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Thread: John Latham's film 'Speak' - Lost 1967 Floyd soundtrack

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    Default John Latham's film 'Speak' - Lost 1967 Floyd soundtrack

    Being obsessed with this recording I did a search of the forum archives and only saw two or three mentions of it. I imagine that lots of fans aren't aware it exists. IMO this is the Floyd holy grail. It also might be the most obscure Pink Floyd recording of all. As far as I know none of the members of the Floyd have even mentioned it in interviews.

    A little back-story...John Latham was one of the more controversial conceptual artists in the 1960's (think Yoko Ono, Fluxus). A couple of Latham's films, most notably Speak, were projected behind the Floyd's live set at the International Times launch at the Roundhouse in October '66 and later at a few shows in early 1967. He also had something to do with a 1/67 gig at the Commonworth Institute in London. It was mentoned in a local paper but the description it pretty vague. Anthony Stern thought he did some sort of set design. Back to the soundtrack..

    Speak is an 11 minute animated film that was known for it's intense flicker/strobe effect when shown in London area psychedelic clubs. That being the case Latham thought the Floyd would be a good match for its soundtrack.

    Near the end of the 10/67 De Lane Lea sessions (which produced Jugband Blues, Remember a Day, Vegetable Man and Beechwoods) the Syd led Floyd set aside some time to take a stab at recording a soundtrack for the film. A recording was completed and submitted to Latham but he rejected it.*

    Unfortunately neither the film nor the Floyd's soundtrack have circulated. The soundtrack does survive on a 1/2" 4 track reel and is stored with the rest of Pink Floyd's early recordings at EMI and is logged as "John Latham"**. Norman Smith produced and one M. Cooper was the engineer. Nothing has been done with the reel since 1967.

    What is interesting is the band thought enough of the recording to give to Latham. That and ever thing that was recorded at quick De Lane Lea sessions is ****ing great. Someone shoud bring this to Nick's or Paul Loasby's attention. Nick probably forgot all about it.

    *Latham ended up using the sounds of a motor driving a circular saw while being used to saw up books for the soundtrack

    **see the Random Precision book for more details on the De Lane Lea sessions.

    Shine On,

    Chris

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    Hey ho,
    any idea where this John Latham is nowadays, Chris ?
    Deep buried ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by zag View Post
    Hey ho,
    any idea where this John Latham is nowadays, Chris ?
    Deep buried ?
    He died a few years ago. I saw a long filmed interview with him that was done shortly before he died but he didn't mention anything PF related. I wonder if he kept a copy of the soundtrack and his estate has a copy?

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    Ok.. did a bit of searching around and found this Site which has for rental or viewing the 11 min film Speak by John Latham. Unfortunately I do no live in the UK otherwise I would go and check it out, but if anyone lives near enough it might be worth checking their Viewing facility that they have available to see if the soundtrack Is by the Barrett led Floyd.

    This could become very interesting.

    K.F.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaduFlyer View Post
    Ok.. did a bit of searching around and found this Site which has for rental or viewing the 11 min film Speak by John Latham. Unfortunately I do no live in the UK otherwise I would go and check it out, but if anyone lives near enough it might be worth checking their Viewing facility that they have available to see if the soundtrack Is by the Barrett led Floyd.

    This could become very interesting.

    K.F.
    A friend of mine has been in touch with Lux. I forget the details but you can borrow a print of the film for something like $100-$150 or so. IIRC you had to have a legit reason for borrowing it. Telling them you are a Floyd fan or John Latham collector wouldn't cut it.

    In any event the film does not have any Floyd audio. It was either silent or had the sound of an electric saw as the soundtrack. Our best chance at hearing this is bringing it to Nick's attention.

    Just remembered this...in the late 90's Waters was on some AOL chat with fans and someone asked him about John Latham. The question was broken, something like "Roger, do you remember John Latham?" and his answer indicated he didn't recognize the name.

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    The John Latham archive is housed at his old studio, here:

    http://www.flattimeho.org.uk/

    in Peckham, South London.

    I believe you can arrange for a tour, and watch the films there. I know someone who works there actually, although I doubt that would make a whole lot of difference to anything.

    Your best bet would be to send them an email or call the number on the website, I guess its possible the tape was kept over the years, it seems pretty unlikely but worth a try...

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    One could only wonder what sounds the Floyd made for that John Latham, "Speak," film.

    The film is a bit strange, very psychedelic, and in art terms, ahead of its time. I enjoyed watching it very much and I'm sure it would have been just as brilliant with the Floyd's soundtrack on the film. It is a shame John Latham never used the Floyd track, he would have immortalized his film.

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    I know a guy who's very active in the world of '60s underground film research/archiving, and he's looked into this one from that side of things. Apparently the Latham estate don't know anything about a Floyd soundtrack for Speak. He also tried either Andrew King or Peter Jenner (I forget which) and they couldn't remember anything either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris M View Post
    Unfortunately neither the film nor the Floyd's soundtrack have circulated. The soundtrack does survive on a 1/2" 4 track reel and is stored with the rest of Pink Floyd's early recordings at EMI and is logged as "John Latham"**. Norman Smith produced and one M. Cooper was the engineer. Nothing has been done with the reel since 1967.
    that info appears in Random Precision book???

    if yes, how could be this has been "by passed" such a long time" ?
    Nick Mason
    I do have some bootlegs of our stuff to remind me how much I hate them. ( )

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    Q: How do you feel about fans exchanging bootlegs?
    A: I think it sounds like a healthy ( ) hobby.

    Dave Gilmour
    The sound quality is usually dreadful ( ), but I've got one with hundreds of things on. Not quite sure where they've got it from. For people like us who've done a lot over the years it's not a major issue ( )



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    Quote Originally Posted by scarecrow1000 View Post
    The John Latham archive is housed at his old studio, here:

    http://www.flattimeho.org.uk/

    in Peckham, South London.

    I believe you can arrange for a tour, and watch the films there. I know someone who works there actually, although I doubt that would make a whole lot of difference to anything.

    Your best bet would be to send them an email or call the number on the website, I guess its possible the tape was kept over the years, it seems pretty unlikely but worth a try...
    Get in quick, they're closing on Sunday, for good: http://flattimeho.org.uk/events/flat...closing-party/
    "Dear Karl Dallas
    This is the first and probably the last time I shall write to a member of your normally ignoble calling. I thought your piece on Animals in the MM was extremely perceptive, lucid and humane. To at last receive such tangible evidence that someone has copped it all, and explained it all so well to the great unwashed, lightened the load no end: Thank you!
    Yours sincerely, Roger Waters"

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