Stereotomy

Alan Parsons Project Stereotomy Cover Art

(1986)

‘Stereotomy’ is the scientific term for enclosing scientific samples in wax and then cutting them into fine shavings. The word was used by Edgar Allan Poe in his work ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’ which was the first detective novel. The album is a reflection of the pressures of the modern world.

Tracks

Tracks

  1. Stereotomy
  2. Beaujolais
  3. Urbania (Instrumental)
  4. Limelight
  5. In The Real World
  6. Where’s The Walrus?
  7. Light Of The World
  8. Chinese Whispers (Instrumental)
  9. Stereotomy Two

Memories

Memories

In Edgar Allan Poe’s story ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, the clue to solving the case lay in a sequence of words, the key one of which was ‘Stereotomy’. On the Chinese Whispers track, Eric’s daughters Sally & Lorna spoke the sequence of words from Poe’s tale.

‘Stereotomy’ seemed to Eric a word ahead of its time as Poe had written the story in the first half of the 19th Century, long before stereo or even mono existed. This was the first album to be recorded completely digitally and the new technology seemed to produce a crisper sound.

At this time Eric was discussing future projects with Walter Yetnikoff, the president of CBS Records, who was fairly over the top at that stage. At the time they were talking, Eric had with him the backing tracks of the Stereotomy album (the vocals had not yet been recorded) and Walter summoned his bewildered record company executives to a playback of the backings only. They listened politely, but were mystified as to what point there was in hearing backing tracks of an album which would be coming out on another label, but Walter was the boss!

Lee Abrams, the radio programmer, who was featured talking on the track ‘Let’s Talk About Me’ on Vulture Culture, was a strong supporter and objective critic of the APP. In a conversation with Eric, he was complaining about a lyric that he considered banal and said ‘I don’t hear a great lyric. Where’s the Walrus?’ as in John Lennon’s brilliant “I Am The Walrus”. Eric picked up on the phrase as a most appropriate title for the instrumental track on the album.

Lyrics

Lyrics

All lyrics by Eric Woolfson & Alan Parsons © Woolfsongs Ltd / Careers Music, Inc.

Stereotomy

Diamond eyes
That burn me and turn me to stone
Crystalise
And freeze me in clear monochrome

Turn me to stone; do anything you want with me
Turn me to stone; do anything you want
Stereotomy, we can make it together
Do anything you want with me, do anything you want

Scarlet minds
Possess me and I feel no shame
Silent knives
Dissect me and I feel no pain

Stereotomy, we can make it together
Do anything you want with me, do anything you want
Stereotomy, we can make it forever
Do anything you want with me, do anything you want

Starlight beams
Project me in red blue and green
Velvet dreams
Protect me when I hit the screen

Stereotomy, we can make it together
Do anything you want with me, do anything you want
Stereotomy, we can make it forever
It’s always the same, it’s always the same
Stereotomy, we can make it
We can make it, do anything you want

Turn me to stone
Do anything you want with me
Cover my eyes
There’s nothing more they need to see
Turn me to stone (Turn me to stone)
Before there’s nothing left of me
Make me a rock (To stone)
And not what I appear to be
Turn me to stone
Turn me to stone

Beaujolais

No clock beside my bed
Don’t try to wake me
No phone upon my wall
Who’s going to call

No knock upon my door
No news to shake me
Nights like the one before
I can’t take no more

Beaujolais goes straight to my head
Beaujolais puts me to shame
And I don’t know why I’m in this place or how I came
Beaujolais and I go crazy
Beaujolais I can’t explain
But it helps me to forget the past and ease the pain

One race that I can’t win
With an alter ego
One chance to sink or swim
What am I to do

One tail that I can’t shake
Wherever I go he go
One circuit I can’t break
It’s a catch twenty two

Beaujolais goes straight to my head
Beaujolais’ the one to blame
And I don’t know why I’m in this place or how I came
Beaujolais will be my ruin
Beaujolais I can’t complain
Cause it helps me to forget the past and ease the pain

Beaujolais
Beaujolais

Beaujolais goes straight to my head

Urbania

(Instrumental)

Limelight

I can see the glow of a distant sun
I can feel it inside
Maybe this day
Could be the one

I can hear the roar of a distant crowd
They are waiting for me
Calling my name
Shouting out loud

Holding on isn’t always easy
I ain’t gonna change my mind

Limelight you were all I ever wanted
Since it all began
Limelight shining on me
Telling the world who I am
Limelight don’t let me slip right through your fingers
There’s a long way to fall
After all the years of waiting
I’m gonna show them all

I can see the world in a different light
Now it’s easy to say
Where I went wrong
What I did right

I can hear the beat of a different drum
Take it all in my stride
Hold my head high
Second to none

Holding on wasn’t always easy
Nothing can change my mind

Limelight you were all I ever wanted
Since it all began
Limelight shining on me
Telling the world who I am
Limelight don’t let it slip right through your fingers
There’s a long way to fall
After all the years of waiting
I’m gonna show them all

Maybe the role’s not easy
Maybe the prize is small
After all the years of waiting
I’m gonna show them all

In The Real World

One more compromise I won’t be making
One more easy way out I won’t be taking
So many chances don’t come twice
So many eyes are made of ice
One more cheating hand I won’t be shaking

One more substitute I won’t be trying
One more piece of the rock that I’m not buying
So many times we stand and fight
So many reasons can’t be right
One more simple truth I’m not denying

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many lonely nights in the real world
Too many fools who don’t think twice
Too many ways to pay the price
Don’t wanna live my life in the real world

One more sacrifice I won’t be making
One more golden rule I won’t be breaking
No one to let me state my case
No one to tell me to my face
One more sweet suprise I won’t be faking

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many lonely nights in the real world
Too many bridges you can burn
Too many tables you can’t turn
Don’t wanna live my life in the real world

Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Too many lonely nights in the real world
Too many games that I can’t play
Too many windmills in my way
Don’t wanna live my life in the real world (don’t wanna live in the real world)

Too many lonely hearts in the real world (too many lonely hearts)
Too many lonely nights in the real world (too many lonely nights)
Don’t wanna live my life in the real world (don’t wanna live in the real world)
Too many lonely hearts in the real world (too many lonely nights)
Too many lonely hearts in the real world
Don’t wanna live my life in the real world

Where’s the Walrus?

(Instrumental)

Light of the World

I am just a stranger, in a promised land
I am only learning a game with rules I don’t understand
Going round in circles, I’ve been round before
I am lost in so many ways
I can walk no more
I can walk no more

I am just a drifter, in an open sea
But no matter how much I try, the tide will not turn for me
Going round in circles, till I reach the shore
I am blown by so many winds
I can take no more
I can take no more

Light of the world, I stand alone
Cause I could not see the light of the world
Show me the fire, in a true believer’s eye

I am just a dreamer, when I close my eyes
I can fly so close to the sun, that I can not see it rise
Going round in circles, in a silent sky
I am lost for so many worlds
I can not say why
I can not say why

Light of the world, I stand alone
Cause I could not see the light of the world
Show me the fire, in a true believer’s eye

Just a traveller, on an endless flight
But no matter which way I turn, I journey into the night
Going round in circles, till the mountains fall
To believe in so many truths
Makes no sense at all
Makes no sense at all

Light of the world, I stand alone
Cause I could not see the light of the world
I was afraid, cause I could not see the light of the world
Show me the fire, in a true believer’s eye

So many ways
So many words

Chinese Whispers

(Instrumental)

Chantilly (Epicurus)
Orion (Dr. Nichols)
Dr. Nichols (Orion)
Epicurus (Chantilly)

Stereotomy Two

Stereotomy

Oh, Stereotomy, we can make it forever
Do anything you want with me, do anything you want
Stereotomy, we can make it
We can make it, do anything you want

We can make it

RUMOUR GOIN’ ROUND
(bonus track on Expanded Edition, completed on Eric Woolfson’s “The APP that Never Was”)

Rumours fly like the writing in the sky
There’s a part of town I’m not supposed to go
Danger signs that you read between the lines
And there’s someone there I’m not allowed to know

I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ round
There’s gonna be a showdown
I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ down
One of us is leaving town

Prying eyes, and it comes as no surprise
That they follow me in every place I go
Should I stay, should I turn and walk away
There’s a part of me that does not want to know

(Cause) I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ round
I caught it on the rebound
I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ down
Trouble could be back in town

Shadows fall on the writing on the wall
If you look too long you see it fade away
I’m aware there was something in the air
And a spoken word that’s just a game we play

I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ round
No one’s gonna back down
I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ down
Trouble could be back in town

I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ round
There’s gonna be a showdown
Someone’s gonna win, someone’s gonna lose
Nobody is backing down

I’ve heard there’s a rumour goin’ round, We’re heading for a showdown
Something’s going round, something’s going on
One of us is leaving town

Credits

Credits

1. STEREOTOMY 7:18
Vocals – John Miles
Additional Vocals – Eric Woolfson
Backing Vocals – Chris Rainbow
Synths and Sequencers – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars and Guitar Synth– Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
DX7 Rhodes – Eric Woolfson
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell
Scientist Voices – Alan Parsons, Eric Woolfson
Industrial FX – David Paton and Ian Bairnson
Tony Richards, Noel Rafferty

2. BEAUJOLAIS 4:27
Vocals – Chris Rainbow
Keyboards – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars and Guitar Synth – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Party FX – The Mayfair Studio Gang

3. URBANIA (Instrumental) 4:59
Synth Sequences – Alan Parsons
Synths and Sax – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars – Ian Bairnson, Bass – David Paton
Traffic FX – Tony Richards, Alan Parsons
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott

4. LIMELIGHT 4:39
Vocal – Gary Brooker
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
DX7 Rhodes – Eric Woolfson
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Fretless Bass – Ian Bairnson
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Backing Vocals – Chris Rainbow

5. IN THE REAL WORLD 4:17
Vocal – John Miles
Guitars – Ian Bairnson, Bass – David Paton
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott

6. WHERE’S THE WALRUS? (Instrumental) 7:23
Synths, Sax and Sequencers – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Emulator – Alan Parsons
Guitars – Ian Bairnson, Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Vocal FX – Chris Rainbow
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

7. LIGHT OF THE WORLD 6:22
Vocal – Graham Dye
Backing Vocals – Graham Dye, Steve Dye, Chris Rainbow
Piano – Eric Woolfson
Guitars – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

8. CHINESE WHISPERS (Instrumental) 1:02
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Processed Acoustic Guitar – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Voices – Sally and Lorna Woolfson

9. STEREOTOMY TWO 1:18
Vocal – John Miles
Synths – Richard (Trix) Cottle
Guitars and Stepp Guitar Synth – Ian Bairnson
Bass – David Paton
Drums and Percussion – Stuart Elliott
DX7 Rhodes – Eric Woolfson
Orchestra Arranged and Conducted by Andrew Powell

Produced by Alan Parsons
Executive Producer – Eric Woolfson
Engineered by Alan Parsons with Tony Richards
Assistant Engineer – Noel Rafferty
Album recorded and mixed at Mayfair Studios London
between October 1984 and August 1985. A Digital Recording.
Orchestra Recorded at Abbey Road Studios

Special thanks to Wim Schipper, Richard Elen for the use of his
Ambisonic Equipment, John Timms of Audio Rents,
Terry Finn and Neumann for their help with the Dummy Head,
Chris Bishop, Eric Prince, Werner Stambach, David Rockberger,
John Branca, Nick Kanaar, Smokey, Hazel , Sally and Lorna,
John and Kate Hudson and all at Mayfair Studios
and of course the one and only Mr Laser Beam

Sleeve Design and Art Direction:
Andrew Ellis and Colin Chambers

All tracks written by Eric Woolfson and Alan Parsons
Published by Woolfsongs Ltd/Careers Music Inc
administered by Universal Music
(p) 1985 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment

Expanded Edition

Expanded Edition Includes these Bonus Tracks:

Stereotomy was the first Project album that was recorded entirely digitally and as a result, there was a greater economy of master tapes in the studio. For analogue recordings there were often many reels recorded, surplus to requirements, quite simply because to constantly go over out-takes was too time consuming and disruptive to the recording process. However, with digital, the equipment responded more quickly and it was relatively simple to roll back and record again. This simply means that there is less bonus material to draw on for this album.

Here is a track listing of the bonus material included on the ‘Stereotomy’ expanded edition album to whet your appetitie!

Light Of The World (Backing Track)

This was a reminder of how differently studio recordings could develop before the vocals were added. Many of the nuances of this atmospheric backing were inevitably lost when vocals were complete and final mixes were done. This backing has a particularly distinctive feel which can only really be appreciated being heard in this form.

Rumour Goin’ Round (previously unreleased demo)

On many albums we could record more than we needed and this was an example of a track that could and should have developed into an outstanding contribution to the album. However, as some of the tracks rather over-ran and there was enough material to deliver the album without including this track, it was left by the way side. At this stage, Eric hadn’t completed the lyrics.

Stereotomy (Eric Woolfson Guide Vocal)

This is another example of an early rough mix with a guide vocal which had a particular sound appeal in the studio and where the final mix once John Miles’ lead vocal had been added, created a recognizable but distinctly different feel. The rawness and hard edge of the original tracks can be heard to advantage in this bonus track.

Stereotomy II (Backing Rough Mix)

Similarly for this track, an early rough mix conveys a different aspect of the recording.