Reincarnation of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon ~ Dim Side is psychedelic & mood enhanced ~
The year was 1977. Pink Floyd had taken over the psychedelic minds of Teenagers around the Universe. After a spectacular performance in Cleveland, I was invited along with my girlfriend to a back stage party. David Gilmour was a Brit from Cambridge where we had been neighbors and school chums for a brief period in the early 60's. As the gathering wore on, I had the good fortune to speak to David for the first and final time since he had become a big star. He shared some funny accounts about what had happened to some of our old mates back in England. However, I let him know that what was really on my mind. I wanted to hear all about the band's musical plans. Like every other diehard fan, I wanted to know if there were any works in the offing to reprise Dark Side of the Moon. He told me that with the success of Wish You Were Here and the mediocre fan reaction to Animals he was now looking for a totally new sound to the music which would of course manifest a couple years later as The Wall. As the party was winding down, I made it a point to tell David that like a lot of fellow mood enhanced spiritual travelers I would never lose hope that he would eventually reprise DSOTM because of the remarkable achievement I felt that the recording represented.
Fate is a spectacular soul mate if you are a true believer. A month later, after spending a beautiful day in a boat on Lake Michigan celebrating way too much with some friends from Jam Productions, I ended up at an Aerosmith concert in Chicago. At Jam’s groupie gathering after the gig, I got into a spirited conversation with a then very young Cameron Crowe and a curious keyboard player named Greg Halpern who was a little hung up on how both his parents were born on March 6, and how it was oddly enough David Gilmour's birthday too. When I overheard how passionately they were fantasizing about putting together a reprise to Dark Side of the Moon I interrupted the conversation by mentioning that they were talking about an old pal of mine and I let them know my opinion that I thought Gilmour and Company would go in an adventurous new direction instead of trying to recapture the immense magic of DSOTM.
Halpern did not accept my statement and he became more intense than ever going so far as to promise to deliver a sequel recording himself if he had to. While I found the concept irresistible and Halpern’s enthusiasm infectious, I recall laughing noticeably at the prospect of anyone other than Pink Floyd being able to turn such a dream into a reality.
Nearly 25 years goes by while more than 40 million copies of the original Floyd work are sold, and I get this wild looking CD in my mail with the title Dim Side of Mars and a note that read as follows:
"Dear Boomer: It only took six studios, 34 musicians, a few rewrites and seven engineers to figure out how they did it. Finally, I have a response to Dark Side that I feel I can be proud of. DSOTM was either divinely inspired, or it was some intense acid that Waters and Gilmour took on their trip to the top of the musical journey mountain. Anyway, I got so much older trying to build this project in my spare time, that when I finally figured out how to do it, I realize I had been on a natural high for almost 25 years. After a great creative struggle, and a lot of lousy recordings, I finally figured out how to create the magic wall of sound that has endured for three decades. So I hope it knocks you out. By the way, there is no band. It’s just a group of musicians I assembled to make it happen. I put the name Boomer on the cover to honor our fateful meeting in Chicago along time ago. You inspired me man. Truly Your Crazy Diamond, GJH"
When I saw it, I literally almost flipped over backwards. The cover graphic was freakishly cool on par with something old Storm Thorgerson would do at Hipgnosis Design which peaked my curiosity to the max. To use another old-timers phrase, I was jazzed to the limit trying to imagine whether or not it had any real Mr. Natural power like the original. So as any decent old rocker historian would do, I put on my best old Koss headphones, laid down on the bed in the dark and listened to it start to finish – twice before finally dozing off at 2:00AM. It blew me away, more the second time than the first as I began to hear many sounds I missed the on the initial listening. The entire work has quite a bit of the awe-inspiring, thought-provoking, psychedelic, mood enhanced attitude and inventiveness Waters and Gilmour brought to DSOTM. Much of the musicianship and writing style Floyd had used were here on Dim Side of Mars too - including swing and waltz beats, bending Fenders Stratocasters and VCS1 swelling synth sounds. Start to finish, and without a wasted moment, I felt the music may some day gain enough recognition to be mentioned in the same historical sentence as DSOTM.
According to Halpern, several other planetary based sequels will be released whenever he gets around to it in the years to come. A wacky footnote: he claims to actually have come up with a magic formula he can use to create more recordings that evoke the big hall sound of DSOTM. He plans to bring it to Australian Pink Floyd and get them to tour with the new original music. I did a little digging with an old friend who was with Sony A & R in early 2000 and he said they didn't care for the lack of originality of Dim Side because it sounded way too much like songs that could have been on Dark Side of the Moon. Well I guess they missed the whole point dude!
After listening to Dim Side all day and night it became my top 10 all-time favorites partly because like a lot of fanatic rockers of the theme album era, it was like a reincarnation. I was so inspired that I gleefully offered to write this introduction, but then I didn't hear another word from Halpern for six more years about any launch so I just figured he and the project had drowned in Lake Michigan. He finally finished whatever else he was doing and gave me the go ahead so here's my opinion for whatever it's worth.
Dim Side of Mars is definitely an inspired rainbow colored journey of lyrical and musical moods and textures. The one truly relevant point that comes to mind about this recording is that if you loved Dark Side of the Moon the way I have, and the way countless millions of first, second, third and now fourth generation listeners have over the past several decades, then I know you will absolutely fall head-over-heels in love with Dim Side because this newer work was truly an outgrowth of its predecessor in ways that you can only appreciate by listening to it from beginning to end in a dark private place. In my humble opinion, you will not be at all disappointed by the hypnotic experience and adventure this music causes which is like traveling back in a machine through time and space...