Alan Parsons

A Valid Path

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Five years after The Time Machine, Alan Parsons returned to the producer's chair refreshed and ready to go with an arsenal of new songs. The immediate standout is Parsons' highly updated super-polished sound, and to expect less from Parsons would be an insult to his legacy and reputation as one of rock's most respected producers and engineers. As usual for a Parsons project (pun intended), guest appearances once again run the gamut. The Crystal Method, David Gilmour, John Cleese, Nortec Collective, and Orson Welles all make contributions, with some most definitely faring better than others. The Crystal Method seem downright out of place on "Mammagamma 04," and so do their driving breakbeats and filtered basslines. Evidence of overreaching to keep up with the current chillout trends and Middle Eastern influences du jour are also present in "Return to Tunguska," which sounds like Pink Floyd's classic "One of These Days" in its mid-forties sipping a café latte. But those are mere distractions from Valid Path's overall haunting beauty, especially for those who have been loyal to Parsons over the duration of his career. While the changes may not appeal to some or even lure any new listeners, die-hard fans will revel in this and its replay value over and over again with great delight.

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