The Bodhisattva Beat
Music and Life

The Alan Parsons Project: I Robot

 

I Robot: 1977

I Robot: 1977

This is another album that I inherited from an older sibling. She had a habit of getting great albums, and rarely listening to them. Eventually, they became mine. This one grabbed me from the start. It also didn’t hurt that my local FM station had already been playing a couple of tracks. What does all this mean? It means that “I Robot” has been a friend for a long time. There have been long stretches of neglect, but it always comes back, and never lets me down.

 The title track is a spacey, techno-operatic piece, with a groove. Setting up the mood perfectly

 We then get into a very radio friendly tune, with “I wouldn’t Want to be Like You.” You want funk in your opus to a technological society? You got it. It’s really a great groover.

 “Some Other Time” is a lament about being disconnected. Made powerful by haunting vocals, and synthesized horns.

 “Breakdown,” a song about alienation, brings back the funky bass, but moves on to more familiar rock forms. It builds, and adds to its emotional power. By the end we have a full chorus calling for freedom.

 “Don’t let it show” is a touching ballad about coping, and buried emotion. It starts with an organ, tender vocals, and sounds as if it was performed in a church. In the style already laid out, more is added, and it becomes more orchestral. By the end, the tempo is up, and there is tympani in the background.

 “The Voice” is a testament to paranoia. The style is almost borrowed from the soundtrack of a “Shaft” movie. Once again, there is the build up. This time we get a cool bass, strings, and clapping groove.

 “Nucleus” is where the prog really comes in. A steady beat (lightly reminiscent of a moving train), carries the listener through waterfalls, or waves, of lush, but delicate sound.

 “Day After Day” just makes you want to grab your significant other, and have a loving slow dance.

 Of course, anyone who has seen “2001 a Space Odyssey” will recognize “Total Eclipse.” It’s downright creepy, unsettling, and awesome.

 “Genesis CH. 1 V. 32” takes us out in the same style as the opening, only with a lot more subtlety. Thus coming full circle.

 It may sound dated, maybe even a little cheesy at times, but get past it. This is a gem, and should not be overlooked.

Alan Parsons – acoustic guitar, keyboards, projectron, vocorder, vocals

David Paton – bass, vocals

Ian Bairnson – electric and acoustic guitars, vocals

Stuart Tosh – drums and percussion, vocals

Eric Woolfson – keyboards, projectron, vocorder, vocals

Duncan Mackay – keyboards

B.J. Cole – steel guitar

John Leach – cimbalom and kantele

Allan Clarke, Steve Harley, Jack Harris, Peter Straker, Jaki Whitren, Dave Townsend, Lenny Zakatek – vocals

Hilary Western, Smokey Parsons, Tony Rivers, John Perry, Stuart Calver, The English Chorale and the New Philharmonia Chorus – additional vocals

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One Response to “The Alan Parsons Project: I Robot”

  1. It’s a pleasure to write a reply in the site of my dear friend and former right hand in the Prog Archives Symphonic Team HT, specially because his blog is one who is supporting the great “Prog” bands and doesn’t include illegal copies.

    As HT, I’m from the generation who isn’t old enough to have lived the Progressive explosion, but old enough to have heard the late 70’s albums being released when children, so I got my first copy of “I Robot” in 1978.

    It was a paradox, the first Alan Parson’s Project “Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Edgar Allan Poe, had been a breeze of fresh air when Progressive Rock was agonizing (for the first time) but clearly Symphonic * oriented, despite being absolutely dark and haunting as the Victorian genius writer.

    So I expected something similar with “I Robot” based in the homonymous novel of Isaac Assimov, but it was different, more oriented towards electronic music, but with soul and sensibility, something unusual if you remember the first Electronic bands (nearly 25% from Germany) that were extremely technical, but cold and lack of strong feelings.

    The great work of the producer and musician Alan Parsons, blended with the magnificent orchestration by Andrew Powell, make of “I Robot” one of the three best albums this Project released (Tales of Mystery and Imagination, “I Robot” and Pyramids).

    Great choice HT.

    Iván


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