A musical experience:
Dark Side of the Moon, pt. 2
The second side of this LP starts with a song that has always lifted my spirits, “Money.” The stereophonic sound effects of change, cash registers and bill counters begin this song.
During my youth, and to this day, I am reminded of the optimism and probable delusions of grandeur that I’ve had all my life about becoming wealthy. As the song goes on, the two verses in the lyrics — “Think I’ll buy me a Football team” and “I’m in the Hi-Fidelity first class traveling section. I think I need a Learjet” — inspired me to think big.
At about four minutes into this song, there is an interlude where the lead guitar and the organ are emanating from separate speakers, feeding off one another with their stereophonic effect. As the song ends, it leads into “Us & Them.” From my perception, it speaks of the poor versus the rich and powerful. The lyrics state, “Forward he cried from the rear, and the front rank died. The general sighed and the lines on the map moved from side to side.” Then there’s the segment of a poster-bearer being kidnapped and forced to take part in a robbery. The person with a British accent explains, “a quick, short, sharp, shove.”
In my interpretation of the song’s next two segments, the saxophone plays a blues type of melody as they await this criminal act, and plays a more profound solo as the robbery is occuring, leading to a crescendo. Then, later in the song, the poster-bearer comes to realize that “the old man died!” The sound then leads into “Any Colour You Like,” which starts with an organ playing through an Echoplex set to six repeats, going through a spectrum of sounds as if there is a rainbow of colors to choose from.
Then, at one-and-a-half minutes into this instrumental, two guitars in opposite speakers create a flurry of stereophonic riffs, and they are later joined by the organ.
Next, the song “Brain Damage” has lyrics that I can relate to these days, “The lunatics are in my hall. The paper holds their folded faces to the floor. And every day, the paper boy brings more.” The lyrics of the last song, “Eclipse,” are self-explanatory if you have a good friend that you are close to.
In part one of this series, I made a mistake identifying the source of the seemingly pure sinusoidal waveform on the first side of the LP as the sounds of the helicopter. A chopper doesn’t produce a sustained note or sound. But the wave I had in mind was constant for about two or three seconds. I have since remembered that it was the second note of the bass guitar in the song “Breathe.”
I also wrote about the design of the double album cover, which the single LP comes in, when one buys this music. The inside cover shows the spectrum of visible light continued from the front cover, leading to the back cover, with an obvious modification. Just as the LP begins and ends with the sound of a heartbeat, the green line of the spectrum of light displays a sinus rhythm that one would see on an EKG or electrocardiograph, a record of the electrical activity of the heart. I see this as a graphic symbolism of the heartbeat at the beginning and end of the LP.
In the early 70s, my dad told me that Stereo Review Magazine reported that there was a new speaker, with such clarity, that one could determine whether the heartbeat on the LP was a true sound of the heart or a synthesized one.
The “Dark Side of the Moon” has provided me with countless hours of inspiration and entertainment over the last four-plus decades.
My next article will be about the two amazing Pink Floyd concerts that I have been to.
A very similar concert will be performed by Brit Floyd on April 24 at the Warner Theater here in Washington, D.C. I will be there.