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on 2 September 2004
I am a APP fan, but don't like electronica, so I first was very skeptical about this new CD by Alan Parsons. However, after listening to it, now I find it completely addictive. It is Parsons at its best, completely modernized and refreshed.
The track "Return to Tunguska" is highly psychodelical, with the guitar of David Gilmour as a luxury extra.
The CD contains as many as 6 instrumental tracks, with the atmosphere of the old APP instrumentals on it, while sounding quite modern.
Parsons has invested considerable work on this album, unlike the last one "The Time Machine". He even sings one track, with a wonderful voice which has nothing to envy to Eric Woolfson (it is indeed quite similar).
A very well-chosen New Path in Parsons journey into music and exploration of new soundscapes.
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on 6 January 2005
Let's talk about the instrumentals first.
"Return To Tunguska" is a solid track and very recognizable as Alan Parsons. It's a good start to the album.
"Tijuanic" grows on you and is the most unique of the instrumentals.
"L'Arc En Ciel", "A Recurring Dream" and "Chomolungma" all seem to be variations of the same theme. I think Alan over does the sound effects as well. Orson Wells, John Cleese, dripping water and a dog barking?
"Mammagamma 04" stands out as by far the worst thing that Alan Parsons has committed to Album. It's quite frankly embarrassing. Its Alan Parsons meets "The Macarena" dance beat. Yes, that bad!
"More Lost without you" is a great track. It's Swinging psychedelic Brit-rock style and will have you singing along in no time.
Now to the song "We Play The Game". I've looked at Alan Parsons' internet site but he does not mention what seems obvious to me. This track starts off sounding exactly like a Nokia mobile phone standard ring tone called "Futuristico". I can actually set my Nokia to play along with the track. It sounds as if it's a direct digital recording of the ring tone. The track then builds on top of this basic sound. Alan Parsons sings lead vocals and I have to say he sounds great. The song is beautiful but I fear that this constant ringing tone in the background might prove in the long run to be a bit irritating.
At first I wasn't sure I would like this album. It sounded disjointed. A kind of mishmash with no common link / theme. Then I heard my wife playing the CD. She played it and played it and it really did grow on you. OK, I admit despite its faults, I like the album but I suspect it won't become one of my all time favourites like every other Alan Parsons album.
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I was - and still am - a big fan of Alan Parsons, ever since a German pal gave me `Tales of Mystery & Imagination' as a present over twenty years ago. (Where are you now Thomas Asmalsky?) I possess all his studio albums as well as those for the Alan Parsons Project. But `A Valid Path' is, for me, the wrong road to take.

First, the positives. As one would expect the sound quality on this CD is fantastic. You cannot deny Parsons's genius as a producer, which he has extended this time almost wholly into the world of electronica. In the sleevenotes that accompany the triple-CD `The Essential Alan Parsons Project', released in 2006 (two years after `A Valid Path'), Parsons is quoted as saying about it that, "The industry is changing and I feel the need to capture a different kind of audience whilst still keeping my identity." So those expecting amore traditional Parsons album are going to be disappointed. I have nothing against electronica per se, so long as the result inspires and entertains. But with `A Valid Path', I started to get bored.

`A Valid Path' runs for forty-nine minutes. There are nine tracks, five of which are instrumentals. The longest are the opening (nine minutes) and closing (eight minutes) tracks, both instrumentals. Two tracks refer directly to former work by the APP: track three is a tightened up version of `Mammagamma' from the `Eye in the Sky' album probably went down well on the dance-floor but is not as good as the original, whilst track seven - `A Recurring Dream Within a Dream' - is another that does not improve on the originals (including `The Raven') from the `Tales of Mystery & Imagination' album. However, this reworking does have some interest, but is all beat with no depth.

There are only three `traditional' songs in the set: `More Lost Without You', which only highlights that Parsons's production is better than his composition; `We Play the Game', on which Parsons himself sings the lead vocals (but I would advise him not to give up his day job!); and `You Can Run', which is nothing special.

I do not want to appear too negative, but there is precious little to be positive about apart from David Gilmour's playing on the opening `Return to Tunguska', which is (as usual) exemplary. `Tijuanic' sounds more like a jamming session, coming from nowhere and going nowhere too, in the meantime playing with the dynamics that may disturb your neighbours. `L'Arc on Ciel' is probably great for driving on the motorway but has very little else to recommend it.

I am reduced to the prospect of only giving three stars to an Alan Parsons album. So, I am afraid I must agree with John Cleese (sic!) at the end of `Chomolungma', which is also the end of the album. Here, prior to letting us hear the sound of his barking dog, Parsons includes a commentary from Cleese, in which the latter exasperatingly asks Parsons "How much longer is this going on ... sonny?" Alas, the answer is `too long'.
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on 7 October 2013
Although this album is some 6 years old now it still got a fresh sound to it, that is due to the man himself who is the Producer of the album & then gets a bunch of musicians together and make an album while he is at the controls and it works, this one is up there with is best, as you can hear the old & the new mixed together and from start to finish there is always something there to make you listen to the way the songs blend together, there is Pop,Rock there is great guitar work, Keyboards orchestration. and powerful vocals, once you have played it you will play it again. I hope he makes another one soon. however all the other cd's he as made are now being Remastered and are available to buy, each as a different sound & more or less everything he Produces is top class, this is the man behind dark side of the Moon by Pink Floyd it does not get any better than that.
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on 21 September 2004
Finally a new album of my hero of modern music times. A Valid Path is a brilliant album. Not everybody will probably like it, but I do. You will find some songs on the album, that are more or less in the old Alan Parsons Project style. One of them is 'We Play The Game' (featuring The Crystal Method; lead vocal: Alan Parsons himself). This should be the single in my opinion. I think it is a much better song than 'More Lost Without You': also good, but not special. Furthermore it is great to hear David Pack back on one of the best songs of the album: 'You Can Run'.
Furtermore the album contains 3 make overs of earlier songs: 'Return To Tungaska', with David Gilmour on guitar, is a make over of 'Antarctica' (of the Out Of Order-soundtrack); 'Mammagamma' (of the Eye In The Sky Album) is restyled, although the original is better; 'A Recurring Dream Within A Dream' (of the magical Tales Of Mystery And Imagination) is a modern composite of two works 'A Dream Within A Dream' and 'The Raven'. Alan Parsons has also written with many others great instrumentals such as 'L'Arc en Ciel' and 'Chomolunga'.
Even if you do not recognize the Parsons or APP sounds immediately, try to listen to it several times and then you will come to the conclusion, that it is still the fascinating composer and producer, Alan Parsons. The only difference is, he has now composed and produced music of the 21st century. Hopefully a 5.1 surround sound version will be released as soon as possible! Then I will like the album even more...
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on 15 September 2004
When I heard that Alan Parsons was going to bring out an "electronica" album my heart sank. I simply could not imagine how it could be tolerable, let alone pleasant. Nevertheless, out of a combination of habit and faith, I went ahead and bought it. This is what I made of it.
There are nine tracks; three new songs, four new instrumentals and two updated versions of old Project tracks.

The opener, Return to Tungusta, is without doubt the best track on the album (and perhaps one of his best instrumentals ever). It combines intriguing Eastern influenced rhythms and melodies with Dave Gilmour's screaming guitar to create a piece of music that is both fascinating to listen to and immensely danceable (in a performing arts kind of way - it's not for clubbing!!).
Although lacking the same "wow" factor, the other new instrumentals are not without merit either. Tijuaniac has a lovely laid back, jazz feel about it, L'Arc en Ciel effortlessly evolves from dripping rain to soaring guitar and then back again, whilst Chomolungma (my second favourite track) brings the album to a fitting end with it's crescendo of chanting and voiceover by John Cleese.
I can't pretend to find the new songs, other than You Can Run, particularly praiseworthy. That said, More Lost Without You and We Play The Game are pleasant enough and do sit well, within the context of the album. You Can Run, in comparison, is the type of song you will either love or hate. It's extremely funky, has a good vocal and is great for modern dance or an aerobics class.
Mammagamma '04 is, for me, the low point of the album. However, I didn't like the original much either so perhaps that's to be expected. In contrast, I can't help but admire A Recurring Dream Within a Dream, the merging of A Dream Within a Dream and The Raven from Tales. Here Alan has created something few would have thought possible; a dance track inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, which has a sing-a-long chorus that goes "Quoth the raven, nevermore!" It sounds bizarre, I know, but I find it works.
In short then: the album starts well, wavers in the middle slightly and then redeems itself by the end.
Many reviews of this album will no doubt praise the sound quality and effects. Others will rate it for being more progressive than the previous one or advise you to listen for the detail through high quality headphones. Almost certainly they are right, but for me, such things are beside the point. This album has reminded me that intelligent music can also be fun. It has had me dancing like a mad thing, singing at the top of my voice and howling like a wolf!
Thank you Alan. Thank you very, very much.
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on 14 June 2014
I only saw this by accident when browsing something else. I didn't know there had been any more recent releases than 1980s!
Very happy with the speed of delivery, very happy with the album. Maybe I am not so picky as some reviewers of various tracks have been, but I think it hangs together well. I like the updated sound of familiar material, the collaborations have produced very attractive fruit. My teenage sons are very taken with the modern feel of it. Alan Parsons is not dated by any means.
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on 18 July 2006
This is a good album, but I recommend making sure you get the dual disc version of the album (see amazon.com)

the 5.1 mixes are the best I have heard in my surround collection.....
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on 11 May 2012
As a long time APP fan I was looking forward to a new album from this group. I only saw it briefly in a few shops in Sydney, and bought it via Amazon UK without having heard it. It was not what I had expected, Alan Parsons seems to be heading down the Techtronic path, maybe to appeal to a younger group of listeners. Other reviewers have praised this album, some have not thought too much of it. I have to confess that I am in the latter group. I love the older APP albums and play them often, but this one is very different in sound. Maybe it will grow on me in time.
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on 9 December 2004
What can I say: Absolutely stunning. I always enjoyed the instrumental tracks on all the previous albums and this album does not dissapoint! Even vocal tracks on this album are excellent in their own right.
From beginning to end, I was reeled in from the very first listen...and that's to every track. This doesn't happen often and when it does I know I've found an album that'll be in my CD player for a long time.
The master was always a head of his time...now time has caught up with him, and he blends in perfectly...but in my opinion, he's still the path finder...on a valid path!
Oh for an our with him in his studio, to learn...learn...learn!!!
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