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Home arrow Reviews arrow Albums arrow Alan Parsons - A Valid Path (with David Gilmour)
Alan Parsons - A Valid Path (with David Gilmour) Print E-mail

CD Review

New Alan Parsons Album with David Gilmour guesting on guitarAlan Parsons "A Valid Path" (incl. David Gilmour)

Released in the US by Artemis, August 2004.

Available to order through these links: US/International, Canada, UK/Elsewhere, France, or Germany.

Alan Parsons has had a long and fruitful association with Pink Floyd, having been one of the key people behind Dark Side of The Moon, amongst other projects. He is now releasing his latest album, soon to be a surround sound DVD-A on 5.1 Entertainment, and has managed to persuade David Gilmour to lend his talents to the album.

Certainly a mixed bag, there will be songs that Gilmour fans with heartily enjoy, rubbing shoulders with tracks that will possbily do nothing for them. However, the wide range of styles that Parsons employs on "A Valid Path" shoud make it palletable, at the very least in places, for most listeners. And we know that there are a number of Floyd fans who are also big Parsons fans, so the work of DG will make a good album even better for these people. If electronica is not your thing, though, you would be wise to approach with a a certain amount of caution...

The album kicks off well, with Return To Tunguska, and David Gilmour's guest appearance. Tunguska, in Russia, was the site of the 20th Century's most devastating cosmic impact, with the impact force of 1000 Hiroshima bombs falling via a comet or meteor (no-one is sure) on 30th June 1908. For me, the track is the highlight of the album, irrespective of David's involvement. It is the longest track on the album, an instrumental with a heavy Eastern influence, featuring a signature Gilmour solo. Lots of soaring notes, akin to some of the slide stuff in One Of These Days or the final parts of Shine On You Crazy Diamond, in places.

More Lost Without You follows, and features PJ Olsson on vocals. This is fairly jaunty, although, as the title implies, it is a song about lost love. A good, curiously toe-tapping, singalong tune! Mammagamma 04 is no relation to the Floyd's 1969 album Ummagumma; it is a slab of pacey instrumental electronica, quite interesting but there's a feeling from this listener that the song ultimately doesn't go anywhere - and it takes a while to bumble along to this lack of destination.

Alan Parsons, © Ed Colver
Alan Parsons
© Ed Colver
A striking resemblence to some of Richard Wright's work on Broken China follows on We Play The Game, with The Crystal Method. Certainly enjoyable, it typifies the wide range of styles on the album. Tijuaniac is a slower, more thoughtful, yet rambling in places, instrumental. Dripping water as very effective percussion, very Floydian, leads to L'Arc En Ciel for this song with overtones of Tangerine Dream, mid-80s, and early 90s Jean-Michel Jarre. The song includes a guitar solo that is quite Gilmouresque (if a little faster than David's conventional style of playing).

A Recurring Dream Within A Dream features lots of heavily treated vocals, set within a pretty dull, plodding track. In my mind, the weakest and most dispensible track in the collection. Things pick up a little with You Can Run. The eighties vibe created by the preceding tracks is continued here, with an efficient if fairly unmemorable performance.

Finally, Chomolungma, and a marked improvement. Quite a powerful instrumental, and again an Eastern influence is clear to hear. A good end to the album, although the playout dialogue from John Cleese seems a bit odd, and almost seems to be making fun of Parson's aural meanderings. As mentioned at the opening, the album is a real curate's egg; the inclusion of David Gilmour will, however, encourage some to try out the former Floyd engineer's latest album...
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