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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 | 2948 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
5 stars The Bright Side Of The Sun

What can one possibly say about this superlative album, the reference of the rock culture for now almost 40 years, the album whose perfection is constantly brought back to measure each and all other prog rock albums mercilessly pitted against it, to the point that it became THE reference in Hi-Fi stereo stores. This is also the album that will propulse Floyd's relative small fame in counterculture circles to international (but faceless) superstardom and push the rock industry to new heights, not only in sales expectations, but also in technical sophistication both in the studio and on tour; both in terms of sonic progress as well as the visual aspects, with an impressive lightshow and animation and other props.

The quartet themselves started to realize that they were working on something that would be quite special and bound to success, but not quite to this extent. The album's genesis was not as laborious as expected, as Floyd took some old ideas and reworked them. Water's Brain Damage was written at the time of Meddle and Wright's Us And Them's basic idea had been rejected by Antonioni for the Zabriskie Point soundtrack. While most of the album's frame was presented or tested during the early 72 tour, the album would finally see its release in March 73, but Floyd had been working on different projects in beteen - including the Pompeii show/film, the La Vallée film soundtrack and the music for Roland Petit's ballet.

The album's general concept is a fairly depressive (but unfortunately very lucid) look at humanity, underlined Roger Water's awesome and beautiful lyrics; and it is often viewed by fans as a first appearance of Syd Barrett's spectre in Floyd's preoccupations ("And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes"). Musically DSOTM is a bit of a change: lots of shorter more standard songs (everything being relative, of course) and unusually wordy (for Floyd) and not really allowing lengthy instrumental passages like Echoes or Eugene's Axe. The album's black cover relates to the Dark Side (the reverse of the medal) and the Any Colour You Like light spectrum being transformed by Hypgnosis in the inner gatefold into the heartbeat of Speak To Me. The vinyl came with posters and stickers of pyramids (the prism of the cover) to really create a world that was fascinating to enter and dreading to exit it.

The A-side seems concentrated on man's relation with time and its alienation in fulfilling its happiness. The album opens a highly symbolic heartbeat to verse on the album's weakest track, Breathe. As time goes on through that fantastic stereo effect of On the Run (isn't that what most of us are always doing?) with Mason's tape effect and the group's use of VCS-3 or the amazing alarm clock sequence leading to the flabbergasting roto-drums passage or a bit later some blood-curdlingly beautiful lyrics of Time (the first peak of the album) and the race against lost time. This lost-in-advance race of course can only end up in death and Wright's immense piano in the Sky Gig is accompanying a moving female improvised vocalizing that symbolizes the eulogy and pain of the departed's family. Simply awesome first side.

The other half concept fills up the flipside is concentrating on man's greatest flaws (Waters' future obsession) including greed and materialism (Money and its 7/4 time sig), violence (Us And Them), inconsequence (Any Colour You Like) and authoritarianism and its condemnation of deviancy from the "norm" (Brain Damage, the second peak of the album and Waters' only ? but poignant - vocals), provoking mental reclusion from society (the superb finale Eclipse) for the most fragile of us. No less awesome than the A-side. Musically Floyd also evolved, adding a now-famous sax and female vocals, but the most spectacular is Rick Wright's role: he's the album's unsung hero. In previous albums, he played mainly piano, Farsifa organ and sometimes a mellotron, this album is filled (but not over-flooded) with his new array of synthesizers such as clavinet, minimoog, VCS-3 and finally the great Fender Rhodes lectric piano.

This stupendous album was not only perfectly written, but also masterfully produced by Alan Parsons (who would build a career on that album alone); it hasn't aged at all (especially lyrically) and it is little wonder it spent some 20 years on the US billboard top 200 charts, sometimes popping its head inside in the following 20 years. Speaking of 20, avoid the XXth anniversary remaster, coz it's pretty over-mastered and catastrophic. Go for the 35th 5.1 version.

Sean Trane | 5/5 |

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