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String Quartet Tribute To Dark Side Of The Moon Print E-mail

Released 2003 on Vitamin Records. Available through these special links: US/International, UK/Elsewhere, Canada, France, or Germany.

The Section String Quartet version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The MoonHot on the heals of the reggae version of Pink Floyd's classic album, Dub Side Of The Moon, comes a fresh take, undertaken by a string quartet who have already put their efforts into orchestral versions of classic works by the likes of Radiohead, REM, Led Zeppelin and U2, amongst others.

Of course, orchestral versions of the Floyd's songs is an exercise that has been undertaken before, with mixed success. Some tracks naturally lend themselves to such a treatment; the question is how would an album, rich in lyrical concepts, as opposed to musical soundscapes, fare? Surprisingly well, actually. The quartet, calling themselves The Section, are made up of Eric Gorfain (on violin 1), Daphne Chen (on violin 2), Leah Katz (viola), and Richard Dodd (cello), and have been together for some time now. The foursome gel together well, and this adds depths to their playing on the album.

A sound of strings warming up, before the familiar heartbeat kicks in heralding the start of Speak To Me and Breathe. This has a mournful air to it, and sets the mood for the rest of the album.

On The Run is a difficult track to render using instruments other than keyboards, and strings are no exception. The VCS3 part is performed by a violin, with cello used as the main counterpoint instrument. There's plenty going on in the background, with little twiddly bits on violin very much akin to the sort of things heard on Piper At The Gates Of Dawn.

A startling (or is that "alarming"? Sorry!) beginning to Time attempts to emulate the clocks, before a simple violin figure starts the ticking. Once the first verse kicks in, the tone of the song is pretty jaunty. A great rendition of the track, and an interesting example of how Floyd songs can be successfully tackled in different ways.

Great Gig In The Sky belies its original meaning with a mournful rendition, with regret implied with the yearning of the strings. A lovely version, if rather sad. One of the standout tracks on the album.

Next, a pretty straight run through of Money, complete with Gilmour's guitar solo rendered successfully by the violinists. Not the best of the versions here, but then Money is a hard song to show much flair or variety with... Things improve with Us And Them, which follows. It is a song that lends itself well to this sort of reading, and The Section don't disappoint. A beautiful version, full of emotion.

Any Colour You Like is a very credible, accurate cover - like On The Run, it is not an easy song to perform with strings. It works well here though.

A subdued opening to Brain Damage follows. This subdue runs until the uplifting chorus is reached - a really nice reading of the song, and ranks along with GGITS and Time as a standout performance on the album. Some sections of the song lend themselves supremely to a string rendition. Eclipse brings things to a close, ending on a note which reminded me of Day In The Life by the Beatles, for some reason! It rounds out the album on a suitably anthemic note.

Attempting such a classic using just strings was always going to be a brave move - everyone is familiar with the lyrics, which provide the main thrust of the emotional narrative of the album (Money being a good example of this: take away the words, and you notice the difference!). The Section's take on the album is pretty successful, and certainly very enjoyable. It is nice to hear a departure from the norm, and one can think of a number of other tracks which would benefit from their attentions. How about it chaps?

If you want to buy this album, it is through these special links: US/International, UK/Elsewhere, Canada, France, or Germany.

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