Pink Floyd: Between Syd and the Dark Side

Article excerpt

Pink Floyd: Between Syd and the Dark Side. DVD. Narrated by Thomas Arnold. [San Antonio, TX]: Silver & Gold Productions, 2010. SGDVD039. $16.95.

There's no doubt that the period of Pink Floyd's greatest commercial success coincided with the creative output expressed in the series of concept albums ranging from The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) to The Final Cut (1983) and including the ambitious multimedia project The Wall (1979). How - ever, it was the phase immediately prior to this success that is of most interest from a historical and structural standpoint. In terms of both style and form one can trace the gradual elaboration of compositional strategies which increasingly favored more prolonged structures as opposed to the single song, while in cultural terms this evolution was closely linked to the late sixties London scene, where experimentation involving art and popular music, avantgarde and counter-culture found a fertile ground for dialogue and confrontation. This is precisely the season featured in Pink Floyd: Between Syd and the Dark Side, the re-issue of a documentary film produced by Chrome - dreams in 2006 entitled Meddle: A Classic Album Under Review. It offers a critical overview of the early part of the group's activity, from the recordings marked by presence of the guitarist and singer Syd Barrett-with his flamboyant but fragile personality-through to Meddle (1971), both a culmination and the starting point for a new phase in their career. This album is in fact the main focus, taking up about half of the DVD's duration, with each piece being examined in detail.

The group's artistic development over these years is narrated by means of a fastmoving collage made up from different sources: contemporary documents and films, extracts from films the group collaborated on, such as Tonite Let's All Make Love in London, The Committee, Zabriskie Point, Live at Pompeii, computer graphic animations of record covers and booklets, and specially made interviews with figures from the period as well as journalists and music critics from the leading magazines (The Wire, New Musical Express, Mojo, Record Collector and others). All this disparate material is woven into a lively audiovisual assemblage that will undoubtedly appeal both to fans who want a better understanding of the group's early output and to teachers, journalists and students interested in an overview covering not only Pink Floyd but also the whole scene in which their ideas were able to sprout and blossom. …


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