Alan Parsons

Over the past 30 years or so, Alan Parsons has created a reliable musical brand by recruiting the talents of high-profile contributors and presiding over the proceedings with his name on the marquee. Valid Path follows the same formula, even as it marks Parsons's continued transition from old-school to new. Although Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour contributes some typically searing fretwork to album opener "Return to Tunguska," the list of guest stars is overwhelmingly entrenched on the near side of the current millennium. DJ darlings Crystal Method, Shpongle, Uberzone, and the Nortec Collective infuse their mix of synths and percussion to Parsons's high-minded concepts, resulting in a sound best suited for discos and dance clubs. In fact only "More Lost Without You," featuring guest vocalist P.J. Olsson, revisits Parsons former pop stance. Essentially a dual disc re-release of a Parsons project from 2004 with added video commentary and enhanced 5.1 surround sound, it's Valid-added in some respects but still all about ambiance. However, credit Parsons with full disclosure; when, on "Chomolungma," comedian John Cleese intones, "How much longer is this going to go on. It shouldn't have these long rambling explorations," he's totally on track as far as this Path is concerned.

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Lee Zimmerman