In episode 65 of the Podcast for Social Research’s “Practical Criticism” series, the game has changed. For a special live recording of the final episode of 2022, everyone knew in advance that the sonic object would be Pink Floyd’s landmark concept album—and favorite laser light show accompaniment—Dark Side of the Moon. A gathering of dedicated listeners joined Rebecca and Ajay “in studio” for an immersive collective listening experience to this classic of prog rock on vintage vinyl. And the surprises spun out from there, beginning with a musicological breakdown of borrowed sounds, followed by a detour through Franz Schubert’s Winterreise song cycle (with insights from Adorno on poetry and escape), thoughts about the concepts at work in concept albums, plagal cadences and passacaglia, receptiveness to the sounds of ordinary life, the reverb of history, the history of lasers, and much more.
This podcast includes the whole of the approximately 45-minute album, so if you’re short on time, hop off at minute 5:56 and tune back in for the conversation that picks up again at minute 49:05. If you’re in it for the complete experience, this is one to listen to with headphones on!
Practical Criticism is a monthly series of the Podcast for Social Research, produced by William R. Clark. If you like what you’ve heard, consider subscribing to Brooklyn Institute’s Patreon page, where you can enjoy access to all past and future episodes of the podcast.