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Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon CD (album) cover

DARK SIDE OF THE MOON

Pink Floyd

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.59 | 3002 ratings

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zravkapt
Special Collaborator
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The soundtrack to The Wizard Of Oz is one of Pink Floyd's best albums. He made better albums like The Final Cut but this is pretty good too. His next album The Wall is even better. Nothing here is as good as "Another Brick In The Wall", his best song obviously. He smoked 5000 pounds of marijuana when he made this album...that's why it sounds the way it does. This is one of the best selling albums of all time[citation needed].

In the 1970s stereo salesmen used to play this album to customers, showing them how great a system was. I can only imagine what they said back then, probably something like: "I just randomly picked some record out and look...doesn't that sound great!" This album holds some kind of record for being on the charts for the most weeks; people just kept buying this thing. In the 1980s there was a plant in West Germany that did nothing but manufacture DSOTM CDs. The original CD version of this in North America sounded awful; lots of hiss and supposedly not taken from the masters. The music industry's attitude of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" meant that a proper sounding CD was not available in North America until the 30th anniversary edition in 2003. The record company was making so much money off of people still buying the old crappy versions, they weren't in a hurry to re- release the album.

This only made it to #2 in the UK; a compilation of '60s hits keeping it from the top spot. It was their first album to make the Billboard Top 40, going straight to #1. DSOTM was supposed to be the follow up to Meddle, but the band had already agreed to do another soundtrack for director Barbet Schroeder(Obscured By Clouds). This album was first premiered at a concert in January 1972. Then it was known as Eclipse. The main differences to the later studio version were: the absence of synthesizer, "On The Run" being a guitar improv, "Time" not having the "Breathe" reprise, and "The Great Gig In The Sky" being an organ piece with a tape of a priest giving a sermon playing.

Speaking of Obscured and synths, that was the first album where Floyd used a synth, the non-keyboard VCS3. During the recording sessions for DSOTM the band were one of the first to purchase the newest synth from the same company that made the VCS3: Electronic Music Studios or EMS. It was called the Synthi-AKS and not only had a small keyboard but more importantly was able to produce sequences of notes in multiples of 8. While the MiniMoog was the 'solo' instrument for some keyboardists, the Synthi was the 'sequencer' of choice for not only keyboardists but non-keyboardists like Waters and Gilmour as well. They still use the VCS3 here for sound effects. In the film Pompeii, during the sessions for this album, you can briefly see/hear Gilmour experimenting with an early guitar synthesizer. As far as I know it doesn't actually make an apearance on the album.

"On The Run" is the track that makes the greatest use of the band's new toy; this song must have seemed completely futuristic back in 1973. That track, along with "The Great Gig In The Sky" and "Any Colour You Like" are the proggiest moments on the whole album; the vocal songs are generally not too complicated. "Time" is the most proggy of the vocal songs, mostly due to the instrumental beginning and the reprise of "Breathe" at the end. The main song itself is not too proggy but nonetheless has one of Gilmour's all-time best guitar solos. It was Gilmour's idea for "Money" to alternate between 7/4 and 4/4. On that song, Wright put his Wulitzer piano through a wah-wah pedal. Mason's drumming is good on "Money" and this is the last album where he uses two bass/kick drums.

Waters has some of his best lyrics on this album, but it was a good idea to have Gilmour and Wright sing most of them. Speaking of vocals, for the first time there are guest vocalists here...and a sax player. Two things that a certain Syd Barrett wanted to add to Floyd's sound back in 1968. The rest of the band thought it was a bad idea, but little did they know their breakthrough album in the US would later feature back-up singers and saxophone. Apart from Ummagumma, this is probably the most democratic of Floyd's albums, with each member getting lots of input.

Some of the songs here had been around awhile: "Us And Them" began as a piano piece during the Zabriskie Point soundtrack sessions in 1969; "Breathe" was devoloped from the song with the same name on Waters/Geesin's Music For The Body soundtrack. The voices you hear on the album were taken from interviews the band did with people they knew. Paul and Linda McCartney were interviewd but their responses were not used. I still think the line "I've been mad for f*cking years..." is one of the best openings to any album. "Speak To Me" is a studio creation, a foreshadowing of the whole album.

The vocals of Clare Torry in "The Great Gig In The Sky" were improvised on the spot. That is the single greatest composition here. Although this album is less proggy than other Floyd albums, it makes up for it by being so damn consistent and seamless. A lot of time and effort went into this recording, and of course the work of Alan Parsons deserves a mention. Overall, this is a great sounding album and the balance between vocal samples/sound effects and music is perfect. However, I think the keyboards sound better on WYWH and the bass sound is better on Animals. The sound of the drums here though, are better than those two albums.

I neither think this is Floyd's best album nor is it a "Masterpiece of progressive rock". But for sheer consistency, it's hard to beat. A one of a kind album and honestly it doesn't deserve anything less than 4 stars.

zravkapt | 4/5 |

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