Pink Floyd Documentary An In-Depth Examination Of An Iconic Album

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The Dark Side of the Moon is one of the most iconic albums of not only the 20th century but of all time. This record is one of those pieces that even decades after its original release continues to influence a whole new generation of music lovers and musicians alike. The reasons for this are varied. Whether one asks the average listener, music historian, or educator, each will have his or her own reasons for including The Dark Side of the Moon on their list of the best records of all time. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, audiences from every walk of life will get an even more in depth evaluation of the album’s importance in the release in Pink Floyd: The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon. Audiences are taken song by song through an explanation of the album’s creation from Pink Floyd’s members. The explanations from the band members comprise one reason that audiences will appreciate this latest Pink Floyd documentary from Eagle Rock. Audiences will also enjoy learning from those behind the glass how the various tracks came to life. In simpler terms, audiences learn through this documentary how various tracks were produced and mixed. It offers an extra vantage point, adding to the depth of both the album and the documentary. The history behind the album and its production are both valuable additions to the presentation in while. The finishing touch to the presentation is its bonus material. Eagle Rock has included as bonus material on this presentation, even more discussions on the album’s songs that didn’t make the primary feature. Those extra discussions along with the primary discussions make the presentation a whole that any Pink Floyd fan and any classic rock fan will appreciate.

Much has been written and spoken of The Dark Side of the Moon. The album, which is to many the band’s most iconic album, has been evaluated time and again by everyone from average listener to academic. Each has found one reason or another behind the album’s continued importance to this day. Now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the members of Pink Floyd—Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Richard Wright—give audiences perhaps the most in depth explanation ever of the album’s importance through this new documentary. The men explain track by track what inspired each song, and how each song sprung to life. From discussions on how ‘Time’ and ‘Money came to be to Syd Barrett’s death influenced another track and more, each explanation gives each song (and the album as a whole) even more importance and emotion. The “in-studio performances” by Gilmour and Waters help to illustrate and heighten the discussions in question. To add to it, audiences get some on the spot musical moments of sorts as a result. Those musical moments essentially serve to help viewers get a better grasp of the songs in question. And those moments succeed at their goals, too.

The explanations and stories offered with each of the album’s songs by Pink Floyd’s members create so much depth behind the album. Just as much depth and substance is added to the album through the discussions from those behind the glass. Anyone that has any interest in music production will appreciate the discussions on how the songs were produced, engineered and mixed. Audiences see on that side of the glass with songs such as ‘Money’, ‘Time’ and others how each one was layered. Audiences will see how certain sounds were created through sound effects mixing and how certain guitar riffs came to be the basis for others. What’s incredible about all of this is seeing just how much technology was available for bands to utilize even at that point in time. And engineer Alan Parsons utilized as much of that technology as possible. Such understanding makes this documentary all the more important for fans of Pink Floyd. It gives an angle rarely seen or heard when it comes to any music documentary. And it serves to show just how intricate the album was and how much work went in to making the album a reality.

Both the stories from the band and the technical discussions from Alan Parsons work together to make Pink Floyd: The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon an important addition to the library of any Pink Floyd fan. The added discussions included as bonus features collectively put this documentary over the top. On one level, they could be compared to perhaps deleted scenes on a DVD that ended up on the cutting room floor. Audiences learn extra little bits of information such as the social commentary that is meant to be interpreted in ‘Money.’ There are also discussions by Waters on his personal world view and how it led to much of the album’s rather grim lyrics as well as much more for audiences to take in. These additional stories along with those shared in the documentary’s main feature and the technical discussions make Pink Floyd: The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon all the more valuable an addition to any Pink Floyd fan’s home library.

Pink Floyd: The Making of The Dark Side of the Moon is available in stores and online now. More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eagle-rock.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Love For Levon Could Be The Year’s Best Live Recording

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/StarVista

Drummer Levon Helm was no ordinary drummer.  He was a musician.  He was a musician among musicians and a musician of the people.  When he finally lost his battle with throat cancer in 2012, the world knew that it had lost not just a man but a legend.  It was Helm that made Midnight Rambles so famous.  And it was those concerts and Helms’ own music that made him the beloved figure that he is today even though he remains only in spirit.  Now thanks to Time Life and StarVista, fans of Helm and his music get to experience one of the greatest tributes to his legacy in the newly released concert, Love For Levon: A Benefit To Save The Barn.

Love For Levon: A Benefit To Save The Barn was released this past March.  It was released in five different formats: Double-Disc CD, Double-Disc CD/Double-Disc DVD, Double-Disc CD/Double-Disc Blu-ray, Double-Disc DVD, and Double Disc Blu-ray.  Regardless of whether audiences pick up the solo DVD or Blu-ray sets or the deluxe sets including both the CD and DVD or CD and Blu-ray, they will be getting in this concert what is among the year’s best live recordings.  It is more than deserving of that honor first and foremost because of the variety of options from which audiences can choose in experiencing this concert.  It is also more than deserving of the honor of being on the list of the year’s top live recordings thanks to its production values.  The all-star line-up and equally extensive set list adds even more reason to praise the performance.  The packaging for the deluxe sets is another interesting addition to the overall presentation that is worthy of note, too.  All assembled together, it makes this recording one that any fan of Americana and music lover in general will find entertaining each time they turn it on.

The very first thing to note about Love for Levon: A Benefit to Save The Barn is the variety of platforms on which it is available.  It is available in two deluxe packages that include both a double-disc CD portion and double-disc video portion.  Those that have HDTVs and Blu-ray players are offered the set with a double-Blu-ray video portion.  Those with DVD players are offered the deluxe package that includes the video recording on DVD along with the double-disc CD accompaniment.  There are also the stand alone DVD and Blu-ray sets as well as a stand-alone double-disc CD set from which audiences can choose.  This vast amount of options may not seem like much to some.  But the reality is that it plays a much bigger role in the overall presentation of this set than some might believe.  Depending on one’s budget or perhaps access to one format or another, Time Life Entertainment has given audiences as many possibilities as possible to be able to enjoy this performance.  Generally when it comes to live recordings, it seems the standard is to present the recording either on one format or another and leave it at that.  Time Life Entertainment has done the exact opposite.  It has offered this iconic performance in every format possible, save for digital.  Though, that will likely come.  For this alone, the people at Time Life Entertainment are to be highly commended.

The multi-format packaging for Love For Levon (as it will be simply known from here on out) is a major positive to the overall positive outlook on this concert.  Moving forward, one must also take into account its production values in determining its success or failure.  Obviously, the good people at Time Life Entertainment maintained the mantra that failure is not an option even with the recording’s production values.  The audio and video were expertly mixed.  Audiences will notice this both on the DVD and Blu-ray presentations as well as on the CD presentation.  This is a factor that is just as important as the number of formats from which audiences to have choose in experiencing the concert.  It is just as important because without proper mixing, there is no reason to buy the recording on any platform.  There are live recordings out there that leave audiences wondering what those behind the boards and cameras were thinking and were they awake at their posts.  Obviously, those behind the board s and cameras were well awake at this concert.  It looks and sounds excellent all the way around.  Even the lighting on stage itself was just right.  When blues great Mavis Staples takes the stage to sing ‘Move Along Train’ every note from Ms. Staples and the backing musicians is crystal clear. This expert mixing is handled throughout the near three-hour long concert.

Having taken into account the production values of Love for Levon, the next logical step is to take a slightly broader examination in looking at the show’s set list and its equally vast array of performers.  These too, are boons to this recording.  Mavis Staples is just one of the many superstars that made appearances for the benefit.  Also on hand were the likes of: Jakob Dylan, John Mayer, Roger Waters, Eric Church, My Morning Jacket, Dierks Bentley, Ray LaMontagne, and a whole who’s who of music past and present.  That so many artists from so many different corners of the music world came together for this performance shows the impact that Levon Helm had in his life and still has even though he remains only in spirit.  While the conglomeration of artists was in itself quite impressive, one must agree that the performance’s set list was just as incredible.  The bluesy feel of ‘Trouble in Mind’ and ‘Move Along Train’ is just a pair of the highlights from the performance.  ‘Little Birds’ and ‘Listening to Levon’ are just impressive in their more subdued, emotional tones.  These are just a handful of the songs that audiences will enjoy throughout the course of what is one of the year’s must have live recordings.  During the concert, the performers and their songs will send audiences on an emotional and musical journey that they will not forget.  It is a journey that after it’s over, audiences know they will want to take again.

So much work went into bringing Love for Levon to the masses.  The performances in this recording are outstanding, as are the performers and the songs.  The show’s production values are well above par.  And that Time Life Entertainment and StarVista have given audiences so many options from which to choose in deciding on how to best take in the concert sweetens the deal even more.  There is one final piece to the puzzle that makes this recording one of the year’s best live recordings, if not the best of the year.  That piece of the puzzle is the packaging.  This critic had the honor of receiving a screener of the deluxe double-disc CD/double-disc DVD set for review.  The packaging for this deluxe is impressive in its own right.  All four discs in the set are placed into their own mini-sleeve so to speak within the larger package that also includes a bonus booklet.  The bonus booklet includes very moving tributes written by Charles McCardell and Keith Wortman.  Wortman writes so eloquently of Helm in his addition to the included booklet, “In this age of artificially constructed music, Levon was the genuine article…in how he played, sang, and carried himself.”  He goes on to include a quote by Bruce Springsteen about Helm that is just as touching.  McCardell adds his own touch, expressing the joyous air that filled the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ, where the tribute concert was held.  His writing that, “From the energy generated in the building, it’s hard to tell who was more excited—the audience or the performers.”  Home audiences will see exactly what McCardell means when they watch this concert.  That single note echoes everything that has already been noted here.  And it can all be experienced now.  The concert is available now.  It can be ordered direct online via the Time Life Entertainment website at http://timelife.com/products/love-for-levon or via Amazon.

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New Documentary Re-Introduces The World To One Of Rock’s Greatest Albums

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision

Pink Floyd’s album, “Wish You Were Here” is considered by many to be one of the band’s most iconind recordings, next to its predecessor, “Dark Side of The Moon.”  That record was received to praise from critics and fans alike.  Now, when a band releases any album that’s considered landmark, it’s always a tough call on how to follow up such success.  And as with any other band, the road to creating a successful followup was not an easy one for Pink Floyd.  Thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, Eagle Vision and director John Edginton, fans of Pink Floyd flinally get to hear from the band members themselves just what went into making this amazing opus.

The documentary opens and closes with the band members discussing former guitarist Syd Barrett.  It opens with the song, ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’, which was about Barrett, according to Roger Waters.  It was a tribute of sorts.  He and David Gilmour discuss how the pair really fought over the song, and whether it would mean the inclusion or not of two other new songs that the band had written.  That, apparently, is how “Wish You Were Here” started.  It started with just four notes.  From there, the band members go into discussions on each one of the album’s songs.  They go from ‘Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun’, to the protest against record labels in ‘Cigar’ all the way to the eery sounds of ‘Welcome To The Machine.’  All the while, including their own personal stories of recording the album.

The band members aren’t the only stars of this new documentary.  Brian Humphries, who originally served as recoding engineer on the record, is featured throughout the documentary.  Humphries offers his own take on how each track was constructed, piece by piece.  For those who are interested in audio production, this is an invaluable addition to the album’s story.  He explains to audiences about little nuances that went into each song that brought them to life.  Humphries is joined by the man behind the album’s cover design, Storm Thorgerson.  Fans will love his note about how he had no training in graphic arts, and didn’t like this or that.  So he ended up coming up with the “Burning Man” cover in the end.  That in itself is worthy of its own discussion.

The actual feature documentary presented here clocks in at just under an hour long.  However, there are an additional twenty-five minutes of never before seen footage that serve as bonus features.  Fans will get to hear Roger Waters and David Gilmour playing a full acoustic version of the album’s title track, as well as even more in depth interviews that didn’t make the main feature.  All combined together, they make for an excellent look at what is perhaps not just one of the greatest records from Pink Floyd, but also one of the greatest records ever created, period.

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