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Jon Anderson - Olias of Sunhillow CD (album) cover

OLIAS OF SUNHILLOW

Jon Anderson

 

Prog Related

3.94 | 272 ratings

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aapatsos
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars On a different galaxy

Jon Anderson's first personal album is an interesting blend that floats away from the majority of YES' works. The artist creates a quite different sound for which he is solely responsible. No bombastic basswork or complex progressive passages. On the contrary, a little light music or a little night music if you wish...

Not exactly: the music might be much simpler than the good YES times, but does not lack in imagination and first of all variety. Jon sets a frame of folk, tribal and even electronic tunes to present his first solo work. Whether he succeeds or not, this is entirely up to the listener's conception. I was personally impressed at first with the melodies in the album; after a few spins I lost interest and now that I am writing these lines I found myself paying attention again...

It seems that Jon Anderson ''envied'' the brilliance of solo artists such as Mike Oldfield and tried to produce his own tubular bells... Not that ''Olias of Sunhillow'' borrows a lot from similar albums, but along with the strong folk tunes, the influences from this new age/electronic/space sound are obvious. I don't know if at that time Jon Anderson had met with Vangelis, but the electronic/space elements seem to have played their part in this effort (e.g. Solid Space).

The use of numerous different instruments is also a point that drew my attention. Interesting percussion resembles to obscure oriental sounds and tribal rhythms of Africa. All these interesting sounds are dressed with melodic, mature and carefully-executed vocals. The most enjoyable moments of this album can be found at the first half where the brilliance of Sound of the Galle, Dance of Raynart and Qoquaq En Transic stand out with strong folk-based and acoustic guitar melodies.

While the second half of the record is not as impressive, there are no real weak moments and it's hard to rate this album with less than 3.5 stars. If you would like to hear an entirely different aspect of the YES history, this is probably the best place to start.

aapatsos | 4/5 |

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