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Obscured By The Dark Side Of The Moon
on 11 December 2001
UPDATE 2013. Finally come across a DISCOVERY edition for £7.50. So as this is one of my fav Floyd albums I thought I would risk the purchase, having already got the 1994 remaster, to hear if there was any difference in sound quality. OMG yes. I was surprised by the quality improvement of "THE WALL" when I heard the 2011 over-haul and "Obscured by Clouds" is justly refreshing. My original review concerned the 1994 digital remaster and it's packaging. This new cd's booklet is similar (only 8 pages) with lyrics but no synopsis. The only negative point of having an improved sound is the extra clarity given to the audio glitch on "The gold it's in the..." at about 2mins40sec (also present on 1994 remaster).
Here is my original review from 2001...
This album was recorded and released between sessions for The Dark Side Of The Moon. If that makes it sound like it was a rushed job then you are mistaken. OBC was the second soundtrack provided for Barbet Schroeder. The first was More for the 1969 film More. Now Schroeder wanted music for his latest movie La Vallee (The Valley).
I personally love this 40 minute album. It is one of the most musical of any of the Floyd's albums. (For example The Final Cut had great lyrics but not such great tunes; and Meddle had great tunes but maybe some of the lyrics were weak). This welds both together to create an album that borders rock to soft rock. Much in the same way David Gilmour achieved on his 1978 stunning solo album David Gilmour (I also rated that 5*).
If you have only recently discovered Pink Floyd through the outstanding compilation Echoes then you will not be familiar with any of these titles. However, don't let that put you off purchasing this much underrated Floyd classic. To get a feel off what to expect musically then listen to Meddle (1971); particularly tracks 2,3,4. Or on Echoes the track Echoes for the style of singing and some of the sound. Some of that sound can be heard to on Dark Side Of The Moon (1973) too. There are a lot of us fans who do not understand why there are not any tracks for OBC on Echoes.
For me this album ranks very highly in the Floyd catalogue. It is a varied display of ballads (verging on love songs), moody and atmospheric pieces and all out rock instrumentals. The ten tracks are proper songs/tunes, with no over-the-top soloing, or weird sound montages (as found on More and Ummagumma). Wright's piano and keyboards are wonderfully light (almost comparing to his work on the Wish You Were Here album) and his voice sounds so young a relaxed (unlike on The Division Bell, 1994). Mason's drums are a pleasure to listen for and his trademark cymbal playing is a key feature of Childhood's End. Gilmour's guitar work is used to fuse the band as apposed to lead it from one of his solos, except on the opening track which rocks. Waters is the main lyricist and the themes are varied. Even touching on his father's death in WW2. He would later become obsessed (for lack of a better word) with this theme. This is set to a bouncy little tune called Free Four.
2011 update: The 1994 digital remaster edition is one of only a few Floyd albums to be better packaged in the CD format as opposed to the original vinyl. The 24 page booklet gives both lyrics and a synopsis of the movie and has several pictures from the film. The original vinyl had just the sleeve and a plain white dust jacket. The 2011 Discovery edition has an 8 page booklet and a cardboard gatefold sleeve to house booklet and cd.
Thanks for reading.