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Dark Side SACD Engineer Speaks on Remix of Album Print E-mail
Friday, 28 March 2003
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Dark Side SACD Engineer Speaks on Remix of Album
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The much anticipated SACD surround sound release of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon hit store shelves this Tuesday with great anticipation from Floyd fans and audio enthusiasts alike. The audiorevolution.com SACD review is already underway but in order to understand more about how the record was made into an SACD here is a transcript of James Guthrie’s speech from the press event for the launch of the SACD.

(The following is a transcript of a talk given by James Guthrie at the press launch for The Dark Side Of The Moon 5.1 SACD. Hayden Planetarium, New York, March 24th, 2003.) Good evening. Thank you all for taking the time to come and listen to our project. We almost had one or two band members here, but unfortunately, their schedules would not allow.

My thanks to Tripp and to Capitol Records. And my thanks, particularly to David Kawakami. He's far too modest to take credit, but David is the person who has driven this project from the beginning. He got us through the obstacles with great finesse.

A few excerpts from the story of a 5.1 mix.

We were approaching the 30th anniversary of the release of an archetype, and I had written a proposal to EMI.

We couldn’t just re-master the album yet again, I suggested. The fans might, quite understandably, beat us to death with sticks. Or at the very least, not bother to make an appearance at their local record shops. Doug Sax and I had, after all, already re-mastered the album three or four times for previous re-releases. It was time to do something a bit special. I suggested the release of a hybrid SACD.

With the SACD we could provide a disc that would contain a standard “red-book” layer, allowing it to play in all conventional CD players, and a high-resolution layer with room for both the original stereo mix, and a multichannel 'surround' version. Pricing the disc competitively with normal CDs meant that the record company could really give something back to the fans.

Jody Klein had just done the same thing with his Rolling Stones catalogue, and I felt that the idea was inspired. EMI approved the plan and the process of locating the tapes began.

As librarian for Abbey Road’s extensive tape vaults, Ian Pickavance’s archeological skills were about to be tested. The brief from EMI had been clear. Find all of the original component parts of ‘The Dark Side Of The Moon’, make safety copies, and send the originals to me in northern California.

By the time Ian arrived with the tapes at my studio in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the November skies were already quietly discussing how many winter storms they could fit in between now and the end of the mix.


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