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The Alan Parsons Project - I Robot CD (album) cover

I ROBOT

The Alan Parsons Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.79 | 439 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars 'I, Robot' is perhaps the definitive Alan Parsons Project album, certainly the most famous in terms of the opening 3 tracks, and that iconic album cover art. It is the first APP album I heard and I was quite impressed with the strong melodies and catchy choruses throughout. The instrumentals are always my favourite moments on APP albums and here is no exception with the incredible opener I, Robot. The keyboards dance beautifully along a jaunty rhythm and very melodic hook. The female choral vocals are joined by trilling bell chimes and that funkadelic rhythmic keyboard. The tempo is infectious and really locks into a solid meter and is enhanced by Oriental flavoured strings and those gorgeous angelic vocals. It is a masterpiece track that is well revered by Alan Parsons Project fans.

I love how this is followed by bass heavy pulsations building into the huge single I Wouldn't Want to be like You. This is a similar opening to other APP albums that open with an instrumental and then launch into the big album single such as the opening of 'Tales of Mystery and Imagination', and 'Pyramid'. The flute and piano melodies on Some Other Time are beautiful and it has a powerful horn section and acoustic flourishes. Breakdown also has a punchy rhythm with strong bass and it builds nicely from the verses into a catchy chorus. The vocals are well executed and it has a very cool twin lead guitar harmonic break. The huge operatic ending is reminiscent of prog pomp and ceremony from ELP, Queen or Pink Floyd. Don't Let It Show is also a huge hit for the group and features on many compilations. Side one is one of the best things that Alan Parsons Project have done, all killer and no filler throughout.

After this huge opening 'I, Robot' could have suffered from fatigue as other albums seem to, but it opens on side two with one of the most fantastic organic tracks. 'The Voice' is so melodic and I love the mechanised voice 'he's gonna get you'. This track has a hypnotic bassline, a gorgeous synth instrumental section and some ethereal music before it breaks into a fast tempo clappy piece with massive orchestral bursts. The album tends to get more experimental and dark as side two progresses. Nucleus is very atmospheric with odd voices heard and mellotron swells ascending and descending. This is a space rock sound that is unsettling and yet beautiful and it builds with subtle percussion and ambient sounds.

Day After Day (The Show Must Go On) sounds like Pink Floyd vocals mixed into a soft mushy ballad. It still delivers as far as a ballad but I prefer the more experimental rockier side of the group. Total Eclipse is next and is completely out of the box with instrumental sections merging with sound effects of preternatural voices and chilling atmospherics. It actually sounds like the ending of '2001: A Space Odyssey' in every respect. One could easily see the resemblance when you listen to this and then listen to the movie where Bowman is sucked into a starfield and journeys across many planets before reaching the end of the journey and settling in the white Renaissance room. After this odd track Genesis Ch 1 v.32 follows, a non existent chapter of The Bible implying the continuing story of Creation. This is basically another instrumental with guitar and keyboard melodies over a mesmirising tempo of chiming keys and steady percussion.

'I, Robot' is one of the most consistent APP albums that doesn't run out of steam after some awesome opening tracks. The liner notes on the cover state the thematic ideas based on Asimov's novel; I ROBOT...THE STORY OF THE RISE OF THE MACHINE AND THE DECLINE OF MAN, WHICH PARADOXICALLY COINCIDED WITH HIS DISCOVERY OF THE WHEEL...AND A WARNING THAT HIS BRIEF DOMINANCE OF THIS PLANET WILL PROBABLY END, BECAUSE MAN TRIED TO CREATE ROBOT IN HIS OWN IMAGE." The album has some wonderful ideas interwoven within and deserves recognition for its thematic content and melodic material that has stood the test of time.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |

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