I was a little skeptical when I saw this CD. A reggae version of Dark Side of the Moon? What were they smoking?
This is the sort of concept CD that is all to often botched. Fortunately, Dub Side of the Moon is a masterful reworking of the original. Pink Floyd’s recording has been played to death. The Easy Star All-Stars’s version reinvents the music, making it fresh again, and making it easier to hear the rich intelligence of the songs and lyrics.
On one hand, the All-Stars interpretations are very faithful. It’s close enough to the original to be familiar. On the other hand, it’s been completely rethought as reggae!
The tunes are arranged in a variety of reggae styles, keeping the original melodies and chords, but substituting reggae rhythms. The instrumentation is altered to work as reggae. Horns and melodica replace the original’s guitar solos, and rhythm guitars are treated to dub delays, giving them a new spaciness.
Electronica fans will enjoy the dub treatments throughout Dub Side of the Moon. While the Pink Floyd original featured some psychedelic echo effects and synth work, the dub version is full of interesting production effects. Delay, reverbs, drop-outs, and effects are all used in interesting ways. Real and unreal acoustical environments are thrown together, taking you to the Dub Side of the Moon.
There are also many subtle reggae flourishes. On Money, the cash register sounds of the original are replaced with the sound of someone taking a bong hit and coughing. The CD is also fleshed out with alternate dub versions of four of the tracks.
It’s clear that Dub Side of the Moon was a labor of love. The album sounds like it comes from a parallel universe, where Pink Floyd came from Jamaica. The CD artwork even captures the spirit; where the original cover had a prism splitting light into a rainbow, here it splits into red, yellow and green, the colors of reggae!
This CD is strongly recommended for both Pink Floyd fans, and also for people who are sick of Pink Floyd because radio stations used to play them so damn much!