Dark Side of the Rainbow

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Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video mashup-like experience comes from a combination of the album title, the album cover, and the film's song "Over the Rainbow." Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.

History[edit]

In August 1995, the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Journal Gazette published the first mainstream media article[1] about the "synchronicity", citing the Usenet discussion group alt.music.pink-floyd. Soon afterward, several fans began creating websites that touted the experience and tried to comprehensively catalogue the corresponding moments. A second wave of awareness began in April 1997, when Boston radio DJ George Taylor Morris discussed "Dark Side of the Rainbow" on the air, leading to further mainstream media articles and a segment on MTV news.[2]

In July 2000, Turner Classic Movies aired The Wizard of Oz with the option of synchronizing the broadcast to the Dark Side album using the SAP audio channel.[3] [4] Turner Entertainment Co. has owned the rights to the film since 1986.

Synchronicity[edit]

There are various approaches regarding when to start synchronizing The Dark Side of the Moon audio with the film. Several involve the MGM lion as the cue. Most suggest the third roar, while some prefer the second or first. Others suggest starting the album not immediately after the lion's roar, but after the lion fades to black—exactly when the film begins. Viewing recommendations include reducing the film's audio and using captions or subtitles to follow the dialogue and plot.[5]

The iconic dispersive prism of the album's cover purportedly reflects the movie's transition from black-and-white Kansas to Technicolor Oz; further examples include music changes at dramatic moments, such as the tornado near the start of the movie aligning with the screaming section of "The Great Gig in the Sky", and thematic alignments such as the scarecrow dance during "Brain Damage". This synergy effect has been described as an example of synchronicity, defined by the psychologist Carl Jung as a phenomenon in which coincidental events "seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality."[6]

Detractors argue that the phenomenon is the result of the mind's tendency to think it recognizes patterns amid disorder by discarding data that does not fit.[7] Psychologists refer to this tendency as apophenia, or confirmation bias. In this theory, a Dark Side of the Rainbow enthusiast will focus on matching moments while ignoring the greater number of instances where the film and the album do not correspond.

Coincidence versus intent[edit]

Pink Floyd band members have repeatedly said that the reputed phenomenon is coincidence. In an interview for the 25th anniversary of the album, guitarist/vocalist David Gilmour denied the album was intentionally written to be synchronized with the film, saying "Some guy with too much time on his hands had this idea of combining Wizard of Oz with Dark Side of the Moon."[8] On an MTV special about Pink Floyd in 2002, the band dismissed any relationship between the album and the movie, saying there were no means of reproducing the film in the studio at the time they recorded the album.

Dark Side of the Moon audio engineer Alan Parsons in 2003 dismissed the supposed effect:

It was an American radio guy who pointed it out to me. It's such a non-starter, a complete load of eyewash. I tried it for the first time about two years ago. One of my fiancée's kids had a copy of the video, and I thought I had to see what it was all about. I was very disappointed. The only thing I noticed was that the line "balanced on the biggest wave" came up when Dorothy was kind of tightrope walking along a fence. One of the things any audio professional will tell you is that the scope for the drift between the video and the record is enormous; it could be anything up to twenty seconds by the time the record's finished. And anyway, if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.[9]

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason told MTV in 1997, "It's absolute nonsense. It has nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz. It was all based on The Sound of Music."[10]

Technical considerations[edit]

Film critic Richard Roeper published his assessment of the phenomenon, which he referred to as "Dark Side of Oz." Roeper concluded that while the band may have had the resources and technical know-how to produce an alternative film soundtrack, undergoing such an endeavor would have been highly impractical. Roeper also noted the technical issue of the roughly 43-minute Dark Side of the Moon being short compared to the 101-minute The Wizard of Oz.[11]

In the book Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd, Nick Mason noted that the band was becoming proficient at creating movie soundtracks by the time they started the recording of The Dark Side of the Moon, and that they even interrupted their work on the album so they could score yet another film. He explained the technical process that Pink Floyd used to score movies when he wrote about the recording of the 1972 Obscured by Clouds movie soundtrack:

After the success of More, we had agreed to do another sound track for Barbet Schroeder. His new film was called La Vallée and we travelled over to France to record the music in the last week of February... We did the recording with the same method we had employed for More, following a rough cut of the film, using stopwatches for specific cues and creating interlinking musical moods that would be cross-faded to suit the final version... The recording time was extremely tight. We only had two weeks to record the soundtrack with a short amount of time afterwards to turn it into an album.

Variations on the theme[edit]

The fame of Dark Side of the Rainbow has prompted some to search for synchronicities among other albums by other bands and films by other directors. The lengthy Pink Floyd song "Echoes" from the 1971 album Meddle has been paired with "Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite," the fourth act in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Again the correspondences are primarily formal/structural and not grounded in the content of the lyrics. Both the track and the sequence are approximately 23 minutes.[12] Similarly, some have noticed synchronicities between the final tracks of the 2001 album Lateralus by the rock band Tool and the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey.[13][14]

Musician Rich Aucoin has written all his albums to date to sync to films thematically, rhythmically and lyrically. His first EP, "Personal Publication EP", syncs to "Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas" (1968), his first LP, "We're All Dying to Live" syncs to a film he cut together from films from the public domain including "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Night of The Living Dead" (1968) after receiving a cease & desist from Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P.. His second album Ephemeral (released September 2014 in North America) is an adaptation of the themes of the novella The Little Prince and is meant to sync up to the 1979 short claymation film of the same name, along the lines of The Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz.[15] His third album, "Release" syncs thematically, lyrically and rhythmically with "Alice in Wonderland" (1951). [16]

Comedian Matt Herzau claims that the Pixar film WALL-E syncs up with Pink Floyd's rock opera The Wall, which he has called "Another Brick in the WALL-E", after the album's three-part song "Another Brick in the Wall."[17][18] Another popular Pink Floyd movie sync pairs The Wall with Disney's 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland.[19] In connection with Alice, another Floyd-related album syncs up with that film – Syd Barrett's solo album The Madcap Laughs. Additionally, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway by Genesis has been synced up with this film.[20]

The French avant-jazz band Ghost Rhythms's third album Madeleine is meant to sync up with Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo.[21]

The 2002 Disney film Treasure Planet is said to link up with The Mars Volta's debut album De-Loused In The Comatorium, in rare form, where several themes and lyrics are highlights.

After the final two parts of Twin Peaks: The Return aired on Sunday, September 4, 2017, a rumor developed on social media advancing the theory that the final two parts (17 & 18) were meant to be watched and interpreted simultaneously. During a Reddit interview on September 10, 2017, The Return's executive producer Sabrina S. Sutherland summarily dismissed these rumors, saying "This is definitely not the way to watch these parts", although later leaving the possibility somewhat more open-ended by conceding "Maybe it's something I'm not aware of - could be. I'm not infallible!"

Podcaster Griffin McElroy jokingly watched the film Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 alongside The Dark Side of the Moon as part of the eternal podcast "Til Death do us Blart," noting several thematic, rhythmic, and lyrical synchronicities. McElroy described the viewing as "a religious experience." [22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Savage, Charles (August 1, 1995). "The Dark Side of the Rainbow". The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. Archived from the original on October 13, 2007 – via rbsavage.
  2. ^ "The Pink Floyd/Wizard Of Oz Connection". MTV News. Retrieved 2018-06-09.
  3. ^ "Dark Side of Oz". Chicago Sun-Times. July 3, 2000. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved April 15, 2019.
  4. ^ Iverson, Jon (June 18, 2000). "Dark Side of the Rainbow?". Audiophile. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Dark Side of the Rainbow". All Pink Floyd Fan Network. Archived from the original on July 9, 2006.
  6. ^ "synchronicity – Definition". Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  7. ^ "Does the music in Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon coincide with the action of The Wizard of Oz?". The Straight Dope. May 5, 2000.
  8. ^ "David Gilmour interview". Archived from the original on May 5, 2006. Retrieved November 19, 2005.
  9. ^ Harris, John (March 12, 2003). ""Dark Side" at 30: Alan Parsons: Pink Floyd". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on January 14, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
  10. ^ "The Pink Floyd/Wizard Of Oz Connection". MTV. May 30, 1997. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  11. ^ Roeper, Richard (2001). Urban Legends. New Page Books.
  12. ^ Shaffner, Nicholas (1991). Saucerful of Secrets: The Pink Floyd Odyssey. Harmony Books. p. 142. ISBN 0-517-57608-2.
  13. ^ "Tool timed last four songs of Lateralus to 2001: A Space Odyssey". My Strange Mind. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  14. ^ Tool: A Lateralus Odyssey. YouTube. August 11, 2012.
  15. ^ Hudson, Alex (June 18, 2014). "Rich Aucoin Details 'Ephemeral,' Premieres New Single". exclaim.ca.
  16. ^ Dault, Meredith (April 30, 2019). "RICH AUCOIN: RELEASE INTO WONDERLAND". socanmagazine.ca.
  17. ^ "Another Brick in the Wall-E? Pixar Meets Pink Floyd". Daily Camera/Colorado Daily. July 22, 2009. Archived from the original on July 30, 2012.
  18. ^ Davis, Lauren (July 22, 2009). "Another Brick in the Wall-E? Pixar Meets Pink Floyd". io9.
  19. ^ Wendland, Andrew C. (2017). "The Pink Floyd Movie Synchronization Story". moviesyncs.com.
  20. ^ Oraelius. Vimeo. March 6, 2009.
  21. ^ negativertigo. YouTube. March 24, 2015.
  22. ^ MACROTAH (November 23, 2017). BLART Side of the MALL. YouTube.com.