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:

    Hi

  • 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.
    THE BEST.

  • 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:

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