Interview of baker b. by Pierre Schaeffer re The Oz/Floyd Paradox
August & September 2003
Charleston, South Carolina
Part 15 of 20
Pierre: I feel like balloons should be dropping from the ceiling and everyone should be blowing kazoos, because we made it all the way to the last synch, the big circle, the pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow. Don't you feel like this baker?
baker: Absolutely. Let's talk SID.
Pierre: So... I know you consider SID's 1st Oz to be a gold tiling, like all the others since Pink Vertigo with the exception of Fantasia Brick Road.
Pierre: SID's 1st Oz is different, though, in that it covers the entire movie, front to back, with audio tiles. So would I be correct in assuming that this is your one and only solid 100 % gold tiling?
baker: That would be correct. And it was hard earned. This is a culmination of the lessons learned from all earlier synchs.
Pierre: But, at the same time, you also consider this to be an amalgamation of *silver* tilings. This is a strange but rather fascinating concept: that you have multiple silver tilings inside one gold tiling. You describe this as an interweaving, is that correct?
baker: Yes sir.
Pierre: Now correct me if I leave one out or get one wrong, but the albums used in this synch to completely cover or tile the Return to Oz movie are Jethro Tull's A Passion Play, Queen's A Night at the Opera, Roger Water's Radio KAOS...
baker: Er, no, I think you're thinking about the Spirited Away synch, actually.
Pierre: Oh, yeah. Then, um... I can't remember.
baker: It's a Roger Water's solo album, but his very first one. Radio KAOS comes much later; 15 or so years later, actually. His first solo album was composed jointly with Ron Geesin, who later did the orchestration for the Atom Heart Mother suite already discussed in connection with Pink Vertigo. This album is called Music From The Body, and it starts out the SID synchronicity. It was originally created as a soundtrack for a experimental documentary movie concerning the many bizarre and interesting facts about the human body. Geesin's compositions actually dominate the album, though.
Pierre: So what are the other albums used?
baker: Two other Pink Floyd related ones. To parallel Roger's first solo album, we also have here selections from Syd Barrett's first solo album, after Floyd dropped him. This is called The Madcap Laughs, and is also from 1970, the same year Music From The Body was released. Then the last album used in SID is a Floyd bootleg album called Magnesium Proverbs, which deals with mostly early Barrett material not found on any of the regular studio albums. This would take the form of singles, both released and unreleased. There's one unreleased single, for example, that I use in SID taken from this album. This is Vegetable Man.
Pierre: Jack Pumpkinhead! I remember.
Pierre: So tell us a little about Return to Oz, the film that forms the base of this synch. I know that much dialog is used from this film. We can start with that.
baker: SID's 1st Oz lets a lot of dialog from the Return to Oz movie bleed through, and this is rather unique in my own work. The only other synch that I've used this technique extensively is MessiaenSphere. But here the use is much more intricate, in that we have bits and pieces of dialog strewn throughout the 2 hour long synch. In MessiaenSphere, it was just six large clumps of dialog, with the music from Messiaen's Illuminations from the Infinite playing in the background at all times. Here we sometimes have music playing simultaneously, or not. Another place I used this technique is in Pink Vertigo, but only in one section and as a block. So we're talking about much more manipulation here in terms of dialog taken directly from the movie.
Pierre: Okay. Let's just keep in line with the talk about structure before going into the subject matter of either the movie or the albums. Unlike, say, in Walt SIDney's Fantasia 2000, I know that the albums used in SID are interspersed with each other. In WSF2K, the bands and their albums are kept separate from each other in their own particular places in the synch. Does this also have an antecedent in your former synch works?
baker: Well, I'm trying to think... It bears a slight resemblance to Pink Vertigo, once again, in that we have music from the same album repeating in a synch. However in Pink Vertigo usually the same piece of music is repeated, and also only repeated once. Here in SID... let's take Music From the Body. The music from this album occurs, in separate places, 8 times throughout the synch I believe.
Pierre: Another feature of SID that's different from other synchs, and correct me if I'm wrong here, is your choice to divide the synch into separate regions.... 4 in all I believe. This helped to control the sprawl of the synch, as I remember you saying.
baker: Yes. The regions, which are all between about 23 and 33 minutes long, are called Kansas, Oz, Nome King, and then Return. Each is about the length of a bronze synch, therefore, or something like Full of Secrets or even Piper's Nightmare Xmas, although the latter could be considered a silver synch as well.
Pierre: But there is no rearrangement of any part of the movie in these regions?
baker: Absolutely none. The running sequence of the movie is not affected at all in the synch.
Pierre: I can tell this is going to take a long time to even explain the structure, much less any meaning!
baker: Tell you what. Let me run and get some coffee and we'll start again. [break for coffee]
Pierre: So we're back. And you didn't even ask me I wanted any coffee!
baker: Oh, sorry. But really, it's a habit of mine because I have to carry the coffee back from [delete store] so far that I've had some disastrous results, especially with hot coffee. But, I mean, feel free to go get your own. I can certainly wait.
Pierre: No, no that's alright. I'm not an addict like you. I was basically just kidding. So back to the synch discussion. No, I was really only kidding.
baker: Are you sure?
Pierre: Yes, yes. SID's 1st OZ. Let's chat.
baker: Okay, but only if you're okay.
Pierre: I promise I'm hunky dory. I'll simply get some water if I need something to drink during the interview. That's plenty fine for me. I had coffee earlier this morning anyway.
baker: When do you have to get back to work, anyway?
Pierre: I'm not even thinking about that now. Nor is Butchie. We're just living from moment to moment, and right now, for me, this involves continuing to move through our interview here. This is work in a way. Walking around and enjoying mountain scenery is work.
baker: Hmmm. Are you sure you don't need money for coffee, then?
Pierre: I have more than enough money, thank you very much. Okay, 10 bucks then. I promise to pay you back within the month.
baker: See me after the interview. So let's get back at it then, now that's all resolved.
Pierre: (Glug, glug, glug.) Thanks for splitting that mocha latte with me. (more glugging)
baker: I was thinking about it on my walk to and from the coffee shop, and I think the best way to describe the structure of SID is to see each of the four regions as side-to-side sticks, all basically equal in length and exactly parallel with each other. Then overlaid on top of these sticks are 4 more sticks of the same length, but laid crossways on top of the others... in the same pattern, thus.
baker: Yeah. So these four crossties are the four musical sources of the synch, these being Queen, Jethro Tull, Roger Waters/Ron Geesin, and, lastly, Syd Barrett. Now, notice I mentioned that five albums are used in the synch, but two of these involve almost exclusively Barrett compositions. So I just lumped his two albums together, Magnesium Proverbs and then The Madcap Laughs, and the total music from each artist equals out to about the same length, more or less. And these are, in turn, about the same length as the 4 regions of the synch. Thus all the equal lengthed sticks in our analogy.
Pierre: But there's also the fact that each of these artists are used in each region.
baker: The crosstie effect, right. Jethro Tull, for example, appears in each region. Same for Queen, Waters/Geesin, and Barrett. Let's put it like this. Say each of the regions is a certain color, say red, yellow, green, and blue. Now I use these colors for a specific reason here connected with TILE...
Pierre: This *is* TILE. Right?
baker: According to my theories, this is the only one and true TILE [capital letters intended] of mine. Each region has a certain color attached to it, but... that part may be too hard to go into right now. Let's just leave it as 4 colors. And then we have each artist as 4 different designs, or, better here, shapes. Let's say Jethro Tull is a triangle, Queen is a square, and Waters/Geesin is a circle and Barrett is a, um...
Pierre: Lunatic? No, just kidding. How about a heptagon?
baker: Let's try something simple. How 'bout a crescent moon shaped thingie. Yeah, that would work.
Pierre: Excellent choice. I did contribute after all.
baker: Yeah. So the point in assigning these shapes is that if each artist takes part in each of these regions, then his particular shape becomes a certain color according to the region. So if these regions are red, green, yellow and blue, then each of the four shapes takes on one of these four colors through the synchronicity, giving us a total of sixteen different options in all. Four times four, in other words.
Pierre: Yeah, I see that.
baker: And on top of this, each shape has a different use in the synchronicity, or it manifests in a different way than the other shapes. This is something like the different ways chess pieces can move on a chess board, say, a knight vs. a bishop. But the difference is that all pieces are equal in this case. There is no pawn below and there's no queen far above the others. They are all knights, bishops and perhaps rooks.
Pierre: Perhaps you should just talk about how each artist is used in the synch and maybe this will become more clear. What about these silver tilings? I don't think you've explain that yet.
baker: Another important point -- a very important point, actually -- is that throughout the synch, the music from albums of three of these four artists are used in basically the same order that they are found on the album. The exception is Barrett, who has two assigned albums whose selections are used in a more or less haphazard way throughout the synch. Barrett is something of a wild card in these proceedings, thus.
Pierre: I'm not sure I understand you here.
baker: Well, we talked about the three silver tilings that combine to make a gold tiling. Actually this is somewhat misleading because there are actually three silver tilings and a wildcard tiling that make up the synch. The three silver tilings -- or I should say silver equivalent tilings, because none of the three albums are used in full -- would be these albums I mentioned before from Queen, Jethro Tull, and Roger Waters... or A Night at the Opera, A Passion Play, and Music From The Body respectively. And each of the selections from these albums are used in the same order that they occur in the album. So, for example, in region one, or the Kansas Region of SID's 1st Oz, we use track 1 of Queen's A Night at the Opera; in region two, Oz, we use tracks 3 and 4 from the album; in region 3, or the Nome King region, we use track 8, and in the last region, Return, tracks 11 and 12 are used. Track 12, God Save the Queen, is also the last track of A Night At the Opera, and we have come full circle in ways since region one uses the first track of the album, or Death on Two Legs. And this same "chronological order rule" can be applied to both Jethro Tull's A Passion Play and also Music From the Body.
Pierre: But not Barrett's music.
baker: No, that's the wild card part.
Pierre: So let me see if I understand this. You're taking Queen's A Night at the Opera, the entire album, and using parts of it in each region of the SID's 1st Oz synchronicity, but not enough to where you're messing with the album order of the songs. That part is retained. But you're still dropping songs out... about half of the tracks, if I'm counting correctly?
baker: That is right. But most of these songs were almost automatically eliminated in the beginning. I have a syncher's ear, by now, and I can simply listen to an album and basically tell what is and isn't going to work in a synch. Same for movies... I can see the parts that will work and parts that won't. I don't know how to describe this except that I appear to be looking at resonant material when I run upon these parts.
Pierre: You pick up a vibe, in other words.
baker: Hippie talk again! Yeah, a vibration. Me and the film or album.
Pierre: So let's stick with the Queen album for a little longer. You're saying that... well, why did you *vibrate* with some parts and not others? Or perhaps you're telling me you don't know the answer to this.
baker: I think part of it, and this is especially seen in albums, is that the stronger or more archetypally clear material sticks out for me. But reversing that, actually I decided to use only a small portion of what is the most logical choice to insert in the synch from this album, or the famous mini-opera in itself: Bohemian Rhapsody. My feeling was that, well, no. 1, the entire song wouldn't fit in the synchronicity, and I think this goes along with the fact that the song is so well known that it would be overkill to present it in its entirety here. And also this would rub against the use of entire Queen songs in SID. In all cases except two of the eight selections from Queen, I decided to abridge the songs in one form or another.
Pierre: Wow, this is getting deep and complicated. Perhaps we should just take each Queen song, one by one, and discuss how you used it in SID's 1st Oz. Or do you want to choose another album first?
baker: I think this is a good idea, but let's start with Jethro Tull's Passion Play first, because this was originally how I got into the synchronicity. I didn't tile this synchronicity front to back in an orderly fashion, but, instead, haphazardly. Although, generally it had a front to back motion. However, in saying that I must admit that I had completely finished the fourth region, "Return," before I had completed even one-half or so of the 3rd region preceding it. But I think Tull's Passion Play would be a good place to start. In my opinion, I think we can make a good argument that this is an equivalent silver tiling, edited down to the length of a bronze tiling... just as we have in, say, Horton Hears The Who or The Point of The Wall. The difference is that this silver tiling is interspersed or interlaced with three other silver tilings, plus a fourth, similarly lengthed, random tiling, shall we say.
Pierre: Random tiling?
baker: Yes, the wildcard Barrett material that we discussed before.
Pierre: Oh yeah. Right.
baker: So for A Passion Play, I only use about 20 minutes of the album, or about half the album. This includes the very first part of the album, the very middle of the album, and the very end of the album. There are basically two symmetrical parts around the middle part that are dropped for the purposes of the synchronicity, in other words. And there is one more major trick here: the last part of the album is divided cleanly in two, with no real gap between the two parts of the music, and divided between regions three and four respectively. But we still have a straight run between album and movie in terms of chronological running order. The reason I thought Passion Play would be a good place to start is that I divide the album only in 4 parts in SID's 1st Oz, whereas the Queen album is divided into 8 parts, and The Music From the Body, the Waters/Geesin album, is divided into 7. And, also, this Tull album very clearly defines or equates the center of the album with the center of the synchronicity -- and the movie -- as a whole. In the album, this is the strange story of the Hare who Lost His Spectacles, a spoken saga originally divided equally between sides 1 and 2 of the lp album. I believe it lasts about 7 minutes. So we can use this center, this solid center, as an entrance point to explain the entire synchronicity.
Pierre: Perhaps this would then be a good place to stop for the day. So we're going to work from the center outwards.
baker: No, I think Passion Play will give us the center and also the frame for the synchronicity. Inside and out in other words.
Pierre: Well, perhaps tomorrow we can clarify all of this more. This is a complicated synch, as I knew when I started the interview, and it will most likely take the longest to explain and examine. We'll just see how it goes. Perhaps together we can get through it.
baker: Let's hope so. But it is the big climax of our interview. And why the interview is really taking place at all. I want to see the connection between SID's 1st Oz, the end point, and Dark Side of the Rainbow, the beginning, because it is obvious to me that SID represents a very real and direct continuation of Dark Side of the Rainbow. I guess you could say that if Dark Side of the Rainbow is the best tile, then SID's 1st Oz is the best "T-I-L-E." And you should probably note here that I didn't say the word "Tile" but spelt out the name, emphasizing each letter. And this may be a very personal term, not applicable to other tilings, whether done by myself or others. It is simply hard for me to imagine a better follow up to Dark Side of the Rainbow. I won't be able to think of one without the other now. And I haven't even mentioned The Rainbow Sphere yet!
Pierre: Well, perhaps it's best to save The Rainbow Sphere for tomorrow. My brain is full enough!
baker: Good idea. So I'll see you either sometime late tonight or probably tomorrow morning.
Pierre: Right. Have a good afternoon.
baker: You too. Are you going over to [omit name] Lake with Butchie?
Pierre: Though I might. Want to tag along? Think Swordfisht could play hookie from work as well?
baker: I better stay here and man the phones. You never know when someone high up will demand something to be delivered ASAP.
Pierre: God, you mean? Wait... I meant the President, of course.
baker: Only of a reversed USA, though (laughs).
Pierre: I knew there was an ending joke somewhere. See ya later.
baker: Be sure to wear suntan lotion out there.
NEXT PREVIOUS HOME
02.Rainbow_Complex, DSotYS |