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Article: Us and Them: Exploring The Greatness That Is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

Us and Them: Exploring The Greatness That Is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

After five albums of genre and mind bending exploration, Pink Floyd found themselves in the studio once again to complete what would soon be Dark Side of the Moon. The material from the album had actually been written and the concept developed before the recording took place, but the impact wouldn’t be truly felt until it was released. The English band had done something special here, and each new listen seemed to warrant a new side to a song or verse. This album became all things to many people, and with good reason. The entire recording took place at Abbey Road Studios in London over two long sessions. The interludes between songs featured the band doing interviews with various personnel that would come into the studio, even going so far as to interview the doorman, who provided the closing line of the album, "There is no dark side in the moon, really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.” The band also used a lot of new techniques in the studio that would be revolutionary to future bands, such as multitrack recording, analog synths, and tape loops. At one point, the album was even mixed into the experimental quadraphonic sound, which never truly caught on, but made the listening experience that much more exciting. Techniques aside, this album stands alone as one of the best concept albums of all time because of its universality. Each song is about an essential part of modern society and humanity, and Roger Waters had originally wanted the album to be about how these things “make people go mad”. Upon listening to the madcap laughter and the central character losing his mind at the end of the album, one could see how this idea comes to life. With songs like “Money”, “Time”, and “Us and Them”, each their own unique tracks that have stood the test of time, its astounding that a band could put together such a cohesive album filled with such hits. The album starts off with a rush of sound and madness right away, and with a sweep of synth and a gentle strummed chord, “Breathe” kicks in and seems to settle the mind right away. It’s all a part of the flow of the album. Each song melts into the next so well, that when they’re split up into singles, they never sound quite the same. Lyrically the album is one of the simplest, yet most intense poetry about everyday subject matter that exists on record. Using countless clichés and then ripping them down happens repeatedly on the album, especially in songs like “Money” and “Time”. Instrumentally, the album is the most compact and polished of the band’s discography. While they may not have believed that this album was the best thing they’d done up to that point or not, they knew that the universal nature and the concise instrumentation was affecting if nothing else. In fact, when Waters brought the album home to his wife for the first time, she burst into tears upon hearing it. They knew they had created something powerful, though they probably didn’t realize its lasting impact that still turns children onto the band each year. Probably one of the most interesting and lasting songs on the album is “The Great Gig on the Sky”, recently deceased keyboardist Richard Wright’s gift to the world. The emotional impact of this song is astounding, and the lexical vocals of Clare Torry are amazing. It’s said that it was done in a single take, one that could never be replicated again. The fragile nature of inspiration and a creative environment overall is hard to come by. The magic that was alive in these sessions is undeniable, and the album still ranks as one of the best selling albums of all time, even in the time of MP3s. There are so few records that need to be listened to in the album format, but everyone can agree that Dark Side of the Moon is one of them. Vitamin String Quartet will soon be releasing a Masters Series tribute to this revolutionary record. Keep an eye on this space for more information in the coming weeks, but until then, “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

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