The Dark Side of the Moon Project: Watch an 8‑Part Video Essay on Pink Floyd’s Classic Album

Record­ed at Abbey Road stu­dios by Alan Par­sons, who had pre­vi­ous­ly worked on The Bea­t­les’ Abbey Road and Let It Be, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon broke almost as much son­ic ground as those albums. “The band chose the world-renowned stu­dio, as it was home to, at the time, some of the most advanced record­ing tech­nol­o­gy ever pro­duced – includ­ing the EMI TG12345 mix­ing con­sole,” writes Antho­ny Sfirse at Enmore Audio.

Par­sons made taste­ful yet total­ly spaced-out use, as the Poly­phon­ic video above shows, of syn­the­siz­ers, stereo mul­ti­track record­ing, and tape loops. Then there’s David Gilmour’s leg­endary gui­tar tone—so essen­tial to a cer­tain kind of music (and to Pink Floyd cov­er bands) that gui­tar ped­al design­er Robert Kee­ley has built an entire “work­sta­tion” around the gui­tar sounds on the album, even though most play­ers, includ­ing Gilmour, will tell you that tone lives in the fin­gers.

The album is a per­fect syn­the­sis of the band’s strengths: epic song­writ­ing meets epic exper­i­men­ta­tion meets epic musicianship—three musi­cal direc­tions that don’t always play well togeth­er. The late six­ties and sev­en­ties brought increas­ing com­plex­i­ty and the­atri­cal­i­ty to rock and roll, but Pink Floyd did some­thing extra­or­di­nary with Dark Side. They wrote acces­si­ble, riff-heavy, blues-based tunes that also set the bar for philo­soph­i­cal­ly exis­ten­tial, wist­ful, melan­choly, sar­don­ic, funky, soul­ful, psy­che­delia, with­out sac­ri­fic­ing one for the oth­er.

How the band went from cul­ti­vat­ing a cult under­ground to spend­ing 741 weeks—or 14 years—at the top of Billboard’s albums chart after the release of their “high con­cept lyri­cal mas­ter­piece” in 1973 is the sub­ject of a series of eight videos pro­duced by Poly­phon­ic. See the first, which cov­ers “Speak to Me/Breath,” at the top, and oth­ers below. New videos will be released on the Poly­phon­ic YouTube chan­nel soon.

The approach is an admirable one. Too often the great­ness of clas­sic albums like Dark Side of the Moon is tak­en for grant­ed and glossed too quick­ly. The album’s mas­sive com­mer­cial and crit­i­cal suc­cess seems proof enough. We may not know much about Pink Floyd our­selves, but we acknowl­edge they’ve been thor­ough­ly vet­ted by the experts.

But if we want to know our­selves why crit­ics, musi­cians, and fans alike have heaped so much praise on the 1973 album—and shelled out hard-earned cash by the mil­lions for records, con­certs, and merchandise—we might learn quite a lot from this series.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Pink Floyd’s “Com­fort­ably Numb” Was Born From an Argu­ment Between Roger Waters & David Gilmour

When Pink Floyd Tried to Make an Album with House­hold Objects: Hear Two Sur­viv­ing Tracks Made with Wine Glass­es & Rub­ber Bands

Pink Floyd Films a Con­cert in an Emp­ty Audi­to­ri­um, Still Try­ing to Break Into the U.S. Charts (1970)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (10)
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  • Martin Hughes says:

    What can I say that already as been said about Pink Floyd, oth­er than they will for­ev­er be No1. The Great­est Band of All Time

  • Sam Fisher says:

    I love Pink Floyd. I love Dark Side or the Moon. And I love Poly­phon­ic.

  • Arthur Evans says:


  • Rock says:

    I went to a Pink Floyd con­cert it was the excit­ing con­cert you could feel the music bounc­ing off your body it put you in a hole dif­fer­ent realm i closed my eyes it was quite the expe­ri­ence I felt like my body lift my body with the light show i felt like i dis­ap­peared i was no longer their. Beau­ti­ful lights Beau­ti­ful music you have to expe­ri­ence it on your own per­son­al­ly i would do it over and over again

  • Theo says:

    Best band ever lis­ten to the every week­end and watch­ing DVDs.

  • Dany says:

    Pink Floyd,the num­ber one for­ev­er, and .….….….…. led z, queen, the who, scor­pi­ons, buu­u­u­u­u­uu the best

  • D. Shawn says:

    It was one of the first shows I saw Dark­side of the moon 1972 Sarato­ga Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter, Sarato­ga, NY The visu­al and the music became part of me all these years

  • Petee says:

    GREATEST BAND OF ALL TIME PERIOD.After you lis­ten to Floyd every­thing else sucks.What on Gods green earth would you lis­ten to after FLOYD.Everything just sucks.EVERYTHING…Unless you lis­ten to there solo Albums.

  • Mark Threadgill says:

    Through­out most of my life I have enjoyed and appre­ci­at­ed the genius of Pink Floyd music. I remem­ber as a ear­ly teen lis­ten­ing to Dark Side from a cas­sette recorder that had a sin­gle speak­er, but nev­er knew until years lat­er the full dynam­ic and awe­some­ness of the band and their music which I already had loved.
    Any Colour you Like, Great Gig in the Sky and of course, Shine on you crazy Dia­mond are some of my favorites.

  • online mixing and mastering services says:

    These are some great idea about the dark side of the moon project watch the first of an 8 part video easy on pink floyds clas­sic album that you have dis­cussed here. I real­ly loved it and thank you very much for shar­ing this with us. You have a great visu­al­iza­tion and you have real­ly pre­sent­ed this con­tent in a real­ly good manner.For more info:-

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