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The Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery And Imagination CD (album) cover


The Alan Parsons Project


Crossover Prog

4.05 | 702 ratings

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4 stars A former engineer who worked on, amongst others, Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon' and The Beatles 'Abbey Road', Alan Parsons was a top-notch studio operator who, in tandem with musician-and-lyricist Eric Woolfson, created the ever-shifting Alan Parsons Project, a collective of two, augmented by a cast of talented session musicians. The basic idea was a series of concept albums based on lofty, literal themes and brought to life by top-quality musicianship. Indeed, 'Tales Of Mystery & Imagination' - which is based on the works of legendary US horror-author Edgar Allan Poe - features a wonderfully crisp production that combines the compositional beauty of prog with a catchy pop sensibility that marked the APP out from the crowd, and, surprisingly, came at a time when punk was starting to ravage the prog world. Not unlike the early musings of a certain Mr Oldfield, with sparkling keyboards andn ethereal synth-washes to the fore, 'Tales Of Mystery & Imagination' is an assured debut with a glossy production sheen - so much so that many first-time listeners accidently - and understandably - believe it to be a product of the mid-1980's! The album is often heralded for the 5-part epic 'The Fall Of The House Of Usher' which fills the entire second side of vinyl. A 20-minute long song-suite with heavy classical overtones, this lengthy piece eschews the rock-orientated style of side 1 in favour of full-blown ELP-style histrionics. However, for many, it's the shorter, more concise and rockier numbers that prove to be the most indelible. The opening bass-thuds of 'Dream Within A Dream' promise much and deliver a fantastic pop-rock odyssey, before leading into the fantastic vocoder-sung 'The Raven'(one of the only APP songs actually sung by Mr Parsons himself) which showcases the APP's perfect merging of musical ideas and technology. Side 1 finishes with another excellent rocker, the slightly jokey '(The System Of)Dr Tarr and Professor Fether', which features a chorus any top-notch pop act would be proud to call their own. Overall, it's a debut to remember, and one that proved hugely successful in both North America and Continental Europe. But NOT, for reasons unknown, in Parson's UK homeland. Fusing pop with a heavy slice of technical prog, 'Tales Of Mystery & Imagination' was a hugely-entertaining beginning for this slightly-unusual union of musicians and producers. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2010
stefro | 4/5 |


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