I’m fascinated by human perception, especially of art, as the human eye takes two separate things and combines them, giving them new special meaning. Sometimes it’s on purpose, a mashup, like adbusting or The Grey Album, but sometimes it’s not, like the accidental synchronicity of combining The Wizard Of Oz with Pink Floyd’s classic The Dark Side Of The Moon.
I love the idea that human beings live somewhere in the meaty subspace between synchronicity and apophenia.
But the question of just what’s going on as you play the Pink Floyd album along with the film and the way things line up eerily has been around since the 90s, with hundreds of examples of odd connections noted by people. At one point, Turner Classic Movies, which owns the broadcast rights to the film, even aired Wizard Of Oz with Dark Side as the alternate soundtrack.
Engineer Alan Parsons mixing the album in great big quadrophonic sound.
“It was an American radio guy who pointed it out to me. It’s such a non-starter, a complete load of eyewash. I tried it for the first time about two years ago. One of my fiancee’s kids had a copy of the video, and I thought I had see what it was all about. I was very disappointed. The only thing I noticed was that the line “balanced on the biggest wave” came up when Dorothy was kind of tightrope walking along a fence. One of the things any audio professional will tell you is that the scope for the drift between the video and the record is enormous; it could be anything up to twenty seconds by the time the record’s finished. And anyway, if you play any record with the sound turned down on the TV, you will find things that work.”
-Alan Parsons, the engineer on Dark Side, about the supposed synchronicity.
No matter the coincidence versus the intent, I like the way our brains work, either looking for or creating connections in things, giving added contextual meaning, trying to make the universe more special to us. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong, but sometimes we do find things, little bits of weird magic to call our own. And let’s face it, this bit of film/music weird is so much more cheery than the urban legend about the munchkin hanging himself in the background of The Wizard Of Oz, right?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see the Wizard – the wonderful Wizard – on the dark side of the moon…