SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (30th Anniversary) – Harvest-Capitol Records/ EMI Records – vinyl

Superior on digital, the audiophile vinyl is even better.

Published on November 30, 2011

Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon (30th Anniversary) – Harvest-Capitol Records (1973)/ EMI Records (2011) SHVL 804 180-gram audiophile vinyl stereo LP, 42:59 [9/26/2011] *****: 

(David Gilmour – guitars, VCS3, vocals; Nick Mason – percussion, tape effects; Richard Wright – keyboards, VCS3, vocals; Roger Waters – bass guitar, tape effects, VCS3, vocals; Dick Parry – saxophone; Clare Torry – vocals; Doris Troy – backing vocals; Leslie Duncan – backing vocals; Liza Strike – backing vocals; Barry St. John – backing vocals)

The hoopla surrounding the reissues of Pink Floyd’s landmark, Dark Side Of The Moon is deserved. In the original vinyl format, the album was regarded as a groundbreaking moment for rock and roll audiophonics. Alan Parsons (a veteran engineer who participated on the memorable Beatles record, Abbey Road), helped the band develop a sonic landscape that would be as prescient as the musicianship. The group used advanced technology (at the time), including multi-track recording, tape loops, VCS3 sequencer, and quirky recorded interviews/ philosophical quotations with the road crew and friends. It was rumored that Paul and Linda McCartney were interviewed, and then later “dropped”.

The audiophile vinyl treatment of Dark Side Of The Moon is a sonic and visual treasure. Like the CD reissue, the intricate complexity of the recording is captured vibrantly on the LP. Guitar separation is outstanding with crisp balance. The multi-tracking layers the vocals on top of the instruments (“Breathe”, “Time”) creating a fuller sound.  Even with a terse electronic aesthetic, the shrillness is mitigated. The sequencer and special effects (chimes, tape loops) display unexpected subtlety. The analogue synthesizers blend discreetly with the rock melody lines. Clare Torry’s mind-numbing vocal improvisation (“Great Gig In The Sky”) has an acoustic, gospel resonance. (Note: Listening to this album with a good set of headphones continues to be a superior approach.)

The full-scale album art is vibrant with a glossy finish. George Hardie’s iconic dispersive prism art remains stunning. Posters, stickers and a bonus download are included in the package.  It’s an import and a limited collector’s edition, so it’s outrageously expensive. [This arrived too late for me to do a comparison, but the EMI SACD of a few years ago shows off the surround sound interests of Waters to fine advantage, never mind the distortion some have complained of - and it was far cheaper...Is this LP worth $99?...Ed.]

TrackList:  Side One: Speak To Me; Breathe; On The Run; Time; The Great Gig In The Sky
Side Two: Money; Us And Them; Any Colour You Like; Brain Damage; Eclipse

–Robbie Gerson




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