by acoustic guitar, and it lasts about a minute.
"Breath" is the next track lasting about 2 minutes 50 seconds, and again is Roger singing backed with acoustic guitar and bass. There are no sound effects here. The song is concerned with environmental issues, rape of the land etc. The opening line is 'Breath in the air...' which as we all know is the title of a song on "Dark Side of the Moon," but that is where the similarity ends.
"Breath" fades into "Old Folks Ascension," which begins with a Spanish guitar and then adagio piano. It lasts 3 minutes 46 seconds. The next track is "Bedtime - Dream - Clime," which is an instrumental composed of a gentle acoustic guitar, and is just over 2 minutes long.
"Piddle In Perspex" follows and is a piano piece lasting just over 40 seconds. "Embryonic Womb Walk" is next and is mainly a violin instrumental lasting 1 minute 20 seconds. "Mrs. Throat Goes Walking" as you would expect is a track of vocal throat sounds lasting over 2 minutes.
"Sea Shell and Soft Stone" is music from "Sea Shell and Stone" without vocals, just acoustic guitar and violin. This fades into the final song "Give Birth to a Smile," which lasts for 2 minutes 39 seconds. It is a vocal track with Roger on vocals, Ron on Piano, and David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Rick Wright, sitting in as session musicians, (a role they maintained until after "The Final Cut"!!)
In the first half of the song, there are female backing singers, which Roger uses for the first time here. The second half of the song consists of these backup singers doing the lead vocals on the chorus. The song is the standard guitar-drum-bass-keyboards, not the acoustic instrumentation which all the other songs contain. Therefore, "Give Birth to a Smile" is in reality a Pink Floyd song, and an excellent way to end the album. It is a nice cheery, and soulful song.
The titles of the songs for this album sound so much like Syd Barrett titles, I wonder if he had any influence upon Roger, in their naming. On the whole, this is an excellent album, a superb mixture of music, lyrics, and sound effects, from two of the most talented artists, and musicians of our time. The album was released in December 1970, and is well worth checking out.
Ron Geesin & Roger Waters "Music From The Body." Released in England on EMI-Harvest SMSP 4008. Released in the U.S. on Import Records IMP 1002. Re-Issued by EMI on CD in 1989, CDP 792548 2