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Moody Blues – Days Of Future Passed

Moody Blues - Days Of Future PassedI’ll probably be lynched for saying this, but here goes: Days Of Future Passed, not Sgt. Pepper, was the best rock album to come out in 1967. I can buy the arguments that Lennon and McCartney are/were masterful songwriters, and even that Sgt. Pepper was a huge technical leap for rock music. But the sheer beauty and depth of emotion with which the Moody Blues imbued their most famous – and so far unparallelled – album puts it light-years of the material the Beatles were turning out at the time. Days of Future Passed paints a humblingly poetic view of the progression of a single day, and the music keeps getting better as the “day” in question goes on. Naturally 4 out of 4everyone remembers “Tuesday Afternoon” – which was here titled “Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?)” – and “Nights In White Satin”, but my all-time favorite Moody Blues song has to be the exotic Mike Pinder tune “The Sun Set”. The combination of an unusual rhythm and the flowing orchestral melody never fail to entrance me. It’s definitely on my DNP Album List.

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  1. The Day Begins (5:55)
  2. Dawn is a Feeling (3:48)
  3. Another Morning (3:56)
  4. Peak Hour (5:27)
  5. Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?) / (Evening) Time to Get Away (8:24)
  6. The Sun Set / Twilight Time (6:40)
  7. Nights in White Satin (7:32)

Released by: Deram
Release date: 1967
Total running time: 41:42

Alan Parsons Project – Tales of Mystery & Imagination

Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery & Imagination: Edgar Allan PoeThis album kicks off a string of brilliantly executed studio concoctions attributed to a “band” of session musicians that have secured a place in my heart as one of my three favorite rock acts of all time. This first effort – which was originally intended to be the only one of its kind and, as such, was originally pressed on vinyl under the title of The Alan Parsons Project referring to the album and not the group performing it – sets the style for the remainder of the 1970s for the Project. A group of songs inspired by sundry poems and stories by Edgar Allan Poe ranges from chilling (“The Tell Tale Heart”, though a lot of the credit for the spinal shivers still belongs to the source material) to ethereally gorgeous (“To One In Paradise”, the last track). In between there lies mystery (“A Dream Within a Dream”, an instrumental which perfectly balances rock and classical elements, a Parsons4 out of 4 trademark in later years) and a huge, entirely instrumental orchestral suite depicting The Fall of the House of Usher, among other points of interest. The CD liner notes booklet is lavish and incredibly informative, and there’s an added treat in the form of two narrations recorded for the album by Orson Welles but omitted from the original LP release. Very uneven but highly recommended.

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  1. A Dream Within A Dream (4:13)
  2. The Raven (3:57)
  3. The Tell-Tale Heart (4:38)
  4. The Cask of Amontillado (4:33)
  5. (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether (4:20)

    The Fall of the House of Usher:

  6. Prelude (7:02)
  7. Arrival (2:39)
  8. Intermezzo (1:00)
  9. Pavane (4:36)
  10. Fall (0:51)
  11. To One In Paradise (4:46)

Released by: Mercury
Release date: 1976
Total running time: 42:35

Star Trek: The Motion Picture – music by Jerry Goldsmith

Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrackThis Oscar-nominated score redefined the musical mindset of Star Trek and set a standard by which all future music for the Star Trek entity, whether in the theater or on TV, would be judged. (Need proof? What music did Star Trek: The Next Generation use for its theme?) This definitive Trek movie score has yet to be surpassed or even so much as equalled – not even by Goldsmith himself, who scored the fifth, eighth, ninth and tenth movies in the Trek saga as well as coining the theme music for the Voyager spinoff series. The unique combination of contemporary, ancient and futuristic sounds for the first Star Trek movie is indicative of the enormous scope of the story, and makes for some excellent listening away from the sound effects and dialogue. The traditional orchestral complement combines with the distinctive sound of something (!?) called the Blaster Beam (the signature sound of this movie, it sounds not unlike the combination of a distorted electric guitar and a chainsaw) and the gothic tones of the organ to produce a sweeping, awe-inspiring atmosphere. Countering that effect, this was the only Trek movie to date which required a genuine, sweeping, romantic love theme – which really says more about the nature of the later Star 4 out of 4Trek films than their successive composers. Due to the length of the movie and the length of the overbudgeted special effects sequences, Goldsmith’s score is prominent throughout the film, and there’s a lot of it. This is easily the best score ever to have graced any of the Star Trek movies.

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  1. Main Title / Klingon Battle (6:50)
  2. Leaving Drydock (3:29)
  3. The Cloud (5:00)
  4. The Enterprise (5:58)
  5. Ilia’s Theme (3:01)
  6. V’ger Flyover (4:56)
  7. The Meld (3:15)
  8. Spock Walk (4:17)
  9. End Title (3:16)

Released by: CBS
Release date: 1979
Total running time: 40:02