Reissued to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its release, this new edition of The Dark Side of the Moon offers the best opportunity yet to gauge demand for the new SACD (super audio CD) format. The Pink Floyd classic was one of those benchmark albums – along with Tubular Bells and Steely Dan's back catalogue – that experienced a substantial sales fillip with the introduction of CDs in the Eighties. My guess is that consumers will be in no hurry to upgrade formats again – particularly since SACD is in competing with the DVD-audio format supported by Warner Bros. The "high-resolution" sound of SACDs will not, I suspect, prove sufficiently superior to plain old CDs to tempt punters to buy a new system, and the benefit of hearing all those chiming clocks, ringing cash-tills, footsteps and heartbeats in 5.1 surround sound rather than stereo is open to debate.
A few points on hearing the music again for the first time in 20 years: the sequencing of songs and instrumentals is beautifully balanced, and Gilmour and Waters' restlessly cycling synth arpeggios in "On the Run" still outpace most subsequent ambient-house developments; but the fake soul-diva caterwauling on "The Great Gig in the Sky" is unbearable. Ironically, the theme of "Time" – the doomed pursuit of too short an existence – applies all too clearly to this reissue: is life really long enough to spend on reconfiguring former glories over and over again?
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