HRH has been away now for three WHOLE weeks now which means now that she’s back, she’s inevitably been attached to my hip for the past few days. It’s a good problem to have, of course, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the little bugger and was looking forward to it. So with that in mind, I was browsing the record store a week or so ago for my own selfish purposes, I stumbled across an album I knew she has been curious about seeing as how it was the same band that she more or less discovered on her own approximately a year ago and which, ultimately, opened the whole vinyl gateway we’ve been treading down together ever since. I figured then that it would make a great bonding opportunity for this evening after our “Daddy Daughter” date night at the Sanctuary and a few rounds of ‘Exploding Kittens‘. The album was a lovingly rereleased copy of the phenomenal ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album by Pink Floyd on 120 gram vinyl.
Trying to list or even summarize all the key nuances and overall general importance of this album on the music world would be like trying to explain the sheer vastness of the universe to someone with spacial depth perception issues.
First, you have to realize it was an immediate success upon its release in 1973; it topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for one week and then remained there for the next 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988. That’s 15 fucking years in the charts and that’s no small accomplishment. Now, I would usually offer you a sampling of where all the pertinent music magazines and importance aficionados have placed it in their “Greatest Album” charts and stuff, but there’s just not enough bandwidth to do that. With an estimated 50 million copies sold it’s, like I said, HUGE.
The album was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, in two sessions, between May 1972 and January 1973. The band were assigned staff engineer Alan Parsons, who had worked as assistant tape operator on ‘Atom Heart Mother’, and who had also gained experience as a recording engineer on the Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Let It Be’. The recording sessions made use of some of the most advanced studio techniques of the time; the studio was capable of 16-track mixes, which offered a greater degree of flexibility than the eight- or four-track mixes they had used previously. It builds on ideas explored in the band’s earlier recordings and live shows, but lacks the extended instrumental excursions that characterized their work following the departure in 1968 of founder member, principal composer, and lyricist, Syd Barrett.
The themes on ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ include conflict, greed, the passage of time, and mental illness, the latter partly inspired by Barrett’s deteriorating mental state. What gives the album it’s true power though is the subtly textured music, which evolves from ponderous, neo-psychedelic art rock to jazz fusion and blues-rock before turning back to psychedelia. And while it may not be my favorite album by the Floyd, I recognize its importance in its catalog and if you’re going to consider yourself as a “fan” of the band, as HRH clearly does, then you need to own a copy.
Myself, I’ve owned many copies and still have my original vinyl copy, except that it’s pretty badly marred meaning you don’t really get the true textures of the music. And while I recognize that the odd snap, crackle and pop actually enhance some of the albums I listen to on vinyl, this is definitely not one of those albums. From the samples of cash registers and loose change, the synthesizer-driven instrumentals in ‘On the Run’ that evoke the stress and anxiety of modern travel, it’s a sonic landscape of dynamic proportions; music as it had never been experienced before at that time. Its release is often seen as a pivotal point in the history of rock music, and comparisons are sometimes drawn between Pink Floyd and Radiohead – specifically their 1997 album ‘OK Computer ‘ which has been called ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ of the 1990’s, owing to the fact that both albums share themes relating to the loss of a creative individual’s ability to function in the modern world. Oh, and it comes with a bunch of stickers and special which HRH is pretty excited about as well.
For us, it’s an opportunity for something to share together during our planned 90 minute cuddle time with a few Drumsticks this evening.