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The Alan Parsons Project - The Instrumental Works CD (album) cover

THE INSTRUMENTAL WORKS

The Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

2.75 | 32 ratings

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Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
3 stars Any person who lived in a third world country in the early 90's before the Internet explosion will understand me, the CD's were hard to find, the galleries were full of cassettes, most of them from Boys bands who were at the peak of popularity, so when you visited a music store and found any Prog or Prog Related album, you didn't asked, you bought it before anybody else grabbed it.

This is how I bought "The Instrumental Works" by ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, saw it on a shelve of Disco Centro (a popular store that has closed) just asked for it, being that I had good memories of "Tales of Mystery and Imagination", "I Robot" and "Pyramids".

Not a bad album but on this days I would surely let it pass without even turning back to look at it, in first place it's a compilation, in other words an album released by the label to squeeze the pockets of the fans but normally including the most popular tracks instead of the best ones.

The album starts with "Pipeline", a track from "Ammonia Avenue" I never heard before but which has the evident signature of Alan Parsons and Andrew Powell, good Rock melodies over a semi orchestral arrangement, nice and pleasant, a good surprise, the sax sections are very solid and the Orchestra is perfect.

The second track is "Where's the Walrus" from "Stereotomy" and I wasn't sure if I was listening Alan Parsons or the closing credits of "Blade Runner" soundtrack by Vangelis, lacks of originality, nothing special, useful when you're in long car trips, in other words driving music, decent but not good enough to distract you from the highway.

"I Robot" is a classic that has been described many times in the original release page, so won't loose your and my time talking about it, just will say it's one of the highest points.

"Mammagamma" is a good song from the mediocre "Eye in the Sky" but not spectacular, again the signature of Parsons and Powell is evident, the production is impeccable as always, but too repetitive, and with an absolute lack of versatility, low point.

"Hawkeye" is some sort of Electrouic meets New Age in Dance rhythm, simply horrendous, except for the few jazzy sections. That are wasted in this aberration, for God's sake if I buy Prog album is not to find the repetition of a couple of chords as "Ad Nauseam", very poor.

"Voyager" is another high point from "Pyramids" that I already commented when talking about this good album, saves us from total boring after the tedious "Hawkeye", sadly it's only an introduction for a better song that is not included.

"Paseo de Gracia" is probably the best song from the less than average album "Gaudi", simply beautiful specially for the acoustic guitar passages, the blending of modernity with the extremely traditional Flamenco is extremely beautiful.

"Urbania" is just a waste of space, don't have the slightest idea why it was added.

"The Gold Bug" from the poppy "Turn of a Friendly Card" is a nice song that despite being played away from it's natural context sounds very well, pretty good moment.

"Genesis Ch.1 V.32" from "I Robot" closes the album perfectly, one solid and dramatic song that combines wonderful choirs, Synths, Rock and Electronica with perfect balance and strong dramatics, incredibly beautiful.

Rating this compilation is hard because it has a couple of problems_

1. Lumps, excellent. Good, average, mediocre and bad tracks all in one sack without any coherence, you can't jump from "I Robot" to "The Turn of a Friendly Card" without loosing coherence.

2. An instrumental track played by a non instrumental band has a purpose, to make the listener rest from the main sound, to change the atmosphere, but a complete instrumental album in the case of Alan Parsons is boring in many moments.

Despite the problems, I enjoy "The Instrumental Works" in long driving journeys, as I said before keeps me entertained but not so much that I forget that my main goal in that moment is avoiding accidents.

I would rate it with 2.5 stars because it's average, but I can't say it's only for collectors, it's a decent album released without criteria, but most of the songs are good enough, so I will go with 3 stars, "Good but not essential", with a warning, if you want to enjoy more the good tracks, buy the original studio releases.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 3/5 |

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