Alan Parsons
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1976), 7/10
I Robot (1977), 7/10
Pyramid (1978), 6/10
Eve (1979), 5/10
The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), 6/10
Eye In The Sky (1982), 6/10
Ammonia Avenue (1984), 5/10
Vulture Culture (1985), 4/10
Stereotomy (1986), 6/10
Gaudi (1987), 6.5/10
Freudiana (1990), 6.5/10
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Alan Parsons worked as a sound engineer on the Beatles' Abbey Road and the Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of the Moon, two of the most lushly arranged albums of all times. He then became an equally successful producer. In 1976 he and keyboardist Eric Woolfson formed the Alan Parsons Project and released Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Arista, 1976), a concept album based on Edgar Allan Poe's stories, notably the five-movement suite The Fall Of The House Of Usher. This established the tradition of making only concept albums (mostly composed by Woolfson) and using a revolving cast of guest vocalists and sessionmen. Generous doses of synthesizers allowed Parsons to sculpt ambitious quasi-symphonic architectures that would remain his trademark.

After the gothic theme of its debut album, the Project proceeded to deal with sci-fi on I Robot (1977), whose instrumentals (I Robot, Nucleus, Total Eclipse, Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32) are among the most intriguing of Parsons' career. The formula had been watered down to yield songs that could flood the radios. Pyramid (1978), dedicated to ancient Egypt, which still features some I Robot-style instrumentals (Voyager, In The Lap Of The Gods, Hyper-Gamma-Spaces), and Eve (1979), which includes the instrumentals Lucifer and Secret Garden, were lame imitations of the early albums.

The progress towards soft-rock and MOR balladry began with The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), their most electronic album yet, that contains the hits Games People Play and Time, as well as the suite The Turn of a Friendly Card, and peaked with the awfully commercial Eye In The Sky (1982), whose Eye In The Sky became Parsons' best seller (Mammagamma is the other highlight). Ammonia Avenue (1984) added Don't Answer Me to the best-seller list. Vulture Culture (1985) was uniformly bland.

Parsons decided to restore a bit of artistic prestige to his career with Stereotomy (1986), whose lengthy ballads (Stereotomy and Light Of The World) and futuristic instrumentals (Urbania, Where's The Walrus, Chinese Whispers) are probably Parsons' most elaborate compositions, and Gaudi (1987), which sounds more like a philosophical treaty than a pop album (the eight-minute La Sagrada Familia).

Freudiana (1990), which took three years to complete and employed dozens of musicians, basically an opera about Sigmund Freud, Try Anything Once (1993), The Time Machine (1999) are the later albums.

A flood of anthologies covers Parsons' career: The Best of The Alan Parsons Project (1983), The Best of The Alan Parsons Project - vol. 2 (1987), The Instrumental Works (1988), Anthology (1991) , The Ultimate Collection (1992), The Best of The Alan Parsons Project (1992), The Definitive Collection (1997), Gold Collection (1998), Encore Collection (1999), etc.

Woolfson became a composer of musicals: Gaudi (1993), that incorporates music from the album, Gambler (1996), Dancing Shadows and Edgar Allan Poe, premiered shortly before his death in december 2009.

(Translation by/ Tradotto da Massimo Mascia)

Alan Parsons aveva lavorato come ingegnere del suono su Abbey Road dei Beatles e in Dark Side Of the Moon dei Pink Floyd, due degli album dagli arrangiamenti più opulenti di tutti i tempi, diventando in seguito produttore d’eguale successo. Nel 1976, insieme al tastierista Eric Woolfson formò gli Alan Parsons Project e incise Tales of Mystery and Imagination (Arista, 1976), un concept album ispirato ai racconti di Edgar Allan Poe. Il primo lavoro stabilì la tradizione di comporre solamente dischi a tema e usare un cast di cantanti e musicisti mercenari di volta in volta diverso. Abbondanti dosi di sintetizzatori permisero ad Alan Parsons di scolpire quelle architetture musicali semi-sinfoniche che sarebbero rimaste il suo marchio distintivo.

Dopo il tema gotico dell’album d’esordio, il “Progetto” proseguì affrontando la fantascienza con I Robot (1977), i cui pezzi strumentali (I Robot, Nucleus, Total Eclipse, Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32) sono tra i più interessanti della carriera di Parsons. Nel frattempo la formula era stata annacquata per farvi rientrare canzoni con le quali inondare le radio. I due dischi Pyramid (1978), ispirato all’antico Egitto, che ancora ospita alcune tracce strumentali in stile I Robot (Voyager, In The Lap Of The Gods, Hyper-Gamma-Spaces), e Eve (1979), che include strumentali come Lucifer e Secret Garden, si rivelarono scialbe imitazioni dei primi album.

Il cammino verso un soft-rock e ballate da metà carriera iniziò con The Turn of a Friendly Card (1980), il loro disco più elettronico che contiene i successi Games People Play e Time, per culminare con l’eccessivamente commerciale Eye In The Sky (1982), la cui titletrack Eye In The Sky divenne il pezzo più gettonato di Parsons. Ammonia Avenue (1984) aggiunse Don't Answer Me alla lista dei best-seller, Vulture Culture (1985) è uniformemente innocuo.

Parsons decise di restituire un briciolo di prestigio artistico alla sua carriera con Stereotomy (1986), le cui lunghe ballate (Stereotomy e Light Of The World) e le futuristiche strumentali (Urbania, Where's The Walrus, Chinese Whispers) sono probabilmente le sue composizioni più elaborate, e con Gaudi (1987), che suona come un trattato filosofico piuttosto che un disco pop (ascoltare gli otto minuti de La Sagrada Familia).

Freudiana (1990), Try Anything Once (1993), The Time Machine (1999) sono gli ultimi album.

Un diluvio di raccolte antologiche copre la carriera di Alan Parsons: The Best of The Alan Parsons Project (1983), The Best of The Alan Parsons Project - vol. 2 (1987), The Instrumental Works (1988), Anthology (1991) , The Ultimate Collection (1992), The Best of The Alan Parsons Project (1992), The Definitive Collection (1997), Gold Collection (1998), Encore Collection (1999), etc.

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