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Stereotomy is the ninth studio album by The Alan Parsons Project, released in 1985.
Although sometimes considered better musically than its predecessor, Vulture Culture, it was not as successful commercially, perhaps due to many fewer vocals from Eric Woolfson (he only appears on a small section of the title track). The album is structured differently from earlier Project albums, containing three lengthy tracks (one the longest instrumental the Project ever made) and two minute-long songs at the end. It is a full digital production and both the LP and CD releases was encoded using the two-channel Ambisonic UHJ format.
The cover artwork features an image of the demon "rainman". The original vinyl packaging of the album was different from all the reissues: it featured somewhat more elaborate artwork of the paper sleeve supplied with a special color-filter oversleeve. When inserted, the oversleeve filtered some of the colours of the sleeve artwork, allowing four different variations (2 per side) of it. That was supposed to symbolise visual stereotomy. In the reissues, only one variant remained.
The word "stereotomy" is taken from "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by Edgar Allan Poe. It refers to the cutting of existing solid shapes into different forms; it is used as a metaphor for the way that famous people (singers, actors. etc.) are often 'shaped' by the demands of fame.
All tracks written by Alan Parsons and Eric Woolfson
- "Stereotomy" (lead vocal John Miles, backing vocal Eric Woolfson) – 7:18
- "Beaujolais" (lead vocal Chris Rainbow) – 4:27
- "Urbania" (instrumental) – 4:59
- "Limelight" (lead vocal Gary Brooker) – 4:39
- "In The Real World" (lead vocal John Miles) – 4:20
- "Where's The Walrus?" (instrumental) – 7:31
- "Light of the World" (lead vocal Graham Dye, backing vocal Steven Dye) – 6:19
- "Chinese Whispers" (instrumental) – 1:01
- "Stereotomy Two" (lead vocal John Miles) – 1:21
Stereotomy was remastered and reissued in 2008 with the following bonus tracks:
- "Light Of The World" (backing track)
- "Rumour Goin' Round" (demo)
- "Stereotomy" (Eric Woolfson guide vocal)
- "Stereotomy" (backing rough mix)
- Eric Woolfson – pianos, keyboards, vocals
- Alan Parsons – additional keyboards, producer
- Ian Bairnson – guitars
- David Paton – bass
- Stuart Elliott – drums and percussion
- Richard Cottle – synths and saxes
- The Philharmonia Orchestra, leader – Christoffer Warren-Green
- Orchestra arranged and conducted by Andrew Powell
- Vocals: John Miles, Chris Rainbow, Gary Brooker, Graham Dye, Steven Dye, Eric Woolfson
|1985||The Billboard 200||43|
The track "Chinese Whispers" is based on the game of Chinese whispers. It has some snippets of dialogue, but they are in English (not Chinese, as the song title implies) and heavily overlaid on top of each other. The words are taken from Edgar Allan Poe's work Murders in the Rue Morgue:
"...The larger links of the chain run thus – Chantilly, Orion, Dr. Nichol, Epicurus, Stereotomy, the street stones, the fruiterer."The titles of "Urbania" and "Where's the Walrus?" can be attributed to Lee Abrams, a (then) radio programmer for WLUP Radio (Chicago, IL) and friend of Parsons and Woolfson. Eric Woolfson remembers:
"He was really quite inspirational in this album [Stereotomy] in telling us what we'd been doing wrong, in his view, on the previous albums... 'Urbania' was one of the words he came out with during the course of a long conversation. Another title he's responsible for... is 'Where's the Walrus,' the other instrumental, 'cause he was really giving us a hard time, I must tell you: 'Your guitar sounds are too soft, and your whole approach is, you know, slack, and your lyrics—there’s no great lyrics anymore! I mean, where's the walrus? I don't hear the walrus!' Referring, of course, to John Lennon's `I am the Walrus’..."
Abrams is frequently credited on Project recordings as "Mr. Laser Beam" ("laser beam" being an anagram of Lee Abrams).
- The song "Limelight" was used by NBC Sports at the close of the 1986 World Series.
In popular culture
A copy of Stereotomy can (very) briefly be seen in The Big Lebowski when Maude tells The Dude to look through her LPs.
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- Bill Henderson (16 February 1986). "Review: The Alan Parsons Project, Stereotomy". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "History of The Alan Parsons Project". The-alan-parsons-project.com. Retrieved 12 November 2011.
- "1987 Grammy Awards". MetroLyrics. Retrieved 12 November 2011.