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Articles Home » 1996 Articles » Parsons, Alan - 1996 On Air
Parsons, Alan - 1996 On Air

ARTIST: Parsons, Alan
LABEL: River North
SERIAL: 51416 1237 2
YEAR: 1996


LINEUP: Alan Parsons - keyboards, programming * Ian Bairnson - guitars, bass * John Giblin - bass * Gary Sanctuary, Richard Cottle - keyboards * Stuart Elliott - drums, keyboards

Various Guests on vocals: Christopher Cross, Steve Overland, Neil Lockwood, Eric Stewart, Graham Dye

TRACK LISTING: 01 Blue Blue Sky * 02 Too Close To The Sun * 03 Blown By The Wind * 04 Cloudbreak * 05 Can't Look Down * 06 Brother Up In Heaven * 07 Fall Free * 08 Apollo * 09 So Far Away * 10 One Day To Fly * 11 Blue Blue Sky (Reprise)


For the best part of 25 years, I've had a soft spot for the music and creative wisdom of Alan Parsons. Both as a musician and producer, Alan has left a legacy which is the envy of many in the rock world. From those early days associated with the UK band Pilot, through the years working under the banner of the Alan Parsons Project, and then through to the modern day in a solo capacity, there are many recorded highlights to choose from. This 1996 effort 'On Air' is an album whose theme is based on the story of flight. In particular man's fascination with flying. Historical and mythical reference points are a common thread throughout the album. Most of the musicians associated from the Alan Parsons Project albums put in an appearance here. There are some guests as well, most notably American West Coast artist Christopher Cross and Steve Overland from the UK rock band FM. For the most part it's a fairly laid back affair with the traditional Parsons overload on orchestral arrangements, the helping hand provided by the Philharmonic Orchestra this time around. On some of the tracks it resembles a film score such is the comparison, however occasionally the bird is literally let out of the cage with some strident tunes being belted out.

The Songs
For starters though, the radio friendly 'Too Close To The Sun' gets us going, similar in many ways to Mike And The Mechanics material. 'Blown By The Wind' literally drifts across the soundscape, a song living up to it's song title in more ways than one. The instrumental 'Cloudbreak' harks back to the great instrumentals on the APP albums, while 'I Can't Look Down' is a more racier proposition, especially during the chorus. Meanwhile 'Brother Up In A Heaven' is a heartfelt ballad of the somberest sort, touching the heartstrings with that atmospheric piano. 'Fall Free' is probably the most AOR effort on the album, no doubt helped by the vocal talent of Steve Overland, and there's the Christopher Cross performance on 'So Far Away', which makes one appreciate his talents more and more. When mixed with Parson's material it's a winner! The other instrumental 'Apollo' is reminiscent of his past works like 'Lucifer' off the 'Eve' album.

In Summary
As with all his albums, they are not musically arresting, and they definitely don't hit you in the face as a bombastic piece of music. But what it does do is wash over you like a warm glow, and it's the sort of album you can play and let it tick away in the background. Depending on which version of the album you've bought, there is an edition which is a 2CD set, the second disc is a multimedia version which goes into great detail about the theme of flight. It's quite humorous too, and well worth the investment if you see it.

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