Aggressive Bittersweet Druggy. Energetic Happy Hypnotic. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love. Introspection Late Night Partying. Rainy Day Relaxation Road Trip. Romantic Evening Sex All Themes. The booklet attached to the inside of the cover is composed of photos related to the songs, and line drawings which explore the taped man as he thrashes about in his restricted world and strives to unravel himself.
The illustrated capital letters continue the idea. The layout and drawings are by Colin Elgie. The sleeve is one of our better attempts at combining photographs and illustration.
Critical reaction to the album was mixed; for example, Rolling Stone 's Billy Altman concluded that it did not completely accurately reproduce Poe's tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that "devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe's often terrifying works. Originally simply called The Alan Parsons Project , the album was successful enough to achieve gold status.
The original version of the album was available for several years on vinyl and cassette , but was not immediately available on CD the CD technology not being commercially available until In , Parsons completely remixed the album, including additional guitar passages and narration by Orson Welles as well as updating the production style to include heavy reverb and the gated reverb snare drum sound, which was popular in the s.
The CD notes that Welles never met Parsons or Eric Woolfson, but sent a tape to them of the performance shortly after the album was manufactured in The first passage narrated by Welles on the remix which comes before the first track, "A Dream Within a Dream" is sourced from an obscure nonfiction piece by Poe — No XVI of his Marginalia from to Edgar Allan Poe titled some of his reflections and fragmentary material "Marginalia. B"; the "Shadows of shadows passing" part of the quote comes from the Marginalia.
In , a Deluxe Edition released by Universal Music included both the and the versions remastered by Alan Parsons during with eight additional bonus tracks. A variant of the song "The Raven" appears on the Eric Woolfson album Edgar Allan Poe , which contains the complete music from Woolfson's stage musical of the same name. Many of his characters have been incarcerated in some form or other - in coffins, brick walls or under floorboards. We came up with the 'taped' man - a mummy-like figure who is wrapped, not in bandages, but in 2" recording tape.
This motif is partially horror-like, as well as being 'entombed', and the 2" tape appropriately suggests that the album is done by a producer in a studio, as opposed to a band recording material they will play on stage. Although the clients were intrigued by this idea they did not desire a pictorial cover but preferred instead a precise graphic representation. The narrow strip of illustration from George [Hardie] shows a long shadow of the taped man.
The booklet attached to the inside of the cover is composed of photos related to the songs, and line drawings which explore the taped man as he thrashes about in his restricted world and strives to unravel himself.
The illustrated capital letters continue the idea. The layout and drawings are by Colin Elgie. The sleeve is one of our better attempts at combining photographs and illustration. Critical reaction to the album was mixed; for example, Rolling Stone 's Billy Altman concluded that it did not completely accurately reproduce Poe's tension and macabre fear, ending by claiming that "devotees of Gothic literature will have to wait for someone with more of the macabre in their blood for a truer musical reading of Poe's often terrifying works.
Originally simply called The Alan Parsons Project , the album was successful enough to achieve gold status. The original version of the album was available for several years on vinyl and cassette , but was not immediately available on CD the CD technology not being commercially available until In , Parsons completely remixed the album, including additional guitar passages and narration by Orson Welles as well as updating the production style to include heavy reverb and the gated reverb snare drum sound, which was popular in the s.
Here, they try to earn art kudos with the classical sounding epic of ''The Fall of the House of Usher''. In my mind, this doesn't work because the ''Prelude'' is waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too long for me, and it reminds me of the most boring of classical music.
This is a shame since the ''Pavane'' and ''Arrival'' sections aren't too bad. The poppier songs have some sophistication too them, but there really isn't a special song here.
Overall, the album fails to please me, but it gets three stars under the knowledge now that future APP poppy songs will be less sophisticated, more mainstream and more uninteresting. Because, in layman's terms, Alan Parsons' Tales of Mystery and Imagination is hardly the sprawling epic of Gothic horror that the mummy on the cover wants you to think.
It's an art pop gem, for the first half. For the second half, it's some kind of dull ass art pop It also has very little to do with Poe by the second side.
But, hey, what about that first side, huh? MY version opens with "A Dream Within a Dream," which is some pleasant narration by Orson Welles, followed by some pleasant, layered synth riffage I say "MY version" all pretentious like because some folks don't have this narration.
So there. This spills quite nicely into "The Raven," which follows with the same droning synths, bass and drums, but adds Alan himself on vocorder!
There's also a pretty good guitar solo afterwards. Toss in some cool changes in the riffage, and some over-the-top vocals, and you get an instant highlight. But it's not "The Raven" that claims top song on this album: no, that falls squarely on the humble shoulders of "The Tell-Tale Heart. Secondly, the tune is both catchy as hell, and manages to take as many twists and turns as Brown's delivery, moving from a stomping, almost funky rocker, to sweeping orchestral dips and twists and back.
Not quite as pleasing is "The Cask of Amontillado," which tries to mix some almost Beach Boy type vocals with calm, then swooping, orchestral movements. All in all there's nothing wrong with it, but it ends up sounding like an imitation of a Peter Gabriel mini-opera. Nothing wrong with that, but I'd rather hear Pete's version somehow. No real complaints with "Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether" though; it's loads of fun, another funky art popper packed with vocal hooks and I dig the reference to "The Raven" riff.
The BIG letdown comes on the second side, which is mostly devoted to this "Fall of the House of Usher" thing, which is essentially one long symphonic piece split amongst several tracks of varying size. Admittedly, it does start with some more classy Welles narration, but beyond that it sounds just like a film score for an old Roger Corman American International Poe movie! And I have no problem with those soundtracks It actually picks up a little with "Arrival," in which some rain sound effects and cheesey organ actually enhance the horror mood.
Toss in some door knocking sound effects that turn into percussion, and hey, I'm sold! You know, with, like, a melody. Okay, so it's actually a harpsichord riff, but whatever. It's nice enough, and I can actually tap my foot to it and everything.
Unfortunately, "Fall" is a fairly unimaginative conclusion to the whole affair. Fifty seconds of orchestral crescendo? That's not that scary. And finally, "To One in Paradise" is a pretty poor place to end the album; a lackluster pop ballad that has nothing that I can tell to do with Edgar Allen Poe.
So what's wrong with our album Alan? Well, it doesn't really work as a dank, despairing, endlessly depressing look into the lives of various Poe characters. At least, it doesn't in a certain way; when it tries to be all artsy and expressive, it fails miserably. And, honestly, I know that "Fall" is a classic Poe story, but the suite doesn't have a lot to do with the story it seems.
When he sticks with the art pop route, it usually works. And, if it's dark you want, there IS a sort of darkness to this album Tales is not a bad album; it just had the mistake of having a very dull second side.
It also isn't very epic or heartfelt or contains any soul shattering solos, but hey, what do you want? It's got Orson Welles! True enough, Jeff Wayne got Richard Burton And this first release was no exception. It has some more orchestration and weird sounds here and there for some effect, but the music overall did not differs much from what they did next they were bashed by critics from the second LP on.
All those polemics aside, I was pleased when I heard this album again after many years. It was a bold nove for such an unknown act: Parsons could be famous inside the music business for his brilliancy on the production and engineering board, but most music fans never heard about him. All songs are good, but the instrumental The Fall.. A very fine start for a much underrated essemble of fine artists.
Four stars. Alan Parsons Project was, alongside with Pink Floyd, one of the firsts progressive rock bands i ever knew and one of the firsts progressive bands i ever listened. However, my father only had the Alan Parsons Project vinyls so, as i grew up, i slowly lost touch with this great band, until i bought a CD with the remix and could relive the pleasure of listening this album once again, but with digital quality this time, what makes Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe much more enjoyable because it has a lot of piano and pianissimo parts that were outshone by the vinyl residual noise.
By the way, i said love at first sight because i have forgotten almost completely how good this album was because i didn't listened it since i were a child, so when i listened it again it was almost like i were listening it for the first time. Tales of Mystery and Imagination - Edgar Allan Poe could be easily considered a concept album because it was made around a theme and the whole album follows that theme, the theme being make music inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe poetry and to use those very poems as the lyrics to the music they inspired.
Though Poe's poetry isn't exactly upbeat, not every song of the album is introspective, minimalistic or has a sad mood. Actually, there are songs that are pretty festive and songs that don't relate much to the album in a way or another, like the song The Tell-tale Heart, for example, that has vocals from its beginning that are completely of the wall in a bad way or the song The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether, which have a bit too much of a dancing beat for its own good.
Another issue is that some songs seem to be a bit shorter than they should be, like the opening track A Dream Within a Dream. Those potential problems, however, are easily erased or forgotten by the overall quality of the songs themselves and the overall quality of the album. Grade and Final Thoughts After being the sound engineer for Pink Floyd in their acclaimed album Dark Side of the Moon, Allan Parsons decided to make a project so he could make music and get more cash than he did as a sound engineer.
Due to that, it deserves an equally good grade, so it is 5 stars for the Allan Parsons Project debut album. This was the first album by The Alan Parsons Project and like all the albums they did later this one too is based around a theme or concept. The concept here rather obviously revolves around the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. While the core of The Alan Parsons Project is Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson, like on all their subsequent albums, they invite a cast of other musicians and vocalists to contribute.
One notable celebrity here is Arthur Brown who sings lead vocals on The Tell Tale Heart, the rockiest song on the album. The song fits Brown very well. Orson Wells provided some narration, but I have now learned that this was only for the remix of the album and Wells did not feature on the original release.
One problem that I often have with Alan Parsons albums is just that they always rely on too many outside people, particularly vocalists. I feel that having different vocalists on different tracks makes the albums sound like compilations of independent songs and not as unified albums.
The fact that the songs are tied together by a common theme does not remedy the incoherence created by having several vocalists. The second side is dominated by a long orchestral piece that I also wouldn't call Prog at all. Many hold the present album as the Project's best, but I don't think it is. Good, but certainly not essential!
Consistency amid daunting variety are among the qualities that make "Tales" such a winner and so sweet sounding decades later. The choral accompaniments do not hold back at all, and are all the more endearing on tracks like the schizophrenically brilliant "Cask of Amontillado". While "Dr Tarr and Professor Fether" provide the blueprint for more oozing commercial material that would eventually follow, it was a breath of fresh air at the time.
Both "The Raven" and "Tell Tale Heart" capture the foreboding and torment of Edgar Allan Poe's protagonists such that even their repetitive nature seems justified. Even "To One in Paradise" distinguishes itself by its poetic understatement.
This is an immaculately constructed work that still revels in a certain raw charm. Ultimately, PARSONS should not be flawed for his part in the birth of arena rock which may have done more to stifle prog than punk ever could, because "Tales" provides enough cues for a more artistically rewarding direction that few, even APP itself, ultimately followed.
The music, the arrangements, the fine flow is speaking for itself. This is an fine concept album of which there are still some mistakes to be recalled like the heavy and little appealing ''Tell-Tale Heart''. I first listened to this album at a friend's place back then salut Patrick ; but I had already read some rave reviews about this release. To be honest, when I first discovered it, I couldn't really match the comments with the music.
And it is the feeling that I will translate into words in this review. To me, it sounds more as a musical ''The Cask of Amontillado''.
It is of course all well crafted and produced Alan was the engineer behind DSOTM but I can't be as laudatory as most of the reviewers in terms of brilliance of this album. And this wasn't my concern at all.
I was just heading for great music. And I am closer to Tom Ozric's views than of lots of other reviewers about this work. The long prelude of the epic is too much orchestra-oriented IMO. And I have never liked this. Neither in '76 nor in '09, so? Of course the Floydian ''Arrival'' is one of the highlight but it lasts less than three minutes.
Some Oldfield feel can be interpreted during the beautiful ''Pavane''. These are magical moments but too scarce overall. There is a whole lack of humanity in this work.
It was attempted to be too perfect. IMO it hasn't passed well the proof of time. Three stars. The two main minds behind this band were the producer and engineer Alan Parsons himself, and the talented musician and composer Eric Woolfson Together, they tried to recreate the dark world of the great american writer Edgar Allan Poe in a short but very intense album, with some fails, but with a lot of virtues too. The main of the problem this album has, is that the Poe spirit was not really represented through the album Maybe the songs are too soft, and too luminous sometimes to make a good approaching to the genious's dark imaginary.
This happens with more intensity in the singed tracks, while The Fall of the House Usher suite, with its cinematographic and symphonic feeling, catches this dark sentiment with more intensity. Nevertheless, the quality of the music is undeniable Alan Parsons kwew how to produce and mix an album he was the main enginer of albums like "Abbey Road" and "The Dark Side of the Moon" and gave a cristal clear sound to the songs.
The 80's remix, with the brilliant addition of two Orson Welles monologues and a new drums tracks, made the album's sound even better. It still sounds fresh today! This first Alan Parsons Project's album, is also their most symphonic and darker The Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" influence is here, and also the symphonic experiments of bands like the early Deep Purple and The Moody Blues, but with a more cohesionated mix between rock and classical elements, with a coherent dramatic orientation wich helps to introduce the listener although not completely This good ideas, together with the contribution of later classic studio members like the great Ian Bairnson on guitars and John Patton on bass, make "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" a worthy album.
Best tracks: every song of the albums has its interest The symphonic suite The Fall of House Usher also deserves a special mention. Conclusion: maybe Alan Parsons Project did not the best prog or symphonic rock in the years they were active But they released some worthy albums, being "Tales of Mystery and Imaginations" one of their finest, if not the best.
Maybe Parsons and Woolfson failed in capturing the dark essences of the bizarre and necromatical stories and poems of Allan Poe, but they achieved to make a very worthy contribution to the 70's symphonic rock, wich had also its influence in movements like the later Neo-Prog. Strongly recommended, and maybe the best place to start if you are a newcomer to Alan Parsons Project! Alan Parsons Project has always evolved around the nucleous of songwriter Eric Woolfson and keyboard player Alan Parsons.
While Alan Parsons is the most prolific person in the project Eric Woolfson has an equal part in the project. The music on the album is progressive rock of the symphonic variation altough for the most part on the light pop side of the genre hence the semi mention in the beginning of the review.
Side 1 are seperate tracks while most of side 2 is an instrumental suite which features orchestration. The lyrical themes all come from Edgar Allan Poe stories.
Influences from such acts as Pink Floyd and The Beatles are audible throughout. For an example take a listen to the closing track on side 2 titled "To One in Paradise" for evidence of those influences. I feel the tracks on Side 1 are generally both stronger and more memorable. The musicianship is impeccable and the sound production professional and well sounding.
Add to that professional songwriting and you have a quality product. Maybe a "band" feeling or something like that, but still a 3. This first Alan Parsons Project record is the only one that will be remembered as a truly thematic piece of work.
Many of the following albums would try to replicate the ideas of this first venture but always end up short in one way or another. In fact it didn't impress me as much as their sophomore release I Robot but that's because that particular album put the song writing before its concept.
Although the composition might not seem all that original by standards the passion and dedication really shows in the each of the individual pieces. At the same time it actually shows my main concern with this album. There just aren't any real stand-out moments here, on contrary the record has an even flow that non of its successors could achieve. This is what makes it a bit boring by my standards. Sometimes the most progressive piece of work isn't necessarily a highlight even for prog-fans, but I would definitely recommend to hear this album just for its novelty factor.
As to the quality of the songs, it's a mixed bag for me.Get all the lyrics to songs on Tales of Mystery and Imagination: Edgar Allan Poe and join the Genius community of music scholars to learn the meaning behind the lyrics.