Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
In the early 1990s, discussion began in the IRC chatroom "alt.music.pink-floyd" about a supposed "synchronicity" with The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (1973). The product of watching The Wizard of Oz with the audio replaced by two plays of The Dark Side of the Moon is known as The Dark Side of the Rainbow, in reference to the song performed by Judy Garland in the film, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour has remarked upon the pairing as the idea of "some guy with too much time on his hands." Alan Parsons, the producer of The Dark Side of the Moon said in 2003, "[I]f you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work."
The Dark Side of the Rainbow stands best as a communal cultural thought experiment. It invites projection, speculation, and discussion. One of the most celebrated instances of synchronicity in The Dark Side of the Rainbow is the beginning of track six, "Money," which begins just as Dorothy enters the Land of Oz and the film switches to color. However, often overlooked is the footage aligning with the track before it, "The Great Gig in the Sky."
Referred to while in production as "The Religion Song" and "The Mortality Sequence," "The Great Gig in the Sky" features the nonverbal vocalisations of Clare Torry, meant by Pink Floyd to represent the acknowledgement of mortality and conception of the afterlife. In The Dark Side of the Rainbow, it accompanies the sequence in which a Dorothy, alone in her home, is swept away from Kanas by a tornado. The archivists at Bohnhelm can only wonder why more has not been said of this song which primarily features a woman screaming aligns flawlessly with scenes of a woman having a frightening experience.
This sequence of The Dark Side of the Rainbow can be viewed here.
The track begins softly and ominously just as the signs of the coming storm are heeded by the people of Kansas. Gerry O'Driscoll narrates the farmers' efforts to prepare for the black destruction looming on the horizon. No one present is afraid of dying. A horse on the loose becomes the first shot in a war of human emotions, signaling an end to civility, and the supremacy of the primal as death is flung across the countryside. As Dorothy is left to face nature's full fury alone, Clare Torry's vocalisations begin, growing ever more impassioned and frantic, reaching their apex as a window knocks into Dorothy, sending her down to her bed. From there Torry's voice softens and dons a more contemplative tone, seeming to invite the mystic circumstances to come. Anything can happen now. Torry's subdued howls become a conciliatory cry for reason in Dorothy's tunnel of the inconceivable, the terrifying and the fanciful. Clare's vigor returns as Almira Gulch becomes the Wicked Witch. Danger is born anew, and so is Dorothy's will to survive. After the sight of this new villainy, the terror of riding the winds has been cheapened, and no matter how the furniture may shift and shake, it's just not as threatening as it was before. Clare's voice softens as the house begins its dainty descent. With the landing, it grows heavy with the burden of enlightenment. She no longer needs to sing Dorothy's confusion and anger at a world eager to destroy her. She knows what has happened in her heart.