White Knight Records/Red Dwarf Recordings are proud to present the debut solo album of one of Prog's most distinctive voices. Alan Reed - for 25 years the voice of Scot's Prog legends Pallas - unveils his first album as a solo artist. 'First in a Field of One' is a unique collection of songs that provide the perfect setting for the unmistake-able timbre of Alan's voice. The album embraces a number of musical flavours - from celtic folk, to rock, and even jazz; - held together by strong song-writing and a passionate sense of identity. This is a powerful statement of intent from an artist who knows who he is - and where he is going.
The Best of the Alan Parsons Project, Vol. 2 typically picks up where its predecessor left off. With 11 tracks covering seven albums, including Gaudi, Stereotomy, and Vulture Culture, the songs here are a tad weaker than those on the first collection, since some of the albums that these songs originate from were not of this band's finest caliber. The highlights here include both "Prime Time" and "Don't Answer Me" from Ammonia Avenue, and the provocative instrumental "I Robot," the only non-vocal track on the album. All of the selections on this package convey their purpose much better within their former albums, since each song is a link in the album's conceptual chain. Alone, these songs do harbor some substance, like the delicate "Days Are Numbers (The Traveller)" and the rocking "Stereotomy." Since Parsons' real genius shines on his full-length pieces, only a sampling of the Alan Parsons Project's musical flair can be distinguished by their separate selections.
The 12 tracks that appear on The Best of the Alan Parsons Project include some of their greatest singles, like "I Wouldn't Want to Be Like You" from 1977's I Robot and the inducing "Games People Play" off of The Turn of a Friendly Card. Even though these songs are splendid all by themselves, they seem to lose their conceptual weight when taken away from their original albums. As singles, they do act as a fine representation of how The Alan Parsons Project's music sounds and conveys its mysterious air, but even with a dozen singles on this album there's just too much of their other worthy material that is sadly left off. Present is their biggest single and most alluring piece, "Eye in the Sky," from the album of the same name, and the entrancing "Time" from Turn of a Friendly Card. "Pyramania" and "You Don't Believe," representing both Pyramid and Ammonia Avenue, are also included, as are some of their finest ballads with "Old and Wise" and "Don't Let It Show."
Alarm Will Sound's recording of Steve Reich's monumental orchestral/choral works The Desert Music and Tehillim, released on the Cantaloupe label in 2002, greatly benefits from the group's close connections with the composer: the ensemble's conductor, Alan Pierson, and several of the performers studied at the Eastman School with Brad Lubman, a conductor frequently enlisted by Reich. Also, Pierson's arrangements, which reconcile the chamber and orchestral versions that exist for both works, were prepared in close consultation with the composer; thus, this may well be the definitive recording of these pieces. Brilliantly sonorous in their climaxes – the burst of light near the end of Desert Music, the "Alleluias" that close Tehillim – the players also articulate Reich's intricate canonic textures with nimble precision. Voices and strings are always an Achilles heel within Reich's percussive textures (leading him to eliminate part doublings in favor of giving each line to a lone, amplified performer), but here the singers and strings maintain an impressive rhythmic vitality. This knack for precision carries over to the pristine recording, as well, which, for good or ill, was digitally recorded and heavily edited. Still, it makes up in energy and clarity what it might lack in performative spontaneity.