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Articles Home » 1978 Articles » Parsons, Alan (Project) - 1978 Pyramid
 
Parsons, Alan (Project) - 1978 Pyramid



ARTIST: Parsons, Alan (Project)
ALBUM: Pyramid
LABEL: Arista
SERIAL: 5N 058-60792
YEAR: 1978
CD REISSUE: 1987, Arista, ARCD 8225

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: David Paton - bass, vocals * Stuart Elliott - drums, percussion * Ian Bairnson - electric and acoustic guitars * Eric Woolfson, Duncan Mackay - keyboards * Dean Ford, Colin Blunstone, Lenny Zakatek, John Miles, Jack Harris - vocals * Alan Parsons - acoustic guitar, production, engineering * Andrew Powell - orchestral arrangements

TRACK LISTING: 01 Voyager * 02 What Goes Up * 03 The Eagle Will Rise Again * 04 One More River * 05 You Can't Take It With You * 06 In The Lap Of The Gods * 07 Pyromania * 08 Hyper Gamma Spaces * 09 Shadow Of A Lonely Man

WEBLINKS: -alan-parsons-project.com


Background
There are times when an escape from the current-day rubbish that passes for music in 2009 is warranted. An escape for me is a timeshift back to 1978 to listen to this fabulous album from the posse that call themselves the Alan Parsons Project. From a time in history where there was unprecedented interest in things such as UFO sightings and.. believe it or not.. pyramids. Jumping onto the (then) trend. Engineer Alan Parsons had some interesting and topical material to base an album around. Considering that most of the Parsons discography is based on a theme of some sort, this is one that appealed to me, due to its sci-fi and mystical elements, loosely attached to Egyptology and of course, the hidden mysteries of the pyramids.


The Songs
The instrumental 'Voyager' is a fantastic scene setter for the album. I have loved this brief 2 minute blip for years. It seques easily into the first vocal track 'What Goes Up..', sung by David Paton and Dean Ford. This one features a simplistic arrangement with a mostly symphonic base.

For me, the best song here is the exquisite 'The Eagle Will Rise Again' with Colin Blunstone doing the honours. Another simplistic arrangement turned on its head by the pure raw emotional vocal delivery from Blunstone. Beautiful stuff.

Equally good, but in a different context is 'One More River' sung by Lenny Zakatek, which is more upbeat symphonic synth rich pop.

Dean Ford handles the vocal on 'Can't Take It With You', but when compared to the other songs on the album, just comes up short in the quality stakes.

'In The Lap Of The Gods' is an extended instrumental with a fair swag of eastern influences in the sound mix.

The odd track out here is the slightly twangy new wave pop of 'Pyramania'. Sounding like The Cars on a bad day, it's quirky and forgivable, fun even, though probably a bit 'off topic' for want of a better phrase.

'Hyper Gamma Spaces' is the familiar instrumental that has been used on/off for radio and TV intros more times than I can remember. The pulsing beat and synth explorations pred-date the MIDI age by a few years, but I'm pretty certain it spawned a whole bunch of studio sessions during the mid 80's MIDI explosion.

John Miles takes the vocal lead on the album closer 'Shadow Of A Lonely Man', an orchestral laden ballad high on emotive qualities, which alongside 'The Eagle Will Rise Again' is one of the vocal highlights on the album.


In Summary
'Pyramid' was re-released in 2008 as a souped up digitally enhanced recording using the new Japanese only SHM-CD format. That is something I need to find out a bit more about. As 'Pyramid' was such a high quality recording in the first instance, I am intrigued as to how they can improve upon the original. Still, any digital recording of 'Pyramid' is worth having in your collection. Go on, rediscover this album and take a trip back down memory lane. And while you're at it, go and grab the rest of his discography too!


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