on September 30, 2011
I've had many versions of this perennial favorite. Heck, right now I have three versions of the studio release of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon alone. The original CD version, the 30th Anniversary hybrid SACD and, this, the new 2011 remaster. Although I have yet to hear the MFSL rendition, to me this is the best effort to date for a DSotM CD.
For one thing, thankfully, they didn't compress the music. It's seems to level match fairly well with the other Dark Side CDs I have. Clarity seems to have improved also. It's so clear that it makes the others seem a bit muddied. The great part is not etched. Meaning it sounds smooth while the music is very well defined.
The noise floor seems to be lower on the 2011 remaster than either the original or 30th Ann. That makes the music more dynamic with the quieter background.
Overall the improvements of the 2011 remaster of DSotM are worth getting. The sound differences may not be dramatic but are certainly audible and make this classic even better.
That's only half the story though. The Experience edition comes with the '74 live performance of this great album. THIS is what makes paying the small premium over the Discovery edition well worth it. Not only are the boys in terrific form giving an outstanding show (much better than the Pulse show 20 years later) but the sound quality is amazing. If the original studio version weren't so well known and this 1974 concert album were released years earlier, this could almost have become the definitive version.
Highly recommended just for this CD alone. Add the well done 2011 remaster and it deserves a 5 star rating.
on June 19, 2001
Studies have been conducted on the success of Pink Floyd's classic, best-of-the-best "Dark Side of the Moon." Some results are as follows:
*One in every 20 people under the age of 50 in the United States owns a copy of this album *Dark Side remained on Billboard's 200 album chart for an amazing 15 years straight and then for another two when it was remastered back in 1994 *It is currently the most successful album ever with upwards of 40 million copies sold world-wide
Now the question... WHY? Why should one album by a band back in 1973 have such outstanding achievments and admiration even today? Perhaps because of the time period. Look at other albums released the same year by bands like Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Rush, and the Doobie Brothers among several others. This was the year of rock perfection. Or maybe it was because of the rave for concept albums. Or the simple, yet unforgettable album cover.
More likely it was the band's chemistry and ability to make jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring, thought-provoking music. This is Pink Floyd at its collective finest, with everyone contributing. Unlike the band in 6 years, Waters did NOT do everything. Gilmoure took a huge chunk of the music-writing, laying down the chord progressions on "Breathe," "Time," and "Any Colour You Like;" the singing on the album's best songs, Water's conceeding to David's far superior voice; and pumping out what would later be hailed as some of rock's most influential lead-guitar riffs on "Money" and "Brain Damage." Wright got in on much of the writing as well with his keyboard contributions on "Breathe," the symphonic "Great Gig in the Sky," "Us and Them," and the amazing keybpard licks and effects on "Colour." Mason, who rarely contributed, put in his efforts on "Speak to Me," "Time," and the Waters-less "Colour." Finally, Roger Waters put down most of the album's music, laid down all the bass-lines as usual, thought up the album's concept, and wrote all the lyrics. If that's not enough, he made himself heard on "Brain Damage," "Eclipse," and the chorus of "Time." Anyway you put it, THIS is the true Pink Floyd; all contributing, all acknowledged.
The band's titanic success was continued on later albums like 1975's "Wish You Were Here," 1977's "Animals," and 1979's "The Wall," although by that time the band had begun to fall apart from Waters' power obsession. By 1983, the band had slipped to a Water's-solo-project version of itself, with "The Final Cut," and finally a break-up. But never would the band see the success or experience the musical genious of "Dark Side of the Moon." So pop this in, take another listen, and remember- even if you don't believe the hype- after this album, music would never be the same....
So here it is... the Dark Side 'Immersion' set. This is the fifth version I've owned of the legendary album, and I would have been happy to own just the Blu-Ray disc alone here, but of course it is not available separately. That said, I'm happy to own Disc 6, the 'Extra Audio Tracks,' mainly for the Alan Parsons Mix. It's interesting to hear for historical value. The various ephemera, marbles and so on, are kinda fun, but I'm not the type of collector who looks for such items.
As for the music, the Quad Mix sounds entirely fantastic on the Blu-Ray disc. Regarding the central Dark Side version of this reissue, the James Guthrie 2011 remaster, I really cannot detect any difference between this and the 2003 remaster that was done for the 30th anniversary of Dark Side. Perhaps my listening mind is too taken up in the details of the amazing yet ultra-familiar album experience to notice any subtleties. The Wembley '74 live album, which I'm listening to as I write this, is a solid concert representation of the album. The sound quality is very good considering the age of the recording. The additional video concert footage is all relatively good, though some of it suffers a bit from poor camera angles and slightly muddy sound mix.
The documentary here is more of promotional vehicle, brief but moderately informative. The 'Classic Albums' story on Dark Side is really a much more thorough and interesting dissection of the album's creation and would have been a better addition to this set. I guess the business arrangements for that were too difficult or something.
Packaging-wise, this is not the most well organized box set, as opposed to something like the Pixies box. There are slots for Discs 1-4 built into the set, but everything else is just loose. Discs 5 & 6 (including the Blu-Ray disc, to me the most important item) are in cardboard sleeves, but there are no designated slots for them within the box. They're just dropped in with everything else.
This new remaster of Dark Side of the Moon is a wonderful sonic treat. The subtle sound effects and rich tapestry of sound is now surrounding you in DSD 5.1 glory (if you have an SACD player) and the clarity is outstanding. I read where they went back to some original "un-pre-mixed" tracks that hanever been heard "first-generation" by any of us before. Very nice...
I have a few beefs, some minor, some major.
1. The song breaks are in the wrong places. Generally they take you not to the next track, but a few seconds before the real song break takes place. It's REAL aggravating. Oops...
2. The mix seems to me to be subtly different from what I'm used to (I never had the 92 remaster, only the original LP and CD releases) and in some cases, I'm afraid it's noticably different (inferior?) Most notably is "Great Gig in the Sky" where the wonderful vocal solo is relegated to the background, fighting for attention with the organ. This is somewhat mitigated by the surround mix, but on a standard CD player it was noticable, and a little irritating. Since I do a lot of listening in the car, I'm just not sure I wouldn't prefer the original CD to this there. Or I guess I could just burn the old vinyl copy onto CD (see below)
3. I'm sorry, but the title of this album is "Dark Side of the Moon", not "THE Dark Side of the Moon" as it says on the spine of this reissue. Serious proofreading error, imho. Maybe it's intentional, to distinguish?
4. Nice new cover art, but the original was perfect. I wish that the book had been reversible, so you could have the original cover image. (btw, I didn't like the change they made in 92 either) I know it's nitpicking, but back in the days when album art was 12" square it wouldn't have been.
Ultimately, it's worth getting if you're a fan of the album, and if you're not a fan of the album...what is your problem? But to my ears, as a CD, this does not surpass the High-quality Vinyl Original Master Recording from Mobile Fidelity that I listened to in the 80s (on a really good turntable and stereo). Unless of course, you must have surround. And if you must, you MUST hear this. The 5.1 mix is exhilirating, and not as obnoxious and "un-musical" as others I've heard. I give it 4 stars, because the SACD portion definitely gets 5, and the CD gets about 3, so I split the difference.
on October 6, 2007
The problem with some albums (most of The Beatles' catalogue, Zeppelin, Radiohead, etc) is so much has been written about them there's not a lot new to say. For DARK SIDE OF THE MOON I figured I'd examine the record more in the context of their catalogue overall, as this is not very often examined in Amazon reviws.
As I've said in other reviews, Pink Floyd has always been a weird band. There's a reason why they're considered the ultimate space-rock band. And while there are other albums in their catalogue that are even spacier and more strange than the perennial favorite DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (ATOM HEART MOTHER and PIPER AT THE GATES OF DOWN, to name but two), it is here, on this album, that the band trimmed back their wild experiments to manageable songs. And once the general public figured out what Pink Floyd was capable of, they bought the record in droves.
Pink Floyd has a sizeable catalogue that dates before DARK SIDE OF THE MOON. While the Pink Floyd Faithful know these albums, a lot of fans don't know these records, and if they go looking for another DARK SIDE, they are often puzzled at the music they do find. There's a reason for that.
Pre-1973, Pink Floyd was very much on the outer edges of rock music. Like The Grateful Dead, they played by their own rules, and invented and subverted their own musical forms into something druggy, ethereal, and far beyond the scope of any normal popsong. Listening to early Pink Floyd records is like an audio-acid trip, and it's surprising that not only did they get to release such experimental music, with no real chance of getting radioplay or singles, but they got to release so many albums of it. With today's market and expectations and pro-tools mentality of the quest for the perfect popsong that will be the next big hit, the early PF records would never have been released.
All this changed in 1972, when Pink Floyd released their criminally underrated soundtrack OBSCURED BY CLOUDS. The true precursor to DARK SIDE, OBSCURED was recorded just as the initial sessions for DARK SIDE began. Moving away from the side-long suites and long winding instrumentals, OBSCURED features 10 songs, only four of which are instrumentals, with the other six songs being very akin to the DARK SIDE songs. It is with OBSCURED that Pink Floyd began writing music that would be much more accessible to the general record-buying public.
Pink Floyd continued in the direction they began with OBSCURED BY CLOUDS. Streamlining their music, Pink Floyd forwent the rather bizarre experiments that made up the bulk of their previous work. But don't think they sold out. Everything in DARK SIDE has precedent in their previous work.
While there's nothing that truly sounded like DARK SIDE in 1973, the music sounds very much like a culmination of all their previous experimentation (not counting Barret's PIPER) dating from 1968 to 1972. But rather than let their audio love of sound effects get away with them ("Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast"), or draw their often fascinating instrumental music to gargantuan proportions ("Echoes", "Atom Heart Mother") that only prog fans will wade through, the band took the elements of their overall sound, streamlined it, and used much more accessible songwriting, but still being true to their artistic vision.
And it is a vision and a sound that a lot of people love. DARK SIDE epitomizes what the band was capable of. Filled with sound effects, spacey music, turbocharged [turbocharted] instrumentals, DARK SIDE takes elements from all of the band's previous albums and utilizes them here. A lot of the sound effect work is rather famous, especially the interview snippits that engineer Alan Parsons and the band sprinkled throughout the album. Paul McCartney was interviewed, but seasoned by years of media coverage, the band felt his answers were too guarded and not as off-the-cuff as they wanted. The "I'm drunk" line was by Henry McCullough. There's also a barely audible orchestral version of The Beatles "Ticket To Ride" that can be briefly heard at the end of "Eclipse".
Pink Floyd always had the potential to be not only great musicians and rock artists but also commercially. But let's not kid ourselves. Without DARK SIDE, they would not be the commercial juggernauts that they have become today. Had they broke up with OBSCURED, today Pink Floyd would be one of those cult bands that a lot of people haven't heard of, but that those who do know them find them very interesting.
And that is why DARK SIDE is their definitive album, and one of the biggest selling albums ever. It is here on DARK SIDE that Pink Floyd went from being beyond a cult band with some rather esoteric, rather impenetrable music, to being a very successful band with the same sonic identity, but more streamlined and much more accessible to the general pubic.
(As far s the whole Dark Side of the Rainbow phenomena goes, where Wizard of Oz and the album syncs, apparently it is unintentional, or so the band claims. Pretty bizaare how well they sync if indeed it is unintentional).
on September 27, 2011
Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of The Moon was released originally in March of 1973.
The album was the band's first number one album here in the United States of America and has stayed on the charts for nearly an accumulated 1,300 plus weeks (741 weeks from 1973-88 and many more now from 1991 - today where it still remains). Plus, The Dark Side of the Moon is the third largest selling album worldwide with some 40 million copies sold (including 15 million here in the US but should be updated for recertification now).
There is a good reason why this album has held up for the last nearly 40 years and it's because the songs deal with problems that one goes through in life and the production was many years ahead of its time. This was the first album that ever touched me in the heart, I used to go to sleep listening to Dark Side when I was a baby because lullabies wouldn't work half the time so when all else failed, my mother would put Dark Side on the turntable and it did the trick. Consequently, I became a die-hard Floyd fanatic, which I still am today.
The Dark Side of the Moon started out life as a piece called Eclipse and eventually became Dark Side of the Moon. Guitarist/singer David Gilmour's vocals and guitar solos dominate throughout the album as does keyboard player Rick Wright's keyboard work and harmony vocals.
This album has survived the test of time like no other album ever made before or since.
As everyone knows, the album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London between June of 1972 and January of 1973 with the band producing and Alan Parsons (whom would go on to be a succesful producer in his own right) engineering the album with Chris Thomas (whom had worked with The Beatles and became a producer in his own right working with Pete Townshend, Roxy Music and The Pretenders among others) handling the mixing.
All of the songs dealt with different topics that one experiences in life like "Time" (with clock noises and about racing against or managing time) and "Us and Them" (a song about the perils of war and is still relevant today). Note: the music of Us and Them was originally intended for the 1970 film Zabriske Point during the riot scenes and was called The Violent Sequence but director Antonioni rejected it in favor of another Careful With That Axe Eugene entitled Come In Number 51 but was luckily resurrected for the album's best track.
Instrumentals like "Speak to Me" (featuring voices that are dominant throughout the album and with a heartbeat that was done on drummer Nick Mason's bass drum which opens and closes the disc) and "On the Run" which was originally a guitar jam entitled The Travel Sequence changed into this eight note Synthi-A VCS3 synthesizer pattern complete with tape effects and guitar noises. "The Great Gig in the Sky" was originally called The Religious Sequence/Mortality Sequence before it changed into this instrumental about death and dying and featured the excellent vocal phrasings of Clare Torry. "Any Colour You Like" (which was originally called Scat during the preliminary stages of the album) is excellent as well.
The other tracks are classics. Aside the aforementioned Us and Them and Time, you get classics like "Breathe" (which was originally written during the recording of bass player/singer/lyricist Roger Waters' first solo project The Body with different lyrics and music save the Breathe in the Air refrain), "Money" (which eventually became Pink Floyd's first American Top 20 hit and one of the few singles released with a 7/4 time signature and was about the pleasures and negatives that money brought) and the closing one-two punch of "Brain Damage" (a song referencing to original Floyd leader Syd Barrett and absent friends) and "Eclipse" (which sums up the album) wrap up this classic of an album.
This album is a must in anyone's record collection and the remastering on first disc of this Experience Edition was done by James Guthrie and Joel Plante and is excellent (I don't know if this or the Hybrid SACD are best CD issues (I thought the Mobile Fidelity version was flat) but the original 1970s vinyl is hard to top)!
Now as part of Pink Floyd's Why Pink Floyd? reissue campaign, this classic is reissued and remastered in three different configurations. This Experience Edition contains a live recording of the band performing this album at Wembley Arena (then known as Empire Pool) in November of 1974 which was originally recorded by the BBC. Turns out, the band also had a mobile truck on hand as well to record the whole show of 16 November 1974. I had the ROIO of Dark Side at Wembley 1974 for years but what Andy Jackson, David Gilmour and Damon Iddins did with this was superb. Many of the tracks are extended (On the Run (an altered sequence compared to the album), Great Gig (featuring Carlena Williams and Venetta Fields doing Clare Torry's performance as a duel (I think this version trumps the studio version)), Money and Any Colour You Like (which is five minutes longer than the album version and compare this to PULSE and it has just a four man Floyd playing with a fire and passion. I know some are griping and complaining that the "Echoes" encore is missing but I believe a live version will be on a Experience Version of Meddle in the form of its 1971 performance for the BBC. The booklet is excellent and the packaging is somewhat original to the record. Kudos to PINK FLOYD (IMMERSION REVIEW LATER)!
Being a Pink Floyd fan, I have purchased every version of this album since it was released 30 years ago.
By far the best version is the SQ Quadraphonic LP version, but as far as the stereo mix goes, the original UK Harvest CD (made in Japan) is still the high point.
Ten years ago, the fine engineer Doug Sax made a valiant effort, but it is clear listening to that XXth Aniversary Edition CD that the original tapes no longer have the same dynamics they originally had (magnetic analog storage slowly loses it quality).
Nevertheless, I decided to give this new 30th Anniversary CD a try. I should mention here that this is only a review of the standard stereo tracks - I don't yet have an SACD-capable player.
However this release doesn't make me want to run out and buy one. My worst fears have been realized as once again, the overall mix of the album has been lost in favor of "resolving power", ie the ability to hear little details. The problem is that after applying techniques to bring out such details, the engineers have done nothing to restore the original mix of the album.
The result is like a starving artist's copy of a Rembrandt painting - it sounds something like Dark Side of the Moon, but when you hear the real thing, you realize that it is only a faded imitation.
The problem is that few people these days have access to what it actually sounds like. Almost no one listens to their LP versions, and only a handful of people are lucky enough to own the original UK Harvest CD. Furthermore, it seems clear that the engineers of this 30th Anniversary Edition haven't listened to the original, either.
Interestingly, the original engineer, Alan Parsons, asked to be involved in this 30th Anniversary Edition project, but was shut out. It would seem that future listeners suffer as a result.
PS My qualifications: I am a California state certified Studio Recording Engineer. One of my instructors was the original engineer for the drum recordings for "Dark Side of the Moon". I compared the 30th Anniversary Edition, XXth Anniversary Edition, and UK Harvest CDs using AKG K240 Studio Monitor headphones (as used in many studio recording situations over the past 20-30 years).
on March 28, 2004
Once in a while, a rock band or other musical entity puts out an album that, quite simply, changes the face of music history. And yet, Pink Floyd was a rather unlikely group of musical innovators: An excellent singer/guitarist(David Gilmour) who was, until the release of this album, best known merely as "Syd Barrett's replacement," (Barrett, still regarded by many fans as the band's true musical genius, had recently taken leave of his senses and was apparently holed up somewhere watching the floor relate to the walls); a fine bassist/writer/singer/perfectionist (Roger Waters) still tortured by his fatherless upbringing; a low-key keyboardist and rather good singer and writer (Rick Wright) who stayed in the background as much as possible; and finally, a rather thoughtful percussionist and sound-effects wizard (Nick Mason), whose most lasting claim to fame would be as the man who vocalized the chilling spoken word threat in the band's classic "One Of These Days". An unlikely band of innovators, to be sure. And yet, Pink Floyd was properly positioned in the right place at the right time with the right sound. The year was 1973, the musical revolution started in the sixties was still in full swing, FM radio was in it's infancy (Recently taken over by hippie-types who longed for hours and hours of nice, spacy, commercial-free programming). In a word, rock music was the touchstone of our generation, just as television had been the touchstone of our parent's generation, and computers would be to our childen's generation. Those of us in high school or college spent hours every night and weekend, gathered around the stereo in someone's apartment or room, getting high, drunk, or just daydreaming, pondering such important questions as "What makes Teflon stick to the pan?" (Thank you, Gallagher!) In many of these listening spaces, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon was the album of choice, sometimes listened to over and over again. The mad mutterings of "Speak to Me," the celestial swirl of "Breathe", the jet-propulsive paranoia of "On the Run," and "Time," a favorite subject of young questers everywhere (along with madness, death, and pizza), "The Great Gig in the Sky" (with Claire Torry's incredible vocal-cries of universal anguish, "Money", first-rate blues rock, "Us and Them", hypnotic yet thought-provoking, "Any Colour You Like," sheer beauty, "Brain Damage", the madman inside all of us, and "Eclipse," the perfect thematic coda. All received by us, the grateful listeners, in our various states of consciousness (altered or otherwise), and then purchased, time and again, from music stores. Dark Side of the Moon was the ONE ALBUM that every rock fan (and many wouldn't otherwise be caught dead listening to rock music) had to own. Why??? After thirty years, I can offer only a tentative answer: Most people cannot stand to ruminate for long about ourselves and our place in the universe, yet every human being on the face of this earth will at sometime wonder: Why are we here??? The Pink Floyd, through this classic masterwork, holds no answers for us, yet it is as if they are offering to accompany us as we journey toward self-discovery, making the transition easier, soothing the pain, quieting the hurt even as they force us to see inside ourselves. Thanks, guys, from all of your fellow voyagers. I think I can safely speak for many when I say the road to self-awareness would have been much bumpier if I had not traveled it in your celestial vehicle. I say once, and I say again, SHINE ON, YOU CRAZY DIAMONDS and rock on, even unto the darkest part of the dark side of the moon.
on July 7, 2005
Well, as always, your mileage may vary...
It is quite possible for someone to hear this version of the album and hate it. When I first put it on, I wasn;t too happy myself. Then I switched my receiver to direct input mode, bypassing all of the processing that the receiver does and, well, wow.
The sound of this album on the SACD tracks is a revelation. First, let's deal with the stereo mix.
This is clearly the original stereo mix, with all the little bits of hiss and the tiny sound of some big band playing the beatles barely audible at the tail end of the album. No noise reduction, just really good, clean mastering with all the punch this recording needs. The roto-toms in "Time" pop out of the speakers, the opening guitars in "Breathe" shimmer", and, well, everything is just right.
Then we get to the surround mix. This is very well done, reflects the orignal stereo mix exactly in volume of instruments, reverb, and tone, surrounds the listener well, and has absolutely no hiss whatsoever. Amazing. Simply amazing.
The cd layer is merely adequate. I agree with other reviewers, something went amiss with the cd layer. But I bought this for the SACD content, and that is simply awesome. To the "engineer" who said that he wouldn't consider buying a SACD player after hearing the cd layer of this cd, let me offer you an analogy of what you are saying:
I have a 1978 VW bus that I drive occasionally. It shares many common engine parts with some Porshes made at the same time. Your saying that the cd convinces you to ignore the SACD is like me saying that I don't like Porshes because my VW bus doesn't go 100 mph. Sharing parts doesn't make my car a Porshe, and just because the disc is round and shiny doesn't mean that SACD isn't any good.
on March 25, 2003
This is one of the releases I was waiting for with baited breath. I am a major Floyd Fanatic. And since getting stuff on SACD, I couldn't wait for some Floyd titles to come out. That being said...here's the review.
This is probably one of the best SACD transfers yet. The sounds are crisp and clear. The seperation of the channels is fantastic. And the music is great.
The heartbeat on Speak to Me/Breathe gets you in the right mood. It sounds like it is coming from your body. Then you get to On The Run. Songs like this are the reason we have surround sound. You can hear the guy running around the room. The helicoptor seems to circle around the room. And the air rushes around. Then you get to Time. The Alarm clocks sound like they are right in the room. You can hear the resonance on the grandfather bell. Then you get to Great Gig in the Sky and you can hear the range of Clare Torrey's voice. Then on money, you can hear the change circling from speaker to speaker. Everything about this CD is fantastic. It seems that Pink Floyd were ahead of their time when they made this one.
It's really a shame that Amazon only has 5 stars because this one rates a 10.
One more thing. Since I think Wish You Were Here and Animals were both recorded in Quadrophonic, it would be nice if they would do those next. Those are another pair of albums that would lend themselves to 5.1