CULTURE

New ways sought, despite time

Progressing in age yet still interested in keeping up with contemporary music-making ways, veteran pop-rock act Alan Parsons, who enjoyed a string of top-selling albums and occasional hit singles in the 1970s and ’80s, is currently touring Europe backed by the release of a new, forward-looking album which features contributions from popular contemporary acts. The tour, which includes dates in Switzerland, the Netherlands, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Germany, will make a pit stop in Greece for a performance at the Gagarin 205 Club this Saturday. Parsons’ new album, «A Valid Path,» which includes input from new-school acts such as the Crystal Method, Uberzone, and Shpongle, comes as the latest example of the seasoned act’s willingness to branch out into new areas. «The music industry is changing and I feel the need to draw a different type of following while, at the same time, maintaining my identity,» the 55-year-old musician recently stated. «Electronic music is, at present, the fastest-growing scene and I’m enjoying the contact with new people and new technology,» he added. Considering his past, the approach is not surprising. Parsons worked his way up through the engineering ranks at the celebrated Abbey Road studios while the Beatles were working there. The innovative ways behind the mythical group’s «Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts’ Club Band,» Parsons acknowledges today, prompted him to become involved with production and recording. «I couldn’t wait to discover the secrets behind the album’s making. I was left speechless by the talent of the Beatles, as well as their work on the sidelines and in the studio.» Parsons ended up working on the Beatles’ «Let it Be» album, as well as ensuing solo works by Paul McCartney and George Harrison after the group disintegrated. Following more work in the studio – on the production side – including projects by Pink Floyd and Cockney Rebel, Parsons joined forces with songwriter/manager Eric Woolfson to form the Alan Parsons Project. Their debut album, «Tales of Mystery and Imagination,» released in 1976, was the first of several acclaimed projects. It was dedicated to the poet and writer Edgar Allan Poe, while the act’s follow-up, «I, Robot,» released a year later, was inspired by the science-fiction writings of Isaac Asimov. Recorded in France, 1980’s «The Turn of a Friendly Card,» an album whose lyrical content focused on the mysterious world of gambling, turned in two top-20 hits. But the act’s next album, «Eye in the Sky,» proved to be its most commercially successful. The songwriting pair, Parsons and Woolfson, eventually split in the early 1990s and four years later Parsons, billed as Alan Parsons, released the first of three well-received albums that decade. For these, Parsons worked with two of his collaborators of older times, guitarist Ian Bairnson and drummer Stuart Elliott. Touring as The Alan Parsons Live Project, Parsons and his current backing band are performing both older tracks and material from the new album. Saturday, Gagarin 205 Club (205 Liosion, tel 210.854.7600-2).