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Zabriskie Point

Various Artists

℗ 1970 MCA Records 25032

℗ 2007 barin.livejournal.com BR LLA 93424

℗ 1970 LP 1: disc 1

℗ 1970 LP 2: disc 2

Various Artists  1970  Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point...just when you thought it was safe to hurtle into the entertainments of the so-called counterculture, this half-baked slice of nonsense arrived under the direction of Michaelangelo Antonioni, who had previously directed Blow-Up, a great success. Zabriskie Point would eventually become notorious for its Death Valley orgy sequence and the ultimate fate of its neophyte star, Mark Flechette, but served, in the main, to do little but devastate Antonioni's reputation.

As a way of accenting the counterculture he thought he was depicting, Antonioni chose to hire a selection of contemporary rock performers. The results of this effort were mixed indeed, with some performers having their music rejected outright after weeks of work, while others left the project after arguments with the ever-evasive director. In the finish, MGM would tack on a Roy Orbison song by way of a desperate attempt to garner a hit single, and the soundtrack album would feature an odd melange of songs from Pink Floyd, the Grateful Dead (whose "Dark Star" is only excerpted), the Kaleidoscope, and others. This compilation is well worth hearing for the Floyd numbers, including the altered "Careful With That Axe, Eugene" presented as "Come In Number 51, Your Time Is Up."

Rhino has gone quite a bit further with this reissue. There's the obligatory booklet, of course, filled with photos and commentary, worth the time it takes to read. There's also a second disc of outtakes from the score four guitar improvisations by Jerry Garcia, who sat in the big MGM recording stage while the Death Valley scene looped around and around, followed by four cuts from Pink Floyd, who tried a variety of different styles to please Antonioni. Floyd fans will hear echoes of the band's later work in these cuts these recordings caught the band in transition from the childlike mysticism of the Syd Barrett days to the psychological mysticism of latter-day Floyd. While not quite finished, these cuts are fascinating and, for many people, essential. Kudos to Rhino for deciding to expand the original album.