Pink Floyd‘s The Dark next of the Moon is among the greatest albums of the 1970s – best up there through Who’s Next and also a an extremely short perform of others. It has actually aged extremely well, regardless of its futuristic and also groundbreaking use of then-new technology – most notably the VCS3 synthesizer – and also sounds as modern-day and relevant today as it walk on its release in 1973. Reader who do not accept these incontrovertible arguments, please note: in this evaluation I will not effort to persuade you come my method of thinking. Nearly forty year after that is release, if girlfriend don’t get The Dark side of the Moon, well, you don’t obtain it.

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Thematically unified, seamlessly produced and also engineered through the utmost fist to detail, DSOTM set the 1970s-and-beyond conventional for albums together an entity unto themselves. Certainly there were unified-concept releases prior to it. Some organized together much better as narratives, however none equaled DSOTM in regards to sonic continuity: The Dark next of the Moon was (and remains) a movie because that the ears.

At the really tail-end of 2011, EMI released yet-another-version that this standard album. First, that course, there to be the initial vinyl LP (and cassette, and 8-track). DSOTM gained the mobile Fidelity Sound Lab treatment on vinyl at the end of the 70s, and also was very early offering ~ above the brand-new CD style in 1984. The Shine On CD box set included DSOTM in addition to several other Pink Floyd albums (the an option of discs for that set long having been a suggest of contention because that fans). A SACD version (with a 5.1 approximation that the original’s quadrophonic mix) came out in 2003. Yet one more box collection (Oh, through the Way) righted Shine On‘s wrong by consisting of DSOTM along with most (but no all) that Pink Floyd’s various other albums. With so countless reissues – coupled with the reality that the album continued to be on the Billboard charts because that a staggering 1500-plus main – it’s perhaps one of the easiest albums come find, new or used. So why should anyone pay attention to the 2011 reissues?

The prize is both an easy and complex. A new 2CD set of DSOTM called Experience Edition gift on its very first disc the original album, remastered by James Guthrie, a long-time combine of the band. It sounds flawless, as does every other previously-released variation of The Dark side of the Moon. Yet it’s the second disc that makes this parcel essential. While in the 21st century, the idea that a tape rolling top top a concert stage and presenting among their albums in start-to-finish style seems fairly ordinary, in the early 1970s, the most definitely was no so. The Who had done it because that a few years v Tommy – and also would briefly take a cracked at the strategy again v Quadrophenia – yet for the most part, together things just weren’t excellent in those days.


But Pink Floyd had emerged The Dark side of the Moon as a merged work, also though the compositions were from the miscellaneous members of the band. That quality, in fact, is one of DSOTM‘s strengths, and one of numerous reasons why that beats the hell out of the Roger Waters-dominated 1979 principle album The Wall. As at an early stage as January 1972, a near-finished performance variation of the work had actually been developed, and also in fact Pink Floyd premiered the the The Dome in Brighton and Portsmouth, England ~ above the 20th and also 21st of the month, a full fourteen months prior to its release as an album. To be sure, those beforehand versions different from the final work, many notably throughout some the the more abstract sections (“On the Run,” “Any Colour friend Like”), however they shown that Pink Floyd approached DSOTM no as a mere collection of songs, yet as a suite.

Both the Brighton show and also the Portsmouth performance have actually long circulated among collectors, under the unofficial titles of, respectively, The Darkside Rehearsals and Darkside Premiere. In reality there room no much less than six DSOTM reflects in circulation native January 1971 alone, and more than forty (yes, forty!) live concert recordings that the occupational that date prior to the album’s main release in in march 1973. (Sections that the Brighton display have to be released on the six-disc DSOTM Immersion Edition, no reviewed here).

But together one could expect, many of those forty-plus live recordings the DSOTM room from audience tapes, and also the sonic high quality doesn’t perform justice to the aural brilliance of the music, the performance and the live manufacturing (featuring the group’s well known “Azimuth Coordinator,” a joystick-controlled device that controlled Pink Floyd’s groundbreaking live quadrophonic mix).


By late November that 1974, Pink Floyd could play The Dark next of the Moon in their sleep. However a somnambulant performance is not what the audience at London’s empire Pool (in Wembley) were treated come on the nights of the 15th and also 16th. By this point, the band had actually already added into their stage performance huge sections the what would come to be the albums Wish You to be Here and Animals, however DSOTM continued to be the centerpiece that the show. BBC’s Radio One recorded and also broadcast the DSOTM part of the November 16 show, and though that too has circulated among traders because that ages, it has only currently received main release.

So through all early out respect come the post-Waters version of the band – and also I’m one who loves the David Gilmour-led era, having actually seen both tourism (1987, 1994) – the later live recordings the DSOTM have actually all to be rendered completely obsolete. The 1988 live-double Delicate Sound that Thunder (that’s DSOT together opposed come DSOTM, through the way) consisted of three songs from The Dark next of the Moon, and also 1995’s Pulse included the whole thing. And also Roger Waters extended (so come speak) about half of the album on his 2000 In the Flesh live set, and also has since an installed shows the re-creates DSOTM in the entirety. Or therefore they say. (Gilmour’s 2008 Live in Gdansk features around ten minutes’ precious of DSOTM music, and boasts Richard Wright on keyboards. But, still.)

But the Wembley display from 1974 is the genuine deal. The foursome space aided and abetted on stage by 3 auxiliary performers. Saxophonist Dick Parry transforms in solos the differ a little from the studio versions of “Money” and “Us and also Them,” however they’re tasty nonetheless. Vocalists Venetta Fields and Carlena Williams carry out their ideal to recreate the wonderful ambience provided on record by (among others) Doris Troy and Clare Torry. The band complies with the sequence of the album an extremely closely, fan in part to a reliance on tape-recorded impacts (this was the 70s, after all), but they carry out stretch out on some numbers, many notably “Money.”

There’s several shade-and-light in the performances, and also those who preserve that Waters (bass) and also drummer Nick Mason weren’t world-class musicians had finest take a close listen to this show. Mason’s roto-tom work on “Time” is every little bit as subtle and explosive on the Wembley analysis of “Time” together on the studio version. And also while Richard Wright had to leveling his key-board parts a little bit for live power – on the album, there’s quite frequently two-handed piano, two-handed-plus-pedals organ and also VCS3 synthesizer all going at when – the choices he makes are constantly the right, most expressive ones. And David Gilmour is, as always, David Gilmour: his sonic flights ~ above the Stratocaster and soaring vocals (often in harmony with Wright) assist make what would certainly otherwise be merely a prog-rock work instead one that the most easily accessible and essential rock albums that the 1970s. Or any type of other era, for the matter.

You may likewise enjoy my crucial essay covering the whole recorded output of Pink Floyd. — bk.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: If you uncovered value in this testimonial of The Dark next of the Moon, friend might additionally enjoy the book I wrote around Pink Floyd’s an innovative journey the culminated in that creation. You can learn much more about Reinventing Pink Floyd: indigenous Syd Barrett to The Dark next of the Moon in ~ this link.