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Weaving synths, glockenspiel and guitar with vocoder, boys choir and even Orson Welles narration, producer Parsons brilliantly interpreted the chilling works of Edgar Allan Poe on this 1976 LP. The Project's first release, it went Top 40 and notched hits with (The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether and The Raven ; here's the 1976 album and 1987 remix plus demos, unreleased "experiments" and more bonus material!
As unlikely as the idea seems today to use the suspense-filled stories of Edgar Allan Poe as the basis for an album of rock tunes, listeners in the 1970s--who were barraged with such high-flown concepts during the heyday of prog-rock--turned the record into a major hit. The Project actually scored a Top 40 hit with "(The System of) Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather." Thanks to FM radio overplay, however, "The Raven" is probably the album's best-known track today. The 1987 CD version of "ToMaI" differs somewhat from the original vinyl. Parsons dropped in synthesizer parts to modernize the album, and added an opening recitation by Orson Welles. But the integrity of the original is maintained well enough, and the album remains a classic excuse to dim the lights, pour a glass of sherry (amontillado, natch), and break out the headphones. "i"--Daniel Durchholz