Sonic and graphic review: Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon, Scienceworks Planetarium

Pink Floyd's iconic album plays to space graphics in the immersive stereo surround of the Planetarium.
A space man is walking on surface of a moon. The lighting is a yellow haze. In the foreground are people seated, looking up at him in the spherical shape of the planetarium.

By popular demand, Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon returns to the Planetarium after selling out a few months ago; on this Friday night (5 July), it was a sold-out session as well. There are obviously plenty of fans wanting to experience the band’s music in stereo sound vibrating around the 10-metre dome ceiling of the Planetarium.

The very title of Pink Floyd’s 1973 album, The Dark Side of the Moon, naturally lends itself to interpretation of interplanetary visuals and it seems completely apposite that its 50th birthday would be represented by a space-and-time celebration of graphic illuminations. It’s a collaboration between NSC Creative, which has wrangled the visual production efforts, and Pink Floyd’s long-time creative collaborator Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis.

Running the entire length of the album’s 45 minutes of airplay, the session consists of graphics of typical space paraphernalia: shuttles, astronauts, galaxies, planets and suns. Every side of lunar magnificence is depicted – not just its dark side– including close-ups of its cratered surfaces. But there are also depictions of fractals, spirographs and various geometric shapes, canyons and valleys, intricate clockwork and even at one point, pulsating neon jellyfish. Each song plays to a different theme.

The whole effect is psychedelic; you’d be forgiven for closing your eyes at various points to ward off dizziness and to try and avoid the uneasy sensation of space debris hurtling at you with what seems like 3D solidity.

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If you love Pink Floyd and fancy listening to their seminal album (which has, incidentally, sold over 45 million copies) in an all immersive and surround sound environment, with accompanying trippy graphics, then this is a sonic blast of a night out.

Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon will be shown on 12, 19 and 26 July 2024 at the Scienceworks Planetarium. Tickets: $20-$45

Thuy On is the Reviews and Literary Editor of ArtsHub and an arts journalist, critic and poet who’s written for a range of publications including The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books, The Australian, The Age/SMH and Australian Book Review. She was the books editor of The Big issue for 8 years. Her debut, a collection of poetry called Turbulence, came out in 2020 and was released by University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP). Her second collection, Decadence, was published in July 2022, also by UWAP. Her third book, Essence, will be published in 2025. Twitter: @thuy_on Instagram: poemsbythuy