Easy Star All-Stars, Dub Side of the Moon


Did you know that someone called Danger Mouse recently mixed rapper Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’ with The Beatles’ ‘The White Album’ and released it as ‘The Grey Album’? This is where the current rash of sampling, borrowing and reusing bits of old songs in new songs has brought us.

The prize for most innovative new/old idea mix must go to the Easy Star label in New York who used their in-house musicians to give the classic Pink Floyd album, ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’, the reggae and dub-makeover it’s now obvious it always needed.

There can’t be too many pop-rock-lovin’ homes around the world that don’t have either an LP or CD copy of Pink Floyd’s ’70’s psychedelic rock classic close at hand. Millions of copies have been sold worldwide since the album’s release (around 15 million in the U.S. alone), and boomer parents still pass copies on to their kids with wide-eyed and wet-eyed anticipation.

Now all those ‘Moon’ fans, who also appreciate the languid groove of dub and reggae, are discovering this mindblast of an album and playing it as many times as they did the “trippy” and other-worldly original.

Overseeing the project was Easy Star’s Lem Oppenheimer who ensured that the original song running order was retained, as were the original lyrics…sort of. But that’s where the similarities end. The finished product sounds like a group of reggae “musos” jamming throughout the whole album in their trademark laid-back style, complete with a range of new sound effects including bongs being lit in place of ‘Money’s’ famous opening cash register montage.

In his liner notes, Oppenheimer lays out this project’s manifesto: “‘Dark Side of the Moon’s’ cover image of a beam of white light passing through a prism, then emerging as a full spectrum stands as a metaphor for life’s complexity. Though it may represent the mind of the listener after exposure to Pink Floyd’s masterpiece as well. ‘Dub Side Of The Moon’s’ aim is to split that beam into reggae’s red, gold and green without sacrificing the nuances that made the original so powerful.”

The ‘Dub Side Of The Moon’ album was released in 2003 and word about this cult album initially spread through many glowing personal recommendations. Since it’s no longer an underground secret, go get it, tell your friends, and relax and re-listen to songs like ‘Breathe’, ‘The Great Gig In The Sky’, ‘Money’, and ‘Brain Damage’. A very cool album!

Stephen Segerman