Sync or Swim: Flaming Side of the Moon (2014)

Over the weekend, I noticed a little blurb on the news part of my Facebook saying that a “companion” album to Dark Side of the Moon would be released by The Flaming Lips. The press release stated, and I quote, “For ideal listening conditions, fans are encouraged to seek out the original Alan Parsons’ engineered quadraphonic LP mix of Dark Side, but it will work with the album on any format.” and “…carefully crafted to sync up perfectly with the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz”.

You bet I was excited about this. I listened to the album solo (click here for sound and here for the full movie sync; this is a two-tab job). I suppose I liked the re-reinterpretation for the most part (as The Flaming Lips had covered this album before) but as one separate piece. I opened up a separate tab that had the Dark Side of the Rainbow sync. Starting after the third roar, I had to stop listening to everything because of how downright chaotic it was.

The experience ceases to be enjoyable when the two audio sources not so much sync but rather brutally assault the ears in a form of sensory overload. It isn’t music, it’s noise and not in an experimental/avant-garde way. I had to constantly adjust the volume on both sources but no matter what I did, both felt over-powering. I know that usually this is supposed to be “enhanced” with some drugs in your system but if it was unbearable sober, I venture to say it’s far far worse under the influence.

Movie syncs are traditionally binary: one movie and one audio mix. What this boils down to is the movie with the first play of DSotM in the mix on top of the cover; one more source than usual. I had to keep checking the time codes for both audio sources to see if they matched as parts of one song would play earlier than the other; they matched, which only complicated the situation.

It turns out that Flaming is longer than DSotM by 28 seconds. I guess that this is taking into account the various starting methods for the original sync and there is some wiggle room. But no matter how you sync it, the dynamic nature from the original sync is lost.

I’m not going to bother with specific sync points like I usually do as the idea is practically similar to the original. True, there’s different instrumentation points and passages but it’s more of the same; that is if you include constant high-pitched squealing during “Us and Them” and more computer sounds.

Honestly, this was unnecessary. Sure, it’s cool that the press release mentioned the sync and the re-reinterpretation of the album has its own style but save yourself the trouble by syncing this album without Pink Floyd in the background. Better yet, just stick with the tried and true. Even just listening to the cover as a separate piece is a better alternative than this trio of torture.

Sync grade: D

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