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aLaN PaRSONS: ON aIR
Image Entertainment / 2000 / DTS Multichannel Audio CD / N/A Minutes / N/A
Street date: N/A

The Alan Parsons' Project (APP) has for years been the masters of the thematic album. For those unfamiliar with APP, APP's first project was Tales of Mystery and Imagination, which was a inspired by works of Edgar Alan Poe throughGaudi, a tribute to the Spanish architect whom designed the Sagrada Familia cathedral. Alan Parsons considers APP to be a collaborative effort between himself and Eric Woolfson who is pursuing interests other than rock music. On Air is the second "solo" effort by Alan Parsons, the first entitled Try Anything Once. The theme of On Air is that of flight past and present.

Unlike some previous DTS encoded titles this mix is quite aggressive from a multi-channel point of view. On Air was remixed by Alan Parsons himself with the aid of HDS (High Definition Surround) and finally encoded into DTS. The first track Blue Blue Sky sets the stage by putting the only two instruments (the vocalist and the acoustic guitar) in the left rear and ambiance everywhere else. Blue Blue Sky ends with jetfighters doing flyby's overhead and back.

To Close To The Sun is a much more conventional mix with regard to the use of the surrounds. This track however sets the stage for how good a good multi-channel mix can be. The front soundstage is firmly planted with center imaging primary performed via the left and right speakers with the center channel ensuring that the image is firmly planted where it should be.

Want a test to verify that you have your decoder configured correctly? Blown by the Wind will give you a good test of delay and speaker levels. The vocals in this song have a heavy echo that if it sounds out of sync the main channels or overpowering are good indicators that you should get reconfigure your system.

Ready for special effects, thumping bass and lingering guitar rifts rolled into one helluva enveloping auditory assault? Cloudbreak is the poster child for multi-channel music. The song starts with an older propeller plane being started and ends with it landing. Throughout the song the plane makes entrances from various directions exiting the sound stage. The imaging is so you, you swear you were at an airshow. This song is probably the standout on this CD for use of low bass. This track takes liberties with the soundstage that I think are quite fine given that this is an instrumental. The effect is that of standing on the landing field of an airshow, completely immersed in the wonders of flight, the wind creating the melody while you gaze upward.

I Can’t Look Down, Brother Up In HeavenandFall Free are next, each providing individual delights and emotion. Brother Up In Heaven deals with the tragegty of flight and is very emotionally moving. The other two are both very good songs in their own right. These multi-channel versions are very nice. Surround and bass are used consistently and are always appropriate.

Apollo is another instrumental that is a simple all out assault on the senses. This song is sort of a dance tune with a heavy back beat and synth usage throughout is probably not for everyone. Percussion is distributed among all channels, interestingly mixed with the synthesizer.

The rest of the tracks on the CD are fairly standard fair for an APP album. The multi-channel versions of these songs give them much more depth than that of the original stereo release. On Air ends that way it began: with Blue Blue Sky. Blue Blue Sky part two features the vocalist walking around the room to finally take the stage in proper position of the front soundstage.

This DTS CD contains in the liner notes, information on how it was mixed, the equipment used for mixing and states that you should setup your system in like manner. To quote, “the four corner (primary) full range and matched loudspeakers were toed in 45º and exhibit a dispersion of 90º to maintain a 360º soundfield.” Obviously this is not the position of speakers in a typical home theater setup. It is my opinion however, that only the last track really suffers from having the surrounds on the sidewalls.

On Air is a fine example of a tastefully mixed multi-channel music employing an aggressive use of surround channels. So looking for a something to actually play on your DTS decoder? Looking for some good demo tracks? Then this is your next DTS encoded CD. Don't like agressived surround mixes from your music and believe that two-channel is the only way to listen to music? Then buy the original and don't look back.

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DISC FEATURES

Specifications
- DVD-Video

Aspect Ratio(s):
- N/A

Dolby Digital Formats:
- None

DTS Formats:
- None

PCM Formats:
- None

Subtitles/Captions:
- None

Standard Features:
- Interactive menus
- Scene access

Supplements:
- None

DVD-ROM Features:
- None

List Price:
- N/A

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