Dark Side of Oz: Quick Facts-Psychadelic rock band Pink Floyd, at Abbey Road Studios, London, from June 1972 to January 1973, recorded the album The Dark Side of the Moon
-It is claimed that said album can be used as an alternative soundtrack for the 1939 MGM motion picture The Wizard of Oz
-Music from album is allegedly synchronized with action from movie, when album is started on third roar of MGM lion
-This phenomenon is referred to as The Dark Side of Oz; or, alternatively, as Dark Side of the Rainbow
Some of you may already be familiar with this phenomenon known as Dark Side of Oz. For those of you who aren't, here's a link to fill you in on the background: Pink Floyd's DSOTM + Wizard of Oz = DSOTR. And while this website addresses the phenomenon in general, its focus is really on a variation of Dark Side of the Rainbow known as Pink Syncs With Oz. Basically, the difference is that while the traditional method for this sync involved setting the CD player on repeat, and continuing to the end of the movie, Pink Syncs With Oz makes one complete play of the album, and a second complete play of the album using a second cue point.
With the traditional method, many felt that the interplay between the album and the movie was not that great after the first cycle of the album. Using a second cue point for restarting the album after it finishes, the experience can be vastly improved, resulting in an interplay between the audio and visual that's as stunning as that seen on the first cycle of the album. The cue point for starting is the traditional third roar of the MGM lion. Incidentally, the second cue point, for restarting the album, is the third roar of the Cowardly Lion. More detailed instructions for this sync can be found on the below link:PinkSyncsWithOz: Set-up
Members of the band have consistently denied that this sync was done intentionally, and most people have accepted their assertions. Instead, some have tried to explain it as the result of coincidence, apophenia, synchronicity, or some other phenomenon. For a full analysis of these different explanations, click on the below link:Dark Side of OZ: Coincidence, Apophenia or Synchronicity?
The discovery of this double-sync makes it even less likely that Floyd could have done this intentionally. Moreover, my own theory as to whether or not this was done intentionally draws on another theory that Pink Floyd was syncing their music to popular films, although not necessarily to The Wizard of Oz. With this particular album, my bet is that they did not intentionally sync it to The Wizard of Oz; rather, this album, when combined with "Echoes" was intended as an alternative soundtrack for Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey:See Pink Floyd Synced DSOTM to 2001 -Not The Wizard of Oz
Assuming that Dark Side of Oz is all just coincidence, or perhaps even a good example of the psychological predisposition known as apophenia, then we should not expect any extraordinary messages to be encrypted in this bizarre audio-visual pairing. If, on the other hand, this thing did not come about entirely by accident, then we might suspect there to be some underlying message encoded into the lyrics of the album, or possibly even the movie itself. The challenge, therefore, would be to try to decipher what that message might be.
In looking for a pattern that may suggest some sort of design, the most common interpretation would be along the lines of what Carl Jung called synchronicity, or meaningful coincidence. Jung's synchronicity is where we have an extraordinary coincidence that is not the result of random chance; rather there is some underlying deterministic force at work. These "coincidences" offer us a glimpse into what Jung referred to as the Unis mundis. For Jung this Unis Mundis represented the deeper reality of our physical world, much the way the unconscious represents the deeper reality of the self.
My own effort at finding some kind of order or pattern to what looks like a bunch of random associations resulted in the Annotated List. Actually, I did two lists: the first list, the Unannotated list, is a simple list of the most striking coincidences in Pink Syncs With Oz. The Annotated List is a more in depth analysis of each coincidence, with the goal of discerning a pattern to all these apparent associations we see in this audio-visual pairing. One theme that seems to keep popping over and over is the contrasting of the fairytale and the tragedy, with the movie representing the fairytale, and the album representing the tragic. Moreover, each of the main characters seems to represent a certain tragic hero from history or literature. The fact that each lives happily ever after further suggests that this contrasting of the fairytale and the tragedy concerns the triumph of the fairytale over the tragedy.See PinkSyncsWithOz: Annotated List
Although less popular, other interpretations insist that this sync was done intentionally by the band. The theories on exactly what Floyd may have been trying to say by this, however, have been rather sparse, with no clear consensus emerging as the dominant theory, as to what this was all about. Despite my own contention that Floyd really synced this album to 2001, I have offered some speculation as to what it all means, assuming that it was done intentionally. For me, the missing link between the album and the movie would be an article by Henry M. Littlefield, which saw Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a kind of parable on Populism:See Dark Side of the Rainbow and Parable on Populism
Another theory that assumes Floyd did this intentionally suggests that they might have done it mainly for fun, much the same way many artists at the time were dropping backmasked messages into their music:See Dark Side of the Rainbow and the Paul is Dead Urban Legend
PinkSyncsWithOz: Best Sequences:
As the Wikipedia article on this subject states, there are many examples of where a piece of music appears to be inexplicably synchronized to a motion picture, but this phenomenon can usually be explained as a trick of the mind (i.e. apophenia). If Dark Side of Oz really is nothing more than apophenia, then we should be able to pair any random video with any random audio and get what looks like synchronization. You can find hundreds of such examples on Youtube, and they seem to work best when the video is a cartoon, so I picked one of these audio-visual pairings at random, just to give you an idea of how surprisingly well these things often do work: See Betty Boop Meets Stairway to Heaven. As you can see, many of these things turn out to be not all that bad, (it even makes me wonder!), although Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" was obviously never intended as an alternative soundtrack for Betty Boop. However, what makes Dark Side of Oz so special is how this synchronization seems to go on and on for the length of the album, without any really discordant parts in there.
As for the lyrics, I would not say that they don't match up with the movie, but their connection to events in the movie is, for the most part, not immediately obvious. Nevertheless, once you've had a chance to ponder the lyrics, as they relate to the story, there is often a connection, if only through a kind of irony. This is really where we get into Jung's concept of synchronicity. The fact that this connection between the lyrics and the story is not immediately obvious forces us to think about their connection. As Jung himself described synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence, the most important ingredient in synchronicity, after the coincidence, must surely be something that gives us pause for thought.
To be perfectly clear on this, we need to further distinguish the above two terms from the term "synchronicities" -a particular jargon used by members of a movement who deliberately sought out exceptional audio-visual pairings. A particularly amusing pairing came to be known as a synchronicity, which was not really the same thing as Jung's concept. The Synchronicity Arkives (an older website currently in the process of being resurrected) lists and discusses some of these more popular "synchronicities".
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