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Alan Parsons Project - I Robot CD (album) cover

I ROBOT

Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.75 | 349 ratings

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thehallway
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Here super-producer Alan Parsons fuses electronic music and disco with progressive elements, using a range of musicians and singers to bring to life his musical interpretation of the I Robot story. The music isn't always spectacular, but is consistently fun to listen to, and maintains a good balance between music and lyric; hammering home the dystopian storyline without letting the funky grooves suffer. As you'd expect from the man who produced Dark Side of the Moon, the sound is crystal clear, with great dynamic range.

Comparisons to the mediocrities of late seventies AOR have tended to put me off The Alan Parsons Project, but these are less accurate than they appear, because although the songs on this record are hardly innovative, they are, in majority, well-written, interesting, and varied. The general feel is a disco-rock one, but interludes of synthy electronic bleeping and even some Ligeti-style dissonant choirs ensure that the album retains the listener's attention right up to its climax. The songs, a couple of which are single-worthy, have great melodies and rhythms, while the instrumentals help the record stand out from others in 1977. It all flows along seamlessly like a concept album should.

The opening title cut sounds as you'd expect, robotic. But I use this term positively. A very cool groove is reached, with riffs and melodies layered over it generously. The next few songs are decent enough rockers that forward the storyline, and at times show off some neat keyboard and guitar solos. Closing side one, 'Don't Let It Show' creates a beautiful feel with some lush church organ chords, building up to a power-ballad level of intensity, before unexpectedly chhanging course to a high-paced rock jam. It's an excellent song.

'The Voice' is more laid back, and some great timbres are put to use over the hypnotic bass line throughout the song. 'The Show Must Go On' is less appealing, but integral to the idea of I Robot. Three instrumentals complete the picture. 'Nucleus' is a washover of thick, synthy 9th chords and some tip-hop drumming, and 'Total Eclipse' is a surprisingly avant-garde soundscape that just chills me to the core. The closing piece is the epic 'Genesis Ch.1 V.32', which adds layer upon layer of timbre and harmonic interest to an emotional chord progression.

I Robot is a good album, better than I expected. Prog lived on through records like this, not that disco is ever a bad thing anyway.

thehallway | 4/5 |

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