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Alan Parsons - The Time Machine CD (album) cover


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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Not much to add to this album, only that it starts with lots of promise with tracks like ' Time Machine Part 1' and the excellent ' Out of the Blue'. It has a good line up as well. Unfortunately it starts to lose it's way quite quickly after the 4th track and battles to resurface. Some of the songs in the latter part of the album sound like filler with no real direction to the album. It is not offensive but gets boring after a while.Tony Hadley's vocals on the ' out of the blue' the definite highpoint on Time Machine.
Report this review (#5687)
Posted Tuesday, August 31, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars In this album, Parsons has begun more and more to use the electronic touch to his album (which completely takes over by the next album, "A Valid Path" (2004)). The title track "The Time Machine", was apparently used in the Austin Powers movie (the spy who shagged me), although I never heard it in the movie. My edition of the CD also contains a bonus track called "Dr. Evil Edit", with sampled sounds from the movie (maybe you remember Dr. Evil talking about the giant laser called "the Alan Parsons Project" ?). The music on the album is a bit of a hotch-potch, the tracks are almost clumsily put together, and not at all falling into each other that natural way Alan Parsons usually masters very well. (This is a conclusion that I have reached after much listening to this album; a new listener might not agree). It makes the two tracks "No Future in the Past" and "Press Rewind", which are actually pretty good but stoved away round the back, seem less attractive somehow.

The album actually has very good qualities and nice songs, but the strange mixing of them makes them all seem less worth. They work against each other instead of helping each other build a unity. That might be the whole idea thought, the concept being a "Time Machine", bringing you from one place to another in no particular order. "Out of the Blue" is a nice, smooth ballad about the weary time-traveller, "Call Up" a rather irritating repetative song about bringing back people whose ideas and lives have had a great effect on us. "Ignorance is Bliss" is a kind of ballad, "Rubber Universe" an instrumental tune somewhat like Parsons classical instrumental works only with a more modern sound. "The Call of the Wild" suddenly brings you into some old Irish folk-tale- atmosphere, a song about fighting against xenophobia and not being afraid of things that are different. "No Future in the Past" and "Press Rewind" are two rather normal pop/rock songs with a pretty nice beat and sound, a bit like "I Can't Look Down" or "Fall Free" from "On Air" (1996). "The Very Last Time" is a nice, soft ballad about dealing with the memory of a dear friend passed away. Beverley Craven's vocals and a string quartet help the song into a beautiful sound and melody. Finally, "Far Ago and Long Away" is a sort of slow, trance-like instrumental half-dark dream that doesn't say much. This listing of the songs is rather necessary, because a whole theme for the album is almost impossible to put together. All in all, it could've been done in a better way as a whole, but the individual songs are good in themselves if you give them a chance.

Report this review (#5688)
Posted Wednesday, November 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "I shall call my plan The Alan Parsons Project"

With Eric Wolfson having long since moved on, "The Time Machine" is once again billed as simply being by Alan Parsons (the "Project" was dropped when Woolfson left).

With the third of the "Austin Powers" films having made reference to the "Alan Parsons Project", the favour is returned on some versions through the inclusion of an "Dr. Evil Edit" remix of the title track `as a hidden bonus track.

As a whole, the album does not stray far from what we have come to expect from Parsons although the first hints of the subtle direction change of "A valid path" are noticeable. Parsons as usual takes a back seat performance wise, but several of the usual suspects are once again present including Ian Bairnson, Colin Blunstone, and Chris Rainbow. This time however Rainbow does not take the lead vocal on any of the tracks.

In addition, there are some fine guest performances by other artists. "Out of the blue" features the rich voice of Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) instantly making it one of the album's highlights. Maire Brennan of Clannad sings on "The call of the wild", which has strong similarities to Simple Minds' "Belfast child", both tracks using the traditional air "She moved through the fair" as their main theme. "The very last time" sees the criminally underrated Beverley Craven offering one of her most delightful performances, accompanied only by piano and occasional male vocal.

These tracks aside, only the ballad "Ignorance is bliss" with the distinctive voice of Colin Blunstone and some fine sax and guitar rises above the mediocrity of some pretty uninspired compositions. "Call up" is the undoubted low point of the album, sounding like a reject from a Rick Davies era Supertramp album. A number of instrumentals are inevitably included, but these have an over familiar feel, with strong echoes similar tracks on previous APP albums. The version I have is the Japanese release (don't ask!), which has an extra track called "Beginnings".

In all, something on an uneven album which perhaps indicates the absence of Wolfson to be most noticeable in the quality control department. The performances by the guest vocalists are exemplary, and fortunately the songs they have been allocated are well written, complementing their talents well. The poorer tracks and padding serve only to detract from the finished product.

Report this review (#40395)
Posted Tuesday, July 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars A truly MASTERPIECE. This is in my opinion Parsons' Highest peak in all his career. penalized by the very limited number of pubblications this great album show Parsons at one of his best shapes. The Work we're dealing with in this review has very few weak points: the techno- influenced "The Time Machine Pt.1" and...his coda "pt.2", the rest of the album drifts away very well passing trough very great ballads like "Ignorance Is Bliss" to "The Very Last Time" (A very touching song with a great female vocalist) and exploring into new directions with an Enya-influenced track called "The Call Of The Wild" and the "Far ago and Long Away" track (An interisting mix of electronic music and classical); The past Parsons' work experiences with Paul McCartney are shown in the song called "Press Rewind", a track which to a not concetrated listener could sound like an extract from any Wings' album....

My opinion: " A very very good album" , not the best in all Prog history, but definitely an excellent choice, a very homogeneous work with very great songs and very interisting arrangements, a prerogative to almost every Parsons' release. It's understood saying that in from my point of view every Alan Parsons Fan should have one copy of this album in his own collection. If you're new to the Alan Parsons' work this is the right choice to understand the new musical directions of Parsons himself in the last years... I'm not sure if this shuold be your first Parsons' album at all. Unfortunately this album is not very easy to find, expecially if you're not in the USA, but in my opinion it's that this one is worth the search.

4 stars all the way!!!

Report this review (#69463)
Posted Wednesday, February 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tristan Mulders
2 stars Alan Parsons - The Time Machine

About two years ago I came across this album, along with Alan Parsons' "The Best of. Live," in the discount section of my local record shop. I was quite in a hurry, so I only listened to the disc rapidly while still in the shop and I really like the opening piece The Time Machine: Part I. So I decided to buy it and also buy "The Best of. Live" as a gift for my father's upcoming birthday.

That must have been my biggest mistake in my 'career' as a music lover!!!

I expected a collection of catching songs, like I was used to from The Project, but at the time I did not even know the APProject did not exist anymore. I read comments about the 'modern' sound of this release, but according to my standards only the title track (both parts) and Far ago and long away can live up to those opinions. Most of the other tracks are relatively dull ballads or 'rock' songs. The drumming Out of the Blue sounds as if the track were a demo recording! Too far in the background of the mix and the sound is also very 'flat'. One song that reminded me of the old Alan Parsons Project days was Rubber Universe. Despite the amazing bass guitar playing, I only think the guitar solo is any good. The other things in this track are very boring or plain annoying, especially the melody that is played throughout the whole track. The song sounds a lot as if it were a bad leftover from a recording session from the old days. Oh, the outro is quite good and it is a relief to hear after the annoyance that preceded it.

The Call of the Wild starts with a promising slow guitar solo, but what follows is a highly unoriginal song in my opinion. The vocals are horrible, but the addition of the bagpipe is quite nice. Just when I thought the song could get a bit interesting, during the up-tempo section, things slowed down and what follows is a tedious repetition of the dull begin section.

The second modern-sounding piece is the dark, techno-like instrumental Far ago and long away. The song reminds me a bit of the song "Voyage 34: Phase 3" by space rockers PORCUPINE TREE. A slow beat with layers of sounds played over this beat. This piece of music crossfades with the last song on the album, which is a reprise section of the title track. This Part 2 song, weird enough, gives me a satisfied feeling when the album is finished, but the album is not even close to being satisfying for me!!

Well, ain't I lucky, there's a bonus track included with my release. the so-called Dr. Evil Edit of the title track. Basically said, this is the same song, but with some slightly different sections within the composition and of course the inclusion of the voice of Mike Myers' character from the film "Austin Powers: The Spy who shagged me".

After listening to this album, I really feel like giving Parsons' most recent album, "A valid Path," another spin, because that one is more coherent and the incorporation of electronic music is more successful to my ears than on this release.

Report this review (#79014)
Posted Monday, May 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
1 stars Alan Parsons' third solo album was called The Time Machine. The first thoughts this title evoke in my mind are a concept album dealing with time travel and what better person to provide that spacey, sci-fi feel than Alan Parsons. Unfortunately for me and countless other listeners, we were delivered an album that was uninspired, filled with boring ballads, uneventful rock songs, and a dive into the techno arena. Parsons doing techno? Who would have imagined that?

The ever-present Parsons formula is still there: impeccable production, a strong concept, and countless guests. But this time, I think the formula had worn itself out. Guests include Máire Brennan (Clannad), Frank Close (professor from the University of Oxford who narrated Temporalia), Colin Blunstone (Zombies), Beverley Craven, Neil Lockwood (ELO Part 2), Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Graham Dye (Scarlet Party), and Chris Rainbow, among others. However, none of these guests were strong enough to lift this album into at least mediocrity. Parsons' experiments with techno would actually develop even stronger on his next album, A Valid Path.

Alan, where's the progressive rock? Heck, I'd even settle for something like Ammonia Avenue over this. A very poor and disappointing release. Only completionists will be interested in this.
Report this review (#156082)
Posted Thursday, December 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
1 stars Used to be back in his early Project career Alan Parsons would take a concept and develop an entire album around it. Each track would either elaborate an element of that concept or simply embellish the aura of the album as whole. Well, he doesn’t really do that anymore, and hasn’t actually since probably Gaudi which was over twenty years ago.

On ‘The Time Machine’ he tries, sort of. At least there is a vague connection to all the songs and the combination of spoken words and ambient synthetic music gives the easily led an impression of a cohesive theme. And who knows, maybe Parsons convinced himself this was the case as well.

But I’m not buying it. For someone who’s never heard Alan Parsons before, and probably also grew up less than thirty years ago, this album might actually come across as some sort of faux sophisticated contemporary body of work. But for those who know what Parsons is (or at least was) capable of in the studio – this is coasting… mailing it in… punching a ticket… taking the easy road… sailing closed waters… you get the idea.

The guest list is quite impressive, featuring both old Project alumni like Ian Bairnson and Chris Rainbow, as well as some new faces like the lovely and talented Beverley Craven who provides a breathy lead vocal on the glossy adult contemporary tune “The Very Last Time”.

But that’s the problem of course; like much of Parsons work post-Project, the production and synthetic instrumentation has overwhelmed the creativity of the man. There’s not a hair or note out of place anywhere on the album, a tribute to the impeccable studio skill of Mr. Parsons. But there’s very little soul or energy either, and we’re left with a middle-aged and highly synthesized parallel to a Rod Stewart or Barbra Streisand album circa around the same time period.

Sure, Parsons has been working his way this direction since ‘Eye in the Sky’, but here the transition to Las Vegas marquee act is complete. If you are into this kind of music it’s unlikely you are also a serious progressive music fan. More likely you’re middle-aged, metrosexual, and use a blow dryer when you shower at the gym. Good for you, but not good for long-time fans of Alan Parsons. In fact as near as I can tell he only even appears in front of the mixing board on a couple of songs – the bland soft rock tune “No Future in the Past” and the directionless spoken-word “Temporalia”. Otherwise this is more like a ‘Friends & Family’ collection, or a Various Artists compilation.

Bah, I’m not going to spend any more time on this. If you are the sort of person who thinks of ambient music as ‘classy’ this may appeal to you; otherwise this record is only for the most ardent Alan Parsons completionists. A high one star for ‘The Time Machine’ – almost two stars but doesn’t quite get there. Not recommended.


Report this review (#173908)
Posted Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permalink

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